May 24, 2012

An Invitation to Join the Japanese Literature Challenge 6

I have never been in a Japanese garden...

seen the cherry blossoms in front of Mt. Fuji...

eaten real Japanese food...

or worn a Japanese school uniform...

But, I have read Japanese literature. Not in Japanese writing, but in translation, and it has enriched my life. In 2006 I began the first Japanese Literature Challenge, and now the time has come when we can begin the sixth annual Japanese Literature Challenge. It runs from June 1, 2012 until January 30, 2013. It requires the reading of at least one work of Japanese literature (or poetry) written by a Japanese author (or poet).

For me, the best part of this challenge is having my knowledge expanded by what participants have read. From their reviews, I have gleaned a suggested reading list, and I have set goals for what I wish to read this year myself. Those books include:














 
and, of course, there must be something by Murakami. I'm thinking we'll have a shared read of this:

Of course, there are many more works of Japanese literature on my shelf. These are just a few of the ones most pressing on my mind. Won't you join me? Will you take the next six months or so to read one, or more, books of Japanese literature and share them with us? If so, please sign up with the Mr. Linky and I will add your name to the JLC6 review site. So hope to see you there!



Here is a button if you'd like to use it:

78 comments:

  1. Hello! I sort of lapsed a little towards the end of last year's challenge but am ready for this one! Love the button, it's beautiful:)

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    1. Who doesn't lapse from time to time, even in their pleasures? So gkad to have you along for this year, Sakura!

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  2. I've been reading Japanese books since but always on my own. it will be so nice to share the finds and see what other read. Thanks for hosting this. The button is beautiful.

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    1. So glad to see you join us thus year, Caroline! I can't wait to see what you choose to read because you often choose things completely new to me. Which is a wonderful thing.

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  3. Bellezza, you know I'm in! I love your JLCs! By the by, love the button you created for this year's JLC :) I'm with you on the Murakami shared read - I've had that book on my shelf since it came out and I think its about time to read it :) I am definitely reading that Yoshimoto book this year and I got an email about The Thief when it came out, so I'm thinking of adding that one to my list, too. I'll definitely have to read an Ogawa book - since I love her work. Crikey, I'm excited! So glad you posted about the JLC6 today - can't wait!!

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    1. Well, Nadia, there's some wonderful enthusiasm for this Challenge! I'm so glad you're joining in and concur with some of my choices. There's nothing I like quite as much as this genre, besides classics, and it' s so good to share these books with friends.

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  4. Hi Meredith, I have 3 japanese novels on my Kindle and a few on my tbr pile. Time to read a few :)
    Thank-you for your beautiful site and thank you for hosting this interesting challenge :)

    Sylvie (Madeleine)

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    1. Thank you for joining again, sweet Madeleine! Now I want to know what you have on your Kindle!

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  5. Thank you for hosting this wonderful challenge! This year's button is beautiful.

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    1. Thank you for joining again, Suko! Glad you like the button; it's always something I enjoy creating.

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  6. I have an Anthology of Japanese Literature-earliest to mid-19th century on my shelf. This may not qualify since the list is contemporary literature. It's still fascinating to read the short stories and poetry from that era.

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    1. Absolutely it counts, Edgar! Great choice; I, too, have a collection of short stories in an anthology. I don't think they're mid 19th century though so your thoughts will be interesting.

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  7. it was you who made me rediscover Japanese literature and Murakami. I started reading 19Q4 this month and I have stuck my shelves with so many Japanese writers you will be amazed :) SO, how could I not join you? :)) I even have Blind Willow here, but that will be read later this year...

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    1. And it was you who introduced me to such lovely books set in Venice as wellas Jeanette Winterson! So glad you're in, rediscovering Japanese literature with me.

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    2. Everything happens for a reason then :)
      I have posted about the challenge, I am so thrilled!

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  8. I have posted about the challenge and am signed up and ready to go. Thanks for hosting it again.

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    1. Thanks for joining and posting about it, Sandra.

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  9. This is my 3rd year with you, and will be reading J-Lit alongside with you as long as you are hosting!

