Contemporary Japanese Literature that contemporary Japanese People Recommend

This is a list of Contemporary Japanese authors and books I’ve chosen for the charity event, Lexington’s Hope for Japan Fair on Saturday, June 11th 2011. It’s not meant be a comprehensive list of the Contemporary Japanese Literature, but rather a practical list for those who are not familiar with Japanese literature.

The list includes: 1) “Must Read” modern literature authors and a sample work from each author, 2)Very popular contemporary authors and one or two sample works from each author.

I have asked many Japanese booklovers including publishers and book editors to help in making this list. Therefore, it might be a more realistic list than you can get from college courses in the USA.

I purchased the samples on this page (except for Two Homelands by Toyoko Yamasaki because it’s a bit pricy). If you donate $10 to my booth, you’ll get 10 chances to win these books. You can also purchase hard-to-get Japanese books Japanese publishers and authors have donaneted for this event.

Modern to Contemporary Literature (mostly from Meiji period to the end of WWⅡ,1868-1945)

 

Junichiro Tanizaki(谷崎潤一郎)

1.The Makioka Sisters(細雪)

“The four Makioka sisters lead very complicated, strenuous lives, although on the surface nothing much ever happens to them. Part of a fading Japanese aristocracy in the years leading up to World War II, they cannot escape the wide net of the family name–something always brings them back to the reality of “being a Makioka.”..excerpt from Amazon.com

Ryotaro Shiba(司馬遼太郎)

Shiba is probably the most famous and popular Japanese historical novel author. Regrettably, many of his works are not translated in English.

2.The Last Shogun(最後の将軍)

The life story of Tokugawa Yoshinobu (1837-1913), the 15th and final successor to the powerful Tokugawa shogunate.


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Yukio Mishima(三島由紀夫)

“Mishima is commonly considered one of the most important modern Japanese writers. “”Mishima’s focus on themes such as homosexuality, death, and political change has garnered a great deal of both Japanese and Western study. However, Mishima is perhaps as well-known for his public death by ritual suicide (seppuku)—after a failed attempt to overthrow the Japanese government—as he is for his massive body of work.” Excerpt from eNotes.

Even if you do not agree with Mishima’s political ideals, you’ll admire his talent. Below is the the first novel of Mishima’s landmark tetralogy, The Sea of fertility (豊穣の海)which I fell in love with when I was 17.

 

3.Spring Snow(春の雪)

“Spring Snow is set in Tokyo in 1912, when the hermetic world of the ancient aristocracy is being breached for the first time by outsiders — rich provincial families unburdened by tradition, whose money and vitality make them formidable contenders for social and political power.” Excerpt from Amazon.

 

Masuji Ibuse(井伏鱒二)

“He appeared on the literary scene with the publication of Salamander in 1929, and thereafter continued to write in a style characterized by a unique blend of humour and bitterness.””The themes he employed were usually intellectual fantasies that used animal allegories, historical fiction, and the country life. During World War II he worked for the government as a propaganda writer…In 1966 he published his most well known work: Kuroi Ame (“Black Rain”) which won him international acclaim and several awards including the Noma Prize and The Order of Cultural Merit, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a Japanese author.” Excerpt from Wikipedia.

4.Black Rain(黒い雨)

“Black Rain is centered around the story of a young woman who was caught in the radioactive “black rain” that fell after the bombing of Hiroshima. lbuse bases his tale on real-life diaries and interviews with victims of the holocaust; the result is a book that is free from sentimentality yet manages to reveal the magnitude of the human suffering caused by the atom bomb. The life of Yasuko, on whom the black rain fell, is changed forever by periodic bouts of radiation sickness and the suspicion that her future children, too, may be affected.” excerpt from Amazon .

 

 

Shusaku Endo (遠藤周作)

‘Endo was one of Japan’s foremost contemporary fiction writers. His short stories and novels were popularly and critically acclaimed in both Japan and other countries. As a Catholic novelist, Endo was frequently referred to as “the Japanese Graham Greene.”’ Excerpt from eNotes.

