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Iconic Japanese novels that are a must-read

Published:

Apr 8, 2024

Aakanksha Sharma

Best Japanese fiction

Japan is without a doubt one of the best, most beautiful and organised countries in the world. From its people to the literature they have produced, Japanese works are a masterpiece. Here we list 8 iconic Japanese fiction novels that are a must read.

Canva

​‘Kafka on the Shore’ by Haruki Murakami

‘Kafka on the Shore’ by Murakami mixes the stories of Kafka Tamura, a runaway teenager, and Nakata, an elderly man with a mysterious past.

Vintage

‘Kokoro’ by Natsume Soseki

This book by Natsume Soseki looks into the themes of loneliness, guilt, and friendship through the relationship between Sensei and the narrator. The book gives important and wholesome lessons about human nature and the changing life.

Gateway-Editions

‘Convenience Store Woman’ by Sayaka Murata

‘Convenience Store Woman’ is a brilliantly simple book by Sayaka Murata and follows the life of Keiko Furukura. While Keiko has always felt that she didn’t fit in perfectly, once she becomes a convenience store worker, life finally makes sense to her but not to society.

Granta-Books

‘Out’ by Natsuo Kirino

An exceptional crime thriller novel, ‘Out’ is a story of the lives of four women who become involved in a murder and seek help for covering up their crime. The story talks about desperation, betrayal, and female resilience.

Vintage

​‘The Tale of Genji’ by Murasaki Shikibu

Famous as being one of the first and oldest novels in the world, ‘The Tale of Genji’ is a masterpiece about the romantic and political life of Prince Genji’s life in Heian-era Japan.

Penguin-Classics

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‘Norwegian Wood’ by Haruki Murakami

‘Norwegian Wood’ by Haruki Murakami is the story of Toru Watanabe and his journey through different phases of life where he sees love, loss, and self-discovery in 1960s Tokyo.

RHUK

‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro

‘Never Let Me Go’ is the story of Hailsham, an ideal boarding school that is hiding some dark truths. Through the life of Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy, the author shows chilling realities about their existence.

Faber-Faber

‘Before the Coffee Gets Cold’ by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

A truly heartwarming and wholesome story, ‘Before the Coffee Gets Cold’ is set in a cafe in Tokyo, that has the ability to transport its customers to a time in the past and undo their regrets, give them a second chance and form new relationships.

Picador

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