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Non-Japanese have written great books about Japan. Almost all of these masterpieces are nonfiction: essays, memoirs, monographs, histories, travel books. One might place, for example, Alan Booth’s “The Roads to Sata,” Donald Richie’s “Ozu,” Edward Seidensticker’s “Genji Days,” and Nicolas Bouvier’s “The Japanese Chronicles” among those exalted works.

However, trying to think of great novels about Japan by non-Japanese, things become more difficult, and as for great novels by non-Japanese about Tokyo, well, forget it.

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