Episode 15: Translating Japanese Women

The Japanese cover of Convenience Store Woman

Check out Episode 15 of the Read Literature podcast.

In all our episodes so far, we’ve talked almost exclusively about what Japanese literature looks like in Japan.

But we’re English-speakers and English-readers on an English-language podcast about Japanese literature in English.

In honor of Women in Translation Month, we’re talking about why there is such a wealth of contemporary books by Japanese women available in English.

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Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori)

Japanese Women Translated by Strong Women, Soft Power Translators:

Translated by Allison Markin Powell

Translated by Lucy North

Translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori

Ginny Tapley Takemori on “Strong Women, Soft Power” at Global Literature in Libraries Initiative

Strong Women, Soft Power’s list of “10 Japanese Books by Women We’d Love to See in English”

Allison Markin Power on why “Translating Women in Essential”

The Three Percent Database

Women in Translation. The project’s official website.

The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation

RJL’s List of 2022 Upcoming Japanese Fiction Releases

Sayaka Murata talks about her life and work at Wired.com.

The Japan Foundation New York hosts a conversation with Sayaka Murata. (YouTube)

More about the work of Sayaka Murata on Read Japanese Literature:

My review of Sayaka Murata’s latest in English, Life Ceremony: Stories

“Literature” at Japanese Wiki Corpus

Japanese Literature at Facebook

Japanese Literature at Goodreads


Birnbaum, Phyllis, trans. and ed. Rabbits, Crabs, Etc.: Stories by Japanese Women. U of HI, 1982.

Copeland, Rebecca. “Intercultural Sisters: Translation and the Creation of Feminist Social Networks” in The Journal of Comparative Media and Women Studies, 2020.

Copeland, Rebecca and Melek Ortabasi, eds. The Modern Murasaki: Writing by Women of Meiji Japan, Columbia UP, 2006.

Coutts, Angela. “Gender and Literary Production in Modern Japan: The Role of Female-Run Journals in Promoting Writing by Women During the Interwar Years” in Signs, 2006.

Doppo Kunikida. “On Women and Translation” in Women Critiqued: Translated Essays on Japanese Women’s Writing. Rebecca Copeland, ed. U of HI Press, 2006.

Ericson, Joan E. “The Origins of the Concept of ‘Women’s Literature’” in The Woman’s Hand: Gender and Theory in Japanese Women’s Writing, Stanford, 1996.

Fincher, Alison. “Review: Life Ceremony by Sayaka Murata” at AsianReviewofBooks.com, 2022. (free)

Ha, Thu-Huong. “Sayaka Murata Inhabits a Planet of Her Own” at Wired.com, 2022. (free)

Keene, Donald. Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature of the Modern Era—Fiction, 4th ed., 1999.

Marcus, Marvin. Japanese Literature from Murasaki to Murakami, Association for Asian Studies, 2015.

Namkung, Victoria. “Move Over, Murakami: Female Authors Drive Growing Interest in Japanese Novels” at NBCNews.com, 2021. (free)

Powell, Allison Markin. “10 Japanese Books by Women We’d Love to See in English” at Lithub.com, 2016. (free)

–. “Translation Women in Essential: Allison Markin Powell on Translating Kaoru Takamura’s Groundbreaking Japanese Crime Epic” at Soho.com, 2022. (free)

Takemori, Ginny Tapley. “Strong Women, Soft Power” at Glli.org, 2018. (free)

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