Endo was one of my all-time-favorite Japanese Authors. In my opinion, he and Mishima should have been the Nobel Prize winners instead of Yasunari Kawabata and Kenzaburo Oe.

5.Silence(沈黙) 

“Martin Scorsese announced his intention to shoot a film based on the book in summer 2008.[10] On 2 February 2009 it was announced in Empireonline.com that Daniel Day-Lewis and Benicio del Toro have been signed to star in Scorsese’s film adaptation. The Internet Movie Database states the expected U.S. release date as 2013.” Excerpt from Wikipedia.

There are so many Endo’s books I wanted to recommend here. But, I chose Silence because Scorsese will make a movie. I expect it to be a big hit.

 

Sawako Ariyoshi(有吉佐和子)

“A prolific novelist, she dramatises significant issues in her fiction such as the suffering of the elderly, the effects of pollution on the environment, and the effects of social and political change on Japanese domestic life and values, especially on the lives of women.” from Wikipedia.

Ariyoshi is another my all-time-favorite author. If you read all of her works, you get quite a good picture of Japanese culture.I highly recommend this author.

6.The Doctor’s Wife(華岡青洲の妻)

“The role of the Japanese woman in modern society still retains many of the characteristics that it had in the late eighteenth century, when this novel takes place. In those days, the life of a woman, whether married or single, was one of unending drudgery and toil. Reward or recognition came only indirectly, through the success of the male members of the family. Thus, this novel is really two stories: on the one hand, the successful medical career of Hanaoka Seishu, the first doctor in the world to perform surgery for breast cancer under a general anesthetic; on the other hand, the lives of his wife and his mother, who supported him with stoic resignation, even to the extent of finally volunteering to be used as guinea pigs in his experiments.” from Amazon.

 

Kenzaburo Oe(大江健三郎)

“…major figure in contemporary Japanese literature. His works, strongly influenced by French and American literature and literary theory, deal with political, social and philosophical issues including nuclear weapons, social non-conformism and existentialism. Ōe was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1994 for creating ‘an imagined world, where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today.'” from Wikipedia.

I have read quite a few of his works when I was young, but they never moved me. However, many of teen age boys in my high school and college admired him.

 

7.A Personal Matter(個人的な体験)

“Oe’s most important novel, A Personal Matter, has been called by The New York Times “close to a perfect novel.” In A Personal Matter, Oe has chosen a difficult, complex though universal subject: how does one face and react to the birth of an abnormal child? Bird, the protagonist, is a young man of 27 with antisocial tendencies who more than once in his life, when confronted with a critical problem, has “cast himself adrift on a sea of whisky like a besotted Robinson Crusoe.” But he has never faced a crisis as personal or grave as the prospect of life imprisonment in the cage of his newborn infant-monster. Should he keep it? Dare he kill it? Before he makes his final decision, Bird’s entire past seems to rise up before him, revealing itself to be a nightmare of self-deceit. The relentless honesty with which Oe portrays his hero — or antihero — makes Bird one of the most unforgettable characters in recent fiction.” from Amazon.

Toyoko Yamasaki(山崎豊子)

Another prolific novelist like Sawako Ariyoshi. Her dramatic style could be compared to Ernest Hemingway’s. She often chooses very important social issues to write novels. Her novels are very popular in Japan, but unfortunately not many of her works are translated into English.

 

 Two Homelands(二つの祖国)

“…Popular Japanese novelist Toyoko Yamasaki spent five years interviewing Japanese-Americans and researching documentary sources to assemble the raw material for her book. Through the story of the Amo family, she forces readers to confront the meaning of “love of country” as her characters encounter prejudice and suspicion on both sides of the Pacific. Almost a quarter century after its Japanese publication, this English-language translation affords a valuable opportunity to understand the postwar reassessment of what it means to be Japanese in the modern world.” from Amazon.

This is a very powerful book and I highly recommend it, but we don’t have a sample for the fair.

Contemporary Literature(Post WWⅡ authors who are still active)

Haruki Murakami(村上春樹)

“…a Japanese writer and translator. His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered him critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Franz Kafka Prize and Jerusalem Prize among others. He is considered an important figure in postmodern literature. The Guardian praised him as “among the world’s greatest living novelists” for his works and achievements.” from Wikipedia.

