Your Japanese Literature Top Three - What are they?

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Your Japanese Literature Top Three - What are they?

Jun 28, 2012, 10:03 pm

What your 3 favourite Japanese Literature works? It could be fiction, drama, poetry or non-fiction.

My three are:

1) Kokoro by Natsume Soseki
2) The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches by Matsuo Basho
3) Palm of the Hand Stories by Yasunari Kawabata

The Basho is particularly good especially having the different translations (I have 6 I think).

Edited: Apr 23, 2021, 8:25 pm

>1 signature103: I'll go out on a limb here:

1) No Longer Human, Dazai Osamu
2) Kokoro, Soseki, Natsume
3) Dark Night's Passing, Shiga, Naoya


Kafka on the Shore and The Windup Bird Chronicles, by Murakami, Haruki
Crackling Mountain, Dazai, Osamu
In Praise of Shadows, Tanizaki, Junichiro

Apr 24, 2021, 10:17 am

Great topic, looking forward to recommendations! I've read so little that I can't even compose a top three yet, but I've most liked Rashomon and Other Stories.

Apr 24, 2021, 11:34 am

I would say my tip three for now would be:

Shipwrecks by Akira Yoshimura
The Stones Cry Out by Hikaru Okuizumi
The Hole by Hiroko Oyamada

These are the ones that currently stick in my mind. But in a months time it could very well be a completely different list.

Apr 25, 2021, 10:14 am

Right Under the Big Sky, I Don't Wear a Hat by Ozaki Hōsai
The Old Capital by Kawabata (Just now I'm sloowly working through it in the original, but I may have bitten off more than I can chew...)
Kokoro by Natsume Sōseki

But I've read pretty little beyond poetry and classics.

Apr 25, 2021, 11:32 am

How about
Inspector Imanishi Investigates
Points and Lines
and Botchan?
Maybe Nokto de la Galaksia Fervojo, but I so far haven't tried it in English translation, and haven't managed to get through it in Esperanto.

Apr 26, 2021, 8:42 pm

Good job on reviving this topic that it seems many of us missed the first time around.
This is a very difficult question. I think at this point off the top of my head it would be.

Akira Yoshimura : Shipwrecks
Sawako Ariyoshi : The Twilight Years
Shohei Ooka : Fires on the Plain

But truly this is an impossible question and this leaves out so many amazing books that it's unfair.

May 6, 2021, 10:09 pm

I have too many favourites, so I've chosen 3 books which have recently made me cry! I don't know why I chose this category, but it helps to narrow down the list.

Shun Medoruma : L' âme de Kôtarô contemplait la mer From what I can see, I don't think that this particular title has been translated into English, although many of his other stories and books are available in English.

Yasunari Kawabata : First Snow on Fuji
Shigeru Mizuki : Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths

There are a few authors mentioned above that I'm not familiar with, so thanks for the idea of this thread.

Edited: Jul 27, 2021, 9:53 am

This message has been deleted by its author.

Dec 22, 2021, 2:30 am

>11 SqueakyChu:
Shipwrecks: Yes! So good.
The Ark Sakura as another of your favorites! Wow! I hated that one! I love Kobo Abe but I think that is his worst book. What made you like it so much?

Edited: Dec 22, 2021, 10:37 am

>12 lilisin: LOL! I loved the experience of reading that book. Read my review...

My second favorite by Abe was The Woman in the Dunes.

The book by Abe with which I had the most trouble was The Box Man.

>7 lilisin:. Sawako Ariyoshi : The Twilight Years

Yeah. I loved that one as well.

Dec 23, 2021, 12:09 am

> 13

See my ranking of Abe from favorite to least would be:
The Box Man
The Face of Another
Secret Rendezvous
Kangaroo Notebook
The Ark Sakura

I don't know where to place The Woman in the Dunes because I read it too long ago and don't remember it at all. Need to reread it so I can rank it. I have The Ruined Map as the next Abe on my TBR. Then I'll only have Inter Ice Age 4 to read and then his debut novella (the one that one the Akutagawa Prize) that hasn't been translated so need to read in Japanese.

Edited: Dec 23, 2021, 12:30 am

>14 lilisin: That’s so funny that your rankings are the opposite of mine! :)

I very much enjoyed both The Face of Another and Secret Rendevous, but I haven’t read Kangaroo Notebook yet.

All of Abe’s books are so strange but very much fun to read.

Edited: Dec 1, 2023, 6:51 am

>1 signature103: I have just joined this group so apologies for the late response! In no order,

1. Kokoro - Natsume Soseki
2. Rain in the Wind - Saiichi Maruya
3. No Longer Human - Osamu Dazai

Kokoro I read this year. The other two 25 years ago or so and don't remember too much about them particularly Rain in the Wind, I just remember the atmosphere it left me with. There has been a long hiatus in my Japanese literature reading.

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, which I also read this year, deserves a mention too.

Interesting to see Shipwrecks listed so many times. I have this on my TBR pile - it may well get promoted and read next. It's also interesting to see how little Murakami shows up given he is all the rage these days.

Dec 8, 2023, 2:10 pm

Finished Shipwrecks today. It won't make it into my top three but it was a very good read. The way the book ended was really well done. I will seek out other books by Akira Yoshimura.

Dec 11, 2023, 3:05 am

>17 Pendrainllwyn:

He doesn't have many books translated into English but his On Parole is also very interesting and heartbreaking although in a very different way.

Dec 11, 2023, 10:02 am

>18 lilisin: Thank you. I ordered On Parole shortly after finishing Shipwrecks. One Man's Justice too.

Dec 11, 2023, 11:24 am

>19 Pendrainllwyn: One Man's Justice and On Parole are both good too. I'd stay clear of Storm Rider, there is something very off with this one in English. Either the writing didn't lend itself to translation very well or the translator was just too literal with certain sections. Reads nothing like his other much better works.

Dec 11, 2023, 3:10 pm

>20 stretch: Thank you for the warning. I came close to ordering Storm Rider. Will give it a wide berth. So much else to read.

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