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Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda

Angry women hold a special place in Japanese folklore. Many of Japan’s best-known tales are about “vengeful ghosts”, almost always women, who wreak havoc on the living for some perceived wrong. Continue reading at Asian Review of Books…

The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino

A Woman’s Ambiguous Place in Japan’s Creation Myth To appreciate The Goddess Chronicle, you need to be familiar with The Kojiki, the oldest recorded mythical origin story of Japan. (Kirino provides a good summary in part II, chapters 5-6.) In The Kojiki, the first anthropomorphic gods are Izanami (She Who Beckoned) and Izanagi (He Who Beckoned). They quicklyContinue reading “The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino”

Manazuru by Hiromi Kawakami and A Man by Keiichiro Hirano

The Evaporated People in Contemporary Japanese Literature Each year in Japan, thousands of people disappear. They haven’t been kidnapped. They haven’t been murdered. (Japan has one of the lowest murder rates in the world. An American is almost twenty-seven times more likely to become a homicide victim.) They are the evaporated—the johatsu. First, let’s acknowledge that theContinue reading “Manazuru by Hiromi Kawakami and A Man by Keiichiro Hirano”

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