August 22, 2019, 04:03:09 AM

Author Topic: Novels about Japan  (Read 5949 times)

Offline JMack

  • Hircum Magna Rex of the Fabled Atku Temple, and writing contest regular
  • Writing Group
  • Ringbearer
  • *****
  • Posts: 6931
  • Total likes: 4722
  • Gender: Male
  • Our daily efforts are love poems to the universe.
    • View Profile
    • Tales of Starlit Lands
Novels about Japan
« on: February 04, 2015, 12:30:55 PM »
I still have never tried sushi, but I enjoy Japanese art:



I enjoy anime, but I adore Studio Gibli:



But let's talk books, and I don't mean manga or Shogun.
Here are two books set in Japan that I've really enjoyed:

The Teahouse Fire, by Ellis Avery.  I listened to it as a book on tape, as did my mom and her partner, and that really worked.  It's a bit slow, but the audio book approach fixed that for me.

The Sound of Waves, by that nutcase Yukio Mishima.  Lovely book.
I took a course in college called "A Novel Approach to Geography" in which we read books set in different countries, and written by indigenous authors.  We then had to do a project.  We had read The Sound of Waves, so I found a short film written by, directed by and starring Mishima concerning a Japanese army officer who commits sepuku with his wife, all to the soundtrack of Wagner's liebestod (love death, roughly) from Tristan and Isolde.  A number of the students had to leave the classroom during the showing of the film.   8)  Of course, Mishima did exactly that: led a psychotic little revolt against the Japanese government and then committed suicide.  Not sure about the wife, though.

Okay, getting to the point.  Other Japanese novels to read?


Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
www.starlit-lands.com

Offline Eclipse

  • Warning: this topic has not been posted in for at least 120 days.
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4180
  • Total likes: 2080
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Novels about Japan
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2015, 09:06:23 AM »
I've got two on my TBR pile but there both fantasy sorry and one's an urban fantasy hopefully someone else can do better  :)

Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori #1) by Lian Hearn

In his black-walled fortress at Inuyama, the warlord Iida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of each human foot. No assassin can cross it unheard.

The youth Takeo has been brought up in a remote mountain village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people who have taught him only the ways of peace. But unbeknownst to him, his father was a celebrated assassin and a member of the Tribe, an ancient network of families with extraordinary, preternatural skills. When Takeo's village is pillaged, he is rescued and adopted by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru. Under the tutelage of Shigeru, he learns that he too possesses the skills of the Tribe. And, with this knowledge, he embarks on a journey that will lead him across the famed nightingale floor—and to his own unimaginable destiny...

An international bestseller, Across the Nightingale Floor is the first book in the Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn.

Daughter of the Sword (Fated Blades #1) by Steve Bein

Mariko Oshiro is not your average Tokyo cop. As the only female detective in the city’s most elite police unit, she has to fight for every ounce of respect, especially from her new boss. While she wants to track down a rumored cocaine shipment, he gives her the least promising case possible. But the case—the attempted theft of an old samurai sword—proves more dangerous than anyone on the force could have imagined.

The owner of the sword, Professor Yasuo Yamada, says it was crafted by the legendary Master Inazuma, a sword smith whose blades are rumored to have magical qualities. The man trying to steal it already owns another Inazuma—one whose deadly power eventually comes to control all who wield it. Or so says Yamada, and though he has studied swords and swordsmanship all his life, Mariko isn’t convinced.

But Mariko’s skepticism hardly matters. Her investigation has put her on a collision course with a curse centuries old and as bloodthirsty as ever. She is only the latest in a long line of warriors and soldiers to confront this power, and even the sword she learns to wield could turn against her. 
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline Eclipse

  • Warning: this topic has not been posted in for at least 120 days.
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4180
  • Total likes: 2080
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Novels about Japan
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2015, 09:09:03 AM »
oh and Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) by Jay Kristoff Steampunk

One girl and a griffin against an empire.

Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shõgun, they fear that their lives are over – everyone knows what happens to those who fail the Lord of the Shima Isles. But the mission proves less impossible and more deadly than anyone expects. Soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country's last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. Although she can hear his thoughts, and saved his life, all she knows for certain is he'd rather see her dead than help her. Yet trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and the beast soon discover a bond that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on collapse. A toxic fuel is choking the land, the machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure, and the Shõgun cares for nothing but his own dominion. Authority has always made Yukiko, but her world changes when she meets Kin, a young man with secrets, and the rebel Kagé cabal. She learns the horrifying extent of the Shõgun's crimes, both against her country and her family.

