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Topic: Japanese writing, in translation.

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Subject: Japanese writing, in translation.
Date Posted: 9/27/2007 10:00 AM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
Posts: 871
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Anybody else reading Japanese authors in translation.  I just read Haruki Murakami's, "After Dark" and "After the Quake:  Stories" and enjoyed his perspective.  Just received "Shipwrecks" by Akira Yoshimura but not read it yet.  At the moment I have started with post-war literature.  Any recommendations?  Thoughts?

 

Wikipedia has a useful introduction.  Japanese literature

Anybody read Oe Kenzaburo?

Date Posted: 11/5/2007 12:11 AM ET
Member Since: 6/9/2007
Posts: 5
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Yes, I am reading Japanese authors as well.  I'd would be interested in your recommendations.  Recently, I have read:

  • Kobo Abe - The Ruined Map
  • Miyuki Miyabi - All She Was Worth
  • Taichi Yamada - Strangers
  • Koji Suzuki - The Ring
  • Natsuo Kirion - Out

And I enjoyed them all.  The Ruined Map was especially good.

Date Posted: 11/13/2007 8:24 AM ET
Member Since: 7/3/2006
Posts: 181
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I'm in the midst of reading my way through a list of recommendations from a friend who lived in Japan for three years.  Actually, I started on my own with Some Prefer Nettles by Junichiro Tanizaki, which I'm loving. It was written in the 1930s, and is the story of a Japanese couple in the midst of a separation (not as depressing as it sounds).  In part, I find it interesting because I hadn't read much early twentieth century Japanese lit. before.

I also recently started Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata, which so far is excellent. I read Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto....it was okay, but slightly precious. I kind of wondered if perhaps it was the fault of the translation. It's a quick read. Kitchen was apparently very popular a few years back.

I have some Kenzaburo Oe on my shelf, but haven't gotten to it yet.

Date Posted: 12/6/2007 10:23 AM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
Posts: 871
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Just finished OUT by Natsuo Kirino.  Starts somewhat gory but gets away from it later.  I would recommend it.  It says her stuff was also made to movies, perhaps Netflix for that.  She has another one called SOFT CHEEKS but I'm not sure it is translated yet.  I will need to check.

SHIPWRECKS was also good, not very long.  I wrote a quick positive review.

Just received SNOW COUNTRY from another member but I have yet to begin.

I tried Banana Yoshimoto but it is not my taste.  I left my copy on the coffee house bookshelf.

For something mass market and youth oriented, read a Hideyuki Kikuchi VAMPIRE HUNTER D.  They are like MANGA story lines without the pictures.

 



Last Edited on: 12/6/07 10:30 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/6/2007 6:31 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Ellen:  Be sure to take a look at The Sound of the Mountain and Thousand Cranes, by Kawabata, if you can.

Another book by Kobo Abe worth a look is The Woman in the Dunes.  I found this story very upsetting, psychologically, but that is not a reason for refraining from reading it, of course.

Kazuo Ishiguro's first two novels (before The Remains of the Day) were set in Japan---A Pale View of Hills and An Artist of the Floating World.  I found them both worthwhile.

My grandson, who is in a Novel (AP English class) in high school, gave me his copy of When the Emperor Was Divine, a short novel by Julie Otsuka.  It's a very well-written account of a Japanese family (father, mother, daughter, son) routed from their California home in 1942 and sent to an internment camp in a remote part of the USA.  The narrative tells their tale, in the voices of the members of the family, in turn.  The reader never learns the names of these mistreated persons, however.

Date Posted: 12/7/2007 7:55 AM ET
Member Since: 7/3/2006
Posts: 181
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Last Edited on: 2/4/15 9:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/12/2007 6:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 1,051
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I love the crime dramas of Akimitsu Takagi.

As for Natsuo Kirino, I've read Out and loved it, but was disapointed with her second novel, Grotesque.

Miyuki Miyabi's All She Was Worth was a good read. The modern system of credit is so messed up!

Date Posted: 12/14/2007 2:40 PM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
Posts: 871
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Does anyone else "tag" Japanese books?  I like that it helps to congregate them with one link.  I've started using "Japan fiction" for my books where Japan is location of story but usually story is written in English.  And "Japanese fiction" for Japanese works translated.  If anyone actually cares or has thoughts.    :-)



Last Edited on: 12/17/07 2:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/14/2007 6:53 PM ET
Member Since: 7/3/2006
Posts: 181
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Last Edited on: 2/4/15 9:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/16/2007 8:38 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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polisciguy:  If your interest in Japanese writing would extend to "feminist' authors, I would recommend to you Fumiko Enchi's The Waiting Years.  It's the story of an unloved wife who suffers through  LONG years of humiliation at the behest of her minor bureaucrat husband.  (She's even compelled to find him a couple of concubines!)   The novel doesn't ask for the reader's sympathy for the woman, but one's sympathy grows as the reader progresses through the tale.  By the time one arrives at the end, one is ready for the wife to "exact her revenge"........but it's a VERY Japanese sort of insisting on her human rights!

Did you know that you can read Kenzaburo Oe's Nobel Prize lecture at www.nobelprize.org?  He was the 1994 winner, and the lecture is quite interesting. 

 

Date Posted: 12/17/2007 3:08 PM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
Posts: 871
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Thanks, I book marked the Nobel site. 

I was reading many novels from the females point of view, or feminist titles, but by Western authors.  Just finished JANE EYRE.  I have since swung more the other way and favor many more male authors with strong male characters.  I suppose it is about exploring male motivations as prerequisite to relate to female point of view and issues.  Female focused books turn out to be less the page turners for me.  That said, OUT was compelling with over-the-edge oppressed vigilante Japanese women.   Thanks for the suggestion.

THE WOMAN IN THE DUNES just arrived today.



Last Edited on: 12/17/07 3:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 1