In this episode, we’re talking about Japan’s bubble economy of the 1980s and the work of Banana Yoshimoto.
Runaway consumer spending.
A Nobel laureate’s contempt.
And a young author whose career challenged the publishing powers that be.
Content warning: This episode addresses transphobia as well as hate crimes against Asian Americans and trans women.
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto (translated by Megan Backus)
Lizard (translated by Ann Sherif). Includes the story “Newlywed”.
Dead-End Memories by Banana Yoshimoto (translated by Asa Yoneda)
More by Banana Yoshimoto:
- Amrita (translated by Russell F. Wasden)
- Argentine Hag
- Asleep (translated by Michael Emmerich)
- Goodbye Tsugumi (translated by Michael Emmerich)
- Hardboiled & Hardluck (translated by Michael Emmerich)
- The Lake (translated by Michael Emmerich)
- Lizard (translated by Ann Sherif)
- Moshi Moshi (translated by Asa Yoneda)
- Available soon as an audiobook on Libro.fm
- N.P. (translated by Ann Sherif)
This episode also recommends:
I Think Our Son Is Gay by (translated by Leo McDonagh)
Find Out More
The History of Japan Podcast, hosted by Isaac Meyer
- Episode 20: Japan as Number One
- Episode 21: The Crash
- Episode 290-94: What Goes Up. A very thorough, 5-part examination of the events and policies that drove Japan into the “lost decade”.
Ichimon Japan Podcast, Episode 39: What Should I Know about Japan’s Bubble Era?—An irreverent and funny look at 1980s pop culture in Japan.
Banana Yoshimoto’s Official Website (English)
Book critic Willow Heath on Kitchen at Books & Bao. Includes a discussion of Eriko’s role in the novel.
Lindsay Ellis’s YouTube video on Tracing the Roots of Pop Culture Transphobia. Ellis’s 60-minute video traces the problematic history of transgender representation in English-language media.
Saito Satomi. “Narrative in the Digital Age: From Light Novels to Web Serials” in Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese Literature, ed. Rachael Hutchinson and Leith Morton, 2016.
Seaman, Amanda C. “Inner Pieces: Isolation, Inclusion, and Interiority in Modern Women’s Fiction” in Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese Literature, ed. Rachael Hutchinson and Leith Morton, 2016.
Sherif, Ann. “Japanese without Apology: Yoshimoto Banana and Healing” in Ōe and Beyond: Fiction in Contemporary Japan, ed. Stephen Synder and Philip Gabriel, U Hawaii, 1999.