Wrong About Japan
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Wrong About Japan

3.13 of 5 stars 3.13  ·  rating details  ·  972 ratings  ·  110 reviews
This stunning memoir-cum-travelogue from twice Booker winning author Peter Carey re-evaluates Japan through its attempts to understand the violent and disturbing cartoons which are so inherently concerned with Japan's rich and historic heritage. Accompanied by his son, Charley, father and son attempt to demystify the meanings hidden within magna and anime as they move towa...more
Paperback, 158 pages
Published 2005 by Faber & Faber (first published January 1st 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,646)
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aya
an account of peter carey's trip to japan with his 12-year-old son to explore the world of japanese anime and manga.

it seems that all peter carey found in japan is disappointment and irritation. this would be fine, if he could turn those findings into an interesting book with any sort of insight. when i wasn't waiting for him to really get into it, i was busy being irritated and offended. (also annoyed with the translation/transliteration errors.)
it seems to me that all of his disappointment c...more
Will
This little book is surprising because it is about so much, and everything it is about is covered so effectively. Here are some things that it is about:
-It is about Japan, and a Westerner in Japan, and then it is about cultural misunderstanding.
-It is about fathers and sons, and how they want to connect, and how hard that can be.
-It is about Manga and Anime, and it is about art and culture and how cultures consume art.
-It is about war, and children of war. And about how those children become pos...more
Elizabeth Fitzgerald
I have to say that the more I read, the less I liked Peter Carey. He is clearly not much of a people person—his interactions with others are uniformly awkward and I was rather appalled by the way he treated his son’s friend, Takashi. He seemed more intent on rushing around, trying to achieve some purpose that wasn’t even clear to himself. He came across as being distinctly snobbish.

The book reminded me a bit of Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel. That too is about a foreigner in Japan s...more
Tony
WRONG ABOUT JAPAN: A Father’s Journey With His Son. (2004). Peter Carey. ****.
This is a short travel log expanded into a book that was kept by Mr. Carey on a trip he took with his twelve-year-old son to Japan. The purpose of the trip was to learn more about manga and anime which his son was deeply into. His son, Charley, was, as it was called in Japanese, an otaku, which has many translations, but, in Charley’s case meant an obsessive anime fan. Carey believed that there were nuances in both an...more
Janice
I really enjoyed this little travel memoir about a trip to Japan Carey takes with his quiet, awkward, twelve-year-old son Charley. Charley is hooked on Japanese manga and anime (after seeing the film Kikujiro several times Charley announces one day, "When I grow up I'm going to live in Tokyo") and Carey supports his son's interest not only by exploring these forms himself, but also by arranging a trip to Japan. But Charley resists a trip to "the Real Japan" -- their term for the Japan of temples...more
Cassandra
Hmmmm... Well... I picked up this book because I'm interested in memoirs written by foreigners who visit Japan. In this case, the author is an Australian who currently lives in New York City and visited Japan to learn more about how Japanese culture affects anime.

Parts of the book were funny but, overall, it was frustrating. "Wrong About Japan." That is exactly what this book is about, a series of beliefs about Japan that are debunked. However, the truth about Japan is never presented. The auth...more
Tine!
I feel weird.
Most of the commentary you'll read in the reviews about Carey's personality as it comes across in the book are correct: awkward, stiffly foreign and unable to yield to the current pace of another society. At one point, his son swiftly jabs him underneath the table, which was cathartic for me, as the reader, who was just as often embarrassed by the elder's actions as I was painfully reflected in them. Perhaps it helps that I am in-between old Peter's and young Charley's age - and, r...more
Amber Berry
I'd like to say that I really liked this short book, but it wasn't what I'd anticipated. The subject interested me: a writer taking his 12-year old son to Japan for the first time and meeting some of the leaders (stars) of manga and anime. The most impressive thing for me is that Mr. Carey was honest about their experiences. I would not have wanted to write about a child of mine being so disrespectful to me as his son was toward him. At least the son knew how to act in public.

From some reviews,...more
Carolyn
I found this slim volume on sale for just a couple of bucks at my local bookstore and picked it up because it looked, at first glance, like a breezy account of the author's visit with his son to Japan, a country I very much hope to visit myself one day. Ultimately, I found the experience of reading the book somewhat frustrating. Peter Carey seems to go through the book in a near-constant state of frustration and embarrassment as his attempts to understand Japanese culture are politely but firmly...more
Emily
I picked up this book for 99p in a charity shop to put aside for a day in which I wanted to read something utterly cringeworthy. There is something oddly satisfying about subjecting yourself to the secondhand embarrassment caused by an anime fan having their expectations and preconceptions of Japan crushed, and in that sense I got exactly what I wanted from this book.