    Are you serious when you said you haven't eaten real Japanese food? Do go out and try them now! It's my favourite food!

    Happy Summer Bellezza, JoV

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    1. Third year?! Wow! I love delving into this genre over and overand especially with friends!

      As to Japanese food I'm crazy about ramen soup, but sushi? Not so much. Perhaps I need to try more of it.

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  10. Of course I'm entering, your challenge has had it's own home on my challenges page since #5 closed.

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    1. Parrish, I would be so sad if you didn't join. You add a crucial point of view with your appreciation of translated fiction, as well as insight into poetry. Plus I consider you one of my close blogging friends. :)

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  11. AnonymousMay 24, 2012

    I'll be reading along with you. Love your site, I don't have a blog so I couldn't sign up. However, reading your blog has opened up my reading to include Japanese literature. This will be my second year to read along with you. PS last year you posted about the perfect red lipstick Paris by Channel :(( it's been discontinued. I thought I was going to cry when the sales person told me. Linda

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    1. Linda, how good to hear from you again! Did you give up your blog (The Holistic Knitter)? I wonder if therr's a way to add you to the list of participants, but it still thrills me you're joining in again this year. As to Chanel discontinuing that color, how dare they?!

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  12. I'm just finished The Housekeeper and The Professor and enjoyed it so much! Count me in for this challenge. The button is absolutely beautiful.

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    1. Vasilly, I'm crazy about that book, which was very different from Hotel Iris. The beauty of the housekeeper's relationship with the professor and the son will long be with me. So glad you're joining in and that you like this year's button.

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  13. Seeing as how I'm currently reading The Devotion of Suspect X, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to join the challenge. Plus, I've had a Murakami's Kafka on the Shore on my shelf for ages. This is the perfect excuse to finally pick it up! Thanks for hosting such a wonderful challenge.

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    1. My friend Lesley sent me that book, and I've waited entirely too ling ti read it. Will you be writing a review of it? As for Kafka on The Shore it's my favorite Murakami. Thanks for joining,

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  14. Yay! My life has been so unsettled the last couple years, I'm so glad I'll be able to take part properly again this year. :)

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    1. Tanabata! Yippee! (How do you say that in Japanese?) I've missed your posts and understand that you've moved from Japan; still, you know it better than anyone I know! It will be wonderful to have your perspectuve and participation, I'm really thrilled!

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  15. I'm so in. I read 8 fiction and 6 manga so far this year.

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    1. My goodness, Rise, you've completed the challenge 13 times over! :) How wonderful to have your enthusiasm and ideas!

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  16. I'm in! I'm reading a short story collection right now called The Future is Japanese. Japanese SF stories, some translated and some by English authors. Good thus far.

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    1. Carl, I'm so glad that you've decided to participate again. You, Chris, and a very few others are the faithful friends from the first Japanese Literature Challenge in 2006! I'm always quite intrigued by what it is you read, as it's often outside of my box. That's a good thing...you expand my horizons in many ways.

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  17. Well of COURSE I'm signing up :D I've sworn off challenges, but I'll always sign up for Carl's challenges and this one because I just absolutely love them. I totally failed at the JLC last year :( I'll just have to make up for it this year though!!! So excited :D :D

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    1. Yay, Chris!!! I well remember the first time I was tossing around the idea for this challenge, and you were so encouraging about going for it. Now here we are in the sixth year. So glad to be included with Carl in your list of 'will do' challenges. I doubt there's such a thing as totally failing in one of my reading endeavors, but I'm sure you'll have interesting things to read and say this time around.

      By the way, I've come back from two stores looking for a Congratulations on Your New Home card which is no where to be found in my neck of the woods. I'll be sending you one with those thoughts, but in my writing. :)

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  18. I've been waiting for this challenge ever since I read about the previous ones! Now, on to finding books! I already have 3 on my list, but I need more...

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    1. Patty, that is so fun that you've been waiting for this. I wonder what three are on your list? Did you see the suggested reading list which is ever expanding with wonderful novels? Welcome!

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  19. Hello. Sorry for the confused link. It goes sstraight to my page although the title suggests otherwise. Sorry again.