Probably the best known Japanese authors in the world. Many of his works are translated into English. I recommend these 2 books for “Haruki biginners”.

8.The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle(ねじまき鳥クロニクル)

“The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle,” which came out in Japan two years ago, is a big, ambitious book clearly intended to establish Murakami as a major figure in world literature. Although his earlier books bristle with philosophical asides and literary allusions (always Western, of course), Japanese critics treated him as a lightweight, a wise guy who never took anything seriously. The new book almost self-consciously deals with a wide spectrum of heavy subjects: the transitory nature of romantic love, the evil vacuity of contemporary politics and, most provocative of all, the legacy of Japan’s violent aggression in World War II.” from The New York Times .


9.Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World(世界の終りとハードボイルド・ワンダーランド)

This is my favorite. I don’t want to give away any more than that because I want you to find out yourself.

 

Banana Yoshimoto(吉本ばなな)

“Yoshimoto began her writing career while working as a waitress at a golf-club restaurant in 1987. She names American author Stephen King as one of her first major influences, and drew inspiration especially from his non-horror stories. As her writing progressed, she was further influenced by Truman Capote and Isaac Bashevis Singer. Her debut novel, Kitchen, was a phenomenal instant success, with over sixty printings in Japan alone. There have been two films made of the story, a Japanese TV movie and a more widely released version produced in Hong Kong by Yim Ho in 1997. She won the 6th Kaien Newcomer Writers Prize in November 1987, the Umitsubame First Novel Prize, and then the 16th Izumi Kyoka Literary Prize in January 1988 for Kitchen.” from Wikipedia.

Banana is probably the second most well known Japanese contemporary author after Haruki Murakami. Her latest is The Lake, but I’d like to recommend her debut novel, Kitchen which made Banana famous internationally.

10. Kitchen(キッチン)

Yoko Ogawa(小川洋子)

 

“Kenzaburō Ōe has said, “Yoko Ogawa is able to give expression to the most subtle workings of human psychology in prose that is gentle yet penetrating.” The subtlety in part lies in the fact that Ogawa’s characters often seem not to know why they are doing what they are doing. She works by accumulation of detail, a technique that is perhaps more successful in her shorter works; the slow pace of development in the longer works requires something of a deus ex machina to end them. The reader is presented with an acute description of what the protagonists, mostly but not always female, observe and feel and their somewhat alienated self-observations, some of which is a reflection of Japanese society and especially women’s roles within in it…” from Wikipedia.

11.The Housekeeper and the Professor(博士の愛した数式)

“Ogawa (The Diving Pool) weaves a poignant tale of beauty, heart and sorrow in her exquisite new novel. Narrated by the Housekeeper, the characters are known only as the Professor and Root, the Housekeepers 10-year-old son, nicknamed by the Professor because the shape of his hair and head remind the Professor of the square root symbol. A brilliant mathematician, the Professor was seriously injured in a car accident and his short-term memory only lasts for 80 minutes. He can remember his theorems and favorite baseball players, but the Housekeeper must reintroduce herself every morning, sometimes several times a day. The Professor, who adores Root, is able to connect with the child through baseball, and the Housekeeper learns how to work with him through the memory lapses until they can come together on common ground, at least for 80 minutes. In this gorgeous tale, Ogawa lifts the window shade to allow readers to observe the characters for a short while, then closes the shade.” from Publishers Weekly via Amazon

Natsuo Kirino(桐野夏生)

“Natsuo Kirino (桐野 夏生 Kirino Natsuo, born October 7, 1951 in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture) is a Japanese novelist and a leading figure in the recent boom of female writers of Japanese detective fiction. A prolific writer, she is most famous for her 1997 novel, Out, which received the Mystery Writers of Japan Award, Japan’s top mystery award, and was a finalist (in English translation) for the 2004 Edgar Award. In addition, Kirino received the 1993 Edogawa Rampo Award for mystery fiction for her debut novel, Kao ni furikakeru ame (Rain Falling on My Face), and the 1999 Naoki Prize for her novel Yawarakana hoho [Soft Cheeks]. So far, three of her novels (Out, Grotesque and Real World ) have been translated into English.” from Wikipedia.

