Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nihon no Hon ga Arimasu

Common use of the written word in Japan began around the 4th century, when the Japanese adopted Chinese characters as kanji. Interestingly, some of the earliest Japanese written works are also some of the earliest examples of science fiction. Urashima TarĊ, the earliest known time-travel tale, tells of a man who travels to the bottom of the sea, and returns to the surface to find that 300 years have passed. Genji Monogatari, written by a noblewomen in the classical period, was one of the first modern novels. Today, Japanese authors continue to make considerable contributions to literature.

We currently carry such major authors of modern Japanese literature as Shiga Naoyo, Yukio Mishima, and Yasunari Kawabata. Kawabata became the first Japanese author to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, and you can find a copy of what is considered his finest work, The Master of Go, on our shelves at the moment. Look for some of these authors near the front, under the Women Writers of Science Fiction and Fantasy display.

If you are interested in Japan, we have also recently acquired a large collection of Asian history and culture books. In addition, there are manga and anime materials on the first and second floors of the shop, many of which are written in Japanese.

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