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Post Reply Japanese Literature
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25 / M / Toronto
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Posted 7/7/13 , edited 7/7/13
Edit: Japanese Literature.

This sub-forum is dead/dying. That's terrible!

Has anybody read anything by Osamu Dazai, Natsume Soseki, Ryonosuke Akutagawa or Masuki Ibuse?

Thoughts? Discussions?
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46 / M / KC
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Posted 7/8/13
I'm slowly working my way up to it. I've read some of the authors you listed in this collection:
http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-into-Japanese-Literature-Classics/dp/1568364156

I rather enjoyed Soseki. I tried reading some of Botchan, but my vocab isn't up to the task just yet.
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Posted 7/9/13

deadpanditto wrote:

I'm slowly working my way up to it. I've read some of the authors you listed in this collection:
http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-into-Japanese-Literature-Classics/dp/1568364156

I rather enjoyed Soseki. I tried reading some of Botchan, but my vocab isn't up to the task just yet.


At least you've given it a go. I mean look at the other threads in this forum. Eugh. 'What is a good teen book?'

What the hell is a teen book?
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Posted 7/9/13

Squisky wrote:


deadpanditto wrote:

I'm slowly working my way up to it. I've read some of the authors you listed in this collection:
http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-into-Japanese-Literature-Classics/dp/1568364156

I rather enjoyed Soseki. I tried reading some of Botchan, but my vocab isn't up to the task just yet.


At least you've given it a go. I mean look at the other threads in this forum. Eugh. 'What is a good teen book?'

What the hell is a teen book?


Hey! There are some good teen books. Technically "The Hobbit" would be one. :)

But I get your point.
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Posted 7/10/13

deadpanditto wrote:


Squisky wrote:


deadpanditto wrote:

I'm slowly working my way up to it. I've read some of the authors you listed in this collection:
http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-into-Japanese-Literature-Classics/dp/1568364156

I rather enjoyed Soseki. I tried reading some of Botchan, but my vocab isn't up to the task just yet.


At least you've given it a go. I mean look at the other threads in this forum. Eugh. 'What is a good teen book?'

What the hell is a teen book?


Hey! There are some good teen books. Technically "The Hobbit" would be one. :)

But I get your point. :)


I have a confession; I don't read fiction very much. In fact, the only bit of English fiction I've read since high school was, The Count of Monte Christo. My shelf is full of history, memoirs and philosophy.
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Posted 7/10/13

Squisky wrote:


deadpanditto wrote:

I'm slowly working my way up to it. I've read some of the authors you listed in this collection:
http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-into-Japanese-Literature-Classics/dp/1568364156

I rather enjoyed Soseki. I tried reading some of Botchan, but my vocab isn't up to the task just yet.


At least you've given it a go. I mean look at the other threads in this forum. Eugh. 'What is a good teen book?'

What the hell is a teen book?


I'm actually doing a master's in publishing - a teen book (young adult lit or YA lit) is generally a book about teenagers written for teenagers, though a lot of non-teenagers read them. Lately, a lot of books published 10+ years ago have been re-categorized as YA/teen, like Ender's Game and The Hobbit, though Ender's Game was published originally for an adult audience and The Hobbit was published as a children's book.

But, just as a side note... it's probably better not to condescend to something people are interested in, especially if you're not even sure what it is or what it's about. I mean, aren't we all here because we like things and want to find other things to check out?
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Posted 7/11/13

fcasano wrote:


Squisky wrote:


deadpanditto wrote:

I'm slowly working my way up to it. I've read some of the authors you listed in this collection:
http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-into-Japanese-Literature-Classics/dp/1568364156

I rather enjoyed Soseki. I tried reading some of Botchan, but my vocab isn't up to the task just yet.


At least you've given it a go. I mean look at the other threads in this forum. Eugh. 'What is a good teen book?'

What the hell is a teen book?


