Factbook

A Dynamic Compendium of Interesting Japanese Literary and Publishing Facts
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    The two best-known living Japanese authors[UPDATED: 1-10-2018]

    Outside Japan, in most of the world, the two best-known living Japanese authors are probably currently Haruki Murakami who published his first novel, Hear the Wind Sing, in 1979, in the June issue of Gunzo, a Japanese literary magazine; and Banana Yoshimoto whose first novel, Kitchen was published in Japan in 1988 and initially internationally in Italian. She has now been published in 36 different languages. 

    However, Keigo Higashino, the brilliant Japanese crime fiction writer, is the most famous and most read Japanese author in China, where he regularly heads the lists of bestselling authors. Currently, outside China and Japan he is much less well-known.  
    The two best-known living Japanese authors Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Despite large number of crime fiction titles being written Japan has one of the world’s lowest homicide rates[UPDATED: 6-24-2017]

    Despite a large number of crime fiction titles or Suiri Shosetsu (Japanese detective fiction) being written and published each year, Japan has one of the world’s lowest homicide rates of 0.3 (the number of murders per 100,000 inhabitants), according to the OECD. This compares with an OECD average of 4.1.
    Despite large number of crime fiction titles being written Japan has one of the world’s lowest homicide rates Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Kafka a popular author and name amongst Japan’s creatives[UPDATED: 6-24-2017]

    Kafka is a popular author and name amongst creatives in Japan. In 2007, an animated version of A Country Doctor was produced by Koji Yamamura and the author’s name appeared in Haruki Murakami’s bestselling 2002 book titled: Kafka on the Shore. Two high profile people use the name in their pennames Kafka Shishido, a female drummer and singer; and Kafka Asasiri, the author of the manga series Bungo Stray Dogs. The series is about the members of a very specialist detective agency; in which the main characters are named after famous authors: such as Agatha Christie, Osamu Dazai, Kenji Miyazawa, Junichiro Tanazaki, and Akiko Yosano. There is also a character called Kafuka Fu’ura in the award winning manga series and subsequent anime Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei (Goodbye, Mr. Despair), where the characters have nicknames coined after social issues. Her name is apparently a conscious reference to Franz Kafka. The character’s real name is said to be An Akagi a pun on the Japanese translation of the title of the book Ann of Green Gables. Interestingly, a port and the main hub on a small Japanese island called Rebun, with a population of three thousand, north of Hokkaido is called Kafuka. Despite the name; it is not related to Shikoku, the Island, which features in Murakami’s book.
    Kafka a popular author and name amongst Japan’s creatives Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Japan’s creative industries inspired by its rich legacy of folk stories & tales of old[UPDATED: 6-24-2017]

    Japanese tales of old in their different versions have not only inspired and fueled science fiction, fantasy and other genre within Japanese literature, but other creative industries in Japan as well, including video game design. For instance, Pokemon (Pocket Monsters) draws on the rich world of mythical creatures found within Mukashibanashi (folk tales), as obviously does Yokai Watch, which is named after a class of monsters, supernatural beings and phantoms from these ancient stories.
    Japan’s creative industries inspired by its rich legacy of folk stories & tales of old Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Kobo Abe is said to be the Kafka of Japan[UPDATED: 5-31-2017]

    Kobo Abe (1924-1992) is said to be ‘The Kafka of Japan’. He is best known for: The Road Sign at the End of the Street (1948); The Woman in the Dunes (1962); as well as being avant-garde: being expelled from the Japanese Communist Party: and collecting insects. His novella, The Wall, won the Akutagawa Prize and established his reputation. His best friend was Yukio Mishima and he was also a friend of Harold Pinter. He didn’t give many interviews, but an interesting conversation with him is reported in the New York Times under the headline: Japan’s Kafka Goes on the Road; where his experimental theatre group is discussed.
    Kobo Abe is said to be the Kafka of Japan Posted by Richard Nathan