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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11 Jul 16
Tokyo Decadence: 15 Stories by Murakami Ryū

Tokyo Decadence: 15 Stories by Murakami Ryū

Review by Chris Corker

Images by Erica Facey

Images by Erica Facey

Review by Chris Beckett

Erica Facey’s delightful bilingual collection, Images, is made up of one-vertical-line haiku in the Japanese, and 3-line haiku in English. The Japanese section starts from the right and meets its English counterpart in the middle coming the other way.

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