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Recommended books (20)
Travel the world without leaving your chair. The target of the Read Around The World Challenge is to read at least one book written by an author from each and every country in the world. All books that are listed here as part of the Read Around Asia Challenge were written by authors from Japan. Find a great book for the next part of your reading journey around the world from this book list. The following popular books have been recommended so far.

1.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami EN

Rating: 3.5     179 Votes
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
The internationally best-selling and award-winning author of such works as What I Talk About When I Talk About Running presents a psychologically charged tale that draws on Orwellian themes. 100,000 first printing.
Genre
Recommended: 26 Jul 2022

2.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi EN

Rating: 4.1     19 Votes
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
*OVER ONE MILLION COPIES SOLD* *NOW AN INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER* If you could go back, who would you want to meet? In a small back alley of Tokyo, there is a café that has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. Local legend says that this shop offers something else besides coffee—the chance to travel back in time. Over the course of one summer, four customers visit the café in the hopes of making that journey. But time travel isn’t so simple, and there are rules that must be followed. Most important, the trip can last only as long as it takes for the coffee to ge... continue
Recommended: 26 Sep 2019

3.

Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami EN

Rating: 4     5 Votes
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
'Breathtaking' – Haruki Murakami author of Norwegian Wood A beguiling novel about three women struggling to determine their own lives in contemporary Tokyo. A New York Times 'Notable Book of the Year' and one of Elena Ferrante's 'Top 40 Books by Female Authors' On a hot summer’s day in a poor suburb of Tokyo we meet three women: thirty-year-old Natsuko, her older sister Makiko, and Makiko’s teenage daughter Midoriko. Makiko, an ageing hostess despairing the loss of her looks, has travelled to Tokyo in search of breast enhancement surgery. She's accompanied by Midoriko, who has recently stopped... continue
Genre
Recommended: 20 Apr 2022

4.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami EN

Rating: 4     83 Votes
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
A mesmerising mystery story about friendship from the internationally bestselling author of Norwegian Wood and 1Q84 Tsukuru Tazaki had four best friends at school. By chance all of their names contained a colour. The two boys were called Akamatsu, meaning ‘red pine’, and Oumi, ‘blue sea’, while the girls’ names were Shirane, ‘white root’, and Kurono, ‘black field’. Tazaki was the only last name with no colour in it. One day Tsukuru Tazaki’s friends announced that they didn't want to see him, or talk to him, ever again. Since that day Tsukuru has been floating through life, unable to form intim... continue
Genre
Recommended: 08 Mar 2018

5.

Convenience Store Woman : A Novel by Sayaka Murata EN

Rating: 3.5     56 Votes
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
The English-language debut of one of Japan’s most talented contemporary writers, selling over 650,000 copies there, Convenience Store Woman is the heartwarming and surprising story of thirty-six-year-old Tokyo resident Keiko Furukura. Keiko has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of “Smile Mart,” she finds peace and purpose in her life. In the store, unlike anywhere else, she understands the rules of social interaction—many are laid out line by line in the store’s manual—and she does her best to copy th... continue
Genre Adult
Recommended: 06 Mar 2022

6.

Geisha : A Life by Mineko Iwasaki EN

Rating: 3.5     27 Votes
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
A Kyoto geisha describes her initiation into an okiya at the age of four, the intricate training that made up most of her education, her successful career, and the traditions surrounding the geisha culture. Reprint.
Recommended: 09 Apr 2022

7.

How Do You Live? by Genzaburo Yoshino EN

Rating: 5     1 Vote
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
The first English translation of the classic Japanese novel that has sold over 2 million copies—a childhood favorite of anime master Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle), with an introduction by Neil Gaiman. First published in 1937, Genzaburō Yoshino’s How Do You Live? has long been acknowledged in Japan as a crossover classic for young readers. Academy Award–winning animator Hayao Miyazaki has called it his favorite childhood book and announced plans to emerge from retirement to make it the basis of his final film. How Do You Live? is narrated in two voices... continue
Recommended: 27 Sep 2022

8.

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro EN

Rating: 3     3 Votes
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
"From her place in the store that sells artificial friends, Klara--an artificial friend with outstanding observational qualities--watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change forever, Klara she is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans. In this luminous tale, Klara and the Sun, Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro looks at our rapidly changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrato... continue
Genre
Recommended: 10 Jun 2022

9.

Men Without Women : Stories by Haruki Murakami EN

Rating: 4     14 Votes
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
A dazzling new collection of short stories--the first major new work of fiction from the beloved, internationally acclaimed, Haruki Murakami since his #1 best-selling Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all. Marked by the same wry humor that has defined his entire body of work, in this c... continue
Recommended: 04 Sep 2022

10.

My Annihilation by Fuminori Nakamura EN

Rating: 3     1 Vote
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
What transforms a person into a killer? Can it be something as small as a suggestion? Turn this page, and you may forfeit your entire life. With My Annihilation, Fuminori Nakamura, master of literary noir, has constructed a puzzle box of a narrative in the form of a confessional diary that implicates its reader in a heinous crime. Delving relentlessly into the darkest corners of human consciousness, My Annihilation interrogates the unspeakable thoughts all humans share that can be monstrous when brought to life, revealing with disturbing honesty the psychological motives of a killer.
Recommended: 14 Sep 2022

11.

Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami EN

Rating: 3.5     46 Votes
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
An unrequited love for a woman devoted to Kerouac and the writer's life leads a man on a quest to uncover the mysteries of love and human longing after the woman disappears without a trace during her odyssey from parochial Japan through Europe to a Greek island, leaving behind only computer accounts of bizarre events and stories within stories. 30,000 first printing.
Recommended: 25 Apr 2021

12.

