1. PrincessGarnet
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    PrincessGarnet Contributing Member

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    Japanese literature

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by PrincessGarnet, Jan 19, 2009.

    I know nothing about japanese literature and was wondering if anyone could recommend any? I'm trying to learn more about Japan and so i thought it would be good to read some fiction from there.
     
  2. Sammy
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    Sammy Member

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    I don't know if this is quite what you mean, but if you're talking about books about Japanese not in Japanese, there's the Tale of Murasaki and Memoirs of a Geisha. Is this what you mean?
     
  3. Penny Dreadful
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    Penny Dreadful Senior Member

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    I've only read one Japanese novel I was genuinely impressed by. "Coin Locker Babies" Of course, I was also horrified by it and would never, ever, read it again... but it was still quite good. It definitely wasn't "traditional" Japanese fiction though.

    Now, if you needed a list of movies, I could name dozens of excellent ones and a handful of video games. But, this thread doesn't seem like the place for either.
     
  4. CommonGoods
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    CommonGoods Senior Member

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    Does manga count?

    *flees the angry, pitchfork wielding crowd*
     
  5. Palimpsest
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    Palimpsest Senior Member

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    I was wild about Haruki Murakami back in middle school. (Sort of magical realism, but with a very deadpan tone, like an elephant factory is nothing peculiar.) The Elephant Vanishes was my first and is still my favorite, but my brother prefers Norwegian Wood (probably the least Murakamish of his work.) I have a feeling that After the Quake might be more what you're looking for, though...

    Tale of Genji is a classic, of course.
     
  6. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Some manga would qualify as literature in my opinion, but definitely not where you want to go if you want to start learn about a culture by reading their fiction. One Japanese writer I've read is Kazumi Yumoto. She has three or four books available in English.
     
  7. PrincessGarnet
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    PrincessGarnet Contributing Member

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    thanks guys i'll check these out next time i am at the book shop. Also to be more specific i was interested in i guess classic japanese authors, like the charles dickens of japan :p, but i do really like magical realism as well, so i guess i read anything as long as it has a good story and is written well - or I guess translated well.
     
  8. Sinilin
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    Sinilin New Member

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    "The tale of Genji" by Murasaki is the first one to come into my mind. I also like Natsume Soseki's works, especially "I am a cat". It tells a story from a cat's point of view and as a cat lover, I was totally hooked. "Kokoro" is also good. Jun'ichirĊ Tanizaki is also worth to check out. Yasunari Kawabata was a first Japanese writer to win a Noble prize. I like his "The Dancing Girl of Izu" and "Thousand Cranes".

    Enjoy! :D
     
  9. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I'm amazed no one has mentioned 'Battle Royale.'
    Aside from the odd error in the translation, this really is a great book.
     
  10. Lorena
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    Lorena Active Member

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    I'm surprised nobody mentioned 'The Ring'. The novel is superior to any media adaption. The author, Koji Suzuki, is a master of the horror genre. He also wrote Dark Water, a collection of haunting short-stories bound by the theme of water. I highly recommend it.
     
  11. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    With that; I might check the novel out. I really enjoyed the film.
     
  12. Penny Dreadful
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    Penny Dreadful Senior Member

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    Oh! I can't believe I forgot Battle Royale. It was such a wonderful movie and book. I haven't read it since I was in high school, (I read quite a few chapters of it on a school bus for a field trip, no less :D) so it might deserve a revisit. Unlike Coin Locker Babies, I didn't hide it away after reading it...

    I did not forget the Ring or its sequel Spiral. I read both and was unimpressed. I did like the idea of what Sadako was - sort of strayed away from creepy little girl, which was refreshing. Like Battle Royale, it's been a while since I read it... Still, it was just... meh.

    There was one more that I read and rather liked. It involved the yakuza and a member taking over for the gang's dying boss. I really wish I could remember the name of it...
     
  13. Lorena
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    Lorena Active Member

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    The novel of Battle Royale is amazing stuff...I especially loved the prostitute-turned-killer character Mitsuko. All those random deaths layed out for us all to see! And while the translation dumbs things downs a bit, the passages are occasionally magnificent. :p

    I liked the Ring and Spiral books too, though I reckon Dark Water is the best novel I've read by him. Haunting stuff. Apparently, critics tag him as the 'Japanese Stephen King'. Not sure if that's a compliment, but he's certainly a good horror writer.
     
  14. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    try Ryu Murakami...think Bret Easton Ellis meets Haruki Murakami...
     
  15. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    I have a bunch of Japanese literature by the following authors - all coming at various levels of recommendation but that's all subjective, so I'll list each one without bias... :) (Oh, and second all motions for Haruki Murakami).

    Mori Ogai, Tokuda Shisei, Nagai Kafu, Shiga Naoya, Tanzinaki Junichiro, Kikuchi Kan, Satomi Ton, Muro Saisei, Sato Haruo, Akutagawa Ryunosuke, Ogawa Mimei, Hayama Yoshiki, Ibuse Masuji, Yokomitsu Riichi, Kawabata Yasunari, Ito Einosuke, Nagai Tatsuo, Niwa Fumio, Hayashi Fumiko, Hirabayasha Taiko, Sakaguchi Ango, Inoue Yasushi, Nakajima Ton, Dazai Osamu, Mishima Yukio and Takashi Matsuoka.

    I'm pretty sure I've repeated a couple mentioned by Sinilin... (also, these names are as noted on the books I have. Most, if not all, of the names are in reverse for English-speaking readers - it's silly, really).
     
  16. Aysel
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    Aysel New Member

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    I would say Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa

    i read them a few years ago and enjoyed them quite a bit
     
  17. zingsho
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    zingsho Member

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    i've read "Memoirs of a Geisha" and i loved it, i read the manga version "The ring' and the movie" ...the movie scared the hell out of me....I really want to read "Nana" i forgot the author's name....my friend suggested....
     
  18. Atma
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    Atma Member

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    I studied in Japan while I was 16-18 and there were two authors that have stuck to my mind since.
    Murasaki shikibu (she lived 1000 years ago) and ryunosuke akutagawa.
    I'm not sure how their works are like in english, though.
     
  19. daturaonfire
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    daturaonfire Senior Member

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    I have a bunch of Japanese literature by the following authors - all coming at various levels of recommendation but that's all subjective, so I'll list each one without bias... :) (Oh, and second all motions for Haruki Murakami).

    Mori Ogai, Tokuda Shisei, Nagai Kafu, Shiga Naoya, Tanzinaki Junichiro, Kikuchi Kan, Satomi Ton, Muro Saisei, Sato Haruo, Akutagawa Ryunosuke, Ogawa Mimei, Hayama Yoshiki, Ibuse Masuji, Yokomitsu Riichi, Kawabata Yasunari, Ito Einosuke, Nagai Tatsuo, Niwa Fumio, Hayashi Fumiko, Hirabayasha Taiko, Sakaguchi Ango, Inoue Yasushi, Nakajima Ton, Dazai Osamu, Mishima Yukio and Takashi Matsuoka... -Gone Wishing


    Oh that's an impressive list. XD Haruki Murakami, again. Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and After Dark are my favorites by him. Ones not mentioned thus far (I think): A Personal Matter by Kenzaburo Oe, a slice-of-life about a man whose son is born severly deformed. Miyuki Miyabe's 'Crossfire,' Anything by Laficado Hearn. While he's a foreigner, he collected fairy tales and observations of Japanese culture. Hearn can be found on Google books for free, actually. :-D
     

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