Japanese Literature Challenge | 2019

Hi, folks,

The Japanese Literature Challenge is hosted by Meredith at Dolce Bellezza since 2006. This year, the event will run from January to March, and there is only one requirement: to read at least one work of Japanese literature in this period. Here you can find a suggested reading list.

I’m trying not to be overly ambitious here, so this time I will commit to reading at least one of the following titles:

  • Convenience Store Woman, by Sayaka Murata, tr. Ginny Tapley Takemori (2018. Original: コンビニ人間, 2016)
  • Territory of Light, by Yūko Tsushima, tr. Geraldine Harcourt (2018. Original: 光の領分, 1979)
  • The Goddess Chronicle, by Natsuo Kirino, tr. Rebecca Copeland (2013. Original: 女神記, 2008)
  • A Riot of Goldfish, by Kanoko Okamoto, tr. J. Keith Vincent (2010. Original: 金魚撩乱, 1937/ 食魔, 1941)

In case you are looking for suggestions, here are some of the books I read in previous challenges & highly recommend:

  • Masks, by Fumiko Enchi, tr. Juliet Winters Carpenter (1983. Original: 女面, Onna Men, 1958)
  • The Sarashina diary: a woman’s life in eleventh-century Japan,  by ‘Lady Sarashina’, tr. Sonja Arntzen & Itō Moriyuki (2014. Original: 更級日記, Sarashina Nikki, c. 1060)
  • Beauty and Sadness, by Yasunari Kawabata, tr. Howard Hibbett (1996. Original: 美しさと哀しみと, Utsukushisa to Kanashimi to, 1964)
  • The Diary of Lady Murasaki, by Murasaki Shikibu, tr. Richard Bowring (2005. Original: 紫式部日記, Murasaki Shikibu Nikki, c. 1008-1010)
  • Chorus of Mushroomsby Hiromi Goto (1994)
  • The Buddha in the Attic, by Julie Otsuka (2011)
  • Naomi, by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, tr. Anthony H. Chambers (2001. Original: 痴人の愛, Chijin no Ai, 1924)
  • Kokoro, by Natsume Sōseki, tr. Meredith McKinney (2010. Original: こころ, Kokoro, 1914)

What are you planning to read? I’d love to get more recommendations of Japanese female authors! 🙂

Yours truly,


Torii Kiyomine, A Girl About to Despatch a Letter, ca. 1807-1810:

9 thoughts on “Japanese Literature Challenge | 2019

  1. I, too, loved Convenience Store Woman. I highly recommend that from your possible titles to be read. (I also loved Naomi, and Beauty and Sadness, which you have read before. I would like to mention that Frances and I are having a read-along of The Pillow Book in February should you wish to join that, I am so glad to have you along again, and thank you for publishing your thoughts. Also, the look of your blog is gorgeous (as usual). It always soothes my heart. xo


  2. What a great challenge, and how impressive to have organized it for all these years!
    I have “Convenience Store Woman”, by Sayaka Murata on my table – ready to read.


  3. Great list! And like everyone else says, Convenience Store Woman was a great read. Last year, I read The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike, a 1986 horror novel, and also The Master Key by Masako Togawa, originally published in 1962, a mystery set in an apartment building for single women.


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