Japanese Literature

In this collection, discover insightful analyses of iconic Japanese literary texts, including The Tale of Genji, which is widely considered the world’s earliest surviving novel. Learn how the different authors portray a diverse set of topics, from interpersonal relationships and identity, to dystopias and the experience of Japanese internment camps during World War II.

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Haruki Murakami
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Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Identity: GenderTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Magical Realism, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Japanese Literature

1Q84 is a novel written by the Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The book was first published in Japanese in three volumes and released in 2009 and 2010, ahead of an English translation published in 2011. Set in 1984 in Tokyo, the story concerns an assassin who stumbles upon an alternate world she refers to as 1Q84. There, she becomes embroiled in a conspiracy involving an abusive religious cult.This study guide refers to the 2011 edition... Read 1Q84 Summary

Publication year 1993Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Japanese Literature, Asian Literature, Race / Racism

A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki is a revisionist account of American history that provides an in-depth view of America as a country populated and built by diverse peoples of the world. Originally published in 1993 by Little, Brown and Company, this study guide uses the updated 2008 edition. In 1994 A Different Mirror received an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for its contributions to advancing understandings of racism and human diversity.Takaki’s... Read A Different Mirror Summary

Publication year 1983Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: SiblingsTags Japanese Literature, Grief / Death, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, History: Asian

Kazuo Ishiguro is an English and Japanese author who is most well-known for prizewinning novels such as The Remains of the Day (1989) and Never Let Me Go (2005), the latter of which was adapted into a film in 2010. “A Family Supper” is a 1983 short story that was originally published in a volume of Ishiguro’s works, titled Firebird 2: Writing Today. The short story begins when an unnamed narrator returns to his homeland... Read A Family Supper Summary

Publication year 2004Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Siblings, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Society: CommunityTags Magical Realism, Japanese Literature, Surrealism

After Dark was published in 2004 by acclaimed Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The novel follows protagonist Mari Asai through one night in Tokyo. Mari has run-ins with organized crime, people on the run, and others who do not fit into Tokyo’s often conservative society. After Dark was met with lackluster critical reception, partially due to Murakami’s characteristic ambiguity and apparent lack of an ending; however, others argue that this ambiguity allows readers to interpret events... Read After Dark Summary

Publication year 1975Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Japanese Literature, Asian Literature

All I Asking for Is My Body (1975) was written by Milton Murayama and is a fictionalized autobiography based on Murayama’s upbringing on a Hawaiian sugar cane plantation in the 1930s. Kiyoshi Oyama, the American son of Japanese immigrants, narrates the story using a mixture of Standard English with Hawaiian English Creole. The novel explores themes of Japanese filial responsibilities as opposed to American individualism and the treatment of Japanese Americans at the start of... Read All I Asking for Is My Body Summary

Publication year 1982Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Identity: Gender, Relationships: MothersTags Historical Fiction, Gender / Feminism, Immigration / Refugee, British Literature, Japanese Literature

A Pale View of Hills (1982) is Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel. Born in Nagasaki in 1954, Ishiguro immigrated with his family to the United Kingdom when he was five years old. Despite his family’s Japanese origins, the author frequently states in interviews that his experience with Japanese culture is very limited, as he spent all his adult life in England. Simultaneously, however, growing up in a Japanese family developed in Ishiguro a different perspective compared... Read A Pale View of Hills Summary

Publication year 1982Genre Novel, FictionTags Asian Literature, Japanese Literature

A Wild Sheep Chase is the third novel by Haruki Murakami, an internationally-acclaimed author who most recently won the Jerusalem Prize, and whose work has been translated into over fifty languages. It was originally published in 1982. The 29-year-old narrator of the novel, who is never named, works for an advertising agency in Tokyo and leads a lonely and regimented life. He is divorced, childless, and has a girlfriend who moonlights as a prostitute, proofreader... Read A Wild Sheep Chase Summary

Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Marriage, Life/Time: The Past, Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Fantasy, Japanese Literature, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

