Japanese Literature Challenge 12

Another reading challenge for 2019 has caught my eye. Meredith (@Dolce Bellezza) is hosting her 12th  Japanese LIterature Challenge this year. I’ve participated in her challenges numerous times before and enjoyed each of them. I already have some Japanese literature on my Classics Club list, and two new books on my Kindle that would qualify for this challenge, so I decided to join…again.

This time, I am also going to add a few films to watch. Long ago, when my kids were little, I took a continuing education class at the University. It was called the “Art of Japanese Film” and I absolutely loved the class! And then, a few years ago, my husband and I bought a boxed set of DVDs of movies by the brilliant Japanese filmmaker, Akira Kurosawa, so Hubby and I are going to have our own Japanese Film Festival during this Challenge.

Books to Read:

  1. The Book of Tea, Kazuko Okakura
  2. Kokoro, Natsume Soseki
  3. Absolutely on Music, Haruki Murakami
  4. Sweet Bean Paste, Durian Sukegawa

Films of Akira Kurosawa to Watch:

  1. Stray Dog
  2. Ikiru
  3. Seven Samurai
  4. The Hidden Fortress
  5. Yojimbo

Other Japanese Films to Watch:

  1. Miss Hokusai  (we watched it on January 2, 2019)  This is a film based on the life of the daughter of the great painter, Hokusai. It was adapted from a Manga series written and illustrated by Hinako Sugiura.  It was directed by Keiichi Hara, and won numerous awards.
  2. Ugetsu (based on the book, Tales of Moonlight and Rain, by Akinari Udea)
  3. Spirited Away
  4. Our Little Sister
  5. My Neighbor Totoro

Click on the titles below to read my reviews of books I read for Dolce Bellezza’s previous Japanese LIterature Challenges.

One more thing

My husband’s grandmother was a “picture bride” brought from Japan to Hawaii in the early 1900s as a bride for one of the Japanese plantation workers. If you are interested in that fascinating part of history, you can read my review of the book, Picture Bride, by Yoshiko Ushida.  If you can find it, there is a beautiful little film called “Picture Bride,” that is well worth seeing.  There are many stories of the 20,000 or so women who were the picture brides. They didn’t know their husbands-to-be before they were brought to Hawaii, and some to California. Each was chosen as a bride by their photo.

My husband’s grandmother and aunt are in this photo of plantation workers in Hawaii.

10 thoughts on “Japanese Literature Challenge 12

  1. Anonymous

    I have not read much Japanese literature although I did manage to make it through Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84. At the beginning, I am not sure I would even say I liked it but by the end, I was totally engaged and it has stayed with me. Perhaps I should try another of his books. Ruth Ozeki’s Tale for the Time Being is one that I loved and would read again. Have you read it? Happy reading!

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    1. Robin Post author

      Thanks, Marlo! I like Ruth Ozeki but haven’t read Tale for the Time Being. I will definitely add it to my TBR pile! Congratulations for getting through Murakami’s 1Q84. I’ve been totally intimidated by the length of it, but I really like his writing so I’ll have to try it one of these days.

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  2. Bellezza

    Robin, this is such an exciting post! From the picture of the war bride, to the list of books you have already reviewed, to the wonderful idea of Japanese film which I no almost nothing about. You bring so many facets and fresh ideas. I am really looking forward to your thoughts on both text and film, thank you so much for joining.

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  3. Bellezza

    P.s. I have Absolutely on Music as yet unread, but I did unload the soundtrack for this book on Spotify, if you have that. Also, I have loved so many of the books in your list of reviewed literature: Tales of Moonlight and Rain, Kira Kira, and The Housekeeper and The Professor to be specific. The later is unforgettable to me, how they made a family together.

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