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‘Backlight’ by Kanji Hanawa reviewed in The Japan Times

Display of the second book published in the series Red Circle Minis, Backlight by Kanji Hanawa . Photograph: Red Circle Authors Limited
The Japan Times, Japan’s largest and oldest English language daily newspaper, has reviewed Backlight, a new work by the Akutagawa-nominated author Kanji Hanawa. 

According to the review by the Scottish author and poet Iain MaloneyBacklight  “is an important work of social commentary doing what all the greatest short stories do: opening a rabbit hole of thought down which the reader will fall”.

Backlight is the second title to be published in an exciting new series of short Japanese books entitled Red Circle Minis; and is one of the first works available outside Japan in book format by the master short story writer Hanawa, who has had two novellas shortlisted for the prestigious Akutagawa Literary Prize. 

Launched in November last year, Red Circle Minis is a series of short, captivating books by Japan’s finest contemporary writers that brings the narratives and voices of Japan together as never before.

Each book in the series is a first edition written specifically for the series and is being published in English first. 

The series and Backlight has been received very positively with reviews and media coverage in The Complete Review, Pop Matters, Nikkei Asia Review, The Book Satchel, and Books and Bao, for instance, which writes: “using a real-world news story that’s fresh in everyone’s minds as a way to discuss with the reader cultural anomalies in Japan and how it varies from that of outside nations is something that had me nodding and grinning, thinking, ah, you clever clogs”. 

The series, and Backlight, has also received many positive comments from readers online being described as, for example: “a series planned to introduce modern Japanese writers to Western readers. Great stories really well translated. Brilliant ‘tasters’ that can be read and appreciated in a short time”. And one well known book review website described Hanawa as “a writer to watch out for, he knows how to punch you hard with quiet prose”.

The review in The Japan Times can be read here.

  • RedCircle
    About Red Circle:
    Red Circle Authors Limited is a specialist publishing and communications company that conducts bespoke projects on behalf of a carefully selected and curated group of leading Japanese authors. Red Circle showcases Japan’s best creative writing. For more information on Red Circle, Japanese literature, and Red Circle authors please visit:
    • Kanji Hanawa
      About Kanji Hanawa:
      Kanji Hanawa, a former professor of French literature is a master of the shorty story. He wrote hundreds and dedicated his life to writing short stories and novella about life in ancient, modern and contemporary Japan. Two of his short stories have been shortlisted for the prestigious Akutagawa Literary Prize. Hanawa’s tales reflect a deep interest in human psychology and complex relationships – whose narratives expose the pressures and challenges of life in Japan.