Returning to the city, Yukiko is determined to make the Shõgun pay – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline JMack

  • Hircum Magna Rex of the Fabled Atku Temple, and writing contest regular
  • Writing Group
  • Ringbearer
  • *****
  • Posts: 6931
  • Total likes: 4722
  • Gender: Male
  • Our daily efforts are love poems to the universe.
    • View Profile
    • Tales of Starlit Lands
Re: Novels about Japan
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2015, 11:21:20 AM »
Thanks, Eclipse. I've read the Nightingale floor, but others are new to me.


Meanwhile, I've rememvered a suspense novel, The 47th Samurai.  Will add picture and text later.
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
www.starlit-lands.com

Offline Mr.J

  • Anus Dracula formerly known as Arse Demon and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Gentleman Bastard
  • *****
  • Posts: 1652
  • Total likes: 1113
  • Gender: Male
  • Tweedy impertinence
    • View Profile
Re: Novels about Japan
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2015, 03:10:27 PM »
Murakami's a must really.

Having only introduced myself to his writing recently from the little I have experience and know from what others say his books are very hard to pin down.
They're vaguely fantastical, slightly sci-fi, magic realism as well as a portrait of Japanese lives.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki is I think a good entry level Murakami, it's shorter and more grounded in realism (kind of) than the others.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is the next on my list, Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World will also be attempted.

However I tried to read 1Q84 and it melted my brain (i was in a stressed out place, probably the wrong book to read at the time! I will try it again at some point).

See also: Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore the former was made into a film. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1270842/
« Last Edit: March 10, 2015, 03:12:51 PM by Mr.J »

Offline Lady Ty

  • Blessed River Lady and Defender of Baby Dragons
  • Ta'veren
  • **
  • Posts: 3450
  • Total likes: 2908
  • Gender: Female
  • So-Old-That-She-Can-Nearly-Be-Called-Oldest-Ty
    • View Profile
Re: Novels about Japan
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2015, 09:14:10 AM »
I recommend the novel A Time for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. It isn't SF or fantasy and takes a while to get into, but well worth sticking with.  Starts with the diaries of a Japanese schoolgirl being washed up on a beach in British Columbia, part of tsunami debris, and read by a writer who is isolated there with her husband. He is an ocean conservationist working on the problem of these great drifts of debris and huge plastic rubbish collections floating around the globe.

The story explores some of life and problems in modern day high achievement oriented Japan, but also goes back to some very disturbing and brutal truths about the heroic kamikaze pilots of WW2. It was an eye opener in many ways, not a comfortable read but one I wouldn't have missed.   This is a very brief description, just to give you an idea, but there is so much in the book as a whole to enjoy, shock or leave you thinking about. The writing is excellent, and if you can get hold of the audiobook read by the author herself it is even better.
“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 
Leigh Bardugo, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Offline JMack

  • Hircum Magna Rex of the Fabled Atku Temple, and writing contest regular
  • Writing Group
  • Ringbearer
  • *****
  • Posts: 6931
  • Total likes: 4722
  • Gender: Male
  • Our daily efforts are love poems to the universe.
    • View Profile
    • Tales of Starlit Lands
Re: Novels about Japan
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2015, 01:50:11 PM »
I recommend the novel A Time for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. It isn't SF or fantasy and takes a while to get into, but well worth sticking with.  Starts with the diaries of a Japanese schoolgirl being washed up on a beach in British Columbia, part of tsunami debris, and read by a writer who is isolated there with her husband. He is an ocean conservationist working on the problem of these great drifts of debris and huge plastic rubbish collections floating around the globe.

The story explores some of life and problems in modern day high achievement oriented Japan, but also goes back to some very disturbing and brutal truths about the heroic kamikaze pilots of WW2. It was an eye opener in many ways, not a comfortable read but one I wouldn't have missed.   This is a very brief description, just to give you an idea, but there is so much in the book as a whole to enjoy, shock or leave you thinking about. The writing is excellent, and if you can get hold of the audiobook read by the author herself it is even better.
Thanks!
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
www.starlit-lands.com

Offline Rostum

Re: Novels about Japan
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2015, 11:03:35 PM »
Have a look at the emporers general by James Web. A well written fiction of Japans surrender in 1945.