I like Kirino’s Kao ni furikakeru ame (Rain Falling on My Face), but unfortunately it’s not translated into English. Therefore, I recommend Out which was the Edgar Award finalist.

 12.OUT (OUT)

“Four women who work the night shift in a Tokyo factory that produces boxed lunches find their lives twisted beyond repair in this grimly compelling crime novel, which won Japan’s top mystery award, the Grand Prix, for its already heralded author, now making her first appearance in English. Despite the female bonding, this dark, violent novel is more evocative of Gogol or Dostoyevsky than Thelma and Louise.” from Amazon .

keigo Higashino(東野圭吾)

“..he won the Mystery Writers of Japan Award for the novel Himitsu (The Secret), which was translated into English by Kerim Yasar and published by Vertical Inc.[1] under the title of Naoko in 2004. In 2006, he won the 134th Naoki Prize for Yōgisha X no Kenshin (The Devotion of Suspect X). His novels had been nominated five times before winning with this novel. The novel also won the 6th Honkaku Mystery Grand Prize.” from Wikipedia.

13. The Devotion of Suspect X

“One of Japan’s best-selling crime novelists makes his American debut in an atmospheric thriller about a desperate woman, Yasuko, who, craving a peacefull life with her daughter, Misato, kills her abusive lout of an ex-husband. The next-door neighbor, Ishigami, helps hide the body and improvises a cover-up. When the body is eventually found, however, determined investigator Kusanagi, with the help of Dr. Yukawa, a physicist who knew Ishigami in college, senses that something is amiss with Yasuko’s story. A cat-and-mouse, Dostoevsky-like investigation ensues..” from Amazon .

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Kotaro Isaka(伊坂幸太郎)

“2003’s Gravity Clown, 2004’s Children and Grasshopper, 2005’s Accuracy of Death and 2006’s Desert were all nominated for the Naoki Prize. In addition Isaka is the only author to have been nominated for the first 4 years of the Honya Taisho, finally winning the 5th in 2008 with Remote Control(Golden Slumber).” from Wikipedia.

Isaka is of the most popular authors in Japan right now.

14. Remote Control(ゴールデンスランバー)

“Set in a near-future Japan, Isaka’s remarkable thriller adroitly shifts between the extended pursuit of handsome Masaharu Aoyagi, a former deliveryman accused of killing Prime Minister Sadayoshi Kaneda by dropping a bomb from a remote-control toy helicopter onto the official motorcade, and several other characters associated with Aoyagi, who’s been mercilessly set up by high-placed persons unknown. As Aoyagi runs for his life from trigger-happy security forces in the city of Sendai, constantly under observation by recently installed “Security Pods,” he finds unexpected allies in the few people—the young, the homeless, the criminal, and even former girlfriend Haruko Higuchi—who have awakened from the daze a corrupt government fosters among its people so that it can “make laws and rearrange taxes and health care, start a war somewhere.” Isaka cuts perilously close to the bone of today’s politics in this elegant, intricate, enormously satisfying parable of good and evil.”from Amazon

 

Miyuki Miyabe(宮部みゆき)

“…is a popular contemporary Japanese author active in a number of genres that include science fiction, mystery fiction, historical fiction, social commentary, and juvenile fiction. ” from Wikipedia.

She’s one of the most prolific,versatile,and popular novelists in Japan.

