2022 Japanese Fiction Releases

“Woman Reading a Book on a Sofa” by Yumeji Takehisa via Wikimedia Commons

Please contact me if I have missed any titles.

Thank you to the Goodreads Japanese Literature Group for pooling information.

See a list of 2023 new and upcoming releases.

All the Lovers in the Night by Mieko Kawakami

Translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd

“Fuyuko Irie is a freelance copy editor in her mid-thirties. Working and living alone in a city where it is not easy to form new relationships, she has little regular contact with anyone other than her editor, Hijiri, a woman of the same age but with a very different disposition…”

Read my review of All the Lovers in the Night.

Read more about the work of Mieko Kawakami:

At the Edge of the Woods by Masatsugu Ono

Translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter

“In an unnamed foreign country, a family of three is settling into a house at the edge of the woods. But something is off. A sound, at first like coughing and then like laughter, emanates from the nearby forest. Fantastical creatures, it is said, live out there in a castle where feudal lords reigned and Resistance fighters fell…”

Read my review of At the Edge of the Woods

3 Streets by Yoko Tawada

Translated by Margaret Mitsutani

“The always astonishing Yoko Tawada here takes a walk on the supernatural side of the street” in three stories.

Beautiful Star by Yukio Mishima

Translated by Stephen Dodd

“The Osugi family have come to a realisation. Each of them hails from a different planet. Father from Mars, mother from Jupiter, son from Mercury and daughter from Venus. Already seen as oddballs in their small Japanese town in the 1960s, this extra-terrestrial knowledge brings them closer together; they climb mountains to wait for UFOs, study at home together, and regard their human neighbours with a kindly benevolence…”

*This book has no scheduled US release date.

Learn more about the work of Yukio Mishima:

Before Your Memory Fades by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Translated by Geoffrey Trousselot

“The latest novel in the international bestselling Before the Coffee Gets Cold Series, following four new customers in a little Tokyo café where customers can travel back in time.”

Read more about Before the Coffee Gets Cold.

The Boy and the Dog by Seishu Hase

Translated by Alison Watts

“One dog changes the life of everyone who takes him in on his journey to reunite with his first owner in this inspiring tribute to the bond between humans and dogs and the life-affirming power of connection.”

Read my review of The Boy and the Dog.

The Color of the Sky Is the Shape of the Heart by Chesil

Translated by Takami Nieda

“Now in translation for the first time, the award-winning debut that broke literary ground in Japan explores diaspora, prejudice, and the complexities of a teen girl’s experience growing up as a Zainichi Korean, reminiscent of Min Jin Lee’s classic Pachinko and Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street…”

Dead-End Memories by Banana Yoshimoto

Translated by Asa Yoneda

“First published in Japan in 2003 and never-before-published in the United States, Dead-End Memories collects the stories of five women who, following sudden and painful events, quietly discover their ways back to recovery.”

Read my review of Dead-End Memories.

Death in Tokyo by Keigo Higashino

Translated by Giles Murray (winter 2022)

“Tokyo Police Detective Kaga finds himself forced to try and makes sense of a most unusual murder…”

A Detective Kaga novel

Death on Gokumon Island by Seishi Yokomizo

Translated by Louise Heal Kawai

“Kosuke Kindaichi arrives on the remote Gokumon Island bearing tragic news–the son of one of the island’s most important families has died, on a troop transport ship bringing him back home after the Second World War. But Kindaichi has not come merely as a messenger–with his last words, the dying man warned that his three step-sisters’ lives would now be in danger…”

A Detective Kosuke Kindaichi novel

Diary of a Void by Emi Yagi

Translated by David Boyd and Lucy North

“A prizewinning, thrillingly subversive debut novel about a woman in Japan who avoids harassment at work by perpetuating, for nine months and beyond, the lie that she’s pregnant…”

Read my review of Diary of a Void.

Early Light by Osamu Dazai

Translated by Donald Keene and Ralph McCarthy

Early Light offers three very different aspects of Osamu Dazai’s genius…”

Listen to RJL Episode 11: The I-Novel, Osamu Dazai, and No Longer Human.

