Japanese Literature

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Nov
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Japanese Literature

Postby Nov » 2004-03-15, 17:50

Hello everybody!

Ok, I guess there won't be so many replys to this :) Nevertheless it's worth asking: Do you know any books or authors of Japanese literatures?
I really didn't read many books from Japan so far (and not in Japanese), so I'd like to hear your recommendations and share opinions with you...

Have a nice day :)

Nov


Hallo zusammen!
Na gut, ich fürchte, es werden hier nicht sehr viele Antworten kommen :) Aber fragen kostet nichts: Kennt ihr irgendwelche Bücher oder Autoren der japanischen Literatur?
Ich habe bis jetzt noch nicht sehr viele Bücher aus Japan gelesen (und auch nicht auf Japanisch), deshalb würde ich gerne eure Empfehlungen hören und Meinungen austauschen...

Schönen Tag noch :)

Nov


こんにちは皆さん
日本の文学の本を読みましたか?あたしはまだあまり読みませんでした。そして日本語では読めません。本を薦めて(すすめて)くださいね。
またね ^_^

....and correct my japanese!! :oops:
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Re: Japanese Literature

Postby mind » 2004-03-16, 6:34

Nov wrote:Ok, I guess there won't be so many replys to this :) Nevertheless it's worth asking: Do you know any books or authors of Japanese literatures?
I really didn't read many books from Japan so far (and not in Japanese), so I'd like to hear your recommendations and share opinions with you...

You must be kidding! Japanese have one of the best literature traditions.

In a more or less chronological order:

Japanese classics:
'The Tale of Genji' by Murasaki Shikibu;
'Pillow book' by Sei Shonagon;

XX century classics:
Rynosuke Akutagawa, Kobo Abe, Kenzaburo Oe, Yukio Mishima.

Detective stories by Edogawa Rampo.

Science fiction by Sakyo Komatsu.

Modern novels by Haruki Murakami.

And this is only a selection, only the absolutely best ones...
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Postby darkina » 2004-03-16, 20:17

Uh... I only know Banana Yoshimoto, but it's a bit mainstream I think...and her books end up irritating me...
век живи, век учись, а дураком помрешь

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Guest

Postby Guest » 2004-03-21, 14:33

There was an important modern writer Kawabata Yasunari...

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Postby duko » 2004-03-27, 8:42

Anonymous wrote:There was an important modern writer Kawabata Yasunari...

... Nobel Prize in literature, '68. I recommend him.

edit: typo corrected
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Postby Zaduma » 2004-03-27, 17:56

duko wrote:
Anonymous wrote:There was an important modern writer Kawabata Yasunari...

... Nobel Prize in literature, '68. I recommend him.

edit: typo corrected

Yep it was me posting this message, sorry that it results anonymous... His point of view was somehow fresh and I was surprised about what he wrote... Same year (1968) a great Polish writer Gombrowicz had to receive Nobel Prize, but all press was saying about him as a 100% candidate so the Academy punished him casting him away... (but I think I mencionned it already somewhere on the forum...)

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The best popular Japanese writer is Edogawa Ranpo

Postby manchuria » 2004-05-03, 0:48

He wrote a lot of detective novels which are totally amazing, but im not sure they will be published in euro and US...

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Re: Japanese Literature

Postby Maja » 2004-05-03, 11:49

mind wrote:You must be kidding! Japanese have one of the best literature traditions.

Indeed!
I've read only three authors: Shikibu, Abe and Mishima. In Slovene, of course!

Among them Yukio Mishima (real name Hiraoka Kimitake) was quite a person. He was a strong defender of traditional Japanese moral values.
I really like his tetralogy The Sea of Fertility (Spring Snow, Runaway Horses, The Temple of Dawn and Five Signs of a God's Decay). Some facts about him: http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/mishima.htm
Maja

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Re: Japanese Literature

Postby mind » 2004-05-05, 7:57

Maja wrote:Among them Yukio Mishima (real name Hiraoka Kimitake) was quite a person. He was a strong defender of traditional Japanese moral values.

BTW, in some ways he reminded me of Dostoevsky: an outstanding writer with disgusting nationalist ideas.

As for the other writers, most of all I enjoyed the works of Akutagawa, Rampo and Murakami.
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Rmc

Postby Rmc » 2004-05-06, 2:52

I thoroughly enjoyed "Kokoro" by Natsume Soseki, and my Japanese friends tell me that "Bo-chan" is better.

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Postby BobMaster0 » 2004-05-31, 1:35

I've only just now stared reading any Japanese literature. However, I second the recommendation of Natsume Souseki.


Also, the sentence
あたしはまだあまり読みませんでした.
should be
私はまだあまり読んでいません。
あたし , while fine in conversation, looks strange in writing outside of talking to your friends, especially when using polite speech.

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Postby Karavinka » 2004-06-01, 6:00

Mishima Yukio was a real fascist. He commited suicide in public because the world without war was too boring for him. Calling Mishima and his ideas 'Traditional' would be like calling Nazism as German traditional belief.

Mishka

Postby Mishka » 2004-06-06, 0:59

Mishima Yukio was a real fascist.

