According to industry experts and academics, the three most important books in Japanese publishing history written by non-Japanese women are: Wuthering Heights
, by Emily Bronte; Anne of Green Gables
, by LM Montgomery and JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
After a false start in Japan’s Meiji Period (1868-1912), the Brontes’ complete works including Jane Eyre,
by Emily’s sister Charlotte, and Wuthering Heights
were published in translation in the 1930s in Japan. Anne of Green Gable
s, was published in Japanese, as Anne of Red Hair,
after the Second World War.
Anne’s literary ambitions, strong willed personality, and optimism struck a chord; as did the fact that, like many in post-war Japan, she was an orphan.
These books have led to Japanese spin-offs and adaptations, including manga
And as has been the case outside Japan, have inspired new generations of authors and creative writers. For example, Takeo Kono (1926-2015), who won almost all of Japan’s major literature prizes; and Yuko Tsushima (1947-2016), author of Pregnant with a Fo
x, were both influenced by Emily and her sisters.
The Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood is a fan of Anne of Green Gables
on the hundredth anniversary of its publication about the importance of the book, its impact on Japan and how the bestselling manga Sailor Moon
is its descendant.
It is, however, still far too early to known how JK Rowling and Hermione Granger and her friends will inspire the next generation of creative writers in Japan, following the amazing success of the Harry Potter books and films in Japan.