Japanese Literature Challenge 12

Several dear blog friends have inquired about hosting another Japanese Literature Challenge, which touches me as it is an interest for which my heart never wants to let go. In the previous eleven years, I have run it from June to January, but now I am beginning with January and ending in March. I think we should have at least three months in which to indulge this passion, especially as I believe that Frances and I spoke of reading The Pillow Book in February.

There will be give-aways during the challenge, which I will send internationally. One of them is the advanced reading copy I have of Mishima’s book Star which will be published by New Directions Publishing April 30, 2019. Another is a book I have from nyrb entitled The Gate by Natsume Soseki. I will also give away a copy of The Emissary by Yoko Tawada which recently won the 2018 National Book Award for Translated Literature. Of course, what would a Japanese Literature Challenge by without Haruki Murakami? I will give away a Vintage Mini copy of his book, Desire, in which the “five weird and wonderful tales collected here each unlock the many-tongued language of desire, whether it takes the form of hunger, lust, sudden infatuation or the secret longings of the heart.” (back cover)

Since blogging has expanded into other social platforms, let’s use #JLC12 on Twitter or Instagram. And if you’ll leave a comment here, on this post, I will publish a weekly update including the book(s) you read and a link to your post if you wrote one.

So please, join The Reading Life, Graasland, Reading The World, Terri Talks Books, Tredynas Days, and me in this year’s Japanese Literature Challenge 12. I am eager to begin.

107 thoughts on “Japanese Literature Challenge 12

  1. Oh, my! I am definitely in! This will also be considered an incentive to restart writing on my blog, which I put on hold because I lacked the time dealing with it and the one for my class… Murakami’s little book is exquisite, I have read it in the summer… I am glad you are doing this, M!


    • It’s hard, sometimes, to keep the motivation up for writing one’s blog, isn’t it? I’m glad you liked Murakami’s little book; I had read some of the selections in other books of his I own. I was surprised this wasn’t all new, but that’s me and my expectations! So glad you are joining in, dear Alli!


  2. I’m in.
    My Book Club book for January is Le poids des secrets by Aki Shimazaki. I couldn’t find the English title. Have you heard about it. It’s the first of a series. If I like it, I’ll read the other ones.


    • I looked for the book you mentioned in English, and the best I can come up with is The Weight of Secrets. Does that sound right? Your Book Club must read some wonderful things, are they all in French? At any rate, I look forward to your thoughts and seeing if I should pick it up myself. So glad you’re joining in, Emma.


    • I love counting you in, Stu! You were one of the biggest influences in having me read translated literature, especially with the formation of not only Translation Thursday, but the IFFP (now the MBIP). I look forward to hearing about what you read and your thoughts as we share this adventure.

      Liked by 1 person

    • So glad to have you, Robin! I had not remembered that you like Japanese literature, so many of our blogging friends from olden days do not, but it is great to have you join in. I can’t wait to see what it is that you choose to read!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I am really excited that you’re participating, Andrew. It is may be a bit of a challenge finding just the book for you, but I can point you in certain directions if you like. (Toward classics, or thrillers, or magical realism, or whatever you may like.) This will be so much fun to share with you; thank you for the comments you have been leaving here.


    • p.s. Here is a link to the JLC6 when I hosted it on Blogger. It is a better resource than I have since published, and it includes not only reviews but a suggested reading list in the menu.


      I don’t host it separately anymore, as one blogger took great offense at “japlit” in the beginning, which was never, ever my intention. It still makes me a bit sad.


      • Thanks for the link! Loads of good recommendations there. I’d like to read something by Banana Yoshimoto as I’ve been hearing about her for years and never got around to reading one of her books. Because I’m travelling, though, I’m limited to what’s available on Kindle, which is surprisingly little: just The Lake or Moshi Moshi. Or perhaps I’ll join you in reading The Pillow Book.


