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Bestselling author Keiichiro Hirano offers a timeless ode to love’s fragility and its resilience in this delicate, award-winning novel.
Classical guitarist Satoshi Makino has toured the world and is at the height of his career when he first lays eyes on journalist Yoko Komine. Their bond forms instantly.
Upon their first meeting, after Makino’s concert in Tokyo, they begin a conversation that will go on for years, with long spells of silence broken by powerful moments of connection. She’s drawn by Makino’s tender music and his sensitivity, and he is intrigued by Yoko’s refinement and intellect. But neither knows enough about love to see it blooming nor has the confidence to make the first move. Will their connection endure, weaving them back together like instruments in a symphony, or will fate lead them apart?
Blending the harmonies of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Nocturnes and the sensuality of Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love, At the End of the Matinee is an enchanting and thought-provoking love story.
An award-winning story of love, friendship, and the power of human connection.
Kohei Araki believes that a dictionary is a boat to carry us across the sea of words. But after thirty-seven years of creating dictionaries, it's time for him to retire and find his replacement.
He discovers a kindred spirit in Mitsuya Majime—a young, disheveled square peg with a penchant for collecting antiquarian books and a background in linguistics—whom he swipes from his company's sales department.
Along with an energetic, if reluctant, new recruit and an elder linguistics scholar, Majime is tasked with a career-defining accomplishment: completing The Great Passage, a comprehensive 2,900-page tome of the Japanese language. On his journey, Majime discovers friendship, romance, and an incredible dedication to his work, inspired by the words that connect us all.
Minae Mizumura’s An I-Novel is a semi-autobiographical work that takes place over the course of a single day in the 1980s. Minae is a Japanese expatriate graduate student who has lived in the United States for two decades but turned her back on the English language and American culture. After a phone call from her older sister reminds her that it is the twentieth anniversary of their family’s arrival in New York, she spends the day reflecting in solitude and over the phone with her sister about their life in the United States, trying to break the news that she has decided to go back to Japan and become a writer in her mother tongue.
Published in 1995, this formally daring novel radically broke with Japanese literary tradition. It liberally incorporated English words and phrases, and the entire text was printed horizontally, to be read from left to right, rather than vertically and from right to left. In a luminous meditation on how a person becomes a writer, Mizumura transforms the “I-novel,” a Japanese confessional genre that toys with fictionalization. An I-Novel tells the story of two sisters while taking up urgent questions of identity, race, and language. Above all, it considers what it means to write in the era of the hegemony of English—and what it means to be a writer of Japanese in particular. Juliet Winters Carpenter masterfully renders a novel that once appeared untranslatable into English.
The novel has everything: a winning main character, an action-packed plot, swordfights, and romance, but it is also a fascinating, easy-to-digest history lesson about Japan's response to the shocking arrival of United States Commodore Matthew Perry's "Black Ships" off the shores of Japan in 1853. Shiba manages to juggle historical events of those days to tell a rollicking story, and he is helped tremendously by the engaging Sakamoto Ryōma, who starts out as an apolitical, low-ranking samurai from the countryside, a young nobody whose greatest wish is to improve his swordfighting skills in Edo. But Ryōma gets caught up in the drama of his times and, at first unwillingly but later with great gusto, he feels that it is his duty to help his country join other nations of the world. Shiba takes us through the chain of events that galvanize Ryōma and turn him into a popular national hero.
Ryōma! is a page-turner of high drama and lofty ideals, leavened with witty dialogue and lovingly detailed swordfights.
This is Volume I of a four-volume series.
Published for the first time in the UK, one of Japan's greatest modern female writers
Ibuki loves widow Yasuko who is young, charming and sparkling with intelligence as well as beauty. His friend, Mikamé, desires her too but that is not the difficulty. What troubles Ibuki is the curious bond that has grown between Yasuko and her mother-in-law, Mieko, a handsome, cultivated yet jealous woman in her fifties, who is manipulating the relationship between Yasuko and the two men who love her.
While many children in the West grew up with The Lone Ranger or Bonanza, and newer generations instead rooted for Adam-12 or CSI, in Japan the heroes wore topknots and swords: Abarenbō Shogun, Tōyama no Kin-san, and the other sword-wielding heroes of Old Japan.
The tradition of the samurai remains an integral part of Japanese society even today, constituting a social background as pervasive as the archetypal cowboy or cop in America. But there was a lot more to their lives than just waving swords...
This anthology brings together some of the best authors in the genre today, with immersive tales that will transport you back to the good old days, in Japan.
