I am so excited for this post. Yes let us talk about books set in Japan, one of the countries that I am kinda creepily obsessed about, under the Flyaway Friday feature. Can you blame me?
What is Flyaway Friday?
Ok let us back up a bit first.
On Fridays, I take you guys virtually to a new country, recommend books set in that country and the most exciting part of all, have a blogger from that country to tell us more about living there and help us compare what we read or see in books or movies with the reality as they see. So far we have been to Netherlands,France, Finland, Italy and Philippines.
My favorite books set in Japan
Now that pesky introduction has been done with, let us jump on to the topic
This epic family drama follows a Korean family that migrates into the imperialist Japan. We witness the WW II, division of Korea and the post war lives of the millions of Korean migrants in Japan through their eyes.
The author is a master storyteller that interweaves the prejudice, discrimination and racism in the society into this four generational saga.
This list is incomplete if I don’t mention Murakami. Kafka Tamura, a teenager runs away from his house in search of his long lost sister and his mother. Nakata, our second character survives by finding lost cats with his ability to talk to cats. Though they are physically close to each other, their lives are interwoven.
This surreal, poignant story will leave you with lots of hows and whys and wondering long after you finished it.
Kitchen talks about love, tragedy and grief in the loves of a young woman, who longs for a kitchen and the warmth of a home.
This novella stands out for its simplicity that will tug your heart. The simplistic narration talks about ordinary people leading a mundane life but had a profound effect on me.
Read my review of Kitchen here.
It is not often that I recommend a thriller in these posts but I have to add Soji Shimada because I am a sucker for such closed room murders.
This whodunnit is set in a crooked maze house of a millionaire who invites eight guests on a snowy night. Once everyone has settled for the night, several weird things start to happen. And the following morning, a guest is found dead inside his locked room. Who and how was it done?
Set in Tokyo before the WWI, the author’s cat who is the main character wanders around their neighborhood, judging and making fun of its owner and the world. This satirical commentary of the society will not fail to make you chuckle.
If you are interested to read a satire account of 1900s Japanese life and culture, pick this P G Wodehose-eseque book up right away.
Sayoko is a 17 year girl living in a remote fishing village during the end of the war. The presence of the American troops looms as a sinister to the villagers and four of them pull Sayoko into the woods to rape her.
The novel follows the ramification of the event of everyone around them and a young man who promises to avenge it. The story will leave a punch in your stomach!
Here are some more books that almost made my list.
- Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
- The Sound of the Waves by Yukio Mishima
- A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
- The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
- A Geek in Japan, Hector Garcia
Have you read any of these? What is the last book you have read set in Japan? Do you like reading translated works? Let us talk.