10 Authentic Japanese Novels For True Japanophiles
Only Japanophiles will get it!
Authentic Japanese Books For A Japanophile
So what's a Japanophile or Japanophilia? Well it's the appreciation and love of Japanese culture, people, or history. In Japanese the term is known as "shinnichi" 親日. If you're here you love all things Japanese. The culture, the food, the entertainment, all of it has something to offer you. And if you love reading, we've rounded up the most authentic Japanese books for a Japanophile like you!
1. A Tale for the Time Being - here
In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine.
Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.
2. The Tokyo - Montana Express here
The stations along the route of the Tokyo-Montana Express--a grand train of exciting speed and unusual itinerary--tell its story and their own, some with confidence, some with uncertainty.
3. Child of Fortune here
"Yuko Tsushima’s “Child of Fortune,” winner of the 1978 Women’s Literature Prize in Japan, is a classic novel as relevant today as when it was published nearly 40 years ago. Called an “archaeologist of the female psyche,” Tsushima wrote a stream-of-consciousness narrative that follows the mental revelations of Koko, an almost-40 Japanese woman struggling to reconcile her deepest wants with her everyday reality."
4. Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan here
"A riveting true-life tale of newspaper noir and Japanese organized crime from an American investigative journalist.
Jake Adelstein is the only American journalist ever to have been admitted to the insular Tokyo Metropolitan Police Press Club, where for twelve years he covered the dark side of Japan: extortion, murder, human trafficking, fiscal corruption, and of course, the yakuza. But when his final scoop exposed a scandal that reverberated all the way from the neon soaked streets of Tokyo to the polished Halls of the FBI and resulted in a death threat for him and his family, Adelstein decided to step down. Then, he fought back. In Tokyo Vice he delivers an unprecedented look at Japanese culture and searing memoir about his rise from cub reporter to seasoned journalist with a price on his head".
5. The Japanophile's Handbook here
"The Otaku's official handbook! Being a genuine Japanophile (or Otaku, as it is more commonly called today) is a true art form and as exacting as any science. However, with this trusty handbook, you basically have the manual and so you can confidently embark on the path to Otaku glory! Learn all that a self-respecting Otaku should know: from anime/manga to gaming to Japanese cinema, J-pop, spirituality and culture. Learn all about the dreaded Weeaboo and how to avoid becoming one. Learn the six sacred commandments of the Otaku and much, much more! With this handbook at the ready, every aspiring Otaku can learn the true way of the Japanophile and so reach the lofty heights of pure, unrepentant Otakuhood!".
6. Tokyo Cult Recipes here
"Enjoy the best Japanese food at home with more than 100 dishes from the gastronomic megacity, including favorites such as miso, sushi, rice, and sweets.
While many people enjoy an almost cult-like reverence for Japanese cuisine, they’re intimidated to make this exquisite food at home. In this comprehensive cookbook, Maori Murota demystifies Japanese cooking, making it accessible and understood by anyone interested in learning about her native food culture and eating well. Inspired by Murota’s memories of growing up in Tokyo—cooking at home with her mother and dining out in the city’s wonderful restaurants and stands—Tokyo Cult Recipes offers clear and concise information on key basic cooking techniques and provides guidance on key ingredients that home cooks can use to create authentic Japanese food anytime".
7. Cantankerous Essays: Musings of a Disillusioned Japanophile here
"Prompted by increasing evidence of the world’s shift to the right, not least among the industrialized nations, here is a cri de coeur from almost the last survivor from the post-war crop of European sociologists and scholars of Japanese Studies. After six decades following developments in Japanese society, economy and culture and as a well-known ‘leftie’ – he describes the evolution of his cognitive and evaluative/emotional perceptions of Japan, and explains why he can no longer be described as a Japanophile".
8. Brief History of Japan: Samurai, Shogun and Zen: The Extraordinary Story of the Land of the Rising Sun here
"First revealed to Westerners in the chronicles of Marco Polo, Japan was a legendary faraway land defended by a fearsome Kamikaze storm and ruled by a divine sovereign. It was the terminus of the Silk Road, the furthest end of the known world, a fertile source of inspiration for European artists, and an enduring symbol of the mysterious East. In recent times, it has become a powerhouse of global industry, a nexus of popular culture, and a harbinger of post-industrial decline.
With intelligence and wit, author Jonathan Clements blends documentary and storytelling styles to connect the past, present and future of Japan, and in broad yet detailed strokes reveals a country of paradoxes: a modern nation steeped in ancient traditions; a democracy with an emperor as head of state; a famously safe society built on 108 volcanoes resting on the world's most active earthquake zone; a fast-paced urban and technologically advanced country whose land consists predominantly of mountains and forests".
9. The Broken Commandment here
"Shimazaki's 1906 classic of modern Japanese literature portrays a young man born into the Burakumin outcaste class and his struggle against both social discrimination and his own hypocrisy."
10. Opening the Hand of Thought here
"For over thirty years, Opening the Hand of Thought has offered an introduction to Zen Buddhism and meditation unmatched in clarity and power. This is the revised edition of Kosho Uchiyama's singularly incisive classic.
This new edition contains even more useful material: new prefaces, an index, and extended endnotes, in addition to a revised glossary. As Jisho Warner writes in her preface, Opening the Hand of Thought "goes directly to the heart of Zen practice... showing how Zen Buddhism can be a deep and life-sustaining activity." She goes on to say, "Uchiyama looks at what a person is, what a self is, how to develop a true self not separate from all things, one that can settle in peace in the midst of life."
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