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Fiction and More by Japanese Writers

Choose from a wide range of Japanese literature: seventh-century women poets, the world's first novel, modern day stories of surviving Nagasaki's atomic blast, and the hierarchies that still exist in Tokyo today.

 
Fumiko, Enchi
A Tale of False Fortunes
Written in 1965, this piece of Japanese historical fiction retells an eleventh-century romance called "A Tale of Flowering Fortunes." A beautiful love story about the Heian court emperor and his first consort, Fumiko gives an interesting and fresh look at this ancient story.
 

Japanese Women Poets: An Anthology edited by Hiroaki Sato
PL782.E3 J39 2008x
This book covers Japanese women poets from the early seventh century through the close of World War II. In this wonderful translation, Sato offers notes about the meanings of several of his translation choices as well as giving background to allusions made in some of the poems.
 
Kawaguchi, Matsutaro
Mistress Oriku: Stories from a Tokyo Teahouse
After years of being raised in the pleasure quarters of Tokyo, Mistress Oriku comes to inherit an elegant teahouse, which she maintains in lieu of her former occupation. This wonderful book chronicles her loves and heartaches, as she meets artists and politicians.
 
Kirino, Natsuo
Grotesque
In Kirino's second novel translated into English, she examines the brutal hierarchal standards that rule Japanese society. Centered around the murders of two Japanese women, both are connected through the main narrator, the awkward and jealous Kazuo, one because she is her sister and the other because she is a classmate.
 
Matsumoto, Seicho
The Voice and Other Stories
Six short stories written by Japan's most famous crime fiction writer, these stories offer hard-to-solve murder mysteries for even the most experienced of detective novel readers. Matsumoto offers insights into the criminal psyche, the motives and psychological aspects of the killer's mind.
 
Nagai, Takashi
The Bells of Nagasaki
D767.25.N3 N28413 1984
After years of helping his fellow Japanese in the aftermath of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Dr. Nagai wrote this personal narrative as he lay dying of leukemia. Nagai chronicles the horrors he witnessed and his undying faith in a loving and merciful God, despite everything his country went through at the end of WWII.
 
Shikibu, Murasaki
The Tale of Genji
Written in the eleventh century during her court life, Lady Murasaki's work of art may in fact be the world's first novel. This wonderful epic is divided into two parts: the first tells the story of Prince Genji and of his many adventures, love affairs, and court life; the second part chronicles Genji's grandchildren and their own fascinating and intricate court life.
 
Uchida, Hyakken
Realm of the Dead
Written by a highly regarded Japanese modernist writer, these forty-eight short stories seem to blend dream and reality in their telling, offering a new and different experience for many western readers. Often strange, always random, and with abrupt endings, readers will still connect with the humanity present in these tales.
 

Updated: July 24, 2008