    I'm really happy that the JLC is on again.

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    1. Hi Sabrina, no worries about the link. The important thing is you're here! I'm so glad you're glad about the JLC and have decided to participate again.

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  20. I was looking forward to seeing this post, glad you are hosting it for the 6th year, fantastic! Here is my post where you have links to the 3 books I reviewed last year for this challenge, and my plans for this year. I'm shooting for one a month, that is 8, and funny enough, the list of Japanese titles I put aside along the previous month currently counts 8 titles precisely, we have 1 in common: http://wordsandpeace.com/2012/01/23/japanese-literature-challenge-2012/

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    1. I think your plans of reading one a month for eight months are great! That's manageable but exciting at the same time. You'll get a lot done that way, and hopefully you won't feel stressed about it. I saw your list, and I think it's wonderful!

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  21. I've been following your book blog for a little while now, even have it in my list of faves on my links page. My site's not a blog, just a little spot for my art, but I'm a JLit fan myself and I'd love to participate.

    Banana is my favorite, and I'm currently 50 or so pages away from finishing her "Amrita," my fave Banana book, which I'm reading again for the 3rd time. But I've got Murakami and lots of other JLit writers waiting on my shelf. I'll have to see what I can come up with. This is sure to be fun and hope to find some new reads from other reviewers to add to my own shelf!

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    1. I'm so glad that you've officially visited here and left your name/blog, Milky Mixer. Banana is such a wonderful author. I have her book Asleep waiting for me which I hope to get to this time as well. Maybe I better add that in the post?! I look forward to reading great Japanese literature with you and seeing your thoughts.

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  22. I just discovered this challenge and have added it to my 2012 challenges. I haven't got a list together yet, but I want to at least read Shusaku Endo's silence. Thanks for hosting this.

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    1. So glad you discovered it! I will always remember Endo's works, which I read years ago. Both Wonderful Fool and Silence moved me deeply. Thanks for joining.

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  23. I noticed this challenge at Two Weeks from everywhere and was immediately interested. I am so glad I saw it. I am mainly focusing on mysteries, but I will check out all the other books reviewed and see if others interest me also.

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    1. I'm so glad you noticed this challenge and decided to participate. I find the Japanese particularly thrilling in the area if mystery and mystique. They create a mood, and often leave questions for the reader to answer, better than anyone in my opinion. Welcome!

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  24. Hope springs eternal - here I am, giving it another go!

    One thing I've been meaning to tell you is that I've discovered a wonderful blog called LetsJapan . I rarely pressure anyone to do anything, but you really must go and explore the blog. I can't describe it to you - you'll see.

    It's written by a fellow from Alabama, who divides his time between here and there, although he seems to be mostly in Japan. He's a wonderful writer who makes Japanese culture seem accessible. For me to say that, is quite something. ;)

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    1. And where would we be if hope didn't soring eternal? :) I visited the blog link you left and find it charming. Such photagraphs! I think you left me a link to something Christmasy there which I also loved. Do you care for any book suggestions? I'm now in a position to offer a few. XO

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  25. This will be my forth year. Looking forward to it.

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  26. So glad you're in, Mel! It wouldn't be the same without you.

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  27. Oh, so tempting. I've got quite a few Japanese titles I need to read (including Asleep and The Lake). But, I'm not sure I'll be returning to blogging, so I'll hold off. If I come back, I'm going to do so after discharging the burden of my remaining ARCs.

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    1. Excuse me? "Not sure I'll be returning to blogging"? Perhaps you've been reading my mail...:) Eve though I understand the discouragement, apathy is maybe a better word, that comes with the territory I do hope you'll continue.

      As to discharging the burden of ARCs let me know how that goes. I tell myself, "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it." Whoever would think that one could have too many books?

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    2. Apathy is probably the best way to describe it. I've just been a bit burned out. I took a week off and decided I needed to go ahead and clear my sidebar. Fortunately, I was in a writing mood, so I'm done with that. I gave it some serious thought and had an epiphany. I decided I absolutely can't bear to give up blogging. But, I'm going to spend some time rethinking my blogging habits, during the summer.