I'm actually doing a master's in publishing - a teen book (young adult lit or YA lit) is generally a book about teenagers written for teenagers, though a lot of non-teenagers read them. Lately, a lot of books published 10+ years ago have been re-categorized as YA/teen, like Ender's Game and The Hobbit, though Ender's Game was published originally for an adult audience and The Hobbit was published as a children's book.

But, just as a side note... it's probably better not to condescend to something people are interested in, especially if you're not even sure what it is or what it's about. I mean, aren't we all here because we like things and want to find other things to check out?


I do realise that sounded condescending. Apologies.

The teen market is a big demographic, not many readers among them though. The concensus seems to be, 'I hate books'.

Do you know why books are re-classified?
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Posted 7/11/13

fcasano wrote:

Actually, the YA market is the largest-growing - just consider that over the past five to ten years, the people who bought and read Harry Potter became teenagers. Popular consensus seems to have moved from "I hate books" to "I hate books that aren't popular."

And books are normally reclassified to make money, mainly because YA is such a big thing. At least in the US, which is where I live. For example, we have Battle Royale in the sci-fi section AND in the YA section. I also work at a bookstore, and we we actually get a huge variety of people buying YA: I had an old man buy Unwind and some parent buying The Hunger Games for their kid (which is really inappropriate, but I'd get fired for saying that.)


I agree with all of this, but I'll respond more thoroughly in the Teen books thread.
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Posted 7/11/13

Squisky wrote:
It makes sense that you would have up to date data. That's interesting though. Can't say I'm disappointed, we'll have more readers. Also, parents buy their kids inappropriate things all the time anyway. Video games, movies etc.



I'm just of the belief that there are things, no matter how popular, that are conceptually difficult for people to understand. For a long time, certain types or aspects of anime were conceptually beyond me because I lacked basic understanding of Japanese culture - there were things I didn't really get about anime, like why the characters with moms who worked seemed to have "weird" families, that sort of thing. I'd never buy a book like BR for my 8-year-old. But I might be old-fashioned...
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Posted 7/11/13

fcasano wrote:


Squisky wrote:
It makes sense that you would have up to date data. That's interesting though. Can't say I'm disappointed, we'll have more readers. Also, parents buy their kids inappropriate things all the time anyway. Video games, movies etc.



I'm just of the belief that there are things, no matter how popular, that are conceptually difficult for people to understand. For a long time, certain types or aspects of anime were conceptually beyond me because I lacked basic understanding of Japanese culture - there were things I didn't really get about anime, like why the characters with moms who worked seemed to have "weird" families, that sort of thing. I'd never buy a book like BR for my 8-year-old. But I might be old-fashioned...


Mm. There's no need for a kid to be exposed to heavy content until their brain can discern real vs. fake better. I wish more people understood that. It's not even about being old fashioned. It comes down to sensibility.
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Posted 7/18/13 , edited 7/18/13
Big fan of Akutagawa and Dazai. Overally don't read as much Japanese literature as I'd like to; need to get on that.
Sixx7 
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Posted 7/31/13

fcasano wrote:


Squisky wrote:
It makes sense that you would have up to date data. That's interesting though. Can't say I'm disappointed, we'll have more readers. Also, parents buy their kids inappropriate things all the time anyway. Video games, movies etc.



I'm just of the belief that there are things, no matter how popular, that are conceptually difficult for people to understand. For a long time, certain types or aspects of anime were conceptually beyond me because I lacked basic understanding of Japanese culture - there were things I didn't really get about anime, like why the characters with moms who worked seemed to have "weird" families, that sort of thing. I'd never buy a book like BR for my 8-year-old. But I might be old-fashioned...


I agree with this sentiment. Every culture has their own viewpoints and especially with comedy, some things will translate better than others. I would almost say that if you want to jump into Eastern literature, you should look into tragedies before you look up something humorous. Most tragic themes are universal but comedy...not so much.