Publication year 1965Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Historical Fiction, Military / War, WWII / World War II, Japanese Literature, History: Asian, History: U.S., Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Black Rain is a 1965 historical novel by Japanese author Masuji Ibuse. The novel blends authentic accounts and information with a fictional plot to describe the aftermath of the destruction of the Japanese city of Hiroshima by an American atomic bomb in 1945. Black Rain was adapted into a film in 1989. This guide uses an eBook version of the 1979 edition of Black Rain, translated into English by John Bester.Plot SummaryShigematsu Shizuma is a... Read Black Rain Summary

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Identity: Femininity, Relationships: MothersTags Japanese Literature, Gender / Feminism, Asian Literature

Publication year 1946Genre Graphic Novel/Book, NonfictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Asian Literature, Japanese Literature, Military / War

Miné Okubo’s Citizen 13660 is a graphic memoir about the Japanese American author’s experience in Japanese internment camps during World War II. First published in 1946, Citizen 13660 is told from Okubo’s first-person narrator experience, although the author draws herself in third-person in nearly every scene.Plot OverviewAfter Okubo’s mother’s passing, she lived with her brother in Berkeley, California until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. In response, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive... Read Citizen 13660 Summary

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Music, Life/Time: The Past, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Identity: Mental HealthTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Japanese Literature, Realistic Fiction, Grief / Death, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Love / Sexuality

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is a 2014 novel by renowned Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami. The novel tells the story of a man who attempts to overcome past emotional suffering to make his present life more rewarding. Through Tsukuru’s point of view, we see the ripple effects of rejection and the necessity of sometimes confronting the past to make sense of who we are in the present. After a group of friends... Read Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage Summary

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Kanae Minato, Transl. Stephen Snyder
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Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Society: Education, Relationships: MothersTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Japanese Literature

Publication year 1949Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Sexuality, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Identity: MasculinityTags LGBTQ, Japanese Literature

Confessions of a Mask is a novel by Yukio Mishima, first published in Japan in 1949. The novel takes place during and immediately after World War II and centers on the struggles of a young man named Kochan. It has significant elements of the coming-of-age (bildungsroman) and queer literature genres, as Kochan is a closeted gay man trying to navigate his complex inner life and sexuality in contrast with his carefully controlled outer persona. The... Read Confessions of a Mask Summary

Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Femininity, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Life/Time: MidlifeTags Japanese Literature, Relationships, Realistic Fiction

Publication year 1982Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Asian Literature, Japanese Literature, History: U.S., Race / Racism, WWII / World War II

Desert Exile tells the story of the author Yoshiko Uchida and the Uchida family’s experience as Japanese-Americans interned in concentration camps by the U.S. government after the Pearl Harbor attacks during World War II. The book follows a linear narrative arc that details the Uchidas’ experience, while Uchida often reflects discursively, using one point in her life as a vortex for connecting that moment to another memory and in turn creating a larger impression of... Read Desert Exile Summary

Publication year 1985Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: MasculinityTags Fantasy, Magical Realism, Japanese Literature, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Technology, Existentialism, Love / Sexuality

Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Society: CommunityTags Historical Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Action / Adventure, Survival Fiction, Japanese Literature

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Mieko Kawakami, Transl. Sam Bett, Transl. David Boyd
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Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: FriendshipTags Japanese Literature, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Asian Literature, Psychological Fiction

Publication year 1212Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Natural World: Place, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality, Natural Disaster, Japanese Literature

Publication year 1922Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Society: Class, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Classic Fiction, Japanese Literature, Modernism

Though Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927) died at age 35, he is often regarded as the father of the Japanese short story. During the middle of the 20th century, when Japanese cinema became interested in its national history and cultural heritage, Akutagawa’s work was adapted by filmmakers such as Akira Kurosawa. Because American Westerns had a close relationship with samurai films, Akutagawa’s stories have even been transposed onto the Wild West, resulting in such films as The... Read In A Grove Summary