15. All She Was Worth(火車)

“The horror in this beautifully fashioned tale of stolen identity lies not in the cold-blooded crimes but in the motive?a desperate hunger for consumer goods. Shunsuke Honma, a widowed 43-year-old Tokyo police inspector with a 10-year-old son, is on disability leave. The boring cycle of idleness punctuated by painful physical therapy sessions comes to a halt when a nephew asks for Honma’s help in finding his missing fiancee, whom he knows as Shoko Sekine. As Honma’s search intensifies, he realizes the fiancee had actually assumed Sekine’s identity and possibly killed her. For the American reader, the jewel in this enormously compelling novel is the portrait of working- and middle-class Japanese getting caught in a cycle of astronomical personal debt in order to enjoy the good life…” from Amazon

Young Adult

Nahoko Uehashi(上橋菜穂子)

“…most famous for the “Guardian” (守り人 moribito?) series,[1] which sold over 1.5 million copies in Japan. One of her novels, Guardian of the Sacred Spirit (Seirei no Moribito) has been adapted into an anime television series, a manga, and a radio drama. The same book was published in English from Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic in the summer of 2008, under the title Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, and awarded Mildred L. Batchelder Award in 2009. The sequel, “MORIBITO II: Guardian of the Dark” came out in the summer of 2009. Her recent book, “Kemono no Souja” will be translated into German, Korean, Swedish, Thai and French. The same series has also been adapted into a manga in 2008, and an anime in 2009.” from Wikipedia.

Her works are marketed as Young Adult Fantasy in the USA, but she is hugely popular amongst adult population.

17. Moribito(精霊の守人)

“This Japanese import features many familiar martial-arts fantasy elements: magic, nonstop action, swordplay, a puzzling myth, dangerous plot twists, and a strong-willed, flawed hero on a quest. What’s surprising is that the “hero” is a slightly wrinkled, weather-beaten, thirty-year-old heroine: Balsa Spear-wielder, an itinerant bodyguard. After Balsa saves Chagum, the son of the Mikado, following a freak accident, Chagum’s mother hires Balsa to protect him; she is certain that Chagum will be murdered because he is host to a mythical creature, a fact that belies the divine nature of the Mikado. Balsa must solve a mystery involving the creature and protect Chagum from both the Mikado’s elite forces and an otherworldly monster.” from Amazon.

Noriko Ogiwara(荻原 規子)

“Noriko Ogiwara was born in 1959. Having read C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia at a very early age, she decided to become a fantasy writer. Her first book, Sorairo Magatama (空色勾玉 “Sky-colored Jade”) won her several awards for children’s literature and was translated into English by Cathy Hirano as Dragon Sword and Wind Child….The re-issuing of Dragon Sword and Wind Child encouraged Viz to publish the next novel in the sequence, Hakuchou Iden, as Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince in May 2011, also translated by Cathy Hirano. These three books together are called “The Jade Trilogy”.” from Wikipedia.

18. Dragon Sword and Wind Child (空色勾玉)

“An epic battle rages throughout the land of Toyoashihara, pitting the invading forces of the God of Light and the indigenous forces of the Goddess of Darkness in this masterful first novel from Japan. Immortal demigods representing Light fight the Goddess’s band of endlessly reincarnated mortals. As the story opens, Saya, a 15-year-old whose adoptive parents have raised her to worship the Light, discovers that she is the reincarnation of the Water Maiden and therefore a leader of the Children of Darkness. She must travel to the very heart of the lands ruled by the Children of Light and retake the Dragon Sword, a mighty, magical weapon stolen from the Children of Darkness many years before. Then she must tame the destructive power of the Sword and help bring the war to an end. To accomplish these tasks–Saya has failed over and over again in previous lifetimes–she must master her own fear and hatred, and develop her ability to love and forgive. Drawing on Shinto mythology, Ogiwara crafts a complex, action-packed novel with dizzying plot twists and breathtaking fantasy sequences as well as gentle, emotionally charged scenes.Psychologically truthful and abundantly inventive. ” from Amazon.

 

Kazumi Yumoto(湯本香樹実)

“Kazumi Yumoto’ novels speak to the universal nature of human feelings while also capturing elements of Japanese urban culture. Translated for an English-speaking audience by Cathy Hirano, Yumoto’s award-winning works show children and teenagers wrestling with the big issues of life and death, not from idle curiosity but with deep engagement and commitment. Yumoto’s first novel, The Friends, won the prestigious Boston GlobeHorn Book award for fiction, and it announced the themes that would pervade her work: confrontation with death, the power of inter-generational friendships, and the understanding of the arc of life that comes with maturity.” from biography.jrank.org.

