Worth Sharing - A Selection of Japanese Books Recommended for Translation Vol.4 Living in Japan

Cover of Worth Sharing Vol.4

For more than 40 years the Japan Foundation has supported the publication of Japan-related books around the world through its Support Program for Translation and Publication on Japan. With our grant funding, books in over 50 languages have been published in a wide array of genres, including classic and contemporary literature, history, sociology, politics, economics, and cultural theory.

In 2012 we undertook a new initiative aimed at giving people overseas a better understanding of contemporary Japan through recommendation of selected outstanding books for translation. Creating these lists is a way for the Japan Foundation to help spread the word about brilliant books that depict what the nation is like now, providing readers with authentic views of Japanese society and its people.

Our lists are drawn up around general themes, providing perspectives on social and cultural undercurrents, making them guides to writing in Japan that are accessible even in regions and languages in which contemporary Japanese books are not particularly well known. When Japan is viewed from multiple perspectives or angles, it offers up new dimensions and colors. Our goal in creating these themed lists is, over time, to convey aspects of culture and society that cannot be grasped through a one-dimensional approach.

Following Vol. 1, “Shedding light on Japan’s youth,” Vol. 2, “Exploring Japan’s diverse regions,” and Vol. 3, “Illuminating love in Japan,” the theme of the fourth volume is “New ways of living in Japan.” This refers to life at work, at home, in the cities, and in the regions, as well as all the various joys, sorrows, doubts, and concerns that people must face in the course of their lives. The list of 20 works, centered on fiction depicting the interwoven human relationships of the diverse members of contemporary Japanese society, has been compiled with the valuable assistance of four specialists who are all well versed in Japanese literature and issues related to translation. We hope the books will inspire empathy in international readers while also allowing them to reassess contemporary phenomena in their own countries.

The titles recommended in this publication are works that the Japan Foundation would also prioritize for its own support program, provided the translations are of adequate quality and appropriate publication plans are submitted.

We aim for this new list to bring together literary works and their authors with translators and publishing companies so that the books can reach overseas readers, thereby enhancing their interaction with Japan.

The following selection committee members chose the titles for inclusion.

Chō Kyō (Zhang Jin) (professor, Meiji University)
Nozaki Kan (professor, University of Tokyo)
Numano Mitsuyoshi (professor, University of Tokyo)
Ozaki Mariko (editor, Culture News Department, Yomiuri Shimbun)

Read the essay written by a member of the selection committee Mariko Ozaki in Wochi Kochi Magazine.

Worth Sharing(total pages of 48) (PDF:3,807KB)

<Recommended Selections>

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