SBP Blog

Donald Richie's "The Inland Sea" gets a new/old look

Peter Goodman - Monday, September 28, 2015

This month we are releasing a new edition of Donald Richie’s novelistic travel journal The Inland Sea.

The book was first published over 40 years ago, and while the villages and lifestyles that Richie describes in its pages have changed greatly since then, the landscape, the hills and waves and especially the stunning cloudscapes are as they were. And while Japanese people may now be more fashionably dressed and newly equipped with every techno device imaginable, the fundamentals of their -- or anyone’s ---culture don’t change so fast. Certainly the odd foreigner wandering about on his or her own is still something to remark on in the remoter parts of the country. Much of Richie’s views of Japan had to do with his unshakable belief that he would forever be an Outsider in the country he had adopted but that had not exactly adopted him. It was this separation of himself from the places where he enjoyed his most intimate encounters that gives his writing such a sense of close observation from a distance.

Donald Richie

So why a new edition? What was wrong with our old one? The Inland Sea was first published in 1971 as a hardcover with photographs by the Weatherhill company, presided over by Meredith Weatherby, a brilliant book designer. It was re-released in the 1990s by Kodansha International as what can charitably be called a cheap paperback. We at Stone Bridge obtained the right to publish it directly from Donald in the early 2000s. Cost calculations led me to contrive a two-column format in small type that would be readable yet save on manufacturing costs. We also were fortunate enough to obtain access to screen grabs of a recent documentary film that had been based on the text. The cover was given a wonderful new graphic design by D. S. Noble.

The quality was high, but we made a great sacrifice in elegance and received some harsh criticism from online reviewers. I had made a mistake and always felt bad that we hadn’t done Richie’s signature work justice. So after Donald’s passing in 2013 I determined we would do better.

And we have. We’ve returned to a larger and more traditional format. And we were able to track down the wife of photographer Yoichi Midorikawa and obtain permission to use all of his photographs from the original 1971 edition. She said she was not sure where the original photos were, but thanks to modern scanning technology we were able to reproduce the photos perfectly well from a couple of used library volumes we purchased online.

The Inland Sea is one of those books about Japan that should never go out of print. I’m glad we’ve brought it back in a quality edition. The typeface has been updated, but we were careful to pay homage to some of Meredith Weatherby’s original text geometry and specifications. In this way, we’re honoring not just the writer, but the book, which has played such a key role in the legacy of Donald Richie and provided several new generations of expat observers with a model to follow in their own writings.

For more information click here

Like our blog? Please share it!


Subscribe to the SBP Mailing List

New Releases

Amy’s Guide to Best Behavior in Japan

Going to Japan? This unfussy modern guide guarantees you keep it polite and get it right!

China Smart

Essential essays on all things Chinese that inform and entertain travelers, students, and anyone working or living in China

Oh, Tama!

A deeply eccentric novel about lives and connections—and a cat of course—in 1980s Tokyo: witty, offbeat, and strangely profound.

The Fourth String

Two women. Two cultures. One music.