Well, I think reading of Hitler's writings is thrice more boredom...Mishima is the best Japanese writer for me and his books are like pure obcession.
As far as I know Mishima was extreme in investigations of his soul evil and politics or sports or literature was just a way to escape from himself. It's how I take that.

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Postby Vox libertatis » 2007-07-31, 13:32

Hello! I am very glad to find this discussion :D I love Japanese literature and I am always happy to see people who share my interests. I like Akutagawa Ryunosuke, Tetsuo Miura, Sei Shonagon. But my favourite books are "The silent cry" (it is also called 'Football in the First Year of Man'en') by Kenzaburo Oe and "The sound of the Mountain" by Yashunari Kawabata. I would like to know your opinion regarding these books :)

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Postby Varislintu » 2007-07-31, 21:15

Vox libertatis wrote:But my favourite books are "The silent cry" (it is also called 'Football in the First Year of Man'en') by Kenzaburo Oe and "The sound of the Mountain" by Yashunari Kawabata.


Hi :). Could you maybe tell a little more what these two books are about? I'm thinking of reading something by a Japanese author again, but I don't know what.
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Postby Vox libertatis » 2007-08-01, 10:03

Hello :D I will try to formulate it...
"The Silent Cry" is about two brothers: Mitsusaburo (Mitsu) and Takashi. Mitsu is a single-eyed young man: he lost his eye because of children who were playing in the street and throwing stones. The mother of these heroes always considered Takashi as a very beautiful boy and thought that he would score big successes; she was sure Mitsusaburo would depend on his brother because of it.
Mitsu has a wife. Her name is Natsu. Their son is very ill (if I don't make any mistake he is an imbecile), so, they left him in the clinic. They both suffer because of that and Natsu becomes an alcoholic.
Takashi is a weak person who wants to feel and to seem strong (it is my opinion). He lives in the world of his dreams.
The brothers' family had been one of the leading families in the village. Takashi is obsessed with the memory of their great-grandfather's younger brother, who had led a peasant revolt in 1860. Mitsusaburo remembers the affair differently, believing that the leader of the rebellion had betrayed his followers.
Takashi begins to organise the youths of the village into a group, beginning with football training on the same place where his ancestor was assembling his supporters. Mitsu notices that villagers become followers of his brother...and Natsu, too.
"The Sound of the Mountain" shows the Ogata family from the perspective of its aging patriarch, Shingo. Shingo has already begun to experience temporary lapses of memory, to recall strange and disturbing dreams upon waking, and occasionally to hear sounds heard by no one else, including the sound of mountain.
Shingo begins to observe more closely his relations with the other members of his family (his wife Yasuko, his son Shuichi, Shuichi's young wife Kikuko, and his daughter (Shuichi's sister) Fusako, who has left her husband and returned to her parents with her children).
He has never loved Yasuko: he admired her sister. This woman married another man who seemed very beautiful to Shingo. Later she suddenly died. Yasuko wanted to be with her sister's husband but he loved his dead wife.
Kikuko is very kind, sincere, Shingo adores her and watches with broken heart Shuichi, who is an unfaithful husband.
Oh, looks like I did it! I've given you the basic information about these books and I am waiting for your opinion! :D

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Re: Japanese Literature

Postby selftaughtjapanese » 2018-12-27, 16:36

I see there are a bunch of good classic Japanese authors in this thread, but one that is missing is Osamu Dazai. I would recommend his famous novella "No Longer Human". While dark and depressing, it's considered by many as a masterpiece.

While I am talking about Dazai I should also mention Yoshio Toyoshima, a friend of Dazai's who also wrote dark, introspective works. There was a collection of his stories recently published titled "Tales of the Disturbed".

(Disclosure: I am the translator and publisher of the Toyoshima work)

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Re: Japanese Literature

Postby linguoboy » 2018-12-27, 22:08

I read Dazai's Setting sun (斜陽) and while it was good, it didn't make me want to run out and read his other works. I'm reading Akutagawa right now and finding it very rewarding.

Two of my favourite authors who are conspicuously missing from the discussion so far are Tanizaki Jun'ichirô and Nakagami Kenji. The are from wildly different backgrounds, Tanizaki representing the traditional merchant elite and Nakagami being the only prominent author to publicly identity as Burakumin.

Both are tremendous stylists with odd sexual obsessions who have written a range of works, from historical to contemporary. Tanizaki's Makioka sisters (細雪) is one of my favourite novels in any language, a masterful love letter to a fading way of life. Not much of Nakagami's work has been translated, sadly. Some of his best stories focus on poor outcastes in Japanese society, which gives them a very different flavour than most Japanese literature known abroad.
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Re: Japanese Literature

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-07-19, 3:44

I've never even read any Japanese literature unless you count manga (courtesy of Mangajin) and a few folktales (translated into English, mostly from a certain Indian publication). Probably the most sophisticated manga I've ever read is Hinako Sugiura's version of one of the stories (about a mysterious guest with a request visiting a fisherman) from Hyaku Monogatari (百物語), based on the centuries-old parlor game Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai (百物語怪談会).


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