Sunday, 2 June 2013

Welcome to Japanese Literature Challenge 7!

It's June, which means that it's time for Bellezza's Japanese Literature Challenge 7!  As a new blogger, this challenge four years ago (JLC3) was my first real blogging event; now, my personal J-Lit library is nudging triple figures.  I suppose I thould thank Bellezza for that...

As a first post this year, rather than spamming the new Linky with a lot of recent posts (as I've tended to in the past), I though I'd write one with links to all my J-Lit reviews since the end of JLC6 (and January in Japan!).  After that, I'll let you know what's coming up on the blog, J-Lit-wise, over the next few months.


In February, I reviewed Phantom Lights by Teru Miyamoto (Kurodahan Press), a collection of short stories set in the Kansai region centred on Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe.  It's a nice collection of stories from a writer I hadn't encountered before, even if I wasn't always sold on the translation.

In April, I reviewed Kenji Nakagami's The Cape and Other Stories from the Japanese Ghetto (Stone Bridge Press).  This book contains an Akutagawa-Prize-winning novella and a couple of related short stories, all featuring the Burakumin, the Japanese 'untouchables'.  Well worth a read, it's an insight into a side of Japan we seldom hear about... was my first May J-Lit review, Ryu Murakami's Popular Hits of the Showa Era (Pushkin Press)!  One of four recent R. Murakami releases from Pushkin, it's a mad-cap romp featuring loser nerds, middle-aged women, guns, rocket-launchers and karaoke - what's not to like?

Finally, my most recent J-Lit post was Blue Bamboo by Osamu Dazai (Kurodahan Press), a wonderful collection of short stories.  While the Dazai I'd read up to then had been very cynical and depressing, this collection is full of adapted myths and fairy tales.  I loved the collection, and Ralph McCarthy (who also translated the Murakami book) did a great job with his revised work :)

That's what's happened recently - what's coming up over the next few months?  Well, I've been lucky enough to receive a few more review copies, so expect to see posts on Nagai Kafu, Tomoyuki Hoshino and Ryu Murakami.  From the shelves, I expect to be having a look at classic works by Yukio Mishima, Natsume Soseki, Shusaku Endo and Naoya Shiga at some point, and to even up the gender balance, I'll probably be reading some Banana Yoshimoto, Yoko Ogawa and Hitomi Kanehara.  Oh, and I've got a couple of anthologies to get to too :)

This year though, Bellezza has announced that there will be a monthly theme, and the one for June happens to be children's literature...  Hmm - I'm sure if I search my shelves hard enough, I might just find one for that too ;)

That's all for now, but stay tuned - my first review for JLC7 will be out very soon :)