“A Tokyo Anthology” is the latest in a series of books that aims to introduce Japanese literature to readers within the context of history and cultural developments. “An Edo Anthology” came out in 2013 and covers the century from 1750. “A Kamigata Anthology” is on its way, taking the story back to 1600. This volume runs from 1850 to 1920, loosely covering the Meiji Era (1868-1912).
Readers may wonder at the necessity of yet another anthology themed around Tokyo, given the preponderance of these collections. In his novella “Slow Boat,” Hideo Furukawa posits the idea that his protagonist is physically and psychologically incapable of leaving Tokyo, and I’m beginning to think it may have been an allegory for editors. Where are the compendiums of Tohoku writers, collections of Kansai literature, Kyushu fiction and Hokkaido haiku?