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18+ Works 1,215 Members 14 Reviews

About the Author

Jay Rubin is a professor of Japanese Literature at Harvard University

Works by Jay Rubin

Associated Works

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1995) — Translator, some editions — 17,521 copies
Norwegian Wood (1987) — Translator, some editions — 15,816 copies
1Q84 (2009) — Translator, some editions — 8,613 copies
After Dark (2004) — Translator, some editions — 6,783 copies
The Elephant Vanishes: Stories (1993) — Translator, some editions — 4,703 copies
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (2006) — Translator, some editions — 4,372 copies
After the Quake (2000) — Translator, some editions — 4,029 copies
1Q84 Book 3 (2010) — Translator, some editions — 1,726 copies
Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories (2006) — Translator, some editions — 1,088 copies
Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa (2011) — Translator, some editions — 572 copies
Sanshirō (1908) — Translator, some editions — 509 copies
Birthday Stories (2002) — Translator, some editions — 447 copies
Vintage Murakami (2004) — Translator — 221 copies
The Miner (1908) — Translator, some editions — 122 copies
Super-Frog Saves Tokyo (2006) — Translator, some editions — 54 copies
Town of Cats — Translator, some editions — 18 copies
Monkey Business: New Writing from Japan, Volume 01 (2011) — Translator — 12 copies
Monkey Business: New Writing from Japan, Volume 03 (2013) — Translator — 11 copies
Monkey Business: New Writing from Japan, Volume 05 (2015) — Translator — 10 copies
Monkey Business: New Writing from Japan, Volume 07 (2017) — Translator — 8 copies
Monkey Business: New Writing from Japan, Volume 04 (2014) — Translator — 7 copies
Honey Pie — Translator, some editions — 7 copies
Monkey Business: New Writing from Japan, Volume 06 (2016) — Translator — 5 copies
Monkey Business: New Writing from Japan, Volume 02 (2018) — Translator — 5 copies
All God's Children Can Dance {short story} — Translator, some editions — 5 copies
The Little Green Monster — Translator, some editions — 3 copies


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Common Knowledge



A tidy little book on Japanese language and usage, which I looked into as a possible pathway to the intermediate level after working through the two volumes of Genki. It is not a textbook in the usual sense, but a set of concise essays or expositions of particular parts of the language. The section on the use of the particles wa and ga, usually called 'subject matters' in a loose sense, is particularly detailed: the author demonstrates the subtle, but very real differences in the sense conveyed by the two particles respectively, and the misunderstandings that can arise if they are used mechanically. It's a short book, so you don't mind if it doesn't actually drill you in higher grammar or new vocabulary. At the end of this short but dense essay, one realizes that an average Japanese sentence has a number of particles and connectors, that are probably not covered in an introductory course, but which have to be sorted out if any sense is to be made! So this book is not for the beginner.… (more)
Dilip-Kumar | 5 other reviews | Feb 26, 2022 |
What a treat! Almost 5 stars, if only I wasn't lost for most of it. I don't know how to speak Japanese, and am a rank beginner in terms of learning to read it, so some of the trickier bits sailed past me--but it was astonishing how much I grasped, and how enjoyable it was to read about the intricacies of this language from an opinionated, humorous, knowledgeable author.

I even ran around quoting bits of it to uninterested friends, colleagues, and family, that's how much I liked it. It reads like a series of blog posts of varying lengths on several subjects, and you're sure to find a few of them to your taste, if not all.

(Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s). I feel a lot of readers automatically render any book they enjoy 5, but I grade on a curve!
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ashleytylerjohn | 5 other reviews | Oct 13, 2020 |
Since I've read every word Haruki Murakami has published in English I felt obligated to read his introduction once it showed up in the preview on Amazon. People saying "Haruki Murakami is my favorite author" has now become a cliche. But cliches can sometimes be true.
His introduction was nice and long and juicy. My impression of the collection of stories was that they were chosen, as Mr. Rubin explains, for the casual reader. Maybe it's pretentious but I consider myself more than a casual reader of Japanese fiction. I have an entire bookcase devoted to Japanese literature.
I like to imagine what stories I would have picked if I had the opportunity to compile an anthology of this kind.
There are new translations, which are sorely needed in this day and age. Akutagawa's previously untranslated short story "General Kim" was my favorite inclusion. Out of Akutagawa's 300 works only 77 have thus far been translated into English. Since he's one of my other favorite authors I've actually gone to extremely nerdy lengths to read them all. I wish Rubin would just translate all of Akutagawa already. And maybe Bakin while he's at it.
I am glad that he put a lot of translating into this volume, but why include "Patriotism" and the first chapter of Sanshiro? Not only do they take up valuable space but they are available almost anywhere. I buy anthologies because they contain stories on the brink of obscurity. Where are all the translations of Hiromi Kawakami or Junnosuke Yoshiyuki? I would have liked to see something new from Ryu Murakami, who never gets anthologized but is one of the best Japanese writers of all time.
I gave this book four stars because it was excellent, but it really could've gotten five. The two stories by Haruki are previously available, but luckily we get something new by Banana Yoshimoto and Akutagawa which save this collection, in my opinion, from being a rehashing. It's hard to find Kenji Nakagami and we are treated to a new story by Mieko Kawakami, which was appreciated, so while I would not recommend this for your shelf if you can only have one Japanese literature anthology - it's hard to beat the two volume Columbia anthology - I'd put it in my top 5 Japanese literature anthologies. Yes, I am that much of a geek that I would create a top five.
Though this is a step in the right direction there's about 3000 miles of stepping left to do if we are ever going to get the most out of J. Lit. I keep asking myself, why can't I just read Japanese? Oh yeah, it's insanely difficult. Anyway, check it out if you are a fan.
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LSPopovich | Apr 8, 2020 |
Docking a star for misogyny and general douche-baggery.
AshLaz | 5 other reviews | Jan 24, 2020 |

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Associated Authors

Haruki Murakami Introduction, Contributor
Akira Abe Contributor
Kenji Nakagami Contributor
Kōji Uno Contributor
Hyakken Uchida Contributor
Yūko Tsushima Contributor
Motoyuki Shibata Contributor
Yūichi Seirai Contributor
Yuten Sawanishi Contributor
Yuya Sato Contributor
Kazumi Saeki Contributor
Minako Ohba Contributor
Yōko Ogawa Contributor
Akiyuki Nosaka Contributor
Sōseki Natsume Contributor
Kafū Nagai Contributor
Ōgai Mori Contributor
Yukio Mishima Contributor
Aoko Matsuda Contributor
Doppo Kunikida Contributor
Taeko Kōno Contributor
Mieko Kawakami Contributor
Yasunari Kawabata Contributor
Tomoyuki Hoshino Contributor
Shinichi Hoshi Contributor
Keita Genji Contributor
Fumiko Enchi Contributor
Minoru Betsuyaku Contributor
Yōko Ōta Contributor
Banana Yoshimoto Contributor


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