      It's going well, actually. I still have quite a few ARCs to finish but the only problem I have is that most of them are nonfiction and I'm in a fiction mood. :) Still, it's going well. I haven't requested a book in over a month, now, so I'm not getting those lovely brown parcels. Maybe later I'll return to accepting ARCs but for now I just want to finish them up and read my own books!!

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    3. Phew! I'm so glad that you have decided not to abandon it for good! You, and Les, and Chris are my oldest blogging buddies, and it wouldn't be the same without you. XO

      I have a love/hate relationship with those little brown parcels. Love to receive them, hate to see them stack up higher and higher in my bedroom... :)

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  28. Great to see the Challenge again, the suggested list is a great prompt for me to read The Square Persimmon and Other Stories, please sign me up!.

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    1. I'm going to read The Square Persimmon, too, as you can see from my post. Have already read the first in the collection and am quite intrigued by the simplicity which covers a myriad of thoughts. So glad you're joining in again; I value your persepective!

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  29. This Japanese Literature Challenge is a wonderful idea...I'm so excited! My plan is to start with these three books, The Square Persimmon and Other Stories, The Lake, and The Thief and see where my interests lead me from there. Thanks again for hosting and organizing!
    Beth :-)

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    1. Welcome, Beth! I can see that we're after the same books so we'll have lots to discuss. I'm so glad you decided to join in.

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  30. Lots to choose from on my intro post - just a guide, of course ;)

    http://tonysreadinglist.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/its-j-lit-time-again.html

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    1. Loved your list, Tony. You always have such wonderful, inspiring books to pick up! Glad you're participating again this year.

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  31. Glad to be in for year six-In 2009 your reading challenge opened up a wonderful new world to me.

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    1. It opened up a whole new world to me too, Mel, especially with the input of readers such as yourself.

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  32. I will do a proper intro post in a little while but for the time being I just wanted to let you know that my Literature and War Redalong title for July is Ibuse's Black Rain. The discussion is on Monday July 30. Some of the people who signed up here are in.

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    1. Caroline, I'm so glad that you told me about the read-along title for Literature and War is Black Rain. I was delighted to download it on my nook (they actually had a copy of it!) so I'm planning on reading it with you. Or, eventually over the course of the summer. Then we can chat about it, not that it appears to be a light book.

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    2. That's wonderful news.
      It's the title I'm dreading the most because I'm afraid it will be depressing. But it should also be very good.

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  33. Love to take part again! I've got some great Japanese fiction lately, can't wait to share.

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    1. Sam, I'm looking forward to the books you'll read and discuss. Glad you're participating again! xo

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  34. Hello! Would love to take part in this challenge. :)

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    1. You've got a wonderful post up about the JLC6, and I love your plan to read for it. Hope that you find the time you want to read what you've chosen.

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  35. Count me in! I've already started Kusamakura, and am also looking forward to reading your suggestion: The Housekeeper and the Professor! Here's a link to my post:
    http://afondnessforreading.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/taking-on-a-challenge/

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  36. I hope it's not too late to join in...this is my first-ever reading challenge :)
    I will keep up under this link:
    http://santurini.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/japanese-literature-challenge-vi/

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  37. This challenge looks so interesting (I discovered it through Caroline's blog) and I'm really looking forward to taking part. I know I want to read The Lake and I'm now going to look at the reading list to find some more ideas. The button picture is lovely.

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  38. I can guarantee that you will like The Square persimmon. A very wonderful book

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  39. AnonymousJuly 20, 2012

    Might I suggest Kinshu: Autumn Brocade by Teru Miyamoto? I read it and really enjoyed it (it was published by New Directions, known for publishing Roberto Bolano), but am far too lazy to write a review.

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  40. hi Belezza... I have just joined the challenge. Thanks for hosting this exciting challenge!

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  41. Hi, just joining this awesome challenge, hopelly this event can help me to start new reading on Japanese Literature :D

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  42. I hope it's not too late, I just signed up! Very excited to dig into my Jap lit, dusty on the shelves.

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