Japanese Literature – An Amazing Literary Journey

Japanese literature entered my life years ago in a way I didn’t expect. A friend of mine, who is now a publisher, told me that I look and feel like Murakami’s women. I did not understand what he meant since I didn’t know who Haruki Murakami was. To understand if it was a compliment or an insult, so I ordered one of his books and started reading. To be honest, I still don’t understand if what he said was a compliment or not, but his words changed my life. There was a new and exciting world for me to discover page by page. 


If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

We wouldn’t be exaggerating if we say that Haruki Murakami jazzed up the literary world so, thanks to him, people all over the world are now interested in Japanese literature. We started to see various Japanese writers in bookstores, and as a result, we are more interest in the culture of this country. In due time, the translations of the books of other Japanese writers gained speed and, it turned out that Japanese literature is an amazing land to be discovered.

While some have just read Haruki Murakami and done with Japanese literature, others, like me, are trying to explore every corner of this new world, to read all writers from classics to modern ones. For this reason, I wanted to prepare a special page for Japanese literature and share my discoveries.

Japanese Literature - A Literary Journey

Learning about a country with fiction

One weekend, my friends and I went to one of London’s biggest bookstores. I don’t know how much time I spent in the Japan section on the lower floor, but they were waiting for me after browsing the whole store. One said, “Elif, you are learning about Japan only by reading books, I think it’s deeper and more beautiful than just travelling around the country, don’t you think?”

To be honest, I never believe that reading is enough if we are talking about learning about a country and its culture. But I have seen that I am much more familiar with the culture of this country than most people. And yes, it is somehow more profound than just travelling and taking photos.

The thing is, I don’t read to learn about the culture of the country, I read because Japanese literature suits me. It is nothing like I’ve read before and it makes me want to read more. Learning about this country and its exciting culture is just one of the perks. It is a magical land to be discovered with all its ups and downs, I want you to join the expedition as well. 

Japanese Literature A Literary Journey 1

Books from Japanese authors


Yukio Mishima

yukio mishima japanese literature

Junichiro Tanizaki

junichiro tanizaki japanese literature

Haruki Murakami

haruki murakami japanese literature


The Rest


Novels and Books on Japanese Literature and Culture

Japanese Literature - A Literary Journey

In this section, I will list every book I read about Japan written by authors of any other nationality. So, there’ll be memoirs, travel books, fiction, non-fiction and many more. 



If you still need a little more inspiration about Japanese literature, I would recommend Contemporary Japanese Literature. It is my favourite blog out there.

1 Comment

Great list. Thank you for sharing. Please remove Kazuo Ishiguro’s books; they have nothing to do with Japan. As you may know, Kazuo Ishiguro’s family left Japan when he was very young and there’s nothing that reflect any Japanese heritage in his books.

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