Japanese Literature ?
  • Okay so I was wondering; We have to do a project for my English 3 Honors class where we have to read a book and review it. I was talking to my teacher and he okay-ed it for me to read a book in the Japanese language as long as I could comprehend it and give a review (Since I was in honors)

    So I was wondering what are some Japanese books (Preferable fictional in genre) in their native language (Which are actually literature and not Manga) which would be appropriate for an English 3 Honors student to read.

    Besides it would make good practice. I think a light novel would be accepted and I was thinking about Haruhi Suzumiya (Granted the literature of our choice is not to have been made into a movie but I've heard the books and Anime are only similar in setting...)

    But anyway any suggestions would be helpful please and thank you
    - Atty <3
  • I`m not sure any Japanese literature written in Japanese would be appropriate for an English class, unless it were about Western culture or the English language. A Japanese translation of an English book you`re familiar with might be interesting if you were to discuss the differences in translation and what was lost or changed.

    I honestly would stay away from Japanese for this assignment since I imagine other students will feel like you`re showing off and you`ll be `that guy`. High school (and even college) students don`t generally respond well to stuff like that.

    Is there some sort of theme to this? Seems strange to just pick any book and write a report, this being an honors class. If it`s all wide open and you still want to stick to Japanese, I like Yukio Mishima`s stuff although it`s pretty challenging, even for native speakers. 「仮面の告白」and 「美しい星」are good ones.
  • I agree with julianjalapeno, you should not try any japanese book.

    However, if you want, I think you could read a nikki, like Tosa Nikki (Sei Shônagon) or a monogatari like Taketori Monogatari (it's pretty interesting) or Heike Monogatari.
  • The book is just to show give a review for it. We have to read 500 pages (Collectively) and give a review. Its a teacher student solo thing, no one else in the class would know what I read but I do know one student is reading a book in German but the teacher had to okay it because it was in a foreign language. (They told me about it cus they said so far it was really interesting)

    I thank both of you for your help and suggestions
    - Atty <3
  • Posted By: julianjalapeno
    [p]I honestly would stay away from Japanese for this assignment since I imagine other students will feel like you`re showing off and you`ll be `that guy`. [/p]


    This is University not high school, who cares what other students think about him/her. Do whatever gets you the grades. Your Japanese must be great to even consider attempting this this. I just picked up a book, "Breaking into Japanese literature" full of classic Japanese short stories, where one page is in English and the other in Japanese, with every word on that page, translated at the bottom.
    May be a bit simple for you, but it's a great way to get into the imtimidating world of literature in Japanese.
  • Posted By: alexkx3
    [quote]
    Posted By: julianjalapeno
    [p]I honestly would stay away from Japanese for this assignment since I imagine other students will feel like you`re showing off and you`ll be `that guy`.[/p]
    [p]This is University not high school, who cares what other students think about him/her. Do whatever gets you the grades. Your Japanese must be great to even consider attempting this this. I just picked up a book, "Breaking into Japanese literature" full of classic Japanese short stories, where one page is in English and the other in Japanese, with every word on that page, translated at the bottom.
    May be a bit simple for you, but it's a great way to get into the imtimidating world of literature in Japanese.[/p][/quote]

    No I'm attending highschool right now. And thank you for the recommendation.
  • My favorite books are
    The Makioka Sisters-Junichiro Tanizaki
    Some Prefer Nettles-same
    maybe a collection of short stories by Ibuse Masuji
    Tale of Genji-Murasaki Shikibu
    Tanizaki is definitely the best, at least that I can think of right now, among authors that wrote novels.
  • Really? I couldn't get through Genji monogatari in English.
  • I recommend 「君たちはどう生きるか」, written by Genzaburo Yoshino.
    It's a great book for students to read. Besides, sentences in this book are not too out of date.
  • Posted By: tamatama
    [p]Really? I couldn't get through Genji monogatari in English.[/p]


    OP: I'd like to read something in Japanese. Not manga, but maybe a light novel.
    Commenter: Why don't you read Genji Monogatari?

    This is a bit like someone asking for an easy young adult novel, and getting a suggestion to read the complete Canterbury Tales.
  • You are exactly right. I didn't read the original post carefully.

    I got through the Tale of Genji, and I thought it was great, but only because I took a class that covered it, and we had the help of a professor.

    I will try to not show off any knowledge I might have in the future. I didn't notice that he just wanted a bit of light reading. Tanizaki is not the heavy though. Especially Makioki Sisters.

    I also don't know zip about manga, so I can't offer an opinion on them. Try to take it easy on people like me that just put an opinion out there without reading the original post carefully. Suggestions are just suggestions. Maybe later, if he gets more interested in Japanese literature he can try Genji, or take a class in it.

    You have any more clever, snide, comments, or was that it?
  • Posted By: farrellc912
    You have any more clever, snide, comments, or was that it?[/p]


    Just that I'm still pretty doubtful about whether you've understood the original question which was asking for suggestions of books to read in Japanese. Have you really read Genji Monogatari in Japanese (ie not in English translation)? If so, then I'm impressed, but not so impressed at your suggestion to someone that it's a good place to start.
  • I admit that I was not answering the question that was asked. I'm also sorry for getting a bit rude. No flame war is a good war, so I won't do that again.

    No I haven't read Genji in the original, but it is definitely on the agenda. I have a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in East Asian Languages: Japanese. So just a BA. Anyway, we read Genji in one of my classes, in translation, and it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it. Since graduated I haven't done much with my skills, but now I have got back into it again and I am reading some Tanizaki in the original, and some other stuff. I definitely want to get back into classical Japanese again and read Genji-that's a high priority, and just continue translating and enjoying the process. Right now I am reading Tade Kuu Mushi by Tanizaki.

    I thought Genji was incredibly confusing and really hard to read on your own.
  • There are thousands of books you could choose from it all depends of your personal tastes,

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