Fish Swimming in Dappled Sunlight by Riku Onda

Translated by Alison Watts

“Set in a Tokyo flat over the course of one night, Aki and Hiro spend one last night together before going their separate ways. Each believes the other to be a murderer and is determined to extract a confession before the night is over. Who has been killed and why? Which one is the killer?”

Idol, Burning by Rin Usami

Translated by Asa Yoneda

“A blistering novel of fame, disconnection, obsession, and disillusion by a young writer not much older than the novel’s heroine, Idol, Burning shines a white-hot spotlight on fandom and ‘stan’ culture, the money-making schemes of the pop idol industry, the seductive power of social media, and the powerful emotional void that opens when an idol falls from grace, only to become a real—and very flawed—person.”

Kamusari Tales Told at Night by Shion Miura

Translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter

“It’s been a year since Yuki Hirano left home—or more precisely, was booted from it—to study forestry in the remote mountain village of Kamusari. Being a woodsman is not the future he imagined, but his name means “courage,” and Yuki hopes to live up to it…”

A sequel to The Easy Life in Kamusari. Read my review of The Easy Life in Kamusari.

Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura

Translated by Allison Markin Powell and Marie Iida

“Inspired by the real-life Glico-Morinaga kidnapping, an unsolved case which terrorized Japan for two years, Lady Joker reimagines the circumstances of this watershed episode in modern Japanese history and brings into riveting focus the lives and motivations of the victims, the perpetrators, the heroes and the villains…”

A sequel to Lady Joker, Volume 1

Life Ceremony: Stories by Sayaka Murata

Translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori

“The long-awaited first short story-collection by the author of the cult sensation Convenience Store Woman, tales of weird love, heartfelt friendships, and the unsettling nature of human existence…”

Read more about the work of Sayaka Murata:

Read my review of Life Ceremony.

Translated by Anthony Chambers and Paul McCarthy

“Junichiro Tanizaki is one of the most prominent Japanese writers of the twentieth century, renowned for his investigations of family dynamics, eroticism, and cultural identity. Most acclaimed for his postwar novels such as The Makioka Sisters and The Key, Tanizaki made his literary debut in 1910. This book presents three powerful stories of family life from the first decade of Tanizaki’s career that foreshadow the themes the great writer would go on to explore…”

Read my review of Longing and Other Stories.

My Annihilation by Fuminori Nakamura

Translated by Sam Bett

“With My Annihilation, Fuminori Nakamura, master of literary noir, has constructed a puzzle box of a narrative in the form of a confessional diary that implicates its reader in a heinous crime…”

Rip It Up by Kou Machida

Translated by Daniel Joseph

“Set in a kaleidoscopic hyperreal Japan circa Y2K, Rip It Up catalogues the misdeeds and misgivings of a down-and-out wannabe debonair who ekes out a meager living at the fringes of the art world, wracked by jealousy at his friend’s success and despondency of his own creative (and moral) bankruptcy.”

Read my review of Rip It Up.

Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada

Translated by Margaret Mitsutani

“Welcome to the not-too-distant future: Japan, having vanished from the face of the earth, is now remembered as “the land of sushi.” Hiruko, its former citizen and a climate refugee herself, has a job teaching immigrant children in Denmark with her invented language Panska (Pan-Scandinavian)…”

Read my review of Scattered All Over the Earth.

The Shining Sea by Koji Suzuki

Translated by Brian Bergstrom

“A young woman who attempted suicide by drowning has lost her memory and ability to speak. Her lover, a young man, is on a pelagic tuna fishing boat. What happened between them…?”

Six Short Stories: The Early Works of Osamu Dazai by Osamu Dazai

Translated by Michael and Shizuka Blaskowsky, et al.

“With most stories translated into English for the first time, the book gives you a rare glimpse into the complex psyche of the nascent novelist on his way to becoming one of the most celebrated writers Japan has ever had.”

*This volume is only available on Kindle.