19. The Friends

“The Friends tells the story of Yamashita, Kawabe, and Kiyama, three twelve-year-old boys who are fascinated by death. None of them has ever seen a dead person, and they wonder aloud about the moment at which life ends, whether there is an afterlife, and whether ghosts exist. In search of answers, they begin to spy on an elderly man who looks as if he’s nearing death. The man soon discovers their efforts and elicits their help with his household chores. In the process of helping him with gardening and laundry, the three boys come to understand the man’s humanity, and a friendship is forged that profoundly affects the youngsters when the man finally does die. From a morbid fascination with death, the boys learn to see it as part of a full life’s process in which the memories of loved ones enrich others’ lives.” from biography.jrank.org.

Children’s books/Manga

Taro Gomi(五味太郎)

one of Japan’s most prolific children’s book illustrators and writers. He has published over 400 books in Japan and his work has been widely translated into other languages.

20. Everyone Poops(みんなうんち)

“An elephant makes a big poop. A mouse makes a tiny poop,” and so the text goes, describing all sorts of creatures and people who eat and thus defecate.” from Amazon.

This is one of the most famous picture books for babies in Japan. So many people told me how much their kids enjoyed it I finally had to say, “Ok. I got the book. Now you can stop telling me!”

 

 

Hayao Miyazaki(宮崎駿)

“one of Japan’s most beloved animation directors. In 2005 he was awarded the Venice International Film Festival’s Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement, and his Studio Ghibli received the festival’s Osella Award for overall achievement in 2004. Miyazaki’s films include Spirited Away, winner of the 2002 Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature Film, as well as Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Ponyo, all of which have received great acclaim in the U.S. Miyazaki’s other achievements include the highly regarded manga series Nausica? of the Valley of the Wind and Starting Point: 1979-1996, a collection of essays, interviews, and memoirs that chronicle his early career and the development of his theories of animation. Both are published in English by VIZ Media. ” from Amazon.

21. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind(風の谷のナウシカ)

“a post-apocalyptic manga written and illustrated by acclaimed anime director Hayao Miyazaki. It was serialised intermittently from 1982 to 1994 in Japan. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is published by Viz Media in North America. It tells the story of Nausicaä, a princess of small kingdom that is pulled into a war between mighty empires as a looming environmental apocalypse threatens the very survival of humankind. On her journey she seeks to find peaceful coexistence between the nations of men, as well as between man and nature.” from Wikipedia.

If you love Japanese Anime, you just have to read Nausicaa.

 

Komako Sakai(酒井駒子)

“Komako Sakai studied art in Tokyo, Japan, where she worked as a textile designer before she began illustrating picture books. She has won awards around the world, including the Japan Picture Book Prize, a Golden Plaque at the Biennial of Illustrations in Slovakia, and a Silver Griffin in the Netherlands. Her book Emily’s Balloon was named an ALA Notable Children’s Book and a Horn Book Fanfare title. She lives in Japan.” from arthuralevinebooks.com

Many Japanese mothers recommended this illustrator. Her illustrations are so beautiful and different from anything you see in the USA. Many recommended Snow Day , but I picked the latest one, In the Meadow.

22. In the Meadow

“In this book, a little girl experiences what it’s like to be alone in a field where the grass is as tall as she is and there are many insects and sounds. The book ends on a peaceful note, with mommy and daughter together.” from Amazon

 

Nankichi Niimi(新美南吉)

“a Japanese author, also sometimes known as the Hans Christian Andersen of Japan.” from Wikipedia.

He was a pre World War Ⅱauthor who wrote mainly children’s books. I loved his works when I was a child. Below was the book my daughter loved when she was little.

23. Buying Mittens

“Buying Mittens is a classic story that has charmed Japanese children for generations. Written by one of Japan’s most beloved authors, it has the timeless quality of a folktale that will speak across cultures. Enchanting illustrations illuminate this gentle tale of a mother’s tenderness and a child’s new discoveries. ” from Amazon.

