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Review: The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada

Franz Kafka never knew fame or even real recognition in his lifetime, but his legacy has grown through the decades since his death. It seems that more and more books published this century have been inspired by his themes, his dark comedic tone, his philosophies, and even his bleak characters and settings. This is certainly …

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12 Translated Horror Stories to Chill Your Blood

So many of our greatest stories of terror and the supernatural come from faraway lands. A nation’s laws, customs, traditions, politics, and religion will have a profound effect on what kinds of stories they want to tell. Horror is a magnificent genre that takes heavy themes, chews them up, and spits them out as something …

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Review: The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa

The state of the world as it stands today, with regressive government bodies, the existence of oligarchies, state-controlled media, and a frightening amount more, all makes it both easier and harder to create new dystopian fiction. Easier in the sense that you can throw a dart at a map and come up with an absurd …

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Review: The Ten Loves of Nishino by Hiromi Kawakami

The Ten Loves of Nishino (or The Ten Loves of Mr Nishino in the UK) is a novel that is, much like Kawakami’s other works, at once frolicking fun and darkly mournful. The out-of-order biography of an enigmatic frustration of a man tortured and strange, told through the intimate first-person perspectives of ten of his …

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Review: Red Circle Minis (1-3)

The ethos and approach to publishing of Red Circle Authors Limited is everything that we at Books and Bao cherish. As someone who howls from the mountaintops about the importance of Anglophones reading more translated literature from across the globe, it is thrilling to see a small publishing house release a selection of Japanese stories …

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Review: Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Miri

Here is a Japanese novel about social outcasts and the struggling and underappreciated working class, written by a social outcast, and translated by a proud socialist. Tokyo Ueno Station provides a harsh and honest look at the ways in which twentieth-century Japan has treated its people. Yu Miri was born in Japan to Korean parents, …

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Review: Junji Ito’s Frankenstein

Delve into the terrifying world of Junji Ito with this adaptation of the classic novel Frankenstein. When it comes to adaptation, book-lovers often feel divided. Some welcome film adaptations; others don’t see the point. Some spend hours debating which is better. I am of the opinion that a book and a film are too far …

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Review: The Lonesome Bodybuilder (Picnic in the Storm)

Two months ago I had already decided on my favourite novel, and novelist, of 2018: Convenience Store Woman and its author Sayaka Murata. I loved this book for its daring to go against the norm, something that is often far more punk rock here in Japan than it is in the West. But as we …

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Review: Japan Story by Christopher Harding

For any curious lover of history, searching for an enlightening but comprehensive history of Japan, like what’s found here in Japan Story, there are many places to look. Just last year, Jonathan Clements published his excellent A Brief History of Japan, which does exactly as it says on the tin. Another book to capture the …

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The Keshiki Series: New Voices from Japan (Part 2)

Here is the second of two articles summarising and reviewing the stories found in the Keshiki series, brought to you by Strangers Press. Click here if you missed part one. What is the Keshiki Series? Eight chapbooks, each containing a tale (or tales) of around thirty or forty pages, all by Japanese authors of varying …

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