London, UK

The founders of Red Circle in conversation with The Japan Times

Profile of Red Circle Authors Limited published in The Japan Times 23 December 2018. Photo: Red Circle Authors Limited
In an exclusive interview with The Japan Times, Japan’s largest and oldest English language daily newspaper, Red Circle founders Koji Chikatani and Richard Nathan outline their thinking behind the launch of their company, its publishing programme and its plans for the future. 

The interview with Kris Kosaka, one of the first given jointly by the co-founders in Tokyo, coincided with last month’s launch of Red Circle’s first book series: Red Circle Minis, a series of short captivating books by Japan’s finest contemporary writers that brings the narratives and voices of Japan together as never before. 

The first three books in the series: Stand-In Companion by Kazufumi Shiraishi; Backlight by Kanji Hanawa; and Tokyo Performance by Roger Pulvers, which the London-based company describes as ‘original, short and compelling reads’, have been well received in Japan and further afield. 

Cover of Stand-In Companion by Naoki Prize-winning author Kazufumi Shiraishi published 23 November 2018. Image: Red Circle Authors Limited
The Complete Review, writes in its recent review of Stand-In Companion that the Naoki prize-winning Shiraishi  “adroitly spins his philosophical tale: he tells a good story well – complete with a satisfying further twist”. 

Cover of Backlight by Kanji Hanawa published 23 November 2018. Image: Red Circle Authors Limited

And Michael Orthofer in his review, also for The Complete Review, writes that the universal issues and questions Hanawa, the master short story writer, addresses give Backlight, “the air of larger work, in substance if not detail”.

Orthofer writes, “at short novella-length, Backlight, is a quick story – but quite effective at raising interesting questions including about cultural and social differences and attitudes, and parental responsibilities”. 

All three books published so far have also received positive feedback and comments by readers on social media, including Amazon and Goodreads where the series has been described as “brilliant ‘tasters’ that can be read and appreciated in a short time.”  

Another enthusiastic reader described Backlight as “a short read that expands well beyond the limits of the pages, creating an atmosphere that is almost visceral and gives an almost cinematic feel to the story.”  

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

The Japan Times article was published online on Saturday 22 December and in the newspaper’s Sunday print edition on 23 December. 

The full interview can be read here.

Article by Kris Kosaka about Red Circle Authors published in The Japan Times on 23 December 2018
  • 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.
    • Kazufumi Shiraishi
      About Kazufumi Shiraishi:
      Kazufumi Shiraishi had a successful career, spanning two decades, as a journalists working for one of Japan's highest profile monthly magazines, Bungeishinju, before following in the steps of his father and twin brother becoming a full time author. He is a deeply thoughtful author who writes about love, life and the human condition and is unique in being the only Japanese author to follow in his father’s footsteps by winning the same major Japanese literary prize.
    • Roger Pulvers
      About Roger Pulvers:
      Roger Pulvers is an author, playwright, theatre director, and translator. He has published more than 50 books in Japanese and English, including novels, essays, plays, and poetry. Helping make Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, and befriending David Bowie brought him back to Japan and inspired him to become the award-winning and prolific author, playwright, film director he is today. His recent novel, Hoshizuna Monogatari (Star Sand), which he wrote in Japanese, was published by Kodansha, Japan’s largest publisher, in 2015 and subsequently in English and French in 2016 and 2017 respectively. It was released as a film, directed by him, in 2017.