Tag - literature



Sayaka Murata uses inventive language to bring the character of Keiko to life in "Convenience Store Woman."
Mar 22, 2024
'Convenience Store Woman' and the 'normal' in life and literature
Author Sayaka Murata's use of marked and unmarked language provides new layers to a commentary on modern society.
Japanese author Banana Yoshimoto came onto the scene in 1987 with “Kitchin.” In it, her main character talks about the comfort she finds in her kitchen.
Feb 16, 2024
Take your first dive into Japanese literature from the comfort of your kitchen
There are levels to understanding Japanese literature. First there's basic comprehension, but after that you can take time to appreciate the wordplay.
A couple takes a commemorative photo in front of Hilltop Hotel in Tokyo on Monday, the final day before its closure for an undetermined period.
Feb 13, 2024
Hilltop Hotel in Tokyo beloved by famous writers temporarily closes
Hilltop Hotel closed for an undetermined period due to the run-down condition of its 87-year-old building.
English translations of Japanese novels, like the ones seen here in a London bookstore, are getting a bump from TikTok.
Jan 25, 2024
TikTok and YouTube fuel a Japanese literature boom in Britain
Translated novels sold a total of some 2 million copies in Britain in 2023, and Japanese works accounted for one-quarter of those sold.
Sunset at Cape Puyuni in Hokkaido, Japan. The northern island is home to the indigenous Ainu.
JAPAN / History / The Living Past
Jan 21, 2024
To Bird, a savage. To Chiri, alive and aglow.
When given a pen, Yukie Chiri wrote about the Ainu in ways outsiders never tried to understand.
Rie Qudan speaks to reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday after being awarded the Akutagawa Prize.
Jan 19, 2024
Akutagawa Prize draws controversy after win for work that used ChatGPT
Rie Qudan won Japan’s most important prize for early career writers for “Tokyo-to Dojo-to,” a novel that “exposes the prophecy of the AI generation.”
Fiction such as Asako Yuzuki’s “Butter: A Novel of Food and Murder” and nonfiction like Robert Whiting’s "Gamblers, Fraudsters, Dreamers & Spies: The Outsiders who Shaped Modern Japan” are just a taste of 2024's exciting releases.
Jan 11, 2024
Anticipated translations and books about Japan to brighten your 2024
From debut novels to classic crime thrillers, the year ahead promises a wealth of must-read titles to add to your reading list.
Books published by Tuttle Publishing on a bookshelf in Infinity Books in Tokyo's Sumida Ward on Saturday
Jan 3, 2024
Asia publishing mainstay Tuttle rides new wave of interest in Japan
The back catalog of Tuttle, which traces its history in Japan to 1948, is in high demand, and it has even branched out to graphic novel versions of classic Asian literature.
Author Yasunari Kawabata’s “The Rainbow” seems to suggest it is never too late to heal, so long as we face our pain rather than run away.
Dec 21, 2023
‘The Rainbow’: Artistic world underscores truths of the human heart
Despite resonant themes, this translation of Nobel Prize-winner Yasunari Kawabata’s novel about lingering grief and regrets feels strangely distant.
While non-Japanese readers have in recent years been spoiled for choice when it comes to Japanese literature in translation, there is still a wealth of notable works that translators would love to see rendered into English.
Dec 20, 2023
A wish list of hidden gems for Japanese literature lovers
Eight translators reveal their top Japanese books that English readers have yet to enjoy.
There are no villains in Saikaku's stories … just people caught more or less helplessly in life's vortex.
JAPAN / History / The Living Past
Dec 17, 2023
Tales of a Closed Country: Part 3
There are no truly evil villains in Ihara Saikaku's stories, just people caught helplessly in life's vortex.
Japan’s crime thriller genre owes a lot to Kido Okamoto and Taro Hirai, who is better known by his pen name of Edogawa Ranpo
Oct 22, 2023
Japanese thrillers and crime mysteries to curl up with this fall
As the nights grow colder, pick up a recommended read in crime fiction and dive deep into this unique intersection of art and entertainment.
Writer Jon Fosse poses in Oslo in 2015. Since his debut novel was published in 1983, Fosse has written poems, essays, children’s books, plays and novels.
Oct 5, 2023
Norwegian playwright and author Jon Fosse wins literature Nobel
The Swedish Academy cited Fosse's “innovative plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable.”
History recorded the thoughts and actions of rulers and warlords, but what did the average folk think in that time? Were their days filled with angst, passion or poignancy?
JAPAN / History
Sep 17, 2023
Writers find a new muse in the 20th century: the ordinary person
The past at its very best spread its benefits thinly, leaving the masses to make the best of things beyond the reach of civilization’s light.
Saou Ichikawa won Japan's Akutagawa Prize for her novella "Hunchback," which takes place in a group home in present day and centers on a woman diagnosed with myotubular myopathy.
Sep 2, 2023
Saou Ichikawa’s 'Hunchback': A darkly funny portrait of disability
The winner of the second 2023 Akutagawa Prize is a sardonic commentary on the utility of bodies, both abled and disabled.
Saou Ichikawa (right) won Japan's Akutagawa Prize for her debut novel "Hunchback" on Wednesday. The Naoki Prize was awarded to Sayako Nagai (left) and Ryosuke Kakine (center).
Jul 20, 2023
Disabled author wins Akutagawa literary award for the first time
Saou Ichikawa, who has congenital myopathy, was awarded the prestigious prize for her humorous novel "Hunchback," which offers commentary on the privileges of non-disabled people.
Japan Times
Jun 17, 2023
The quotidian madness of Mieko Kanai’s 'Mild Vertigo'
Originally published in 1997, “Mild Vertigo” is just as relevant today in its unpacking of meaning within the ennui of our often stultifying, consumer-driven modern age.
Japan Times
Jun 14, 2023
Cormac McCarthy, novelist of a darker America, is dead at 89
His characters were outsiders, like him. He lived quietly and determinately outside the literary mainstream.
Japan Times
Jun 10, 2023
Ao Omae confronts identities and alienation of modern youth
The author deftly explores the struggles Japan’s young people face today with subtlety and incisive criticism in his English-language debut, “People Who Talk to Stuffed Animals Are Nice.”
Japan Times
May 28, 2023
The curious case of Fuminori Nakamura's genre misalignment
Little do English-language readers know, the author of 'The Rope Artist' and other critically acclaimed books writes on much more than crime.


Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin,” once the victim of high waves that dragged it into the sea, sits at the end of a pier on the south side of Naoshima.
Why is the most exciting art in Japan so hard to get to?