Books for Cultural Diversity: Japan


From the beautiful scenery to the fresh cuisine to the traditions that live alongside bright, new technologies, Japan has long been a destination for travelers of every age. This month, we take a look at Japanese culture through a roundup of manga, literature, and cookbooks.

Wind Up Bird ChronicleThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
This is the novel that vaulted Murakami to the international stage. The imaginative tale is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II.
The ThiefThe Thief by Fuminori Nakamura
An award-winning, literary crime masterpiece that follows a Japanese pickpocket lost to the machinations of fate.
Tale of Genji
The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki Shikibu, translated by Royall Tyler
Written in the eleventh century, this exquisite portrait of courtly life in medieval Japan is widely celebrated as the world’s first novel.
Snow Country
Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
Snow Country by Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata is widely considered the writer’s masterpiece: a powerful tale of wasted love set amid the desolate beauty of western Japan.
Rurouni Kenshin
Rurouni Kenshin, story and art by Nobuhiro Watsuki
This is one of the best-selling manga series of all time. Hitokiri Battosai was a feared and ruthless assassin. Now he is a rurouni wanderer who has vowed to draw his sword only to protect those in need, but his enemies have vowed to bring him down.

Japanese CookingJapanese Cooking by Shizuo Tsuji The twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Tsuji’s classic work is beautifully illustrated with eight pages of new color photos and more than 500 drawings. It contains 230 traditional recipes as well as detailed explanations of ingredients, kitchen utensils, techniques, and cultural aspects of Japanese cuisine.