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slum wolf

Why you Should Read Slum Wolf by Tadao Tsuge

In the wake of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan suffered change after change; reeling from its losses, struggling to deal with its shame, fighting to rebuild its economy and its strength. This was a truly dark time for a nation that had lost its occupation of Taiwan and Korea, and was now to be occupied itself by the US until 1952. Fast-forward to the...

japanese cat book

Review: If Cats Disappeared from the World

Genki Kawamura | Translated by Eric Selland When reaching for a piece of Japanese fiction, be it novel, manga, or anime, there’s a 50% chance that you’ll find a cat on the cover, a cat in the title, a feline protagonist, or a story chock full of cat-related shenanigans. While in the west we proudly label the dog as man’s best friend, in Japan it is undeniably the cat...

Banana Yoshimoto Books

Author Spotlight: Banana Yoshimoto

When I first read and reviewed Banana Yoshimoto’s seminal work, Kitchen, I mentioned how it tackled ‘the brevity of life, and the dangerous potential of love and happiness to be painfully fleeting’. This theme is not only true for Kitchen but for all of Yoshimoto’s writing. It is, in a nutshell, what makes her tick as an author. Born in Tokyo in 1964, Yoshimoto was...

women in translation asia

Women in Translation Month: 15 Novels & 5 Comics from Asian Women

August is Women in Translation Month, and given how much we humans enjoy lists, especially ones containing multiples of five, we were very excited to create our ultimate list of who we believe to be some of the ultimate women of today’s Asian literary world (at least those that have so far been translated into English). For a long time women’s voices in...

Competition Time: Asian Literature Giveaway

Welcome to our Giveaway! Time for some book love and our first giveaway. One lucky reader will win the five books below. These are some of our favourite books  and we’re so happy to share them. To enter just sign up to our mailing list below. We don’t send more than one email a month so no spam (we promise). Share this post and tag us @booksandbao on any...

convenience store japan

Convenience Store Woman: Breaking the Mould of Modern Japan

Convenience Store Woman Written by Sayaka Murata | Translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori When I was living in Inagi-shi, a once-upon-a-time small city now swallowed up by the swell of suburban Tokyo, I would enter the convenience store next to my apartment every morning and buy a sugar-soaked bun to walk to the station with. The clerk who served me each and every...

Yoko Ogawa Housekeeper and the Professor Japanese

The Housekeeper and the Professor: Not a Love Story, but a Story of Love

Written by Yoko Ogawa  | Translated by Stephen Snyder  As a twenty-something who has, not for a moment, put learning and discovery behind him, I have spent several years now glued quite earnestly to YouTube as a means of studying things that escaped me as a child. Much like the housekeeper of The Housekeeper and the Professor, one of those things I missed out on was...

Tokyo Dystopian

The Last Children of Tokyo: A Dystopia Close to Home

Written by Yoko Tawada | Translated by Margaret Mitsutani It can take decades for us to begin to see where dystopian novelists were coming from when they wrote their stories. When their ideas start to pop up in real life, we feel a shaken sense of awe at their powers of foresight, overshadowed by the dread that they were right. They were never meant to be right...