The last time that I read Japanese literature consistently was far too long ago and truth be told, I’m missing it with all of my heart. My last library trip from last weekend ended with my bookbag stuffed to the seams with Asian literature novels, most of which were from my absolute favourite genre, and that was when I realised what I’ve been missing out on!
My goal for the rest of the year is to read as much Asian literature as I can, especially of the Japanese sort. Additionally, to re-acclimate myself with my beloved genre of choice and to keep me fired up about it, I looked-up some of the #OwnVoices Japanese novels releasing in the States in the second half of 2019! Today, I wanted to share with you nine of these novels that shall be coming out between now and the end of the year that I’m hoping to get my hands on! What has me even more over the moon is that a couple of the titles mentioned today are from two of my favourite authors of all-time with a third being a brand-new release of a part of Japanese history that I’m positively obsessed with.
If you have come across any #OwnVoices Japanese novels that are releasing this year and they aren’t shown on this list, please leave them in the comments for me! I’d be ever so grateful to you. Thanks, chums!
The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa – Ogawa (one of the two favourite authors I mentioned) brings us an Orwellian novel that centres around a small island where seemingly random things keep disappearing, which appears to be harmless until more and more serious disappearances begin to occur. As a few inhabitants with special abilities to recall what has been gone and forgotten try to unravel the mystery, a draconian Memory Police works diligently to ensure that what has been taken shall remain forgotten as it should be. Releases 13-August-2019.
The Night is Short, Walk on Girl by Tomihiko Morimi – The story revolves around a college student who goes out one evening, unintentionally attracting the attention of the men with whom she crosses paths with. One of the dudes happens to be a senpai that has developed feelings for this young woman and has decided that this the night he shall confess his love. Releases 13-August-2019.
Automatic Eve by Rokuro Inui – This science-fiction story is one of political intrigue that involves a mighty shogunate who’s ruling from Tempu Castle. Opposing him is an imperial line of strict female succession. The city of Tempu is one full of many wonders, such as the superhuman technological achievement of the female automaton named Eve, and it’s also caught right in the middle of these two warring powers. When the mystery surrounding Eve’s creation is revealed, it shall rock both sides into a spectacular conclusion. Releases 20-August-2019.
The Sea of Japan by Keita Nagano – The narrative is about a woman named Lindsey who flees a terrible teaching job from her home in Boston to half-way around the globe where she lands in a fishing village in Japan. One morning while she’s out and about, a horrible accident takes place in Toyama Bay, causing her to lose consciousness. When she awakes, she’s at the local hospital with a guy named Ichiro that is credited with saving her life. This encounter kicks off a chain of things that shall make Lindsey re-evaluate her life and find joy in places she never expected, as well as to give her the courage to make a difference that goes beyond her and Ichiro, and possibly the entire town. Releases 03-September-2019.
Land of the Rising Cat: Japan’s Feline Fascination by Manami Okazai – This nonfiction delight is essentially a compendium of Japanese culture as it pertains to kitty-cats, including cat shrines and temples, festivals, historical anecdotes, and much more. As a person who is a Japanophile that’s also completely fanatical about cats (my blog is called BiblioNyan after all) how can I not be ecstatic about this one? Releases 10-September-2019.
Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi – The novel takes place in a back-alley café in Tokyo and follows four individuals, each of whom is vising this cosy little coffee shop for it’s very unique offering of allowing people the chance to travel backwards into time. However, this special journey is not without risks. Can the visitors navigate their way back to the present time safely before their coffee gets cold? Releases 19-September-2019.
October & November Releases:
The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada – The author’s English debut tells a tale in an unnamed Japanese city where three seemingly unrelated characters work at the same industrial factory. Each one has a separate and special job that they are dedicated to. Life within the factory is its very own realm and one day, whether weeks or years later, the workers must have to ask themselves: where does the factory end and the real world begin? Releases 29-October-2019. (Just after my birthday!!)
Parade: A Folktale by Hiromi Kawakami – Kawakami (two of two favourite authors I mentioned earlier) has woven a story about a lady, Tsukiko, who asks her former high school teacher to tell her a tale from a long time ago as they eat somen noodles together. Her sensei shares a unique memory of the time she encountered Tengu (creatures from Japanese folklore, usually portrayed as yōkai) as a child. Shortly afterwards, Tsukiko finds that Tengu have attached themselves to her and begin to shadow her every move. Releases 05-November-2019.
Forty-Seven Samurai: A Tale of Vengeance and Suicide in Haiku & Letters by Hiroaki Satō – This is a classic Japanese narrative of betrayal and honour taking place in 1701. When regional lord Asano Naganori wounds his supervising official in an important ceremony, he’s condemned to death. Within two years, a band of forty-seven of Asano’s retainers seek vengeance against the official who condemned him. This specific edition tells the story via a comprehensive examination and includes Ryūnosuke Akutagawa’s short story about leader Ōishi Kuranosuke (Ōishi Yoshio) as he awaited sentencing. This is my most-anticipated above all other titles from this list, which is shocking considering this last has Kawakami and Ogawa on it. Releases 19-November-2019.
Those are on my super radar of book releases for 2019! Do any of these sound interesting to you? Who are some of your favourite Japanese authors? Please come chat with me in the comments!
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