        • I like Banana Yoshimoto very much. I have read several of her books, several years ago, Kitchen being my favorite. But, I know what it is like being limited to Kindle editions. It would be wonderful to have you along for The Pillow Book. (Which will be a read-at-your-leisure type of thing, with postings and comments pretty much at the end, unless there are a few Tweets sent out in the course of reading during February. Hope that doesn’t sound too loosey-goosey, except I hate to restrict people to schedules.)


  3. Bellezza,
    Thank you for hosting this wonderful reading challenge again. I hope to participate this year.
    I’m behind in my blogging, due to a trip earlier this month–to Japan(!)–and the holidays.
    Wishing you and your readers a safe and joyful New Year’s!


    • Oh, Suko, I am so glad that you were able to go back to Japan! We were there in October for only fourteen days or so; it wasn’t nearly long enough for me! We are thinking we will return for my husband’s retirement trip as well. It is extra interesting now, when I read Japanese literature, to find myself able to remember some of the settings. For example, in The Master Key which I am halfway through, the first murder happens by the temple in Tokyo which we were in several times. That is really exciting! So, my interest for the JLC is renewed again, and although there are not as many participants as in years past, I am eager to read again with those who wish to join. So glad you are one of them! Xo


    • Mel, I left a comment to your post so I feel a bit redundant here, except to say that you expressed how I felt when I discovered the joys of Japanese literature myself. And, we have loved so many of the same books/authors. It made me smile that we both began with Murakami’s After Dark. I’m so glad you’re joining in again.


  4. Pingback: Japanese Literature Challenge 12 TBR | theliterarysisters

    • Tony, I’m so glad you’re in! I have loved sharing Japanese Literature with you over the years, and you have exposed me to much of which I was unaware. (The Briefcase comes to mind, as one of many.) Looking forward to more adventures with you.


  5. http://rereadinglives.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-whale-that-fell-in-love-with.html

    Today I posted on a deeply moving Short story centering on a love sick whale,
    “The Whale That Fell in Love with a Submarine” A Short Story by Akiyuki Nosaka- 2003- translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori – 2015″.

    The story in just a few pages took me from smiling to deep sadness. Few writers have dealt so well in their stories about the terrible harm done to the purely innocent victims of the war, children and in this story a love sick sardine whale as has Akiyuki Nosaka.

    When I learned recently the Japanese have resumed commercial whaling I felt so revolted.


  6. I’m a little late to the game, but I would like to join in the challenge. If that works, I’ll post my reading list at my blog tomorrow. Thanks for hosting this!


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  11. After reading Andrew’s review of The Great Passage, I decided that even I have time to join your challenge 🙂

    Also, I wanted to say that the white ruffly thing in the picture at top reminded me instantly of the Shaggy Mane fungus I saw recently. If you don’t know what that is, either, I mentioned it with a photo on a recent post.


    • Hooray, Gretchen! Wasn’t Andrew’s review of The Great Passage marvelous? It enticed me as well.

      I am still uncertain a to what the “white ruffle thing” is; all I could determine from the guide, and others I asked, that it has something to do with being sacred (for the Japanese religions). It is a close-up of a picture I took in the door of one of the Hindu temples. But, I think a fungus would be more applicable. I’ll come see yours.


  12. Pingback: Japanese Literature Challenge 12 | Graasland

    • However it is that you post about what you read, I’m so glad to have your participation. I’m not on Instagram very often, so please let me know if I miss something you read or review. Thank you for being the impetus behind me hosting this for the twelfth time.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. @gnoe mentioned this challenge. I’m in! There are some Japanese books on my MTBR so there won’t be a problem picking a book. I’ll keep you posted on my @muizzo030 Insta account.


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  16. I am *extremely* late in joining this year’s challenge. But I’m so glad I am still in time, and that I actually have time to join in.

    I’m thinking “The Travelling Cat Chronicles”, or “Six Four”. And definitely “Penance” down the road, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so glad you are joining in, Michelle! I have tried Six Four several times and just can’t get into it, but I loved both The Traveling Cat Chronicles and Penance; two quite differnet novels, fo course, but each fascinating in its own way.


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