Japanese books portray the long and illustrious history of Japan and its culture. Very often verging on dark, but humorous content, these books highlight the eccentricity prevalent in Japanese culture. While you may be aware of Haruki Murakami and his though provoking books but he is not the only Japanese author. These 5 Japanese Books are a must-read and will grip your attention for sure.
Read Also: 11 Reasons You Must Read Murakami Novel
#1 Almost Transparent Blue – Ryu Murakami
While he was still a student, Ryu Murakami penned this famous book “Almost Transparent Blue”. The book is set in 1970’s and follows Japanese youth surrounded by the clutches of drugs, rock n’ roll, and sex. Their only aim in life was to arrange their next bout of drugs. This book won critical acclamation, and Ryu even won the Akutagawa prize for this book. His vivid graphic descriptions with the sudden incidents of brutality, paint a realistic picture of 70’s.
#2 The Diving Pool – Yoko Ogawa
This book comprises of three novellas, namely, “The Diving Pool”, “Pregnancy Diary” and “The Dormitory”. Ogawa writes this book as seen through the eyes of the central character. The main focus is on female protagonists who are observing the incidents happening around them. The protagonist of “The Diving Pool” is a young girl named Aya, whose parents run an orphanage. How the circumstances and different situation, involving her acts of love and hate, is perceived by her in a disinterested manner, is shown in this brilliant narration
#3 Kitchen – Banana Yoshimoto
Released in 1988, this book by Yoshimoto was a huge success, both with the critics and the readers alike which led to his winning the Izumi Kyōka Prize for Literature. The book centers on the young protagonist Mikage, who has lost her grandmother and is under emotional turmoil. She simultaneously has moved in with a friend and his cross-dressing father. This book deals with how she gets along with her life while trying to find the silver lining amidst the loss in her life. The book has its own share of emotional and humorous parts.
#4 The Tale of Genji – Murasaki Shikubu
This book is considered as one of the classics of Japan and hence a masterpiece. It is a credit to a novel written during the 11th century by a noble woman. This book is set in the court of Heian period and is a love story where the protagonist has to fight her way through all the obstacles in her life to be united with her love.
#5 The Waiting Years – Fumiko Enchi
Set in Meiji, Japan, this book is all about the suffering which the female protagonist undergoes. This beautifully written book shows how she struggles to keep going through her life, having been married to an unfaithful husband. Each woman who comes in her husband’s life makes her realize the futility and the powerlessness that she is undergoing. Fumiko Enchi is a much-respected novelist who has managed to capture the plight of women in a male-dominated society.