Summer, Fireworks, and My Corpse by Otsuichi EN

0 Ratings
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
A coming of age story, right after death. L to R (Western Style). Two short novels, including the title story and Black Fairy Tale, plus a bonus short story. Summer is a simple story of a nine-year-old girl who dies while on summer vacation. While her youthful killers try to hide the her body, she tells us the story—from the POV of her dead body—of the boys' attempt to get away murder. Black Fairy Tale is classic J-horror: a young girl loses an eye in an accident, but receives a transplant. Now she can see again, but what she sees out of her new left eye is the experiences and memories of its ... continue
Recommended: 09 Apr 2022

13.

The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji EN

Rating: 4     5 Votes
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
"Ayatsuji's brilliant and richly atmospheric puzzle will appeal to fans of golden age whodunits... Every word counts, leading up to a jaw-dropping but logical reveal" — Publishers Weekly A hugely enjoyable, page-turning murder mystery sure to appeal to fans of Elly Griffiths, Anthony Horowitz, and Agatha Christie, with one of the best and most-satisfying conclusions you'll ever read. A classic in Japan, available in English for the first time. From The New York Times Book Review: "Read Yukito Ayatsuji’s landmark mystery, The Decagon House Murders, and discover a real depth of feeling beneath t... continue
Recommended: 06 Mar 2022

14.

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yōko Ogawa EN

Rating: 4.6     9 Votes
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
Yoko Ogawa's The Housekeeper and the Professor is an enchanting story about what it means to live in the present, and about the curious equations that can create a family. He is a brilliant math Professor with a peculiar problem—ever since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory. She is an astute young Housekeeper—with a ten-year-old son—who is hired to care for the Professor. And every morning, as the Professor and the Housekeeper are introduced to each other anew, a strange and beautiful relationship blossoms between them. Though he cannot hold mem... continue
Recommended: 16 Apr 2022

15.
The Memory Police

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa EN

Rating: 3.6     29 Votes
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
Shortlisted for the International Booker Prize 2020, an enthralling Orwellian novel about the terrors of state surveillance from one of Japan's greatest writers. 'Beautiful... Haunting' Sunday Times 'A dreamlike story of dystopia' Jia Tolentino __________ Hat, ribbon, bird rose. To the people on the island, a disappeared thing no longer has any meaning. It can be burned in the garden, thrown in the river or handed over to the Memory Police. Soon enough, the island forgets it ever existed. When a young novelist discovers that her editor is in danger of being taken away by the Memory Police, she... continue
Genre
Recommended: 01 Jan 2022

16.

The Sailor who Fell from Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima EN

Rating: 4     18 Votes
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
A band of savage thirteen-year-old boys reject the adult world as illusory, hypocritical, and sentimental, and train themselves in a brutal callousness they call 'objectivity'. When the mother of one of them begins an affair with a ship's officer, he and his friends idealise the man at first; but it is not long before they conclude that he is in fact soft and romantic. They regard this disallusionment as an act of betrayal on his part - and the retribution is deliberate and horrifying.
Genre
Recommended: 06 Mar 2022

17.

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa EN

Rating: 4     21 Votes
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
RECOMMENDED BY THOUSANDS OF INTERNATIONAL READERS - the tender feelgood story of a man's journey around Japan with a streetcat. Translated by Philip Gabriel, a translator of Murakami. INCLUDES SPECIALLY COMMISSIONED LINE-DRAWINGS A WATERSONES PAPERBACK OF THE YEAR 2017 'Anyone who has ever unashamedly loved an animal will read this book with gratitude, for its understanding of an emotion that ennobles us as human beings, whether we value it or not' LYNNE TRUSS, Guardian 'Bewitching... as self-possessed and comforting as - well, a cat' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 'It has the warmth, painterly touch, and t... continue
Genre
Recommended: 25 May 2022

18.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami EN

Rating: 4     174 Votes
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
Toru Okada's cat has disappeared. His wife is growing more distant every day. Then there are the increasingly explicit telephone calls he has recently been receiving. As this compelling story unfolds, the tidy suburban realities of Okada's vague and blameless life, spent cooking, reading, listening to jazz and opera and drinking beer at the kitchen table, are turned inside out, and he embarks on a bizarre journey, guided (however obscurely) by a succession of characters, each with a tale to tell. 'Visionary...a bold and generous book' New York Times 'Murakami weaves textured layers of reality ... continue
Recommended: 24 Apr 2022

19.

There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura EN

Rating: 3     2 Votes
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
"A young woman walks into an employment agency and requests a job that has the following traits: it is close to her home, and it requires no reading, no writing - and ideally, very little thinking. She is sent to a nondescript office building where she is tasked with watching the hidden-camera feed of an author suspected of storing contraband goods. But observing someone for hours on end can be so inconvenient and tiresome. How will she stay awake? When can she take delivery of her favourite brand of tea? And, perhaps more importantly - how did she find herself in this situation in the first p... continue
Genre
Recommended: 28 Sep 2022

20.

ZOO (Novel) by Otsuichi EN

0 Ratings
Country: Asia / Japan flag Japan
Description:
L to R (Western Style). Ten stories of horror and science fiction from Japan’s hottest young author. In one story, the last man on Earth turns out to be a robot. In another story, a man builds a house from the bodies of his murder victims. And in the book’s eponymous story, a man sees his girlfriend’s corpse decompose… one Polaroid snapshot at a time!
Recommended: 09 Apr 2022


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