Japanese Literature Challenge 12: We Have Come To The End


It has been such a privilege to read Japanese literature with you these past three months. I want to extend a big thank you to Gnoe who inquired about it last Summer, and Mel U who has participated since the beginning years of the challenge; they were enough to let me know that at least three of us would be reading Japanese literature together. But, there have been so many more who read with us, both old friends and new. Andrew Blackman joined for the first time, as did Gretchen. My friend from the Man Booker Shadow Panel, Vivek, has expressed an interest in joining in next year. Hooray!

Gnoe read and reviewed one of my favorite books for the challenge this year, The Traveling Cat Chronicles. I was intrigued by how she threw it across the room, declaring her hate for it, and in the next sentence saying how much she loved it. Because it is sad and joyful at the same time, I think.

Akylina has read my favorite crime writer, Keigo Higoshino, whom she mentioned is one of her favorites as well. She reviewed A Midsummer Equation by Keigo Higashino, noting that unlike many other Japanese crime novels, we don’t find out what happens until the end.

Andrew Blackman wrote the finest review of The Pillow Book by Sei Shonogon that I have ever seen. I enjoyed his perceptive, in-depth, and interesting thoughts as much as I enjoyed her “diary” giving us an account of life in the Empress’ court.

Nadia of A Bookish Way of Life reviewed several stories from the Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories, a collection I’m now longing to buy myself as she mentioned two of my favorite authors.

Nishita of Nishita’s Rants and Raves has begun Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 for the challenge proving it’s never too late to pick up a Japanese novel even if this particular challenge is over.

Suko of Suko’s Notebook has read and reviewed Kafka on the Shore, my favorite of all Haruki Murakami’s novels. It is not an easy job to define his work, and she does a brilliant job of highlighting the most important aspects of this book.

Michelle of su[shu] has read and reviewed Penance by Kanae Minato, and novel I enjoyed as much as her novel, Confessions. Michelle, too, compares the two novels, and says this of Penance: “It felt like a little study of character. It was as if the book was the answer to the question, “If a friend is assaulted and murdered, how would it affect you? Where would you end up?”

Although the challenge is officially over, I have two books waiting for me when my Man Booker International Prize long list reading ends. One is If Cats Disappeared From the World by Genki Kawamura and the other is Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima. I hope that you, too, will continue to enjoy Japanese Literature as we “wait” for the Japanese Literature Challenge 13 to come around next January. Thank you for the books we’ve shared together this time around.

17 thoughts on “Japanese Literature Challenge 12: We Have Come To The End”

  1. What a great JLC this year!! Thank you, M 🙂 By the by, I have the Territory of Light, too. I can’t wait to read it – sounds so good!! Hope you are having a lovely Sunday. xo


    1. I will get to The Territory of Light as soon as I finish the last three waiting for me from the Man Booker International long list. Then we’ll have to talk! I can’t be away from Japanese literature for too long.😊


    1. I can’t remember how long you have joined in, but I know it has been for many, many years! So glad to have you again, Michelle, and that you are still writing your lovely blog.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for entering the fold, Andrew. Yoir insightful posts added so much to my understanding (The Pillow Book) and my yearning for something I hadn’t yet read. I’m looking forward to gathering again in January, too.


  2. It was such a blast participating in JLC12! So many wonderful reviews posted by all the lovely people, and I myself got to read some J-lit I had been meaning to get to for ages – thank you so much for organising this, Meredith! Already looking forward to next year’s!

    I read Territory of Light this time last year, and it was marvelous. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it once you read it 🙂 (Also, it’s not actually my first time participating, I had taken part in JLC9 as well 😉 )


    1. I apologize for confusing when you first participated, Akylina, and I will amend that in my post. Nevertheless, it is a delight to have you and your fresh perspectives on Japanese literature. I’m glad to hear your praise for Territory of Light, too. You, Nadia and I should share a pot of tea when we (she and I) finish it!😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hadn’t participated again since then, so you couldn’t have remembered it – no need to apologise at all! And thank you so much for your kind words, it’s a real pleasure for me to discuss all these wonderful Japanese books with you, too. Absolutely! Will be looking forward to that! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Bellezza, thank you for this wrap-up post and very kind words, and for hosting this wonderful reading challenge again! Yesterday I received a copy of What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, which I began to read last night. So maybe I will be ahead of the game for the JLC 13 next year. 😉


    1. I think that is the one book by Murakami that I have left unread! All I know about it, besides the running theme, is that he got the name from Raymond Carver’s story What I Talk About When I Talk About Love. I love how you are going on and will now be ahead!😊❤


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