I have decided to take part in the Japanese Literature Challenge 12, hosted by Dolce Bellezza. Along with several other bloggers, I will be devoting a lot of my reading time from January to March to Japanese books. Oddly enough, even before finding out about the Challenge, I had already decided that books about Japan or by Japanese authors were going to be a focus of mine this year, and just a couple of weeks ago I made a large purchase of such books (darn you, Powell’s Books, and your online sales!)
This is the reading list I have assembled. While I probably won’t be getting to all of these during the current three-month Challenge, I hope to complete them all during the coming year:
Sawako Ariyoshi: Kabuki Dancer
Fumiko Enchi: Masks
Tetsu Kariya and Akira Hanasaki: Oishinbo: Japanese Cuisine, Vol. 1: A la Carte
Hiromi Kawakami: The Nakano Thrift Shop
Donald Keene: The Pleasures of Japanese Literature
Keiko I. McDonald: Reading a Japanese Film
Shion Miura: The Great Passage
Kenji Miyazawa: Once and Forever: The Tales of Kenji Miyazawa
Haruki Murakami: Killing Commendatore
Kenzaburo Oe: The Changeling
One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Treasury of Classical Japanese Verse
The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories
Sei Shonagon: The Pillow Book
Shuji Takashina: The Japanese Sense of Beauty
Banana Yoshimoto: Kitchen
I’ve read almost all of the works by Murakami that have been translated into English, and have enjoyed several books by Oe and Kawakami. For most of the other authors, though – even popular novelists like Yoshimoto – the above books will be my first experience of them. I’m sure there are some great discoveries ahead. My first book for the present Challenge, Fumiko Enchi’s Masks, is already underway, and proving to be quite fascinating.
I am very much looking forward to this Challenge, and to learning more about Japanese literature!
Oh no, I think I lost a long comment I tried to leave! Briefly, I really like your list. I loved Kitchen, Killing Commendatore and The Nakano Thrift Shop. Finally, please feel free to join a read-along for The Pillow Book in February. Basically, we read it during the month and discuss it at the end. I’m so glad you found this challenge and joined in!
I have had The Pillow Book on my shelves for a long time but have never read it. So I’m glad you and this Challenge are motivating me finally to read it!