26 Nov 2023
4th February 2023
Top 10 Most Anticipated Japanese Novels Getting Translated This Year
Love at Six Thousand Degrees by Maki Kashimada
A psychological romance exploring PTSD and taboo that won Kashimada the Mishima Yukio Prize in 2007. An ordinary housewife finds herself haunted by visions of a mushroom cloud and abruptly leaves her husband and son to travel alone to the city of Nagasaki to strike up a romance with a Half Russian man.
Tatami Time Machine Blues by Tomihiko Morimi
Aside from the fantastic title, this is a hotly anticipated sequel to her other successful novel; 'The Tatami Galaxy'. Already adapted into an anime, this reality-bending, time-slipping story is an entertaining ride into the surreal.
Honey Bees and Distant Thunder by Riku Onda
This million-copy selling, multi-awardwinning 2016 novel is highly anticipated in the western world. A tale of friendship between young musicians that asks how much we are willing to endure in a relationship.
The Mill House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji
This murder mystery is set to satisfy anyone craving their whodunnit fix. 'The Mill House Murders' has been considered a classic since its publication in 1988. The story revolves around a famous artist who has worn a rubber mask ever since he was disfigured in a car crash. This is just one of many of Ayatsuji's award-winning mysteries finally being translated and published in English.
Mild Vertigo by Meiko kanai
A stream-of-consciousness novel, that explores how motherhood changes one's identity. Kanai looks at the positives and negatives of being a modern, suburban, Japanese, stay-at-home wife and mother.
The Rope Artist by Fuminori Nakamura
Dip into the dark inner workings of BDSM enthusiasts who are surrounding an intriguing murder involving identical women. Nakamura adds another translated novel to his repertoire of compelling thriller novels.
The End of August by Yu Miri
A slight departure from the rest of the list. Miri Yu is a Japanese-born Korean writer who now lives in South Korea. She still recalls her time living in Ibaraki prefecture fondly and writes in Japanese. This novel recounts an intense generational story of a Korean family living under Japanese imperial rule to the modern day. The writer explores her own identity through the characters, discussing what it means to be ethically Korean, not shying away from the darker parts of Asain history in the early twentieth century.
The Devil's Flute Murders by Seishi Yokomizo
A hugely enjoyable, page-turning classic Japanese mystery with an ingenious conclusion starring the unkempt detective Kosuke Kindaichi. Originally from 1946, the character has solved numerous mysteries and been portrayed on screen many times.
Rainbow by Yasunari Kawabata
From the nobel prize-winning writer of 'Snow Country', this powerful novel about two half-sisters in post-war Japan explores a changing post-war landscape and generational trauma. The two strive to survive toxic romances whilst hunting for the elusive third half-sister.
The Forest Brims Over by Maru Ayase
This novel explores a magical-realist setting where a woman transforms into a being of pure nature rather than continue to have her life mined for content for her husband's novels. A fascinating dive into gender and expectations.