I all the time prefer to examine a vacation spot earlier than I go to and Japan is ideal for this. It has a singular and interesting tradition and studying extra about it earlier than you go to will improve your enjoyment of the nation.
There’s a big vary of books about Japan together with memoirs, novels, and books on Japanese tradition. Listed here are a few of my favourites:
Non-Fiction Books About Japan
1) A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony by Hector Garcia
A few of it’s a little dated—you received’t see many manga magazines anymore as everyone seems to be studying on their telephones—but it surely’s an fascinating learn and will assist keep away from cultural misunderstandings.
It’s an pleasurable learn and also you’ll be taught heaps about Japanese meals and tradition. As a vegetarian, I appreciated the ultimate part on shojin ryori, the Zen Buddhist vegetarian delicacies the place tea kaiseki originated.
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden is without doubt one of the most well-known novels about Japan. Golden used interviews with Iwasaki, the most effective geishas of her technology, to tell his work however she was sad with the end result that portrays geisha as prostitutes, which she denies.
Geisha, A Life is her response to the novel—an actual memoir of a geisha concerning the ups and downs of life as a well-known high-class dancer and entertainer in Gion, Kyoto. It’s not as dramatic because the novel and the writing is a bit of dry, however I used to be fascinated with this hidden world. Notice that within the UK the e-book known as Geisha of Gion.
Novels Set in Japan
It’s 1000 pages lengthy and it took me some time to get into, however after I did I couldn’t cease studying. Though it’s fiction, it’s based mostly on actual characters and is an interesting perception into samurai life.
It’s clever however readable, has partaking characters, and reveals a darker aspect of the customarily idealised Japan.
We be taught of the household’s horrific struggles through the warfare and I realised how not often I’ve learn concerning the warfare from the opposite aspect’s perspective. It’s a novel about household, love, loss, custom, and the resilience of the human spirit.
Novels by Japanese Authors
Murakami is probably the most well-known Japanese creator internationally and I extremely advocate studying not less than one in every of his books. You received’t essentially be taught a lot about Japan from them, however all his books are sensible and plenty of have a big dose of magical realism.
You may’t actually go fallacious. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle is a surreal basic, Norwegian Wood is extra life like fiction (and probably extra accessible), and I lately loved Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. As a runner and author, I’m additionally a giant fan of his memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.
One other basic Japanese e-book, Snow Nation is a stark and lyrical story of a love affair between a geisha at an remoted scorching spring resort and a rich dilettante who’s incapable of loving her. There’s not a lot motion; it’s extra about capturing moments like in a haiku poem.
Spring Snow is one other coming of age love story by Mishima, simply as superbly written however extra advanced. It portrays the connection between the son of a nouveau-riche household and the daughter of an impoverished however aristocratic household firstly of the 20th century when society was turning into extra westernised. I’m trying ahead to studying the remainder of the books on this Sea of Fertility tetralogy.
What are your favorite books about Japan or by Japanese authors? Go away a remark beneath.
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