AKIYAMA Kano: Izō (translation: Pamela Ikegami)
ARAYAMA Tōru: The Fox Sword, Unbroken (translation: Tyran Grillo)
ASAMATSU Ken: Zui (translation: Dan Luffey)
ASHIBE Taku: The Mummy and the Unicorn (translation: Nancy Ross)
HAYAMI Shun: Ieyasu’s Scroll (translation: Richard Donovan)
HAYAMI Shun: The Demise of Yoshitatsu (translation: Matthew Carpenter)
HONDA Ryūichi : Seppuku (translation: Nick John)
KAMIYA Masanari: Left-Hand Man (translation: Steve Venti)
KANBARA Jirō: The Princess Is the First Spear (translation: Kristi Fernandez)
KARIGINU Yayoi: The Thirteenth Night (translation: Ralph McCarthy)
KATAKURA Izumo: Throw the Witness in the River! (translation: Kevin Steinbach)
NIIMI Ken: The Three Retirees of Komachi Row House (translation: James Balzer)
SUZUKI Ayako: Memento Mori (translation: Sharni Wilson)
SUZUKI Eiji: Lingering Fragrance (translation: Richard Medhurst)
YATSU Yaguruma: The Contest (translation: Juliet Winters Carpenter)
Mitsuki Katsura, a Japanese woman in her mid-fifties, is a French-language instructor at a private university in Tokyo. Her husband, whom she met in Paris, is a professor at another private university. He is having an affair with a much younger woman.
In addition to her husband’s infidelity, Mitsuki must deal with her ailing eighty-something mother, a demanding, self-absorbed woman who is far from the image of the patient, self-sacrificing Japanese matriarch. Mitsuki finds herself dreaming of the day when her mother will finally pass on. While doing everything she can to ensure her mother’s happiness, she grows weary of the responsibilities of a doting daughter and worries she is sacrificing her chance to find fulfillment in her middle age.
Inheritance from Mother not only offers insight into a complex and paradoxical culture, but is also a profound work about mothers and daughters, marriage, old age, and the resilience of women.
Through this rare, rich oral history we come to know a world very different from our own, inhabited by people like the woman who was married off at nineteen to a riverboat captain and was "steaming mad" to find there was no toilet on board the ship where they were to live, and that she was expected to stick her rear end over the side to relieve herself; or Catfish Kyubei, who, when he dived underwater to catch catfish with his bare hands, stripped completely naked first, to make his body as cold as the fishes' so they wouldn't sense his presence.
Since the lives of many of the storytellers actually span the twentieth century, these people have been witness to remarkable changes, with much of the work they once did by hand and in extremely difficult conditions having now been industrialized, mechanized, or made obsolete. They take great pleasure in remembering a time when the lake and the lives of the people around it were more closely intertwined.
Their stories present a little-known, very human face of modern Japan and, perhaps more importantly, deal directly and in a plainspoken way with the issues that concern us all - family, work, love, and memory.
Dr. Jun'ichi Saga is a medical doctor with a general practice in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Lake Kasumigaura. He began taping his elderly patients' reminiscences about forty years ago when he realized what a wealth of detail and information they contained. He has published numerous works of local history and ecology, three of which are available in English: "Memories of Silk and Straw," "Susumu's Saga" and "Confessions of a Yakuza." In his spare time he does ink painting.
Juliet Winters Carpenter is a professor of English literature at Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts and one of the foremost translators of Japanese literature working today. Her translations include Kobo Abe's "Beyond the Curve," Fumiko Enchi's "Masks," Ryotaro Shiba's "The Last Shogun," Jun'ichi Watanabe's "A Lost Paradise," and Machi Tawara's "Salad Anniversary."
**Winner of the 2015 Gelett Burgess Award for Best Multicultural Book**
When wily animals, everyday people and magical beings come together in a collection of Japanese fairy tales, wonderful things are bound to happen!
Each story is brilliantly illustrated by a different talented Japanese artist. The tales recounted here are among Japan's oldest and most beloved stories. Entertaining and filled with subtle folk wisdom, these retold stories have been shared countless times in Japanese homes and schools for generations. Like good stories from every time and place, they never grow old. Kids (and their parents!) will enjoy hearing these stories read aloud on the accompanying downloadable audio.
The fairy tales and classic stories in this collection include:
- The Wife Who Never Eats—the story of a man who learns the hard way the evils of stinginess.
- The Mill of the Sea—the story of how a greedy man was responsible for the saltiness of seawater.
- The Monkey and the Crab—the crabs teach a tricky monkey a lesson in fairness and honesty.
- The Magical Hood—an act of kindness reaps great rewards.
- Sleepyhead Taro and the Children—a story about what can be accomplished at the right time, and with the right help and the right spirit.
- The Fox and the Otter—how a fox pays the price of deceit and selfishness.
- The Gratitude of the Crane—a story about the rewards of kindness and the danger of curiosity.
- The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter—a girl who starts life very tiny turns out to be big in many ways.
'I Am the Wind'
'Hashimoto High School'
'Pretending to Wait for Someone'
'My Bisymmetrical Self'
'So, Good Luck'