You might have noticed the recent Japanese vibes present on Readers’ High Tea. I read two books by Murakami (“1Q84” and “Kafka on the Shore”), for “1Q84” I also wrote about its book covers around the world, and a WanderBook made it to Japan – a journey beautifully documented by my family (check Facebook page).
So it might not be surprising that today I come with another Japanese inspired post – 7 book written by Japanese authors that will spice up your To-Be-Read lists. For this list I would like to thank Iuniana, who is the go-to person when you want to find out something about Japan – she teaches Japanese and she is very passionate about the Japanese culture. Arigatō!
§ The Lake by Yasunari Kawabata
Short novel that tells the story of a former schoolteacher named Gimpei Momoi. What I found interesting about Kawabata is that he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, being the first Japanese author to receive the award.
§ The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata
Also by Kawabata, “The Old Capital” tells the story of Chieko, the adopted daughter of a Kyoto kimono designer. Interestingly, the Japanese title of the book is “Koto 古都”, which refers to the city of “Kyoto 京都”.
§ 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
You cannot imagine the smile on my face when I saw that one of the books recommended by Iuniana was 1Q84! It’s one of my favourite books of all time, and you can read more about it here.
§ The Hunting Gun by Yasushi Inoue
A novella written from three points of view that explores the impact of forbidden passion. Yasushi Inoue was one of Japan’s major literary figures, receiving the Order of Culture, the highest honour granted for artistic merit in Japan.
§ The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima
Novel based on the burning of the historical Golden Pavilion in Kyoto by a young Buddhist follower in 1950. Mishima is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century, his work breaking the existing cultural boundaries at that time.
§ The Sea of Fertility by Yukio Mishima
Also by Mishima, the “The Sea of Fertility” books series tell the story of a lawyer who interacts with successive reincarnations of his schoolfriend. Interesting fact: the title refers to the Mare Fecunditatis, a lunar mare formed by ancient volcanic eruptions.
§ Masks by Fumiko Enchi
This novel tells a story of sexual deception and revenge. What I found intriguing is that each section of the book takes its name from Japanese Noh masks of drama – Ryō no Onna (ghost woman), Masugami (young madwoman), and Fukai (old grieving woman).
At the moment I am so excited to start reading these books and dive into the Japanese culture! After I finish the book I’m currently reading (“The Prague Cemetery” by Umberto Eco), I might start with “The Old Capital” or “The Temple of the Golden Pavilion”.
Have you read any books written by Japanese writers? If yes, which one(s) do you recommend?
‘Till next time … happy reading!