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Japan

Portraits of Yoko Tawada and Margaret Mitsutani
The National Book Award Interviews: Yoko Tawada & Margaret Mitsutani
By the Editors
“We’re living in a world where both languages and people are constantly in flux. In this novel, I wanted to focus on a small group of people making their way through that world.”
The covers of all the books featured in the list
12 Global Children’s Books for History Lovers
By Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp
In celebration of #WorldKidLitMonth, Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp recommends 12 international books for young readers with an interest in world history.
two rows of people playing pachinko
Tischbeinahe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The Pachinko Parlor
By Elisa Shua Dusapin
“Do you know what your grandmother’s mother did to avoid being subjected to speaking Japanese at school? She sliced off part of her own tongue.”
Translated from French by Aneesa Abbas Higgins
The covers of The King of India, Dogs of Summer, Yoga, Three Streets, Boulder, and A Summer Day...
The Watchlist: August 2022
By Tobias Carroll
Tobias Carroll recommends new and exciting books in translation from Lebanon, China, Spain, Japan, and France.
The covers of the books featured in the Watchlist: The Blunder, Carnality, Of Saints and Miracles,...
The Watchlist: July 2022
By Tobias Carroll
Tobias Carroll recommends exciting new books from Cameroon, Mexico, Japan, Spain, Sweden, and Kazakhstan.
The book covers of At the Edge of the Woods, When Women Kill, People from Bloomington, Let Us Believe...
The Watchlist: April 2022
By Tobias Carroll
Tobias Carroll recommends noteworthy new books translated from Ukrainian, Indonesian, Persian, Japanese, and Spanish.
The book covers of Policing the City, Scattered All Over the Earth, Palestine +100, The Way Spring...
The Watchlist: March 2022
By Tobias Carroll
Tobias Carroll recommends noteworthy new books translated from Arabic, Chinese, Danish, French, and Japanese.
The Watchlist: January 2022
By Tobias Carroll
Tobias Carroll recommends exciting new books in translation from Mexico, Norway, Haiti, Argentina, and Japan.
A Japanese Lesson
By Silvana Paternostro
When do the provocative girlie girls turn into discreet wives who put on conservative dresses?
In Praise of the Nude Body
By Mutsuo Takahashi
They’re as naked as the day they were born
Translated from Japanese by Jeffrey Angles
Gifts
By Mutsuo Takahashi
The wisdom gathered from those wanderings is far deeper / Than that of ancient Greece
Translated from Japanese by Jeffrey Angles
What We Lost: COVID-19 Beyond the Numbers
By Hideo Furukawa & Kathleen McCaul Moura
What has the coronavirus taken from us? We need to answer this in a way that isn’t expressed through numbers.
Translated from Japanese by David Boyd
Deceptive Simplicity: International Children’s Literature
By Daniel Hahn
I often feel that adults forget what children’s stories are capable of.
Firstclaw
By Sachiko Kashiwaba
Firstclaw’s love spells were rumored to be unusually effective.
Translated from Japanese by Avery Fischer Udagawa
Forced Confessions: On True Crime Writing
By Susan Harris
The pieces here map the translation of event into prose—the creation of true crime writing.
The Sixth Victim
By Shōko Egawa
It all began about the time that the men and women were finishing their first drinks.
Translated from Japanese by David Boyd
Salam
By Shirin Nezammafi
They were the hands of someone who had never heard of hand cream.
Translated from Japanese by Aoi Matsushima
From Rainbow Bird
By Shun Medoruma
Even after the credits stopped rolling and the blue government warning turned into a blizzard of static, Katsuya kept staring at the screen, a vague grin on his face.
Translated from Japanese by Sam Malissa
Beyond the Circle: Minority Voices of Japan
By Sam Bett
What these authors share, as insiders to the Japanese language, is a firsthand perspective on a culture whose monoethnic self-image often excludes them by default.
Tokyo Ueno Station
By Yu Miri
My reticence and my incompetence troubled me more than my appearance, but most intolerable was my unluckiness.
Translated from Japanese by Morgan Giles
Flight: An International Exquisite Corpse
By Pema Bhum, Claudia Salazar Jiménez, Krys Lee, and Kanako Nishi
Four writer/translator teams work together to create a single story in multiple languages.
Translated by Elizabeth Bryer, Kang Daehoon, Tenzin Dickie, and Allison Markin Powell
Remembering John Ashbery
By Hiroaki Sato
Ashbery fetched me a drink. I got drunk fast. And what did I prattle on about? The art of translation!
The World at Home: US Writing in Translation
By Susan Harris
This issue is not a departure but a continuation.
Roadkill
By Hiromi Itō
“Roadkill’s something you get used to seeing in America”
Translated from Japanese by Jeffrey Angles
Multilingual
Just Dinner, but Oh, What a Feast
By Rohan Kamicheril
Though food may fail to broker communication, this is often one of its major supposed roles.
Fear of Manners
By Kanako Nishi
Day in and day out, so many personal habits can drive us crazy.
Translated from Japanese by Allison Markin Powell
People Behaving Badly
By Susan Harris
Many greet the clean slate of a new year by pledging to chalk up only virtue and moderation.
Magnet
By Amy Yamada
It didn’t take much time before word spread that I was Yamamoto’s favorite.
