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Frankfurt Book Fair Corner

This corner introduces Japanese books on display at the 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair from October 8 to 12. If you're in Frankfurt, please drop by Booth A-8, Hall 6.1! Click "Featured Books" to see all titles on display at the fair. Enjoy!

Literature

Literature

Browse an extensive list of works of contemporary Japanese literature, including all the winners of 14 of Japan's major literary awards since 2000. You'll find synopses, author profiles, and descriptions of the awards.

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Children & YA

Children & YA

Search here for the best in juvenile literature from Japan, ranging in age level and content from picture books for very young children to prizewinning novels for young adult readers. Synopses and author profiles are provided.

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Language Texts

Language Texts

A list of textbooks and dictionaries used in Japanese-language pedagogy worldwide.

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Other Categories

Check here for works in how-to, hobby, and other non-literature categories.

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Publishers' Corner

News & Updates

All News
  • 2014/10/16 Updates

    Books from Japan was updated on October 16, 2014, adding synopses for 9 fiction and 9 children & YA titles. (Italicized English titles are those of finished translations; others are tentative titles.) Literature/Fiction■ Yukito Ayatsuji, Another■ Yukito Ayatsuji, Furīkusu (Freaks)■ Osamu …

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  • 2014/10/02 Updates

    Books from Japan was updated on October 2, 2014, adding synopses for 18 children & YA titles and 12 works of other categories. (Italicized English titles are those of finished translations; others are tentative titles.) With the Frankfurt Book Fair taking …

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Column

Translating Ryotaro Shiba's "Saka no ue no kumo" (Clouds above the Hill)

by Paul McCarthy

Ryotaro Shiba has been called a kokuminteki sakka (a truly national writer) by many people, including my friend Fumihiko Katayama, chief priest of the Hanazono Shrine in Shinjuku, Tokyo, near where I live. Many people I know personally have shown more interest in and enthusiasm for the project of translating …

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Coloring books for seniors: keep your hands busy and your brain will thank you

by Saku Masui

Japanese has many idioms and sayings that refer to te—the hands. Back-scratchers, for example—those long skinny devices typically made of wood that allow us to scratch itchy spots we could not otherwise reach—are known as mago no te, "grandchild's hand." The expression neko no te mo karitai—literally, "we'd like to …

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A wild monster chase: yokai and Haruki Murakami

by Matt Alt

If any one word sums up the canon of Haruki Murakami's fiction, it is "weird." For the record, I mean that as a compliment. But even the most ardent fan of Murakami in translation—and as we all know, there's a lot of them these days—would be forgiven for missing the …

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The allure of the historical—confessions of a translator

by Ian M. MacDonald

Historical fiction has been a mainstay of the Japanese literary scene since about 1000 AD, when Murasaki Shikibu penned the opening lines of her classic Tale of Genji: In a certain reign (whose can it have been?) someone of no very great rank, among all His Majesty's Consorts and Intimates, enjoyed …

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On Haruki Murakami's new novel: Liszt's "Years of Pilgrimage" turned extravaganza

by Saku Masui

It's not unusual for the title of a Haruki Murakami work to refer to a piece of music. "Norwegian Wood," for example, or "South of the Border, West of the Sun." Even when the title makes no such overt reference, music may be featured memorably in the narrative itself, as with Leoš Janáček's

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"Light" love stories all the rage

by Saku Masui

As with other discretionary pleasures like alcohol and tobacco—though I suspect many book lovers will object to such a comparison—the hottest selling titles in fiction appear to indicate a strong preference for "lite" in reading matter as well. So-called "light novels," a distinctively Japanese category of fiction targeted primarily at …

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Toshihiko Yahagi's alternative goodbye

by Alfred Birnbaum

The last time I met Toshihiko Yahagi for drinks at his regular "mess hall" in Akasaka, we faced off over a quibbling but telling remark. I paraphrased Joyce's famous remark "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake" by way of saying I thought that deep down …

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A flowering of police novels

by Saku Masui

Japanese bestseller lists of recent years have been populated by a notable number of crime novels centering on police investigations. It is a commonplace of writers' handbooks that readers must never be allowed to become bored, and the timely deployment of a dead body is often recommended as a means …

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"The Child Who Was Born": between simulated experience and reality

by Yukiko Hiromatsu

Some picture books become lifelong friends, renewing themselves according to the reader's age and experiences or the changing times. The late Yoko Sano, who died in 2010, produced more than a few such works, including Hyakuman-kai ikita neko (The Cat That Had a Million Lives). In the summer of 2011, I …

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PUBLISHERS

Click here for a list of Japanese publishers and publishing-related organizations.

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AUTHORS

Profiles of the authors whose works are introduced on this site can be read here.

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GRANTS

Read this page for information on translation grants provided by Books from Japan.

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ABOUT US

Information on the J-Lit Center, operator of the Books from Japan website.

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