Whilst experiencing that secondhand embarrassment can be entertaining, it was also infuriating so many times during this book. Car...more
Beth
Uh, so basically Peter Carey wanted to take his kid on a vacation to Japan, and he didn't want to pay for it, so he knocked some short crappy book together about it and called it good.
Anne
yup, wrong, wrong, and wrong! kept calling the wrong foreign informants, kept ignoring the son's slightly more open hunches, kept calling up famous people (animators, swordsmiths, etc.) to ask banal gateway questions...in the wrong field, with the wrong historical assumptions, wasting their time. Was Google not working that day?!? I normally don't put "professional" stuff on here, as that is what my CV and conversations are for. I was hoping, because Carey is a pretty decent novelist of historic...more
Jean
I don't know what to say about this book. I was hoping it was more a present cultural look rather than a high fluent justification for a trip to Japan. The book initially began as a journey with his son into a culture that he enjoyed but a certain part of the culture which was more modern whereas the writer was hoping for a more look at "Real" Japan which is somehow an amalgam of tourist expectations and traditional Japanese culture that is not representative of the everyday Japanese. I really w...more
Carl Jones
I really enjoyed this book. I have a casual interest in manga and anime but don’t really know much about it or, indeed, Japan. I thought this was a really accessible read and a good starting point for newcomers to Japanese culture. You learn a little about manga titles such as Mobile Suit Gundam and the films of Hayao Miyazaki, with occasional, fleeting interviews, and a little about the “Real” Japan, too. It’s not really in depth, and sometimes Carey’s interest in the subtext of the comics and...more
Beata Bowen
This is one of these **1/2 star books for me... Decent writing and healthy amount of humor. But after that... eh.

Peter Carey (the father) takes his son (Charley) on what seems like a weeklong trip to Japan, because Charley loves manga and anime and Peter tries to like it too, so that he can bond with his son. He's not a horrible father and the most ignorant of travelers, but he goes to Japan with preconceived ideas and like a grumpy, middle-aged guy that he is, all set in his ways, refuses to o...more
Alee
I did not read the reviews of this book before reading it, instead I found this book by wandering around in the travel section of the library. As a library book, it's worth the effort. It's a very fast read because you can skim over parts that are less interesting. Since I have a daughter who has been into manga/anime for several years now and we both attended Nan desu kan in Denver last year, I also have an understanding of what the interactions but I've always treated this experience as a plac...more
neko cam
I have incredibly little interest in non-fiction, so for me to even take a crack at 'Wrong About Japan' should make headlines. I was enticed by the eclectic cover and ensnared by the blurb which speaks of a journey to, and around, Tokyo that was inspired by a passion for anime and manga - which sounds not entirely unlike my own experiences traveling to Japan.

It was interesting to see some of the aspects of the cultural divide presented and explored, albeit in less depth than I'd have liked. Of p...more
Adrasta
I gave it three stars because although some parts I was like "thats so interesting" other parts I was like "why are you telling me this."

