Friday, March 11, 2011
Japanese Literature and the Earthquake
Considering the days events, I thought I'd highlight our friends and fellow writers from Japan. First off, here are some ways to keep updated about the earthquake situation. It all kind of makes you reel, doesn't it? Also, the awesome Maureen Johnson is taking up a collection with Shelterbox, if you are interested in helping out that way. I'm proud of how we have responded to emergency and disaster situations in the past, and I hope we can do even better with this one. Keep Japan and its citizens in your charitable thoughts and prayers.
One of the things I love most about reading and writing is that books are one of the best ways we have of connecting with other people. I know that sounds kind of wrong, but I think its true. We not only become intimately familiar with the characters, but we see things from another persons (the writers) point of view. I think thats very valuable. So lets try connecting with our Japanese friends by reading Japanese literature.
There are two main Japanese writers that I am familiar with. The first is a modern writer, Kazuo Ishiguro, who wrote Never Let Me Go and Remains of the Day. (I know you could argue that he is basically British, but still). I have read Never Let Me Go and it was...interesting. The concept was wonderfully disturbing and exciting.
The next writer is, I think, not only important in terms of Japanese literature but literature in general. Murasaki Shikibu wrote The Tale of Genji, which is considered the worlds first novel. I've read some of it, and its very different and a cool read, and I think its awesome to get into a society so completely different from anything we are familiar with. And come on, its the first novel ever written. Worth checking it out just for that. Plus its a good read, at least what I've read so far.
Anyway, I know I've riddled you with more than enough links already, but here is another thats a great compilation of important Japanese writers. I'm not familiar with nearly enough of them, and I intend to fix that. Literature from other cultures is awesome and enlightening, and Japan is one of the best.
Hang in there, Japan. We're rooting and reading for you.