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Featured image for Podcast: The Tale of GenjiBackground image for Podcast: The Tale of Genji

Podcast: The Tale of Genji

Check out the Read Japanese Literature podcast. A 19th-Century Illustration of The Tale of Genji via Wikimedia Commons Episode 2: The Tale of Genji—The world’s oldest novel. A…

Alison Fincher

Featured image for The Kojiki and Japan’s Earliest LiteratureBackground image for The Kojiki and Japan’s Earliest Literature

The Kojiki and Japan’s Earliest Literature

Kobayashi Eitaku, Izanagi and Izanami, c. 1885Via Wikimedia Check out the Read Japanese Literature podcast. Episode 1: The Kojiki—Gods having sex, founding of the imperial dynasty, and some of…

Alison Fincher

Featured image for Review: The Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko ImamuraBackground image for Review: The Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko Imamura

Review: The Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko Imamura

There is a growing interest in a behavioral phenomenon the Internet has dubbed “main character syndrome”. Whether motivated by narcissism or a healthy sense of self-worth, some people…

Alison Fincher

Featured image for Review: Things Remembered and Things Forgotten by Kyoko NakajimaBackground image for Review: Things Remembered and Things Forgotten by Kyoko Nakajima

Review: Things Remembered and Things Forgotten by Kyoko Nakajima

Things Remembered and Things Forgotten is a collection about memory, but it is also a collection about grief. Gathered from author Kyoko Nakajima’s published work, the stories assembled here…

Alison Fincher

Featured image for Review: Heaven by Mieko KawakamiBackground image for Review: Heaven by Mieko Kawakami

Review: Heaven by Mieko Kawakami

…Fans of Breasts and Eggs, Mieko Kawakami’s first novel published in English in 2020, might be expecting another women-centered narrative. Heaven is radically different. This time, an unnamed…

Alison Fincher

Featured image for Review: Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki TsujimuraBackground image for Review: Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura

Review: Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura

…The narrator offers tantalizing references to other children’s books with magical escapes into other worlds. But the Wolf Queen’s mirror world is fundamentally different. Narnia, Oz, and Won…

Alison Fincher

Featured image for Review: Terminal Boredom by Izumi SuzukiBackground image for Review: Terminal Boredom by Izumi Suzuki

Review: Terminal Boredom by Izumi Suzuki

The stories collected in Terminal Boredom take up themes that might feel familiar to readers of contemporary Japanese fiction. The characters criticize, challenge, or defy social conventions. Narra…

Alison Fincher

Featured image for Review: Touring the Land of the Dead by Maki KashimadaBackground image for Review: Touring the Land of the Dead by Maki Kashimada

Review: Touring the Land of the Dead by Maki Kashimada

There is certainly no shortage of novels about hotels with complicated histories, but Touring the Land of the Dead is fairly unique in its execution. Natsuko doesn’t mourn for the…

Alison Fincher

Featured image for Review: Soul Lanterns by Shaw KazukiBackground image for Review: Soul Lanterns by Shaw Kazuki

Review: Soul Lanterns by Shaw Kazuki

By placing the action at a generation’s remove from the actual events, Kuzki blunts some of the harshest edges of the story—and this is one of the novel’s…

Alison Fincher

Featured image for Review: Tono Monogatari by Shigeru MizukiBackground image for Review: Tono Monogatari by Shigeru Mizuki

Review: Tono Monogatari by Shigeru Mizuki

Shigeru Mizuki’s Tono Monogatari has a complicated lineage. During Japan’s rapid modernization in the early 20th century, a man named Kunio Yanagita set out to preserve Japan’s cultural h…

Alison Fincher

Featured image for A List of Fukushima FictionBackground image for A List of Fukushima Fiction

A List of Fukushima Fiction

“Tsunami Disaster in Meiji Era” by Kokunimasa Utagawa In Translation from Japanese: The Emissary by Yoko Tawada (also published as The Last Children of Tokyo)Granta 127″Breakfast&…

Alison Fincher

Featured image for Mudshit: Sacred Cesium Ground as an Allegory for 3/11Background image for Mudshit: Sacred Cesium Ground as an Allegory for 3/11

Mudshit: Sacred Cesium Ground as an Allegory for 3/11

On March 11, 2011, the 9.0-magnitude Great East Japan Earthquake triggered a powerful tsunami that swept the Tohoku region in Northeastern Japan. Residents had less than ten minutes…

Alison Fincher