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Jun’Ichirō Tanizaki, Transl. Thomas J. Harper, Transl. Edward G. Seidensticker
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Publication year 1933Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Beauty, Society: Globalization, Life/Time: The Future, Values/Ideas: ArtTags Philosophy, Arts / Culture, Japanese Literature

The essay “In Praise of Shadows” was originally published in 1933 in Japan and was written by the Japanese author Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (1886-1965). His work spanned a wide array of subjects, including the cultural impact of World War II, sexuality, and family relationships. He was especially interested in exploring the cultural differences between Japan and the West. Tanizaki was awarded Japan’s Imperial Prize in Literature in 1949 and wrote novels, short stories, essays, plays, and... Read In Praise of Shadows Summary

Publication year 2002Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Music, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: FateTags Asian Literature, Japanese Literature

A coming-of-age story that raises many questions about concepts such as good and evil, reality, time, and memory, Kafka on the Shore describes the journey of a fifteen year-old run-away, Kafka Tamura, from his home in Tokyo to the shores of Takamatsu. Kafka flees home because his father, a famous—but violent—sculptor, cursed him: he will kill his father and sleep with his mother and sister. Kafka’s mother fled with his older sister when Kafka was... Read Kafka on the Shore Summary

Publication year 1988Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FriendshipTags Asian Literature, Japanese Literature

Kitchen is the debut novel of Japanese writer Banana Yoshimoto. This short book is a riveting narrative about relationships and how they are tested by extreme circumstances. Kitchen is comprised of two separate stories that are unrelated aside from their focus on interpersonal relationships and the ordeals people endure while on journeys of self-discovery. The overall narrative addresses the themes of death, isolation, and self-forgiveness. By placing its characters in tragic circumstances, the novel investigates... Read Kitchen Summary

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Natsume Sōseki
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Publication year 1914Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: ApathyTags Classic Fiction, Japanese Literature

Kokoro is a 1914 novel by Japanese author Natsume Sōseki. Set during the end of the Meiji Restoration, the novel explores how changing Japanese society profoundly effects an older and a younger man as they strike up an unlikely friendship. The novel was initially serialized in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper over the course of five months. The serialized novel was titled Kokoro: Sensei no Isho, though this was shortened for the print run of the... Read Kokoro Summary

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Katsu Kokichi, Transl. Teruko Craig, Illustr. Hiroshige Utagawa
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Publication year 1843Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Society: Community, Relationships: FamilyTags History: Asian, Japanese Literature

Publication year 2005Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags British Literature, Japanese Literature, Asian Literature, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

Never Let Me Go is a 2005 novel by Kazuo Ishiguro set in an alternative dystopian version of Great Britain in the 1990s in which cloning technology allows for the mass proliferation of organ donation. Medical problems like cancer are cured because organs are harvested from clones through a state-sanctioned program. The cloned “donors” have their organs taken one at a time until they die. The novel is narrated by Kathy, a clone who works... Read Never Let Me Go Summary

Publication year 1979Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Asian Literature, Japanese Literature, History: Asian

Nisei Daughter recounts Monica Sone’s childhood in Seattle’s Japanese American community and her experience in the internment camps that housed residents of Japanese ethnicity between 1942 and 1946. The memoir, which has become a seminal text in Asian-American studies, was first published in 1953 and then republished in 1979 and 2014, each time with an introduction that reframes the work in its context.The memoir begins with Sone’s realization that she is “a Japanese” when she... Read Nisei Daughter Summary

Publication year 1948Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Identity: Mental Health, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Japanese Literature, Depression / Suicide, Realistic Fiction, Mental Illness

Publication year 1956Genre Novel, FictionTags Japanese Literature, Asian Literature

The novel dramatizes thestruggles of twenty-five-year-old Ichiro Yamada as he returns home after two years spent in prison. Ichiro is a no-no boy, meaning that in response to the 1943 questionnaire entitled “Statement of U.S. Citizenship of Japanese American Ancestry,” he answered no to questions 27 and 28. These questions asked respondents first, if they would serve in the U.S. military whenever ordered and second, if they would forswear allegiance to the Emperor of Japan or... Read No-No Boy Summary

