YOUNG, David E.

Author Tags: History

David E. Young was born in the United States and spent his childhood in Sierra Leone, West Africa. After obtaining his Ph.D. from Stanford University, he taught anthropology at the University of Alberta in Canada until he retired in 1999 and moved to Japan to continue his teaching career. He and his wife Michiko have conducted research on Japanese aesthetics for many years.

Michiko (Kimura) Young was born in China and raised in Japan. After graduating from Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, she moved to the United States and then to Canada, where she worked for many years in the international affairs office at the University of Alberta.

The Youngs now live on Gabriola Island off the west coast of Canada. They have co-authored Introduction to Japanese Architecture, The Art of Japanese Architecture and The Art of the Japanese Garden.


PHOTO: Michiko Young and David Young

All Things Must Pass
Article (2013)

from BCBW 2013

When two cultural flagships, D&M Publishers Inc. and The Playhouse in Vancouver, ran aground last year, there was much handwringing.

Since then, the removal of The Playhouse has enabled more light to shine on smaller companies previously in the shadow of that behemoth. Stage offerings around town are more varied than ever.

Ditto for publishing. New players continue to appear while the D&M umbrella has been split into three smaller umbrellas, all hoisted by owners who will more diligently toe the bottom line.

1. New Society Publishers was bought back from D&M by their original owners, a deal approved on January 25. [See story P. 11]

2. Publisher Rob Sanders and editor Nancy Flight had their Greystone imprint bought from D&M by Rodger Touchie’s ever-expanding Heritage House consortium, a deal also approved on January 25.

3. That left room for Howard White of Harbour Publishing to spend about ten days dickering with his former business rival Scott McIntyre, inking a deal to acquire approximately 500 D&M titles, 397 of which are in print, in a deal announced on February 6. (D&M Publishers Inc. and Greystone had creditor protection in place until February 18; New Society did not.)

Authors are among the big losers, unable to collect royalties from the original D&M parent company. Owed more than $2 million, Bank of Montreal, as the preferred creditor, gets first dibs on any fire sale proceeds.

Meanwhile B.C. publishing is expanding with more small players—the latest being newbie publishers David and Michiko Young who have formed Coastal Tides Press to specialize in books on Japanese culture, health and healing, and the traditional knowledge of the First Nations.

The Youngs’ story begins at Yale
University. It was there David Young stumbled upon a black ink painting, Winter Landscape, by the great Zen artist, Sesshu. He had what the Japanese call a satori experience. He decided then and there that he would have to visit Japan to see what kind of culture could produce such a work of art.

In 1962, having lined up a job teaching English in a high school in Kyoto, Young and a Yale friend bicycled across Europe, meeting up with another Yale friend in Munich, who happened to be the minister of finance for Afghanistan. The trio drove a Volkswagen bus across the deserts of Turkey and Iran to Kabul.

Young’s ultimate destination was Japan. Leaving his friends in Afghanistan, Young flew to India, visited holy places, and then something spooky happened. “In New Delhi, I did something I have only done once in my life,” says Young, “I visited a fortune teller, who informed me that I was on my way to Japan where I would marry a
Japanese woman. ‘That is not bad.’ I thought, ‘She is 50% correct.’”

The fortune teller became 100% correct when David Young met Michiko Kimura, a senior in college, at an English speaking retreat in Japan. After Michiko obtained her degree, she joined him in Hawaii where he was completing a master’s degree in Asian Studies.
The couple began to seriously research Japanese aesthetics. “The thing that puzzled us most,” he says, “was the great difference between the quiet, austere aesthetics associated with art forms such as the tea ceremony and the gaudy lights and noise of the recreational areas of Japanese cities. It took us some time to realize that rather than being competing traditions, the Restrained and Exuberant traditions are actually two ends of a continuum upon which Japanese move back and forth in the course of their everyday lives –in accordance with rules that depend upon the circumstances.”

After receiving his Ph.D. in anthropology from Stanford University, David taught anthropology at University of Alberta, specializing in Japanese culture, health and healing, and the traditional knowledge of Canada’s First Nations. His seven books prior to Coastal Tides include Cry of the Eagle: Encounters with a Cree Healer and The Art of the Japanese Garden, written with Michiko.

Now on Gabriola Island, the Youngs are emulating many B.C. publishers (such as Howard White, Harbour; Bob Tyrrell, Orca; Stephen Osborne, Pulp; Julian Ross, Polestar; Ron Smith, Oolichan, Brian Kaufman, Anvil, etc.) by starting off as writers.

Fifty years of shared research on Japanese aesthetics has resulted in Spontaneity in Japanese Art and Culture ($46.40), their third co-written book and the first title from their new Coastal Tides imprint.

It has been followed by The Mouse Woman of Gabriola ($32.95), written by David, who was inspired by a petroglyph on a boulder near their house showing a female mouse, with one arm outstretched, welcoming people to the sacred site that includes burial caves.

As a “grandmother” spirit, Mouse Woman traditionally protects young people and rectifies injustices done to them. The Youngs have observed people with problems such as rheumatoid arthritis who have leaned against the rock to receive a burst of energy that cures or alleviates their problems. Their book explores possible explanations of spontaneous healing, with an emphasis upon the role of religious symbols, mind-body interactions, and the placebo effect in healing.

The Youngs launched their imprint at the Commons on Gabriola in March, with books available through Page’s Resort & Marina Bookstore, 250-247-8931.
It’s a far cry from the Frankfurt Book Fair, lobbying in Ottawa or hobnobbing at the Giller Prize, but they are unlikely to leave their printer in the lurch for $1.4 million and place all their employees on the street.

Small is beautiful. so is medium-sized and local.

D&M Publishers Inc. lost their Canada Council and BPIDP government funding by accumulating $6.3 million in debts to 143 creditors.

Nobody knows the whole story except D&M board chairman Scott McIntyre, who declined interview requests from B.C. BookWorld.

We do know D&M lost their lucrative association with Farrar, Straus & Giroux; efforts to sell the company to an American distributor distracted energies; and new owner Mark Scott invested rashly in an internet book marketing scheme called BookRiff—all problems Coastal Tides Press won’t be having.

“People still love to read books, that’s the bottom line,” says Orca Books’ publisher Andrew Wooldridge, “and if things keep going the way they are, the B.C. publishing industry could surpass the Canadian-owned sector of the Ontario publishing industry. Collectively, our glass is half full, not half empty.”

Mouse: 978-0-9881110-2-8; Spontaneity: 978-0-9881110-0-4

[BCBW 2013]