This is a book about a man and his son traveling to Japan where they weren't suppose to do "Real Japan" things like visit shrines and things. It was supposed to be about manga and anime in culture and I really didn't think overall the book had much of a point. Half the book was about how the man didn't understand Japan and the other half was forcing his kid to...more
El Templo de las Mil Puertas
"En esta ocasión, desde la redacción, y sabiendo la gran cantidad de lectores de manga y amantes de la cultura japonesa que abren constantemente las puertas de nuestro particular Templo, queremos recomendaros un libro que nos muestra todo un viaje de acercamiento a la diversificada y a veces mal clasificada sociedad nipona, y que creemos todos pueden disfrutar. En 2002 el autor del libro que os presentamos, Peter Carey, emprendió un viaje a la tierra del sol naciente junto con su hijo Charley. E...more
Inês
While I am not or ever have been into manga or anime, I did go through a phase of severe obsession with Japanese style and music a few years back. This was the time when I was an obnoxious preteen who wore out a stick of black eyeliner in a month and who refused to look or be happy ever. Looking back, I felt like slapping some sense into myself.
However, some good things remained. Namely, my love for Hayao Miyazaki and the awe for Japanese culture. I know nothing about Japanese culture. Sure, I w...more
Hazel
Many thanks to Tuck who recommended this when I expressed an interest in Japanese culture. Carey's very slight report on a trip to Japan with his 12 year old son raises more questions than it answers. He doesn't try to make himself look good, and people of his generation or older may well think he should have been kinder and more sensitive to his son's friend. But we can all relate to his travelling with preconceptions and his own interpretations of Japanese art (in the form of manga and anime),...more
Nuno Alexandre Chaves
Gosto de ler os chamados livros de viagens, e sobretdo se “falarem de viagens”, principalmente porque me levam a conhecer e descobrir aqueles lugares que não conheço. Muitos deles provavelmente nunca irei conhecer senão em fotografias ou descrições de quem já lá esteve. (essa é uma das vantagens de se gostar de ler- viajar e sonhar sem sair do mesmo sítio) Mas entrei mal nesta colecção da tinta da China “O Japão é um lugar estranho” de Peter Carey autor duas vezes vencedor do Booker Prize.
Neste...more
Yoake
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julie
Wrong About Japan tells the tale of Peter Carey's trip to Japan with his 12-year-old son, Charley. Charley has become obsessed with manga and anime (and Gundam in particular) and so Carey pulls his publishing-world strings to get interviews with some major anime/manga figures: Yoshiyuki Tomino, the director of the early Gundam series; Hiroyuki Kitakubo, director of Blood: The Last Vampire; and perhaps most impressively, filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki.

In planning the trip, they kept talking about "Real...more
La Petite Américaine
Aug 09, 2008 La Petite Américaine rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People Who Need to Kill 2 Hours
Recommended to La Petite Américaine by: Saw it at Fnac
Shelves: japan
Author Peter Carey takes his 12 year-old son to Japan when he realizes that the boy is fascinated with anime and manga. The story that unfolds is one westerner's complete miunderstanding of Japanese culture, often reaching points of being cringe-worthy. It does end triumphantly, though, and it is overall a cute read.

I'd have liked it a lot more if it weren't written in such a Booker Prize Winner/snob/father-knows-best condescending tone. Carey is the typical kind of annoying dad that doesn't und...more
Maria Carmo
I loved this book. ("Wrong about Japan" is the title of the English original, which I read translated to Portuguese).

Japan as a place visited by Westerners with cultural "prejudices" about "what" the Japanese culture means and obsessed with "finding a meaning" behind all sorts fo cultural icons (such as manga, cartoons, etc.) - just to discoverd that whatever "meaning" there may be, will not be the one projected by the Western visitor.

Still, excellently written, an incredible atmosphere - like a...more
starfleetbrat
I'm not sure I understood the point of this book.

My first impression about Wrong about Japan was that it was going to be a delightful memoir of the author's trip to Japan with his then twelve year old son. Instead I found the book was a thinly veiled excuse for the trip.

Instead of doing a lot of fun and interesting sightseeing of anime/manga locations and activities, the author seemed intent on interview after interview with industry folks in order to "understand" a culture he felt alienated f...more
Magdalena
Wrong About Japan begins with a series of Saturday morning visits to the video shop and Forbidden Planet comic shop to procure Japanese anime films and manga comics. Carey the father initially comes along as censor, but soon becomes accomplice as he and his son Charley develop a fascination with the unusual and intricate popular art form. Both want more, and Carey arranges a working trip to Japan, where together, the Careys explore their differing notions of cultural meaning, art, and above all,...more
Trin
I'm really not sure what Carey was trying to accomplish with this book. He goes to Japan with his preteen son, who's a big manga and anime fan, and has his agent hook him up with interviews with lots of big names in the manga/anime world. Along the way he spouts a lot of pretentious theories about what the "real Japan" is. The Japanese people he interviews then tell him they think he's wrong. So Carey shrugs and concludes that Japan is unknowable. I think.

Okay, fine, I agree that it's nigh-impos...more
Jane Baker
Carey and son traps around Tokyo PESTERING famous Japanese animators. It seams everyone they interview is puzzled at why the hell he's even there. It seams just an excuse for a free holiday with his son. His son seamed a bit of a brat at the start and the 'I'll murder you in your sleep' photo of he in the books back cover is unnerving. The son will go as long as there's no "Real Japan" so no temples or museums. No culture really. What!!!? Then they go on to say they know what the "Real Japan" is...more
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Peter Carey was born in Australia in 1943.

He was educated at the local state school until the age of eleven and then became a boarder at Geelong Grammar School. He was a student there between 1954 and 1960 — after Rupert Murdoch had graduated and before Prince Charles arriv...more
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