Articles tagged "Japanese Literature"


Spirit Summoning, Part VI

The next time we met, Yoko pretended that the Shikoku conversation had never happened. Following her lead, I didn’t bring it up either. After the summoning job was done, Yoko turned to me. “I’m…...

Spirit Summoning, Part V

Yoko asked my name. Usually I’d stop and think about it, make a point of recalling the name. This time I decided not to. I didn’t think, didn’t search for the name. Didn’t try to…...

Spirit Summoning, Part III

My mother’s always been selfish and immature. She could be frustrating and drive me crazy from time to time but even I knew that there’s no such thing as a “perfect parent.” In…...

Spirit Summoning, Part I

How much longer until we got there? The road was ridiculously wide. Empty but for a thick carpet of weeds, the plains on either side stretched into the distance with not so much as a single house to be…...

Translator Relay: Alfred Birnbaum

Our "Translator Relay" series features a new interview each month. This month's translator will choose the next interviewee, adding a different, sixth question. Stephen Snyder passed the baton to freelance…...

Translator Relay: Stephen Snyder

Our "Translator Relay" series features a new interview each month. This month's translator will choose the next interviewee, adding a different, sixth question. John Balcom passed the baton to Japanese…...

On Bugs and Buttons: Translating “Ladybirds’ Requiem”

It's not just the dearth of young girls in sailor uniforms with big eyes, tiny noses, and hair so long as to render actual movement nearly impossible that separates Akino Kondoh's work from that…...

Translation Roundup

READ Honors and Awards Congratulations to Sharon Olds, this year's winner of the UK's TS Eliot Prize, for her poetry collection Stag's Leap! Check out the International Prize for Arabic…...

The Real, the Familiar: An Introduction

Tokyo was unnervingly cool and pleasant early in July. The rainy season had only just begun, and yet, after a single, massive, unseasonal typhoon, there was no rain for at least a week. The peculiarity…...

That Morning, When It

Tokyo Metropolitan Highway No. 14 is less congested at 4 a.m. than it is during the day. And with fewer lights to get stuck behind at this hour, people tend to drive fast too. As I inhaled the smog-infected…...

From the Archives: Ghosts on the Bridge

As a transition between the two parts of our double issue of Japanese writing, you might want to revisit Michael Emmerich’s essay "Beyond Between: Translations, Ghosts, Metaphors," from our May 2009…...

The Decline and Fall of a Translator’s Brain

Just when you think you’ve figured out what is going on in the Toh Enjoe story “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Galactic Empire,” you trip on another oblique reference to some…...

The Reality of Dreams: An Introduction

A little more than a year has passed since a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck forty-two miles off the coast of northeastern Japan, raising a tsunami that swelled as high as 131 feet in places and left nearly…...

The Hole in the Garden, Part III

“Hello?” There was no answer. I put the phone back down. I turned to go back to the kitchen and it rang again. I picked it up, wordlessly this time. Again nothing. As soon as I hung up it rang…...

The Hole in the Garden, Part II

The woman showed up exactly one month to the day after the pigʼs arrival. I had just finished cleaning the house and was thinking about feeding the pig before I started waxing the floors when the…...

Japan, One Year Later

On March 11, 2011, the Tōhoku region of northeastern Japan was rocked by a violent earthquake and tsunami that triggered an accident at a nuclear power plant. We mark the anniversary…...

Do Not Tremble

It trembles It is trembling again today I did not know that the earth Is an unruly cradle  A cruel cradle that lets Neither adult nor child sleep   It is March, it is spring It should be a gentle…...

The Hole in the Garden, Part I

I stared up at the moon, large and round in the sky, clenching a fistful of pebbles. I donʼt know what time it was. I suppose it must have been around midnight. Just beyond the cinder-block wall all…...

The Navidad Incident: The Downfall of Matías Guili

The Navidad Incident takes place in the fictional South Sea island republic of Navidad. The novel opens as a delegation of Japanese war veterans pays an official visit to the ex-World War II colony, only…...

Shigeru Mizuki’s “Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths”

The Japanese story form known as manga—with its extended plotlines and distinct pictorial style—falls somewhere between graphic novel and comic book. Widely read in Japan, where it is a $4…...

I am I

I know who I am Now I am here I might disappear at any moment But even if I do I am still I The truth is that not being I would be fine too I am to some extent a blade of grass Perhaps to some extent a…...

Director’s Notes on “Sway”

I based my first film on a dream. A dream also inspired my second film, made three years later. Through a gloomy thicket in the shadows of a tree bathed in white light, I witnessed a scene still clearly…...

The Last Picture Show

I’d just come up to Tokyo from a Kyushu port town that had a U.S. military base and was living with some friends in a crummy little apartment in a wooden building north of Inokashira Park. These…...

Narcissus

I read “On the Conduct of Lord Tadanao” when I was thirteen or fourteen, and though I’ve not had an opportunity to reread it since, I still remember the plot some twenty years later.…...

The Kiso Wayfarer

You know, Karuizawa at the time was a veritable ghost town. It was autumn of Meiji 24 (1891), and the area appeared to be at the height of decline. At any rate, the once thriving post town on the Nakasendo…...

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