Japanese Literature Challenge 2015

Japanese Lit Challenge 9Click on the logo to join.

Dolce Belleza has been graciously hosting the Japanese Literature Challenge for 9 years! This year,  it runs from June 1, 2015 until January 30, 2016. It requires the reading of at least one work of Japanese literature (or poetry) written by a Japanese author (or poet).

I’m posting this super late, but I have already read 3 since June, and plan to read possibly 2 more.

So my list may be something like this:

  1. In a Grove, by Ryunosuke Akugatawa
  2. Rashoumon, by Ryunosuke Akugatawa
  3. The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro – listened to, really cool!
  4. The Face of Another by Kobe Abe
  5. Grass on the Wayside, by Soseki

NB: to my immense regret, I had to DNF Wind/Pinball, the most recent volume by my favorite Japanese Haruki Murakami. The volume contains two stories, actually the very first he ever wrote, but only now translated in Engligh.
I only read the first, I felt it was all over the place and I was not able to recognize in it the themes that I enjoy in Murakami’s other books. Maybe one day I’ll dare try the second story, which I heard is actually better!
But all lovers of Murakami should read the introduction by the author. It’s a neat sharing of how he started his writing life. This was the best part of the book for me.

Possible alternative titles for Challenge 9

Strangers”/or In Search of A Distant Voice, by Taichi Yamada

An Artist of the Floating World, by Ishiguro

Manazuru, by Kawakami

Volcano, by Shusaku Endo

I Am A Cat, by Soseki

The Sound of the Mountain, by Yasunari Kawabata

Kitchen, by Banana Yoshimoto



22 thoughts on “Japanese Literature Challenge 2015

  1. You are not super late, my friend, and have already read more than I! I only have two under my belt so far, as Spanish Lit Month and Paris in July were such worthy pursuits this summer, and now I’m trying to read the long list for the Man Booker. Anyway, I loved Strangers! I feel like reading it again. And, Kitchen was a wonderful introduction to Banana Yoshimoto. I suggest Naoko by Higashino if you’re interested in a mind bender…it was fascinating! I still often think about it. Thank you for reading for the challenge and this wonderful post. I hope to pick up my reading soon as school gets further underway.


    • I meant late to announce I was in, the icon of my sidebar for the Japanese Challenge was even still the 2014 one!! I do like Higashino’s mind bending novels, good way to define him, so I will add this one to my list, thanks! I have read The Lake by Yoshimoto, that was a good experience. Good luck for your own Japanese challenge.
      I was hoping to read at least one for the Spanish one, but the month went faster than expected… As for Paris in July, well, I have already read 25 books related to France, many more on their way, and my French Bingo is on for the whole year, so at least I’m good for this one

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Definitely the Taichi Yamada, I’d start with strangers, Black Rain by Matsuji Ibuse,The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino, The face of another by Kobo Abe, Ryunosuke Akutagawa ‘ s Rashomon & 17 Other Stories, Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro or something like Out by Natsuo Kirino. If you’ve not read Shusaku Endo there is a short story collection called Stained Glass Elegies. Also if you’re not getting on with Haruki Murakami how about try the other one Ryu Murakami loved all that I’ve read but his latest one From the Fatherland with Love is fantastic. Any of these or those you list will be a good way to complete this challenge


    • thanks for all the awesome recommendations. I have read and enjoyed this one and others by Higashino. I have read some of Endo and enjoyed as well. I guess my post was not clear enough, this latest book by H. Murakami is the only one I don’t like, Murakami IS my favorite Japanese writer. Which does not mean that I should ignore the other Murakami, lol! Rashomon was just presented here, and The Face of Another is on my TBR.


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  4. I’ve got a hardback copy of Murakami’s ‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki’ which has followed me from the UK through two different apartments in China and yet still remains unopened, for reasons which are unclear. Maybe this is my moment! I have to admit to not really having read any Japanese literature except for Murakami, and possibly Ishiguro if you count him (having lived in the UK all his life). Looking forward to your reviews.


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