japan

Pachinko

By Min Jin Lee
5
Rated by Caitlin T.
Apr 24, 2020

International historical fiction is not my typical genre, but Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko swept me off my feet. This epic Korean family story starts in the late 1800’s and spans all the way to the late 1980’s. The unifying thread of the tale is Sunja, a resourceful and headstrong woman who has to repeatedly prove her convictions and loyalties through life’s many tests.

Born to a disabled father in Korea, society held low expectations for Sunja. As a teenager, she finds herself falling for the genuine affection of an older, well-off Japanese businessman who she thinks intends to marry her. When

The Handmaiden

By Park Chan-wook
5
Rated by Zachary C
Jun 8, 2018

The Handmaiden, a Korean film adaptation of the novel Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, is the newest film from one of the most daring directors in cinema.

The plot follows a Korean woman hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress as part of a plot to defraud her of her wealth. It is a classic con, but is subject to a bevy of twists and turns, as the handmaiden develops feelings for her mark and everyone has their own designs on the situation.

Misdirection is accentuated as the movie replays many of the major plot points from alternating perspectives: the heiress, the handmaiden, and the con

The Buddha in the Attic

By Julie Otsuka
2
Rated by Sam S.
Jul 19, 2017

The Buddha in the Attic is a short novel depicting the lives and struggles of Japanese mail-order brides arriving in America in the years leading up to World War II. It is not one central story that follows a single character--or even a few. Instead, the author uses the first person plural narrative style (through the use of "we" and "our") to tell the stories of countless, mostly nameless women. The narrative begins on the boats, as the young girls share their dreams for the unknown future, and continues with their lives in America as they struggle to adapt to a new land and a new language

Kafka on the Shore

By Haruki Murakami
4
Rated by Megan C.
Jan 5, 2016

Haruki Murakami is not for everyone, but he’s one of my favorite authors. His indescribable blend of post modernism, magic realism, and surrealism set in his native Japan never fail to provoke rumination on topics ranging from existential to mundane. This novel is translated by the prize-winning J. Philip Gabriel.

Many of Murakami’s protagonists are shy, inward-turning souls seeking something beyond their present circumstances. Kafka on the Shore centers around Kafka Tamura, a 15-year-old who has decided to abandon his home and make it on his own. He is warned by a sort of alter ego, a boy

Take Me Out to the Yakyu

By Aaron Meshon
5
Rated by Hilary S.
Jan 30, 2014

 

My daughters and I found this book especially fun to read. We all enjoy baseball, but we also love to learn about Japan (we have family there). My girls love learning words in Japanese, besides the fun comparisons on each page of differences between Japan and America. The art is funky and and exciting. - See more at: http://jocolibrary.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1226618036_take_me_out_t…

 

Mar 11, 2010

tokyozodiac1.JPGThe Tokyo Zodiac Murders is an interesting mystery set in Japan. The introductory portion of the book contains some heavy imagery, so be forewarned. This is not a 'cozy' mystery. While reading the introductory chapter, I couldn't figure out where the mystery was going to come in to play. Afterall, here the book is laying out what is going to happen. Or so I thought. The author writes the book in portions and lays out all the clues to the murder mystery for the reader. You are supposed to try and solve it before the book tells you who committed the crimes. In fact, the author breaks in a couple