2023 Upcoming Japanese Fiction Releases

“Woman Reading a Letter” by Utamaro (c. 1750-1806)

Listed released dates listed are tentative. Descriptions are excerpted from book sellers’ or publishers’ websites. Translators are listed unless I wasn’t able to find information.

Things change quickly in the publishing industry. I’ve made my best attempt to be comprehensive. Please contact me if I have missed any titles.

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

See a list of all new releases available to order or preorder at RJL’s Bookshop.

Upcoming Releases

Days at the Morisaki Bookshop by Satoshi Yagisawa

Translated by Eric Ozawa

(North American and European releases expected summer 2023)

The Devil’s Flute Murders by Seishi Yokomizo

Translated by Jim Rion

(North American and European releases expected summer 2023)

“This classic from the golden age of crime presents a mind-bending Japanese mystery from the great Seishi Yokomizo, whose fictional detective Kosuke Kindaichi is a pop culture phenomenon akin to Sherlock Holmes. This time the beloved scruffy sleuth Kosuke Kindaichi investigates a series of gruesome murders within the feuding family of a brooding, troubled composer, whose most famous work chills the blood of all who hear it…”

The End of August by Yu Miri

Translated by Morgan Giles

(North American and European releases expected late summer 2023)

“In 1930s Japanese-occupied Korea, Lee Woo-cheol was a running prodigy and a contender for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. But he would have had to run under the Japanese flag. Nearly a century later, his granddaughter is living in Japan and training to run a marathon herself. She summons Korean shamans to hold an intense, transcendent ritual to connect with Lee Woo-cheol. When his ghost appears, alongside those of his brother Lee Woo-Gun, and their young neighbor, who was forced to become a comfort woman to Japanese soldiers stationed in China during World War II, she must uncover their stories to free their souls…”

The Final Curtain by Keigo Higashino

Translated by Giles Murray

(North American and European releases expected early winter 2023)

A Detective Kaga novel

The Flowers of Buffoonery by Osamu Dazai

Translated by Sam Bett

(North American and European releases expected late summer 2023)

The Flowers of Buffoonery opens in a seaside sanitarium where Yozo Oba—the narrator of No Longer Human at a younger age—is being kept after a failed suicide attempt. While he is convalescing, his friends and family visit him, and other patients and nurses drift in and out of his room. Against this dispiriting backdrop, everyone tries to maintain a lighthearted, even clownish atmosphere: playing cards, smoking cigarettes, vying for attention, cracking jokes, and trying to make each other laugh…”

The Forest Brims Over by Ayase Maru

Translated by Hadyn Trowell

(North American and European releases expected summer 2023)

“A woman turns herself into a forest after long being co-opted to serve as the subject of her husband’s novels–this surrealist fable challenges traditional gender attitudes and exploitation in the literary world…”

Hit Parade of Tears by Izumi Suzuki

Translated by Daniel Joseph, Sam Bett, and David Boyd

(North American and European releases spring 2023)

“Izumi Suzuki had ideas about doing things differently, ideas that paid little attention to the laws of physics, or the laws of the land. In this new collection, her skewed imagination distorts and enhances some of the classic concepts of science fiction and fantasy…”

Honeybees and Distant Thunder by Ondo Riku

Translated by Philip Gabriel

(North American and European releases expected spring 2023)

“In a small coastal town just a stone’s throw from Tokyo, a prestigious piano competition is underway. Over the course of two feverish weeks, three students will experience some of the most joyous—and painful—moments of their lives. Though they don’t know it yet, each will profoundly and unpredictably change the others, for ever…”

I Guess All We Have Is Freedom by Genpai Akasegawa

Translated by Matthew Fargo

(North American release expected spring 2023)

“In these stories, ostensibly quiet tales of a single dad in 1970s Tokyo, a doorknob practices radical politics, a peeled tomato smarts in pain, raw oysters tick like time bombs and gravestones provide a critique of capitalism…”

Kappa by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

Translated by Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda and Allison Markin Powell

(North American release expected summer 2023)

“Akutagawa’s Kappa is narrated by Patient No. 23, a madman in a lunatic asylum: he recounts how, while out hiking in Kamikochi, he spots a Kappa. He decides to chase it and, like Alice pursuing the White Rabbit, he tumbles down a hole, out of the human world and into the realm of the Kappas…”

Last Chance to Say Goodbye by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Translated by Geoffrey Trousselot

(North American and European releases expected fall 2023)

“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.”

Love at Six Thousand Degrees by Maki Kashimada

Translated by Hadyn Trowell

(North American and European releases expected spring 2023)

“An ordinary housewife finds herself haunted by visions of a mushroom cloud and abruptly leaves her husband and son to travel alone to the city of Nagasaki, where she soon begins an affair with a young half-Russian, half-Japanese man…”

Marshland by Otohiko Kaga

Translated by Albert Novick

(North American and European releases expected early summer 2023)

“An epic novel on a Tolstoyan scale, running from the pre-World War II period to the turbulence of 1960s Japan. At forty-nine, Atsuo Yukimori is a humble auto mechanic living an almost penitentially quiet life in Tokyo, where his coworkers know something of his military record but nothing of his postwar past as a petty criminal. Out of curiosity he accompanies his nephew to a demonstration at a nearby university, and is gradually drawn into a friendship, then a romance, with Wakako Ikéhata, the brilliant but mentally unstable daughter of a university professor. As some of the student radical groups turn to violence and terrorism, Atsuo and Wakako find themselves framed for the lethal bombing of a Tokyo train….”

