Monthly Archives: January 2012

Japanese Fiction

It’s not all sushi, samurai and sumo wrestling – Japanese fiction also has a lot to offer. So, for our inaugural post, how about a fine selection of Japanese novels from Japan?!

Battle Royale

In an alternative version of Japan, 42 high school students are gassed, transported to an uninhabited island and forced to fight to the death. Yes, it’s a gratuitous and violent concept but this is a gratuitous and violent book. It’s over-the-top premise makes for a thrilling piece of escapism.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

This is not so much a novel you read as a dream you remember…and still don’t understand. Don’t just sit there assuming that you should read Norwegian Wood first, like everybody else – jump in at the deep end!

Spring Snow

How about a book written by an actual samurai? It doesn’t get much more Japanese than that! Spring Snow is the first in Mishima’s Sea of Fertility tetralogy, an opus which meant so much to him that, upon it’s completion, he committed ritual suicide.


The very real problems that Japanese women face come to a head for our four heroines in this game of hide-the-body. If you’re looking for a thriller that doesn’t pull punches, then give this a go.

And Then

Like it’s main character, the story meanders unhurried towards it’s conclusion. If you’re simply looking for something that is written beautifully, you won’t go far wrong with this.


You know it’s going to be interesting when the author is named after a fruit. This is the book that blasted Banana Yoshimoto into Japan’s literary limelight. The book consists of two stories which deal mainly with loss, death and grief. Fantastic storytelling aside, it’s worth buying it just so you can tell your friends that you’re reading a book written by a Banana.