Issue 64 (Aug)

In this edition of the Japan Society Review we feature three superstars of contemporary Japanese literature, Furukawa Hideo, Tawara Machi and Wataya Risa, all of whom have achieved both critical acclaim and enormous sales.

Furukawa Hideo has been described as the new Murakami, but where the comparison holds in terms of his popularity and prolific output, his breadth of style and genre sets him aside. Not only does he do Murakami-esque magic realism, but also history, classicism, autobiography and philosophy. In the case of Horses, Horses, In the End the Light Remains Pure he juggles all of these at once as he attempts to come to terms with 3.11.

Tawara Machi’s Salad Anniversary was released in 1987 when she was only 26 and has sold nearly three million copies in Japan and eight million worldwide, with Tawara herself credited with reviving the tanka form in Japan. Here Chris Beckett reviews Pushkin Press’s new pocket-sized edition alongside poet Erica Facey’s latest dual-language collection Images.

Wataya Risa is another Japanese author to have experienced success at a young age. Her second novel I Want to Kick You in the Back won her the Akutagawa Prize at only nineteen in 2003 and has now made a long awaited appearance in English. She offers a fresh, female perspective on Japan’s male-dominated fan culture.

Elsewhere in this issue, Chris Corker considers Murakami Ryū’s Tokyo Decadence and asks whether the former enfant terrible retains the ability to shock, Charlotte Goff unpicks the many conflicts that characterise University of Hawaii Press’s new collection of Okinawan literature, and Dominika Mackiewicz reviews Michael Lucken’s reassessment of Japanese artistic mimeticism.

  1. Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure by Furukawa Hideo
  2. I Want to Kick You in the Back by Wataya Risa
  3. Imitation and Creativity in Japanese Arts by Michael Lucken/ Salad Anniversary by Tawara Machi
  4. Images by Erica Facey
  5. Tokyo Decadence: 15 Stories by Murakami Ryū
  6. Islands of Protest: Japanese Literature from Okinawa by various authors
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30 Jul 16
I Want to Kick You in the Back by Wataya Risa

I Want to Kick You in the Back by Wataya Risa

Review by Eluned Gramich

Written by a nineteen year old university student, the bestselling I Want to Kick You in the Back is a slim, deceptively simple tale about teenage life and love.

29 Jul 16
Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure by Furukawa Hideo

Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure by Furukawa Hideo

Review by Alice French

Horses, Horses, in the end the Light Remains Pure is an emotional, historical and, above all, literary triumph that really must be experienced first-hand.

28 Jul 16
Salad Anniversary by Tawara Machi

Salad Anniversary by Tawara Machi

Review by Chris Beckett

Tawara Machi’s poems are short but lively and personal. They feel like an album of small photos telling a story, so engaging and contemporary that it becomes part of the reader’s own album, his or her own story.

27 Jul 16
Islands of Protest: Japanese Literature from Okinawa

Islands of Protest: Japanese Literature from Okinawa

Review by Charlotte Goff

This new collection of Okinawan literature refutes the image of a peaceful land where danger comes at the fangs of the box jellyfish rather than the tensions between its inhabitants.

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