She and Her Cat by Makoto Shinkai and Haruki Nagakawa

Translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori

“Lying alone on the edge of the sidewalk in an abandoned cardboard box, a nameless narrator contemplates the indifferent world around him. With his mother long gone, his only company is the sound of the nearby train. Just as he fears that the end is near, a young woman peers down at him, this fateful encounter changing their lives forever.”

Solo Dance by Li Kotomi

Translated by Arthur Reiji Morris

“Cho Norie, twenty-seven and originally from Taiwan, is working an office job in Tokyo. While her colleagues worry about the economy, life-insurance policies, marriage, and children, she is forced to keep her unconventional life hidden―including her sexuality and the violent attack that prompted her move to Japan…”

Read my review of Solo Dance.

Summer of Strangers and Other Stories by Masao Yamakawa

Translated by J. D. Wisgo

“‘Summer of Strangers’ is a collection of Yamakawa’s works selected around the theme of life difficulties, the first collection of this author’s stories available in English. A secondary theme is the season of summer, an important element in several of these works.”

The Tatami Galaxy by Tomohiko Morimi

Translated by Emily Balistrieri

“The inspiration behind the much-loved anime series, Tomihiko Morimi’s contemporary classic is a fantastic journey through time and space, where a half-eaten castella cake, a photograph from Rome, and a giant cavity in a wisdom tooth hold the keys to self-discovery. A time-traveling romp that speaks to everyone who has wondered what if, The Tatami Galaxy will win readers’ hearts over… and over… and over again.”

Read more about the work of Tomohiko Morimi:

Three Assassins by Kotaro Isaka

Translated by Sam Malissa

“Their mission is murder. His is revenge. Suzuki is just an ordinary man until his wife is murdered. When he discovers the criminal gang responsible he leaves behind his life as a maths teacher and joins them, looking for a chance to take his revenge…”

Tokyo Express by Seicho Matsumoto

Translated by Jesse Kirkwood

“In a rocky cove in the bay of Hakata, the bodies of a young and beautiful couple are discovered. Stood in the coast’s wind and cold, the police see nothing to investigate: the flush of the couple’s cheeks speaks clearly of cyanide, of a lovers’ suicide…”

*This book has no scheduled US release date.

The Thorn Puller by Hiromi Ito

Translated by Jeffrey Angles (winter 2022)

“The first novel to appear in English by award-winning author Hiromi Ito explores the absurdities, complexities, and challenges experienced by a woman caring for her two families: her husband and daughters in California and her aging parents in Japan…”

Read my review of The Thorn Puller.

Tower of the Sun by Tomohiko Morimi

Translated by Stephen Kohler

“One young man’s barren college life changes forever when he shares a budding romance with a girl named Mizuo…only for it to all come crashing down when she has the gall to dump him! With the specter of a solitary Christmas Eve looming, he tears through the streets of Kyoto with just his powerful (some might say delusional) imagination to protect him from the cruel world at large.”

Trinity, Trinity, Trinity by Erika Kobayashi

Translated by Brian Bergstrom

“Nine years after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, Japan is preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. An unnamed narrator wakes up in a cold, sterile room, unable to recall her past. Across the country, the elderly begin to hear voices emanating from black stones, compelling them to behave in strange and unpredictable ways. The voices are a symptom of a disease called ‘Trinity’…”

Read my review of Trinity, Trinity, Trinity.

Weasels in the Attic by Hiroko Oyamada

Translated by David Boyd

“In these three interconnected stories, Hiroko Oyamada revisits the same set of characters at different junctures in their lives. In the back room of a pet fish store full of rare and exotic fish, old friends discuss dried shrimp and a strange new relationship. A couple who recently moved into a rustic home in the mountains discovers an unsettling solution to their weasel infestation. And a dinner party during a blizzard leads to a night in a room filled with aquariums and unpleasant dreams.”

Read my review of Weasels in the Attic.

Woman Running in the Mountains by Yuko Tsushima

Translated by Geraldine Harcourt

“Set in 1970s Japan, this tender and poetic novel about a young, single mother struggling to find her place in the world is an early triumph by a modern Japanese master…”

Read my review of Woman Running in the Mountains.

11 thoughts on “2022 Japanese Fiction Releases

Leave a Reply