From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

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.
Sarah Allen


  1. I know about Never Let Me Go, but I wasn't aware that Ishiguro also wrote Remans of the Day. The premise of Never Let Me Go is certainly clever and also chilling! Can't wait to see the film.
    Yes, poor Japan, this little island and its people have certainly seen more than its share of calamity.
    Thoughtful post.

  2. Oh, yeah, following you now. Thanks for the comment, and feel free to follow me too, if you like! We writers must stick together, and I like your art angle, as I am also an illustrator.

  3. I completely agree with you about books connecting us. There is nothing like the written word written well.

    Thanks for the book suggestions. I love The Disturbing. I'll have to check it out!

  4. I like what you write in your profile, "artists- those people who look at life and find joy." Good post!

  5. Wow,

    I was only interested in anime's of the Japanese stuff. So this is really new to me to know about our Japanese brothers in profession.

    Thanks Sarah

    with warm regards

  6. I read a book by Banana Yoshimoto that was quite interesting. I want to read more by her. Kitchen seems to be her most popular book.

  7. I'm currently reading 'The Tale of Genji" by Lady Murasaki. Well, currently reading as in picking it up every so often (but I feel the urge to pick it up right now! xD) to dive into the rich words and beautiful, mysterious haiku that Genji sends to whoever catches his fancy. I wish I knew all the secret meanings behind the comparisons so I could better understand what the haiku are really saying, but I suppose I'll just have to come to my own conclusions about those, which is actually rather fun. ;)

    I've also read another great Japanese book, devoured it in about three days while riding in the car because it was so hard to put down. 'The Street of a Thousand Blossoms' by Gail Tsukiyama. A drop dead gorgeous work full of emotion, WWII history, and completely loveable characters.

    Wonderful post. =) I have long been a fan of everything Japanese, and my heart goes out to all the people as they go through this very difficult time. I wish there was some way I could just scoop them all up and clean everything up for them, making everything better, but alas, I cannot. So all my love and prayers go out to them during this time of trouble. God bless Japan. =)

  8. Great comments everyone! And thanks for the recommendations for future Japanese authors to read. You guys are great :)


  9. Hi Everyone. I have just invited the followers of my BLOG AMICI DI LETTURE
    to WRITE AN HAIKU (or a short poem or a sentence) to show our feelings to Japan and try to confort them with one the most powerful poetry I have ever enjoyed reading. Please join us and make other people join us. The blog has followers all around the world, all languages welcome.
    THANK YOU! Giovanna Iorio


I absolutely love hearing from you! Thank you so, so much for your thoughts and comments, they really do make my day. Consider yourself awesome. Also, I do my best to respond to every comment within 24 hours, so I invite you to come back and continue the conversation :)

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