3 Must-Read iBooks About Japan

Apple announced today an overhaul of its iBooks offerings. While we're still waiting for that Japanese 101 textbook to appear online, here are three great iBooks about Japan that you can buy right now for your iPhone or iPad (or iPod Touch):

Tokyo Vice
Id419968301Editor's note: For adults only.

Publisher's blurb: Jake Adelstein is the only American journalist ever to have been admitted to the insular Tokyo Metropolitan Police Press Club, where for twelve years he covered the dark side of Japan: extortion, murder, human trafficking, fiscal corruption, and of course, the yakuza.

But when his final scoop exposed a scandal that reverberated all the way from the neon soaked streets of Tokyo to the polished Halls of the FBI and resulted in a death threat for him and his family, Adelstein decided to step down. Then, he fought back. In Tokyo Vice he delivers an unprecedented look at Japanese culture and searing memoir about his rise from cub reporter to seasoned journalist with a price on his head.

Blake says: The occasional self-indulgence aside (really? Do we need to know about your sex life, Jake?), the book is the best example of a gritty life intertwined with the yakuza. 

Id457345325Publisher's blurb: In 1924, Hachiko was sent to Tokyo by to his owner, Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo. Hachiko saw Ueno off from the front door each morning and greeted him at the end of the day at the nearby Shibuya Station.

The pair continued their daily routine until May 1925 when Professor Ueno didn't return on the usual train one evening. The Professor had suffered a stroke at the University that day. He died and never returned to the station where his faithful Hachiko was waiting.

Blake says: Hachiko is one of Japan's most famous stories. Required reading!

Reimagining Japan
Id448375992Publisher's blurb: For Reimagining Japan: The Quest for a Future That Works, McKinsey invited 80 men and women from around the world to contemplate the challenges and opportunities facing the country as it recovers from the triple disasters. Contributors include CEOs, economists, Japan scholars, foreign-policy experts, authors, and journalists, as well as stars from sports and culture. This unique and distinguished collection of authors shares perspectives on Japan in essays that are insightful, thought provoking—and sometimes contradictory.  

Notable contributors include Gerald Curtis, Steven Covey, Carlos Ghosn, Masayoshi Son, Howard Schultz, Bobby Valentine, Ezra Vogel, Tadashi Yanai and more than 50 others. 

Blake says: It's easy to be a pessimist about post-disaster Japan, but in these essays you can also find a strong case for the optimists, too.