Publication year 1987Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Identity: Mental Health, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Japanese Literature, Romance, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

First published in 1987, Norwegian Wood is a coming-of-age novel by renowned Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. After becoming a bestseller in Japan, the book was translated into English by Jay Rubin in 2000. Set against the backdrop of the late 1960s, Norwegian Wood tells the story of Toru Watanabe, a young college student who falls in love with two very different women as he struggles to come to terms with the death of his best childhood friend. Told from... Read Norwegian Wood Summary

Publication year 1686Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Place, Emotions/Behavior: NostalgiaTags Asian Literature, Lyric Poem, Japanese Literature, Animals

Many scholars agree that “Old Pond” (1686) by Matsuo Bashō is one of the most—if not the most—famous haiku of all time. The term “haiku” translates as “play verse,” and though “Old Pond” appears whimsical and simple—a frog jumping into water and the subsequent splash—Bashō utilizes various literary devices such as key words and onomatopoeia to ensure this three-line poem is both didactic and enjoyable. “Old Pond” is instructional, especially for its use of common... Read Old Pond Summary

Publication year 1987Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Identity: Femininity, Identity: Race, Society: ImmigrationTags Historical Fiction, Japanese Literature

Publication year 1915Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Poverty, Japanese Literature

Ryūnosuke Akutagawa’s short story, “Rashōmon,” originally published in 1916, is a fictional story that details a man on the brink of death who must decide between maintaining his morals and dying or becoming a thief to save his own life. “Rashōmon” sets about to tackle themes of poverty, morality, and survival. Akutagawa is a renowned Japanese author who has been widely named the “father of Japanese short stories.” In addition, Japan’s most prestigious literary award... Read Rashomon Summary

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Language, Identity: Race, Life/Time: The Future, Natural World: Climate, Relationships: Friendship, Society: Colonialism, Society: Immigration, Society: NationTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Japanese Literature

Publication year 1949Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Society: ImmigrationTags Japanese Literature

“Seventeen Syllables,” originally published in 1949 by the Partisan Review, is Hisaye Yamamoto’s most anthologized short story. Yamamoto was one of the first Japanese American authors to achieve critical and commercial success after World War II due to her celebrated short stories about life in Southern California and the experiences of Japanese Americans. Her stories were eventually published together in 1988, in a collection titled Seventeen Syllables and Other Stories released by Kitchen Table Press... Read Seventeen Syllables Summary

Publication year 1937Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Femininity, Natural World: EnvironmentTags Classic Fiction, Japanese Literature, Romance

Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata was originally published episodically in Japanese literary journals between 1935 and 1937. It was finally published as a complete version in 1948. The novel takes place on the snowy northwestern coast of Japan and tells the story of the ill-fated romance between a geisha named Komako and her wealthy client, Shimamura. In the intimate setting of the onsen, Kawabata explores the Commodification of Female Talent and Affection, Landscapes as Metaphors... Read Snow Country Summary

Publication year 2003Genre Novel, FictionTags Japanese Literature, Asian Literature

Southland is a 2003 crime novel written by Nina Revoyr. The award-winning novel is her second; her first novel is The Necessary Hunger. Revoyr was born in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and a Polish-American father and is known for her engaging prose about aspects of Los Angeles that often go unseen. In Southland, themes of racism, redemption, justice, and family form a rich narrative that fleshes out both the past and present. Revoyr weaves... Read Southland Summary

Publication year 2002Genre Graphic Novel/Book, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Fathers, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Fantasy, Japanese Literature

Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Japanese Literature, Asian Literature, Fantasy

Set in Arthurian Britain just after King Arthur’s death,The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro’s seventh novel, is told in four parts and focuses on an elderly couple, Axl and Beatrice, and their journey to find their son. Along the way, they must deal with issues of memory, aging, love, loss and death. While the voice of a narrator frames the novel, much of the story is told from the shifting perspectives of the major characters of... Read The Buried Giant Summary

Publication year 1926Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Beauty, Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: ArtTags Animals, Japanese Literature