Translated from Japanese by Yuri Komuro
Hauntings: International Ghost Stories
By Susan Harris
Ghosts and all they represent lurk perennially in the universal consciousness and in literature around the world.
Wheels
By Takako Arai
Perhaps she wanted her own fires to burn
Translated from Japanese by Jeffrey Angles
Multilingual
Graphic Novels at WWB: The First Ten Years
By Susan Harris
The narrative threads that weave through the last ten years tell a tale in themselves.
Noodling in New York
By Akino Kondoh
No Japanese person would call a cat Thomas Jefferson.
Translated by Jocelyne Allen
Lessons for a Boy Who Arrived Late, Part II
By Carlos Yushimito
I hated how Margarita cracked her knuckles when it was her turn to play the piano.
Translated from Spanish by Valerie Miles
On Memory: New Writing from Japan
By David Karashima
We have recently been made increasingly aware of the everyday failings of our own memories.
Mihama Nuclear Power Plant
Alpsdake, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The Far Shore
By Yoko Tawada
In Yoko Tawada's dystopian tale, the entire Japanese archipelago is rendered uninhabitable when a fighter plane piloted by a teenager loses control and crashes into a recently reactivated nuclear plant.
Translated from Japanese by Jeffrey Angles
The Memory
By Mitsuyo Kakuta
And then what did you do, he asked, and she said, I watched.
Translated from Japanese by Polly Barton
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Fruit
By Hideo Furukawa
We simply couldn’t tolerate rogue fruit infiltrating Tokyo and corrupting public morals.
Translated from Japanese by David Boyd
When My Wife Was a Shiitake
By Kyoko Nakajima
When you hold an egg in your hand, its memories are communicated to you through its shell, you know.
Translated from Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori
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Glass
By Shun Medoruma
The fragments of the girl come tumbling down.
Translated from Japanese by Sam Malissa
The Trapped Boy
By Keiichiro Hirano
I watch the city lose its shape like a dripping watercolor.
Translated from Japanese by David Karashima
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Stance Dots
By Toshiyuki Horie
Not once in his bowling alley had he heard that special, unforgettable sound.
Translated from Japanese by Philip Gabriel
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Telegraph Pole
By Masashi Matsuie
The bus stop by the train station had moved. It was further away.
Translated from Japanese by Michael Emmerich
Waymarkers
By Natsuko Kuroda
The flowers depicted, which must have differed from one to the next, are also hazy.
Translated from Japanese by Asa Yoneda
Where Have All the Sundays Gone?
By Mieko Kawakami
No matter how old I become, I will still go on like this, not knowing.
Translated from Japanese by Hitomi Yoshio
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The Queer Issue V: Impressions from a Passing Train
By Rohan Kamicheril
The appeal of the Queer Issue is in seeing that great ambition writ small, in discovering the swarm of details and experience that cohere into the big picture of world writing.
Cavities and Kindness
By Nao-Cola Yamazaki
It was almost Christmas, I had a cavity, and I was in the process of getting dumped.
Translated from Japanese by Kalau Almony
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Spirit Summoning, Part VI
By Sakumi Tayama
If you’re there, come to me. I’ll speak for you.
Translated from Japanese by Mark Gibeau
Spirit Summoning, Part V
By Sakumi Tayama
“These last few summonings . . . you haven’t been faking it, have you?”
Translated from Japanese by Mark Gibeau
Reunion
By Ryuichiro Utsumi
One day, when he went home after a long absence, he found the apartment empty.
Translated from Japanese by Toshiya Kamei
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Spirit Summoning, Part IV
By Sakumi Tayama
“They say that virgins make the best mediums so you don’t need to worry about me.”
Translated from Japanese by Mark Gibeau
Spirit Summoning, Part III
By Sakumi Tayama
My hands rose high above my head and crashed down onto the tatami mat with terrible force.
Translated from Japanese by Mark Gibeau
Spirit Summoning, Part II
By Sakumi Tayama
“I’m telling you, Mom, there’s no poltergeist.”
Translated from Japanese by Mark Gibeau
Spirit Summoning, Part I
By Sakumi Tayama
It was Yoko who made me become a fake medium six months ago.
Translated from Japanese by Mark Gibeau
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from “Face”
By Asa Nonami
Even if we were to remove the crow’s feet, there's still the overall balance of your face to consider.
Translated from Japanese by Takami Nieda
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Riverwilt
By Nomura Kiwao
For now I’ll just give it that name, repelling all water, still
Translated from Japanese by Angus Turvill
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Record of a Night too Brief
By Kawakami Hiromi
The girl finally grew incredibly small, about one centimeter wide.
Translated from Japanese by Lucy North
The Farside
By Hideo Furukawa
And the woman who died—the victim, I mean—looked just like you.
Translated from Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori
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Do Not Tremble
By Toshiko Hirata
I did not know that the earth / Is an unruly cradle
Translated from Japanese by Jeffrey Angles
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The Hole in the Garden, Part I
By Sakumi Tayama
“Asako, how do you like this dream?” she asked, not turning her head from the hole.
Translated from Japanese by Mark Gibeau
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Director’s Notes on “Sway”
By Nishikawa Miwa
The man might not escape the death penalty. And I had become deeply involved with him and with his crime.
Translated from Japanese by Linda Hoaglund
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