In the midst of Showa Era (1926-89) Japan, with patriarchy dominating and imperialism rising, a young female playwright, Fumiko Enchi (1905-86), started a literary career that would eventually lead her to become a passionate advocate for female empowerment, while casting a critical, penetrating eye over her own sex.

Masks, by Fumiko Enchi. Translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter160 pagesPENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE, Fiction.

Born into a wealthy Tokyo family in 1905, Enchi was home-schooled as a child due to ill health. It allowed the young girl to pursue her literary interests fully and, by 13 years old, she had read through many of the giants of Japanese and Western literature, from Ryunosuke Akutagawa to Edgar Allan Poe.