Publication year 1994Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Society: NationTags Asian Literature, Japanese Literature, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa was translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder in 2019; the Japanese edition was published in 1994. It falls under the umbrella genre of science fiction but more specifically belongs in a dystopian, or Orwellian, sub-genre of speculative fiction. While the unnatural elements—the future ability to erase memories—are vaguely connected to science (specifically genetics), the novel’s style is similar to magical realism in that the story explores the quiet... Read The Memory Police Summary

Publication year 1916Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Self DiscoveryTags Satire, Japanese Literature

Publication year 1002Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Japanese Literature, Asian Literature, Creative Nonfiction

The Pillow Book is a collection of reflections written by Japanese gentlewoman Sei Shonagon as a kind of journal during the 990s and early 1000s. Though her world would have been familiar to her audience, which experienced her reflections only after they were unintentionally released, parts of The Pillow Book may seem opaque to 21st-century readers unfamiliar with Japan’s 11th-century Heian court.Even so, Shonagon’s vivid descriptions of nature, her fascination with royal spectacle, and her... Read The Pillow Book Summary

Publication year 1008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Identity: GenderTags Asian Literature, Japanese Literature, Classic Fiction, Gender / Feminism

The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki Shikibu, is considered by many to be the world’s earliest surviving novel. The edition/translation used for this guide, edited by Royall Tyler, was originally published in 2001, and reissued in 2006, abridged from the longer pieces of Shikibu’s classic story, which was originally written at the start of the 11thcentury. There are considered to be fifty-four total “chapters” salvaged from the tale Shikibu originally composed. However, Tyler’s edition includes... Read The Tale Of Genji Summary

Publication year 1994Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: FateTags Magical Realism, Fantasy, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Japanese Literature, Love / Sexuality

Publication year 1962Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Identity: Masculinity, Natural World: AnimalsTags Classic Fiction, Magical Realism, Allegory / Fable / Parable, Japanese Literature, Existentialism

Kōbō Abe’s 1962 novel The Woman in the Dunes (Sand Woman in Japanese) is an existential story of an amateur entomologist who goes on holiday to a seaside village. He winds up trapped in a sand pit with a woman engaged in a never-ending battle with the sand that threatens to overwhelm the village. It won the 1962 Yomiuri Prize for literature and the 1967 Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger (France’s Prize for the Best... Read The Woman in the Dunes Summary

Publication year 2019Genre Graphic Novel/Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: RaceTags History: U.S., Japanese Literature, Asian Literature, Social Justice, WWII / World War II

They Called Us Enemy is a 2019 graphic memoir written by author, actor, and activist George Takei and illustrated by Harmony Becker. The story chronicles Takei’s childhood experience in the Japanese internment camps in America during World War II. Takei frames the narrative with a modern-day talk he gives at the home of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who presided over the country during the internment period. During the talk, Takei tells his family’s story while... Read They Called Us Enemy Summary

Publication year 1952Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Values/Ideas: Fate, Society: GlobalizationTags Japanese Literature, Love / Sexuality

The novel Thousand Cranes (in Japanese, Senbazuru) was written by Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata. It was originally published in serialized form between 1949 and 1951 and compiled with another of Kawabata’s novels, Snow Country (1948), in book form in 1952. The narrative follows Kikuji, an orphaned young businessman, as he navigates the legacy of his father’s infidelity against the backdrop of traditional Japanese tea culture. It explores themes of Decay of Traditions and Values, Legacy:... Read Thousand Cranes Summary

Publication year 1990Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: GlobalizationTags Japanese Literature, Asian Literature

Karen Tei Yamashita’s Through the Arc of the Rain Forest (1990) is a magical realist story from Coffee House Press. Narrated by a sentient floating sphere, the story primarily takes place in Brazil. Utilizing fantastical elements, the novel addresses issues of environmentalism, economic inequality, and faith.Plot SummaryA sentient ball narrates the novel in the first person and provides third person narration for the other characters. The story opens on the shores of Japan, where the... Read Through the Arc of the Rain Forest Summary