Japanese Literature Challenge 13


#JapaneseLitChallenge13    #JapaneseLiterature

So glad DolceBelleza (@bellezzamjs) is organizing this challenge again!
Click here or on the logo to read more about it.

Checked my history, and realized this is my 5th participation. I did the Japanese Literature Challenge from 2012-2015, but for some reasons, I stopped after that, even though I regularly read Japanese Lit.

I have currently 13 Japanese novels I mean to read, so this Challenge, running from January-March 2020, is perfect.

Here is my TBR for this event:

📚 Ebooks received in 2019 through Edelweiss Plus:

1. The Ten Loves of Nishino (2003), by Hiromi Kawakami (transl. by Allison Markin Powell) currently reading
2. Inhabitation (1984), by Teru Miyamoto (transl. by Roger K. Thomas)

📚 Books on my physical shelf:

3. The Sound of Waves (1954), by Yukio Mishima (trans. by Meredith Weatherby)
4. N.P. (1990), by Banana Yoshimoto (trans. by Ann Sherif)
5. Some Prefer Nettles (1928),  by Junichirō Tanizaki (trans. by Edward G. Seidensticker)


📚 For my Classics Club list (besides # 3 and 5 above):

6. Kusamakura (1906), by Natsume Sōseki (trans. by Meredith Weatherby)
7. The Book of Tea (1906), by Kakuzō Okakura= (listened to) reviewed on 1/12/20
8. Sanshirō (1908), by Natsume Sōseki (trans. by Jay Rubin) = reviewed on 1/17/20
9. And Then (1909), by Natsume Sōseki (trans. by Norma Moore Field = reviewed on 1/25/20
10. The Gate (1910), by Natsume Sōseki (trans. by Francis Mathy) = reviewed on 2/6/20
11. To the Spring Equinox and Beyond (1910), by Natsume Sōseki (trans. by Kingo Ochiai and Sanford M. Goldstein)
12. The Miner (1908), by Natsume Sōseki (trans. by Jay Rubin)
13. Devils in Daylight (1918), by Junichirō Tanizaki (trans. by J. Keith Vincent)
14. A Cat, a Man, and Two Women (1936), by Junichirō Tanizaki (trans. by Paul McCarthy)


📚 Book on my e-shelf:

15. Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami (trans. by Jay Rubin) = read with the online Murakami Book Club (through Discord)= reviewed on 2/19/20

📚 Books checked out at my library:

16. Selected Poems (1902), by Masaoka Shiki (trans. by Burton Watson) reviewed on 2/9/20
17.  The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa, ed. by Robert Hass = review live on 2/23

You notice several books by the same authors, it’s just that these have been on my TBR for a long time. Thankfully, most are rather short, so I should be able to read at least 4 per month, besides other books. And I’ll try to listen to some!

NB: there are some other huge Japanese authors not on this list: my favorite, Haruki Murakami, Ishiguro, and many more, because I have already read many by them, or mostly because I don’t need to read them urgently if I don’t have an egalley of them waiting; if they are not collecting dust on my shelf; or they are not on my Classics List to read in 5 years. But your recommendations are welcome for later in the year or this challenge another year!

1/12/20 update: I just discovered that Sanshiro is actually the first volume of a trilogy, so I’ll read And Then and The Gate after it.

2/2/20 update: In Soseki’s books, I found reference to the great master of Haiku Masaoka Shiki, who was actually born the same year as Soeseki and spent some time with him. So of course I had to read that!

I’ll update this page as I go along.



35 thoughts on “Japanese Literature Challenge 13

  1. Beautiful cedar waxwings on the Challenge badge! My favorite bird. Glad you are doing this challenge again! You have such a good sampling of Soseki and Tanizaki (also happy to Some Prefer Nettles on your list!). It is good sometimes to read deeply in a few authors, to know them beyond the few most well-known titles in the West. Enjoy your Japanese journey!


    • I had to look on youtube. I was in France back in 1980 and not too interested in this type of music. But thanks for the reference! I could indeed easily turn Japanese, lol!
      While I was on youtube, I saw Alma Deutscher. She’s a pianist, a violinist, and has been composing an opera and several orchestral pieces. She’s at Carnegie Hall right now. The big thing is that she’s only 14. And so natural and simple. And a real musical genius. Really refreshing. I have been following her for several years


  2. 13 books on a list for the Japanese Literature Challenge 13?! Wonderful stuff! I have The Ten Loves of Mr. Nishino and The Gate, too. Hopefully I will get to them along with the other books I have set aside. So glad you’re back for another round!


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  5. I love the challenge badge, too, and I’m sure you’ll have a great time with these books. I don’t believe I have anything Japanese on my TBR and I have enough TBR to last way beyond March, so I’d better not join in!


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  11. I’ll be interested to hear which books you get read and which ones you really like. I see you’ve already reviewed a couple. I’ll have to check out those posts! 🙂


      • I’d like to find a couple of really short Japanese titles, a novella or even some short stories. Any suggestions of ones that you know are good? I thought about trying to read another Ishiguro, but I want to go ahead and dive into the 1st Louise Penny book. 🙂 So some short stories or a novella would be good. I am planning to read The Makioka Sisters in March with Belleza and her read-along. Are you going to join in for that?


        • I hardly ever read short stories, so really the specialist to go to for Japanese literature is definitely Meredith @ http://dolcebellezza.net/.
          I don’t think I realized she was doing this readalong. It’s tempting, though I think I’ll stick to my list of shorter novels. Plus, I think I’ve never launched into The Makioka Sisters, because I’m partly afraid it will be like an Asian Little Women, a book I really couldn’t stand


          • You know, I wasn’t as impressed with Little Women as so many people are. It’s good to hear I’m not the only one! I decided to read it a couple of years ago and thought I would love it because so many people rave about it and I love the Wynona Ryder movie version. I liked it okay; but was a bit disappointed with it when I read it.


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