Current Issue

The current JSR 2017 issue includes research articles covering varied interdisciplinary topics and a special section featuring a bibliographical essay plus additional essays and book reviews.

Appearing in this issue are four articles dealing with a variety of topics on Japanese society and culture. The first article is by Ben Van Overmeire, who analyzes Zen Buddhism in the twentieth century in terms of “frame-stories” from Daisetz Teitarō Suzuki’s book An Introduction to Zen Buddhism in relation to Janwillem Van de Wetering’s The Empty Mirror. The second article, by Rebecca Richko, presents a study of Japan’s low birth rate and the role of women in contemporary society. The next article is by Shiho Futugami and Marilyn M. Helms, who explore the underlying factors behind employment challenges in Japan by reviewing current policies for work involving age and gender equality. The fourth article, by Bernice J. deGannes Scott, presents an economic analysis of the United States-Japan automobile trade conflict of the 1980s.

The special section in this year’s issue contains a biographical essay by Steven Heine with assistance from Katrina Ankrum. It provides a detailed overview of compilations of traditional Sōtō Zen commentaries, primarily from the Edo period but also including some medieval and modern examples. These manifold works, with more than eighty examples, examine the content of Eihei Dōgen’s masterwork, the Shōbōgenzō, as well as the factors that led to the formation of the 95-Fascicle Honzan Edition first published in 1906.

This issue includes two additional essays. The first one by Junko Baba is a discussion on the military government’s food policies in World War II Japan. The second essay is by Cassandra Atherton, who focuses her analysis of “ocean plain” (wata no hara) imagery in the animated film Gake no Ue no Ponyo directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

Furthermore, this volume contains three book reviews of recent publications on Japanese studies. Daniel A. Métraux reviews a book by Janice P. Nimura, Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back, and a volume by Richard Reeves titled Infamy: The Shocking Story of Japanese Internment in World War II. Finally, Yuichi Tamura reviews a book by Peter Cave titled Schooling Selves: Autonomy, Interdependence, and Reform in Japanese Junior High Education.

JSR is now planning the next two issues and invites submissions, whether articles, essays, or book reviews, on topics dealing with Japan or comparative studies. Submissions can be sent as email attachment to

The editor, Steven Heine, and members of the editorial board will referee all submissions.

Please visit our archive for PDF versions of the current and past volumes.

Dr. Steven Heine's new article:
OUTSIDE OF A SMALL CIRCLE:SŌTŌ ZEN COMMENTARIES ON DŌGEN’S SHŌBŌGENZŌ and the Formation of the 95-Fascicle Honzan (Main Temple) Edition" Japan Studies Review (2017); 85-127.

The following is an abbreviated version of the same article, including only the lists of commentaries and appendices: Click here for the abbreviated version.