The Japan Lights


The Japan Lights

Iain Maloney


In 2017, holed up in a hotel room, feverish, despondent and aimless, Iain Maloney chances upon an article about Richard Henry Brunton, a Victorian civil engineer unknown in his Scottish homeland but considered ‘The Father of Japanese Lighthouses’ in Japan. With more than twenty of his lighthouses still in use today, Maloney sets out with newfound purpose to visit them all.

Part travel memoir, part history, The Japan Lights visits isolated regions of rural Japan, discovering compelling stories from its past. Maloney witnesses the lingering trauma of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, and comes to a new understanding of the precariousness of life on a planet that is 71 per cent water. On the way he explores the paradox of Brunton, a flawed human being whose work saved hundreds of thousands of lives and made the seas around Japan safer for all.

Iain Maloney is the author of the critically acclaimed The Only Gaijin in the Village (Birlinn, 2020), a memoir about his life in rural Japan. He has also published three novels and a collection of poetry.

In 2013, he was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize and in 2014 he was shortlisted for The Guardian ‘Not The Booker Prize’. He is a freelance editor and journalist, mainly for The Japan Times. 

Iain was born and raised in Aberdeen, Scotland and he currently lives in Japan. He studied English at the University of Aberdeen and graduated from the University of Glasgow’s Creative Writing Masters in 2004.

Iain’s novel, In Search of Piper Alpha is published by Tippermuir Books.

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Iain Maloney


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