Monday, August 3, 2015

WITMonth Day 3 - Spotlight on Japan

It would be practically absurd to imply that a country that not only boasts the first recognized female novelist - and first novelist at all - lacks women writers on the whole. Indeed, cursory research shows that there are plenty of women writers working out of Japanese, and in a wide variety of genres. That not all are translated or recognized for their works... well, that's what we're here to work on. There's no denying however that Japan's situation is significantly better than most countries around the world (at least in terms of recognition of its women in translation to English), and disturbingly better than many of its East Asian neighbors (to be discussed further later in the month).

And yet all this positivity translates into:
  • 4 books translated by women writers in translation out of 14 translations from Japanese in 2014
  • 5 out of 17 translations in 2013
Hmm. Let's focus on the good, shall we? Let's pull up a short list:
  • Murasaki Shikibu
  • Sei Shōnagon
  • Fumiko Enchi
  • Lady Ise
  • Akazome Emon
  • Yoko Ogawa
  • Sawako Ariyoshi
  • Hiromi Kawakami
  • Banana Yoshimoto
  • Minae Mizumura
  • ...and many many many others...
Some more helpful resources:
Conclusion: There are a lot of Japanese women writers translated into English. But you know what? There are also a lot of Japanese women writers who are not translated into English. It could be so much better. And for now... let's get reading!

1 comment:

  1. This is a great project. I don't think I'll have the time to officially join this month, but it's something that I'll keep in mind for my reading in the next couple of months (and more). I have The Waiting Years by Fumiko Enchi near the top of my TBR pile, so hoping to get to that by the end of the year. Been meaning to read Yoko Ogawa as well (I have all 4 of her books that get translated to English).

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