Offline Lady Ty

  • Blessed River Lady and Defender of Baby Dragons
  • Ta'veren
  • **
  • Posts: 3450
  • Total likes: 2908
  • Gender: Female
  • So-Old-That-She-Can-Nearly-Be-Called-Oldest-Ty
    • View Profile
Re: Novels about Japan
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2015, 01:34:45 AM »
Forgot to mention ATFtTB does have some very humourous moments as well, may have made it sound all too gloomy. :)
“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 
Leigh Bardugo, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

NoteSpelling

  • Guest
Re: Novels about Japan
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2016, 04:56:47 PM »
I know this is an old topic but I do know some really good books set in Japan.... The best ones would be -

Shibumi
by Trevanian
It is about Nicholai Hel who is an assassin. Born in Shanghai in the 1930s and raised in a cosmopolitan fashion by his mother, a deposed member of the Russian aristocracy and a general in the Japanese Imperial Army who has been billeted in Nicholai's mansion. Under the general, Hel is introduced to the concept of shibumi and the game Go, eventually being sent to Japan, where he trains under a famous master of the game and becomes 'culturally Japanese'.

When Japan surrenders in 1945, Hel, after long months of hunger, finds (thanks to his knowledge of many languages) a job as an interpreter in the US Occupation Army and becomes a decoder agent in United States Intelligence.

The Sano Ichiro series by Laura Joh Rowland
Sano Ichiro is a a samurai and minor official in Edo Japan in the 1600's. When he is given a murder that he is not meant to solve he risks everything and rises through the ranks to become the Shoguns trusted chief investigator and the man that is wanted dead by the power behind the throne.

The Nicholas Linnear series by Eric Van Lustbader
Set I dunno when, Linner is a man torn between the east and the west being half Japanese and half Western. He must decide what side he is to fight for in the come war.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 04:58:43 PM by NoteSpelling »

Offline JMack

  • Hircum Magna Rex of the Fabled Atku Temple, and writing contest regular
  • Writing Group
  • Ringbearer
  • *****
  • Posts: 6931
  • Total likes: 4722
  • Gender: Male
  • Our daily efforts are love poems to the universe.
    • View Profile
    • Tales of Starlit Lands
Re: Novels about Japan
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2016, 02:21:43 AM »
I remember shibumi having a big cave spelunking scene. Trevanian also wrote the eiger sanction, which features maintain climbing. Interesting books.
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
www.starlit-lands.com

Offline Elfy

  • Writing contest regular
  • Powers That Be
  • Big Wee Hag
  • *
  • Posts: 7153
  • Total likes: 738
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • Purple Dove House
Re: Novels about Japan
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2016, 03:32:55 AM »
Parts of Palimpsest by Cat Valente are set in Japan. And like all of Cat Valente's work it's well worth the time spent reading it.
I will expand your TBR pile.

http://purpledovehouse.blogspot.com

NoteSpelling

  • Guest
Re: Novels about Japan
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2016, 01:43:50 PM »
I remember shibumi having a big cave spelunking scene. Trevanian also wrote the eiger sanction, which features maintain climbing. Interesting books.

They are! I enjoyed then immensely when I read both Shibumi and the Eiger Sanction novels last year. 

Offline Shay_Fox

  • Builder
  • ******
  • Posts: 111
  • Total likes: 16
  • Gender: Female
  • I am me loving and caring.. I love to making since
    • View Profile
Re: Novels about Japan
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2016, 10:27:32 PM »
The Sound of the Mountain is a novel by Nobel Prize winning writer Yasunari Kawabata. In this novel, Ogata Shingo is a man in his sixties who is beginning to feel the edge of his mortality. Shingo becomes obsessed with his memories and the legacy he will leave behind when he dies. While consumed with memories of the sister of his wife, a woman with whom he was once madly in love, Shingo finds himself growing closer to the young woman who is his son's wife. A complicated situation emerges, causing Shingo to question his own actions in regards to the disaster that has become of both his children's marriages. The Sound of the Mountain is a novel of mortality and the legacy each living being leaves behind upon his death.

Its really a owsome novel.