Eastern storytelling is very unique in its style. Even watching Japanese films, I noticed that the way films are done is very different compared to Western films: there's more emphasis on faraway shots while in America, we love to get close-ups of everyone's face so we can really see their inner turmoil. I've only just started to read translated novels but already I notice that, like most Japanese films, the stories are very inner monologue-heavy and when it's not monologue-heavy, it's almost jarringly distant from the characters. You read the story as if you're a God, unable to do anything but watch in horror as the tragic events unfold. But I really like what I've read so far.

Has anyone read anything by Haruki Murakami? My friend loaned me her copy of 1Q84 and it's excellent. She also told me to check out another book by him titled, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle . Apparently the second book is significantly better. But the one I'm reading now, while insanely long, is a really interesting story that follows two different people. If I say anything more, it'll spoil the story but trust me, it's worth checking out.
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Posted 8/2/13

Sixx7 wrote:


fcasano wrote:


Squisky wrote:
It makes sense that you would have up to date data. That's interesting though. Can't say I'm disappointed, we'll have more readers. Also, parents buy their kids inappropriate things all the time anyway. Video games, movies etc.



I'm just of the belief that there are things, no matter how popular, that are conceptually difficult for people to understand. For a long time, certain types or aspects of anime were conceptually beyond me because I lacked basic understanding of Japanese culture - there were things I didn't really get about anime, like why the characters with moms who worked seemed to have "weird" families, that sort of thing. I'd never buy a book like BR for my 8-year-old. But I might be old-fashioned...


I agree with this sentiment. Every culture has their own viewpoints and especially with comedy, some things will translate better than others. I would almost say that if you want to jump into Eastern literature, you should look into tragedies before you look up something humorous. Most tragic themes are universal but comedy...not so much.

Eastern storytelling is very unique in its style. Even watching Japanese films, I noticed that the way films are done is very different compared to Western films: there's more emphasis on faraway shots while in America, we love to get close-ups of everyone's face so we can really see their inner turmoil. I've only just started to read translated novels but already I notice that, like most Japanese films, the stories are very inner monologue-heavy and when it's not monologue-heavy, it's almost jarringly distant from the characters. You read the story as if you're a God, unable to do anything but watch in horror as the tragic events unfold. But I really like what I've read so far.

Has anyone read anything by Haruki Murakami? My friend loaned me her copy of 1Q84 and it's excellent. She also told me to check out another book by him titled, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle . Apparently the second book is significantly better. But the one I'm reading now, while insanely long, is a really interesting story that follows two different people. If I say anything more, it'll spoil the story but trust me, it's worth checking out.


Uwah. I cannot wait to get my hands on some Haruki Murakami. I love every edition I've seen of 1Q84 (I'm a total book nerd, especially about book design; last time I went to a store with a friend, I literally went through the shelves, picking up books and stroking the matte finish on the covers.) The 3-book 1Q84 in English is my favorite, and it looks much more manageable than the one-volume tome. I've heard Wind-Up Bird and Kafka are both really good, and apparently 1Q84 is so literary it gets a bit boring.
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Posted 8/5/13
I read a translation of Oe Kenzaburo's A Personal Matter back in high school, but I think I was a little young to really understand it at the time. In the past few years, I've been reading primarily untranslated works, so I've read more short stories, since they're less daunting than a novel. Some of my favorites are Atouda Takashi's "Yume Handan" ("Dream Judgement"), Murakami Haruki's "Kouri Otoko" ("Ice Man"), and Yoshimoto Banana's "Shinkon-san" ("Newlywed"). While I couldn't really get into Natsume Souseki's Wagahai wa Neko de Aru (I Am a Cat), it's opening line still sticks in my head as one of the greatest opening lines I have ever read.
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Posted 8/19/13 , edited 8/19/13
I took an Asian Lit class recently and really fell in love with Murakami's Kafka on the Shore. Keep meaning to read more, but I'm currently obsessing over Lovecraft when I read. Definitely want to read more Murakami and wouldn't mind poking at some of the other authors some more either.
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