Tag Cloud

society illustration 47 samurai behavior Olympics japan today author talk tea garden politics and prose new york events diary memior in the woods of memory understandind china through comics japan behavior why we write podcast kinokuniya event japan travel purification Ukiyo-e tea wife william f sibley Shoah japan travel guide review books journal of a zen monk the asian review of books huffington post simba book award china book finalist jungle emperor japanese etiquette Basho juddhism the inland sea japan book religion ibpa publishing university japanese cutlure japanese manners criterion expat damian flanagan Japanese aesthetics benjamin franklin awards new york amys guide to bes tbehavior in japan buddhist swastika do it right and be polite drinking in japan polite alan moore event 2020 Olympics larry herzberg gallery awa best behavior in japan matcha living in japan forty seven ronin american shamisen a memoir of sensei and me sensei and me zen monk wife a memoir controversy eli lieberman peace symbol bushido budhist swastika namethetranslator buddhist symbols doris bargen Second World War expat in japan manji Spring Festival interfaith japanese book traditional japanese music monk wife hiroaki sato tk nakagaki what do in japan holden caufield world literature today hitler hooked cross gaijin pot World War Two author graphic novels japan custom Nikolas Bunton tracy franz journal' monks wife traditional japanese instrument center of east asian studies evil no longer human rebecca otowa china where igo the hidden writer kyoto journal jared cook china smart haiku traditional japanese instrumenet translators how to travel in japan awards shun medoruma 2019 the lion king mark gibeau book publicity traditional comic history miswest book review China Japanese holidays benjamin franklin award koun Japan author signing state of belief osamau tezuka min kahng black jack tomoko aoyama Chinese Astrology announcement pottery japan book review travel literature Year of the Dog donald keene forest gander will eisner poet paul mccarthy book hoarding brad hawley shaimsen japanese instruments tokyo suicide university of chicago alan brill monks wife hippocampus magazine The Colorado Review UCLA Chiune Sugihara my year of dirt and water monk Travel year of zen nova scotia ancient symbol buddhism WWII lucille cara janet pocorbba Chinese history kimba the white lion the fourth string a memoir of sensei and me book signing four immigrants book review hitler symbol zen monk donald richie writing travel etiquette summer vacation AAS japanese customs travel Japan book reading china guide 4k 1960's Japan book talk welton gaddy zen monks wife' Asian Studies haibun publicity japanese to english classic poetry japanese travel frank beyer japanese books sensei shamisen buddhist takuma sminkey VIZ keanu reeves huffpost japanese drunk book memoir, tracy franz, zen monk, buddhist dark horse Art/Design japanese books in english the japan society ningen shikkaku osamu dazai rachel manley dirt and water performance japanese danica davidson Christianity 47 ronin japan ravel amys guide to best behavior in japan Children's Books Basho's Narrow Road classic literature yukio mishima jing liu memoir chapters frederik schodt japan manners Okinawan literature astrology Culture book tour japanese music lions roar manga biography bookstore the millions classic osamu tezuka japan travel etiquette manners china vacation new release the silver spoon pulitzer prize koto japanese people zen monk in japan stone bridge cafe japanese translation non-fiction journal janet pocrobba bowing in japan nara t.k. nakagaki book blurb chinese literature japanese instrument guide green tea forty seven samurai asia the buddhist swastika janet pocorobba china history asian review of books japan food Christianity in Japan association of jewish libraries peace foreword indies award how to japanese bath new books literary review chinese comics gratitude in japan japanese culture ancient symbols ex pat literature suehiro maruo learning in japan forewrod reviews indies hitlers cross lesley university stone bridge press otakuusa 1960s Korea kyoto michael emmerich shamisen performance kansuke naka Korea photography diymfa japanese classic seppuku eating in japan Tokyo Olympics holocaust Chinese culture Anime/Manga/Comics leonard koren hate japan etiquette Translation author tour mieko kanai japan books pacific rim review of books trip astro boy eastern and western philosophy Japanese literature china What You Don’t Know, What You Need to Know— A Past & Present Guide to History, Culture, Society, Language japanese craft henry kiyama a shameful life nazi the japan times blurb Korea musical History IBPA international book award literature japan restaurant japan memoir the fourth string buddhist priest journal of a zen monk's wife fantasy literature Alexandra Johnson student teacher swastika Children's Literature Spirituality how to order in japan memoir writing giajin diy mfa china travel award author event classic japanese literature nichi bei weekly, naomi hirarahara poetry of consciousness travel manners manga japan vacation osaka visitor etiquette ritual kyodo news internment comics tricycle magazine Poetry zazen wanderlust photography japan guide kris kosaka chinese anime foreigner in japan jun hazuki foreword indies publishing amy chavez World War II luke patitsas Interview reviews podcast Japanese art japan visitor zen catcher in the rye travel to japan fred schodt gaijinpot foreword reviews verticle oh tama book reviews literary prize PEN AWARD death learning shamisen Language dazai Chinese New Year disney gaijin ripe mangoes Coming of Age Day japan trip film journal of a zen monks wife in japan a mejiro novel japan culture walt disney washington dc tourist