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Japanese Literature

Discover the wonderful world of Japanese Literature

Review: There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job By Kikuko Tsumura

Translated from the Japanese by Polly Barton Published by Bloomsbury While I don’t know the complete shape of Japanese literature today, many Japanese books in translation have, for the past several years, been reflective of the frustrating, exhausting world their writers were born into. Most of these writers are inspiring women, exhausted and angered by …

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10 Classic Japanese Ghost Stories

The ghosts and demons (yokai) of Japanese folklore represent some of the most imaginative, diverse, and strange supernatural creatures anywhere in the world. Vengeful spirits and man-eating demons; haunted furniture and the ghosts of abandoned children. Japanese ghost stories are a deep well of fantastical, terrifying wonders. Here are ten such captivating Japanese ghost stories, …

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Kobo Abe: 3 Must-Read Surreal Novels

Where do you start reading an author like Kobo Abe? The post-war Japanese author and playwright has become known, most famously, as Japan’s answer to Franz Kafka. One difference between the two, however, is that Abe was able to finish his works. And of them, which ones are must-read novels? What we have here are …

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A Girl on the Shore: Beauty in Broken Things

Inio Asano is a mangaka best known for being one of the manga world’s smartest and boldest creators. His series Goodnight Punpun is an oft-touted masterpiece that taps into the tragedy of growing up lost and frightened. It’s a series that represents the literary highs which manga can (and often does) achieve. But if you …

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Review: Earthlings by Sayaka Murata

Earthlings is translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori | Published by Granta In 2018, the English translation of Convenience Store Woman, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori, was published by Granta. The book had such an intense and profound effect on me, as a reader, that it remains somewhere in my top 5 novels …

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Review: Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Translated from the Japanese by Geoffrey Trousselot Tales from the Cafe Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s original Before the Coffee Gets Cold, an adaptation of his own stage play, was one of the best-selling novels of 2019. A sweet, goofy, novel with heart to spare. We called it “unapologetically awkward and campy, but it is full of soul, …

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Is The Promised Neverland Manga Worth Reading?

The anime adaptation of The Promised Neverland manga released its first season in 2019 to critical praise. The show finally offered answers to anime fans wondering why manga readers were so obsessed with the series. But, for fans won over by the anime, is The Promised Neverland manga worth reading? Yes. Here’s why. What is …

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10 Outstanding Japanese Women Writers

The publishing world, wherever in the world you are, is still dominated by men: male writers, editors, and publishers. This is despite the fact that the majority of readers around the world are women, and that so much of the best writing has always come from women authors. Today, the best Japanese novels are all …

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Review: Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami

Mieko Kawakami is already a superstar author in her native Japan. A philosophical and feminist powerhouse of beautiful prose, interwoven with discussions on death, birth, womanhood, growth, and change. She is now a rising star in the English language, too, thanks to translations of works like Ms. Ice Sandwich from Pushkin Press (tr. Louise Heal …

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