Mitsumasa Anno(安野光雅)

“Anno is best known for wordless picture books featuring small, detailed figures. In the “Journey” books, a tiny character travels through a nation’s landscape, densely populated with pictures referencing that country’s art, literature, culture, and history. Anno’s illustrations are often in pen and ink and watercolor, and occasionally incorporate collage and woodcuts. They are intricately detailed, showing a sense of humor as well as an interest in science, mathematics, and foreign cultures. ” from Wikipedia.

24. Anno’s Mysterious Multiplying Jar

“Superbly demonstrating the conception of factorials in mathematics, the text and pictures combine to present a lesson in a palatable form as well as the pleasure of looking at pictures that only Mitsumasa Anno could invent.” — Publishers Weekly “The book moves logically and elegantly from the concrete to the abstract. Once made clear, the concept is unforgettable, but the book entices the reader to return for further appreciation of the artistry with which it was designed.” from Amazon.

Cooking/Japanese culture

Harumi Kurihara(栗原はるみ)

“a celebrity homemaker and television personality in Japan. Kurihara has often been called the “Martha Stewart of Japan”, and has enjoyed popularity there for over twenty years. She is the host of numerous television shows, author of Suteki Recipe, a quarterly recipe magazine which has sold 5 million copies, as well as over 20 bestselling cookbooks and style magazines, has a line of cookware named after her, and owns a chain of stores. ” from Wikipedia.

I was thinking about introduing Shizuo Tsuji‘s book, either Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art or Practical Japanese Cooking: Easy and Elegant . However, so many Japanese people recommended Kurihara that I had to pick her book instead. Kurihara’s book is indeed better for people who are new to Japanese cooking.If you want to learn more elegant Japanese cooking, try Shizuo Tsuji.

25. Harumi’s Japanese Cooking

“Demystifying Japanese cooking and celebrating freshness, seasonality, and simplicity, this delightful book introduces Americans to one of the food world’s brightest stars, and invites us to cook with her, one gracious dish at a time. ” from Amazon.

 

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* If you donate $10 to my booth at the Lexington Hope for Japan Fair, you’ll get 10 chances to win these books and following hard-to-get Japanese books ($25 to $100 value).

26) Tohoku, the Scotland of Japan ($100 value)

27) A Complete Guide to Furoshiki & Furoshiki set($27 value)

28) The Interior Chabako($25 value).

* The sample books of this list and some Japanese books for the fair are donated by Yukari Watanabe Scott (the author of this blog). And other books are donated by either Japanese authors or Japanese publishers.You can see the list of the Japanese books at the Fair on this page (Japanese only).

*All proceeds will go to The Japanese Disaster Relief Fund through Japanese Association of Greater Boston.

渡辺由佳里 Yukari Watanabe Scott についてhttp://youshofanclub.comエッセイスト、洋書レビュアー、翻訳家、マーケティング・ストラテジー会社共同経営者。兵庫県生まれ。 助産師としてキャリアをスタート。日本語学校のコーディネーター、外資系企業のプロダクトマネージャーなどを経て、 1995年よりアメリカに移住。 2001年に小説『ノーティアーズ』で小説新潮長篇新人賞受賞。翌年『神たちの誤算』(共に 新潮社刊)を発表。他の著書に『ゆるく、自由に、そして有意義に』(朝日出版社)、 『ジャンル別 洋書ベスト500』(コスモピア)、『どうせなら、楽しく生きよう』(飛鳥新社)など。 最新刊『トランプがはじめた21世紀の南北戦争』(晶文社) ニューズウィーク日本版とケイクスで連載。 翻訳には、糸井重里氏監修の訳書『グレイトフル・デッドにマーケティングを学ぶ』(日経BP社)、『毒見師イレーナ』(ハーパーコリンズ)など。 連載 Cakes(ケイクス)|ニューズウィーク 日本版 洋書を紹介するブログ『洋書ファンクラブ』主催者 Author, translator, and English book reviewer for Japan Market. Author of "500 best books written in English" for the Japanese market. English book reviewer for Newsweek Japan. Amazon.co.jp Top 500 reviewer.