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QOW#1: Most recent Japanese literature read?

 
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Tsushima no Kami
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 12:10 pm    Post subject: QOW#1: Most recent Japanese literature read? Reply with quote
I see we still don't have a "Question of the Week" here. So this might be old-hat, but right now, I'd like to see what people have recently been reading. I'm not so interested in Japanese history books as discussing these would belong in other forums. But what sorts of Japanese-related literature have you been reading -- either poetry, plays, or novels?

As for myself, I just got a book of Kabuki plays, translated into English and I'm having fun reading these. Very Happy
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lordameth
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Neato. Which book?

I haven't read any fiction myself in a long time, but I think my latest Japanese fiction would have to have been "Snow Country" by Yasunari Kawabata, or something by Murakami Haruki - I'm blanking on what I have read of his most recently...
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Ashigaru
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
No highbrow stuff for me, but I read The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya in the original Japanese recently. Started the sequel today.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I've been reading a few books by Akagawa Jiro. My favorite is "Shitai ha nemurenai" 死体は眠れない - a twisted black comedy about a man who kills his wife and tries to keep her body hidden as more and more house guests show up, and hilarity ensues. I'm currently reading Akagawa Jiro's "Yoru", about an earthquake's effect on an isolated Japanese community.
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reynardine
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I've just finished reading The Poetic Memoirs of Lady Daibu, translated by Phillip Harries. It's considered a minor work, but I found it interesting, particularly seeing some of the men from Tale of the Heike show up.

--Maria
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shikisoku
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Imada gezan sezu
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Documentary of search of a missing climbing party in Japanese North Alps.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I’m reading a biography of Inoue Kaoru called 波瀾萬丈 (haranbanjô: a stormy life) Just got to the point where Inoue’s life is about to be saved by the mirror given to him by the Gion geisha, Kimio. Very dramatic.

I’ve also recently read two fantasy novels by Japanese authors, Dragon Sword and Wind Child (空色勾玉) by Ogiwara Noriko and Moribito Guardian of the Spirit
(精霊の守り人) by Uehashi Nahoko. They are both for younger readers but very interesting. So few Japanese novels get translated that I was really pleased to see these two published in the US. Both are translated by Cathy Hirano.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I finished reading Bakumatsu ni ikiru (Living in Bakumatsu).
Most interesting episode was the Choshu samurai Miura Goro helped Matsudaira family in Meiji.
He was shocked that Emperor Komei really trusted Katamori because Choshu had propagated Katamori was anti Emperor.
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Sima Qian
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Currently working on, "Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination" - a short anthology of Edogawa' Rampo's fiction.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Has anybody read Kamogawa Horumo?
I really enjoyed the book and now it's going to be movie.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRJ8b0waU-A
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Matsuhide
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I recently read "The Elephant Vanishes" by Murakami.
It's a book of several short stories that are mostly very good, though a few are so-so. My favorites were "Sleep" and "The Dancing Dwarf". They reminded my of "Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World" (which some may think overrated, but I think is genius!). Similar kinds of juxtaposed realism/surrealism, very nice.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I've also been reading Eiji Yoshikawa's "Taiko" for the last year or so. It's very good, but very dense and I've been reading a lot of other stuff at the same time (it took me about two years to read Musashi for the same reason, and that was much more accessible).

Also on that note, while most might not consider it "literature," I have to mention Takehiko Inoue's "Vagabond" manga which is just brilliant. Not only is his artwork beautiful (esp. his sumi-e rather than his graphic pen work), but his writing and pacing a just as good. He takes the time to set up scenes and let them play out slowly, while treating the natural world around the characters as a character itself resulting in a nice meditative mood very similar to the book. And his portrayal and back-story of Sasaki Kojirou as a deaf mute adds a layer of depth absent in Yoshikawa's. Can't say enough good things about this manga.
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Last edited by Matsuhide on Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I recently read "River With No Bridge" by Sumii Sue. This is actually just the first volume -- the only one translated into English. It's a tale of former outcasts living during the turn of the 19th/20th century. When I recently visited the Buraku Liberation Center in Osaka, the staff members there showed me the other 7-8 volumes in Japanese editions. Unfortunately, because of basically being illiterate in written Japanese, I have to wait until they are translated into English, but I would like to read them.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
In the vein of Edo-period madness, I read the full-text "Yotsuya Kaidan" from "Tales from the Tokugawa" awhile back. Not supernatural at all, but had strange coincidences all the same. The way the conspirators tied themselves up was amusing in a sort of "cosmic justice" way. Also had real bathos.

More recently, I have just received a copy of Hizakurige, or Shank's Mare, the raucous story of Yaji and Kita on the Tokaido by Jippensha Ikku. I hope this will assuage the otherwise serious Bakumatsu reading I've been doing.

Cheers!
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Nobou no Shiro
Story of siege of Oshi castle.
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Josh Reyer
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
The last Japanese fiction I've read was 推理小説 and its sequel アンフェアな月, both by Hata Takehiko 秦 建日子. Very good stuff, particularly if you like mysteries, but want to see something new. His manipulation of POV is quite good, even if it is, as the books themselves suggest, "unfair".
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