Books and other writings by Hans Brinckmann

Magatama Doodle
The Magatama Doodle, 
One Man's Affair with Japan, 1950-2004

(Global Oriental, UK, 2005)

Hans Brinckmann's account of his long involvement with Japan, half that time as a resident. It is part personal memoir, part professional flashback, part commentary on Japanese society and culture. The publisher: 'Rich in anecdotal material - often highly amusing - the book also delves beneath the personal in search of the bigger picture.'
For further information, reviews and how to order, go to:

Japanese Version

Hiromi Mizoguchi's Japanese translation of The Magatama Doodle (Shinpusha, Tokyo, 2005) has attracted highly favourable reviews in the Asahi Shimbun and many other publications. This edition is currently out of print.

Showa Japan

Showa Japan, the Post-War Golden Age 
and its troubled legacy 

.(Tuttle, October 2008) 

An examination of Japan's rise from defeat to prosperity during the post-war period (1950-1989), the spectacular collapse of its bubble economy at the end of Showa, and the often agonizing restructuring of its economy and society since then. The book considers some of the options open to Japan as it tries to come to terms with the very different realities facing it in the globalized world of today.

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Also available from the publisher



Aru Orandajin no "Showa Japan" Ron  

(Random House Kodansha, October 2009)

This is Hiromi Mizuguchi's translation of "Showa Japan: the Post-War Golden Age and its Troubled Legacy.' The Japanese edition was published with this comment (in Japanese) on the book's paper cover from the historian Kazutoshi Hando: "Brinckmann - who shares the post-war experiences through the eyes of a European - sounds a warning about looking back on the Showa era with nostalgia."

The Kobe Shimbun and other Japanese mass media gave the book very favorable reviews.

In the Eyes of the Son                                  

My sixth book, In the Eyes of the Son, many years in the making, has just been released. It is a character-based novel, unusual in that it also focuses on the realities of life in some of the countries I lived in between the 1950s and the 1980s: post-war Holland, still-colonized Singapore, wind-swept Chicago, and New York with its racial tensions. The story is a human drama, rich in dialogue, and with a healthy dose of humor and, well, ‘intimacy.’

See Press Release at

The protagonist, Peter van Doorn, dreams of life with a camera. His leftwing father, Eduard – a journalist and former WWII photographer – at first supports his son’s ambition and even gives him his wartime Leica. But when Peter tries to save someone from a fatal accident instead of "capturing the moment of violent death," Eduard decides that his son lacks the guts for "real" photography, the kind he practiced during the war, the only kind of photography "worthy of a man," even in peacetime. He forces Peter into overseas banking instead.

Starting in 1953, Peter’s exotic career takes him from his native Holland to Singapore and on to Chicago where he marries a socialite. But his dream never dies, and at last, in 1978, he sacrifices his stable career and family to embark on the life of a freelance photographer – in New York. Two years later, with his savings running out, an unexpected breakthrough: an exhibition on the provocative theme "White poverty in black New York." But a vicious attack disrupts this first success, leaving him to wonder how he will ever reconcile with a stubborn father with whom he's never seen eye-to-eye.

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The Tomb in the Kyoto Hills

The Tomb in the Kyoto Hills

(Strategic Publishers, Texas, March 2012)

From the book's back cover:

"With this striking and highly engaging collection of stories, author Hans Brinckmann takes us into the heart of his adopted country of Japan. Highlighting the intriguing surroundings and cultural details, each story draws the reader into an extraordinary experience. The offerings include A Leap into the Light, the compelling tale of a Dutch businessman's secretive life with the young daughter of his late Japanese mistress; Kyoto Bus Stop, about the chance encounter between a visitor from Europe and a mysterious young French woman in Kyoto; Pets in Marriage, which chronicles a Japanese married couple and their respective preference for cats and dogs, which comes to a head at the foot of Mt. Fuji; Twice upon a Plum Tree, an exploration of a Dutch diplomat's ambivalence about a Japanese woman he once loved; and the title story, The Tomb in the Kyoto Hills, about a Chicago-based lawyer who moves his family to Japan to find the truth about his origins once and for all."

From the review by Stephen Mansfield on and

"As a Japan resident who has read a great deal of literature published by foreign writers on the country, I'm quite choosy with new titles... It was, therefore, a delight to come across such well-grounded and engaging narratives. The stories, all very strong on local detail, atmosphere and credible characterization, are structured to build anticipation and reader commitment, no easy task.
In Hans Brinckmann we find a seasoned writer who has spent much of his adult life in Japan, and is thereby able to summon cultural elements that immeasurably enrich the tales in this collection..... the writer is judicious enough to accomplish that small miracle."  

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The Undying Day

(H2H Publishers/Trafford, April 2011)

Published April 2011, this is a bi-lingual selection of Brinckmann's poetry written over the past half-century in seven countries. Hiromi Mizoguchi has rendered the poems into exquisite Japanese, shown side-by-side with the originals.
The book ends with the memorable Ballad of Hope Hill, set to music and performed in The Netherlands

From the book's back cover:
"A widowed water bird in an Amsterdam canal... abandoned villages 'flitting fitfully by' as he rides the Eurostar to Paris... the sun, 'averse to setting, extending the you-filled day'... such are the diverse sources of inspiration for Brinckmann's poetry.
Unconstrained by locale or subject matter, his lines celebrate the marvel of love and ponder life's irretrievable losses. He is no stranger to whimsy either, nor to the search for life's ultimate meaning."

From the review by Stephen Mansfield in the Japan Times of 6 November 2011:
"Consistently, Brinckmann casts himself as mediator, a conducting material recharged by the stream of time. Where some poets, even great ones, resist the vision of anything finer than a futile individual existence, Brinckmann celebrates life's brimming energies, even as they discharge into more temperate currents with the advance of age."

For the full review, "Words for All Seasons"

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Noon Elusive

Noon Elusive and Other Stories

.(H2H Publishers, 2006)

is a collection of seven short stories. An American architect in Paris, a Balkan parachutist, a Dutch diplomat in Japan, a New York heart surgeon, an English undertaker-the characters are as colourful as they are diverse. What they have in common is that they are all in the throes of personal crisis, mild and manageable, or severe and harrowing. Consciously or not, they are all in search of the high noon of life.
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