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Review: Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Most established authors become known for their tropes, be they genre, theme, character type, or writing style. For Murakami, his tropes are his events. Read enough of his works (whilst listening to a few old jazz records) and the lines between them start to blur. You may come to ask yourself, which flashback to pre-war …

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Exploring Japan’s 3 Nobel Prize Winners (Literature)

In 2017 the Nobel Prize for Literature was won by the illustrious Kazuo Ishiguro, and though he is a British citizen and writes exclusively in English, he is of Japanese birth and his first two books were set in the land he first called home. Ishiguro is my favourite author, and his win had me …

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Review: Why you Should Read Slum Wolf by Tadao Tsuge

Written by Tadao Tsuge | Translated by Ryan Holmberg 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 …

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Review: If Cats Disappeared from the World

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, …

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Review: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

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 convenience store woman who served me each and every morning at 8 …

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Review: The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

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 …

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Review: The Last Children of Tokyo (The Emissary) by Yoko Tawada

Dystopian fiction is arguably the most impactful, clever, and chilling kind of storytelling we have, but it has dipped in quality in recent years. That is until now, as we get a glimpse into the very near future with Yoko Tawada’s The Last Children of Tokyo or The Emissary in the US. It can take …

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Why You Need to Read My Brother’s Husband (Manga)

My Brother’s Husband is translated from the Japanese by Anne Ishii For the bulk of his career, fifty-four-year-old manga artist Gengoroh Tagame has focussed his creative energy into producing gay erotica. He has been a driving force for gay men in the world of Japanese art, influencing countless gay writers and artists. Tagame has now …

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You Need to Read My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness (Manga)

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is a graphic memoir composed with raw and honest pain. It opens your eyes to an important yet painful reality in Japan, all through the use of dark humour, minimalist art, and queer honesty. Back in the summer of 2016 I was walking through Tokyo, somewhere near the Shibuya district, …

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