The Meiji Guillotine Murders by Futaro Yamada

(European release expected winter 2023)

“Japan, 1869. A time of reform and rebellion. Detectives Kazuki and Kawaji are assigned to investigate a series of seemingly impossible murders. Together with the help of a mysterious shrine maiden, can they solve each gruesome death and piece together the dark connection between them? ….”

Mild Vertigo by Mieko Kanai

Translated by Polly Barton

(North American and European releases summer 2023)

“Housewife Natsumi leads a small, unremarkable life in a modern Tokyo apartment with her husband and two sons: she does the laundry, goes on trips to the supermarket, exchanges gossip with neighbours. Tracing the conversations and interactions she has with her family and friends as they blend seamlessly into her internal monologue, Mild Vertigo explores the dizzying inability to locate oneself in the endless stream of minutiae that make up a life confined to the home, where both everything and nothing happens.”

The Mill House Murders by Ayatsuji Yukito

Translated by Ho-Ling Wong

(European release expected late winter 2023; North American release expected spring 2023)

“As they do every year, a small group of acquaintances pay a visit to the remote, castle-like Water Mill House, home to the reclusive Fujinuma Kiichi, son of a famous artist, who has lived his life behind a rubber mask ever since a disfiguring car accident.

This year, however, the visit is disrupted by an impossible disappearance, the theft of a painting and a series of baffling murders…”

Nails and Eyes by Kaori Fujino

Translated by Kendall Heitzman

(North American and European releases expected fall 2023)

“A young girl addresses her stepmother, who has moved in shortly after her mother’s death in unusual circumstances. The girl shows strangely detailed knowledge of the older woman’s life, and as her stepmother settles into the house, the girl’s obsession sharpens to an ever finer point…”

Nipponia Nippon by Kazushige Abe

Translated by Kerim Yasar

(North American and European releases expected fall 2023)

“Isolated in his Tokyo apartment, 17-year-old Haruo spends all his time online, researching the plight of the endangered Japanese crested ibis, Nipponia Nippon… His conclusion is simple: it is his destiny to free the birds from a society that does not appreciate them, by whatever means necessary. With his emotional state becoming ever more erratic, he begins sourcing weapons and preparing for a reckoning in this darkly ironic study of toxic masculinity…”

The North Light by Hideo Yokoyama

Translated by Louise Heal Kawai

(European release expected fall 2023)

“Minoru Aose is an architect whose greatest achievement is to have designed the Yoshino house, a prizewinning and much discussed private residence built in the shadow of Mount Asama. Aose has never been able to replicate this triumph and his career seems to have hit a barrier, while his marriage has failed. He is shocked to learn that the Yoshino House is empty apart from a single chair, stood facing the north light of nearby Mount Asama…”

People Who Talk to Stuffed Animals Are Nice by Ao Omae

Translated by Emily Balistrieri

(North American and European releases expected summer 2023)

“Composed of the title novella and three short stories, People Who Talk to Stuffed Animals Are Nice sensitively explores gender, friendship, romance, love, human interaction and its absence, and how a misogynistic society limits women and men…”

The Rainbow by Yasunari Kawabata

Translated by Hadyn Trowell

(North American and European releases expected spring 2023)

“With the Second World War only a few years in the past, and Japan still reeling from its effects, two sisters—born to the same father but different mothers—struggle to make sense of the new world in which they are coming of age…”

The Rope Artist by Fuminori Nakamura

Translated by Sam Bett

(North American and European releases expected late spring 2023)

“Two detectives. Two identical women. One dead body—rapidly becoming two, then three, then four. All knotted up in Japan’s underground BDSM scene and kinbaku, a form of rope bondage which bears a complex cultural history of spirituality, torture, cleansing, and sacrifice…”

The Siren’s Lament: Essential Stories by Junichiro Tanizaki

Translated by Bryan Karetnyk

(North American and European releases expected fall 2023)

“These three short stories, in a gorgeous new translation by Bryan Karetnyk, distill the essence of Jun’ichiro Tanizaki’s shorter fiction: the co-mingling of Japanese and Chinese mythologies, the chillingly dark side of desire and the paper-thin line between the sublime and the depraved…”

Sunrise: Radiant Stories by Erika Kobayashi

Translated by Brian Bergstrom

(North American and European releases expected fall 2023)

Sunrise is a collection of interconnected stories continuing Erika Kobayashi’s examination of the effects of nuclear power on generations of women. Connecting changes to everyday life to the development of the atomic bomb, Sunrise shows us how the discovery of radioactive power has shaped our history and continues to shape our future…”

Tatami Time Machine Blues by Tomihiko Morimi

Translated by Emily Balistrieri

(North American and European releases expected fall 2023)

“In the boiling heat of summer, a broken remote control for an air conditioner threatens life as we know it in this reality-bending, time-slipping sequel to The Tatami Galaxy.

This Is Amiko by Natsuko Imamura

Translated by Hitomi Yoshio

(European release expected fall 2023)

The Thorn Puller by Hiromi Ito

Translated by Jeffrey Angles

(North American release in December 2022; European release expected early 2023)

“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…”

What You Are Looking for Is In the Library by Michiko Aoyama

Translated by Alison Watts

(European release expected fall 2023)

“‘What are you looking for?’ asks Tokyo’s most enigmatic librarian, Sayuri Komachi. But Komachi is no ordinary librarian. Naturally, she reads every book on her shelf, but she also has the unique ability to read the souls of anyone who walks through her door. Sensing exactly what they’re looking for in life, she provides just the book recommendation they never knew they needed to help them find it…”


Read about Japanese books in English translation published in 2022.

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