Episode 27: Japanese Children’s Literature

Check out Episode 27 of the Read Literature podcast.

Transcript available.

In this episode, we’re talking about Japanese children’s literature.

  • The history of children’s literature in general
  • The history of children’s literature in Japan
  • And Sachiko Kashiwaba and Temple Alley Summer—a story that is about Japanese children’s literature (at least a little bit!)

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More by Sachiko Kashiwaba:

RJL’s list of Japanese children’s books in English translation.

This episode also mentions:

*These stories are only mentioned in the extended version of the episode available to Patreon supporters.

Find Out More

“Through the Looking Glass: Has Children’s Books Have Grown Up” at NPR, 2016.

The official website of the Newbery Medal.

The National Diet Library’s Japanese Children’s Literature: A History from the International Children’s Literature Collections. In English.

The Freer-Sackler Library’s collection of Illustrated Japanese books.

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCWBI) Japan’s Blog

A list of “One Hundred Japanese Books for Children (1868-1945”) from the International Institute for Children’s Literature, Osaka. In English.

On How Do You Live?—”How a Once-Banned Japanese Children’s Book Became a Classic… and the Next Studio Ghibli Film”, 2021. Note that Studio Ghibli’s move turned out to be completely unrelated to the novel, which is nevertheless worth reading.

My review of How Do You Live? in the Asian Review of Books, 2021.

“A Japanese Author, Her Translator, a New Classic” at Kirkus, 2021. Laura Simeon interviews Sachiko Kashiwaba and Avery Fischer Udagawa.

The Japan Foundation New York Presents a Conversation with Kashiwaba Sachiko and Avery Fischer Udagawa, 2021. English and Japanese.

“Interviews with Tomo Contributors Author Sachiko Kashiwaba and Translator Avery Fischer Udagawa” at the Tomo Blog, 2012.

My review of Temple Alley Summer in the Asian Review of Books.

Japanese Literature at Facebook

Japanese Literature at Goodreads

Other RJL Episodes of Interest:


Allen, Celeste. “‘Alice in Wonderland’ Changed Literature Forever, by Not Trying to Teach Kids, Just Entertain Them” at Timline.com, 2017. (free)

Copeland, Rebecca. Lost Leaves: Women Writers of Meiji Japan, U of HI Press, 2000.

–, ed. Women Critiqued: Translated Essays on Japanese Women’s Writing, U of HI Press, 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.

Frustuck, Sabine and Anne Walthall. “Introduction” in Multi-Sensory Histories of Children and Childhood in Japan, Sabine Frustuck and Anne Walthall, eds. UCA, 2017.

Grenby, M. O. “The Origins of Children’s Literature” at The British Library, 2014. (free)

Hewins, C. M. “The History of Children’s Books” in The Atlantic, 1888. (free)

Huffman, James L. Creating a Public: People and Press in Meiji Japan, University of Hawaii, 1997.

“Japanese Children’s Literature: A History from the International Library of Children’s Literature Collections.” National Diet Library, 2017. (free)

“Kashiwaba Sachiko” at SFE: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 2023. (free)

Kashiwaba Sachiko and Avery Fischer Udagawa. “JFNY Literary Series: Sachiko Kashiwaba x Avery Fischer Adagawa”, 2021. (free video)

Korniki, P. F. “Literacy Revisited: Some Reflections on Richard Rubinger’s Findings” in Monumenta Nipponica, 2001.

Mack, Edward. Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature: Publishing, Prizes, and the Ascription of Literary Value. Duke, 2010.

Moretti, Laura. “Kanazoshi Revisited: The Beginnings of Japanese Popular Literature in Print” in Monumenta Nipponica, 2010.

Pinkerton, Byrd. Through the Looking Glass: How Children’s Books Have Grown Up. NPR, 2016. (free)

Rubinger, Richard. “From ‘Dark Corners’ into ‘The Light’: Literacy Studies in Modern Japan” in History of Education Quarterly, 1990.

Tolkien, J. R. R. “On Fairy-Stories” (1947). (free)

Treat, John Whittier. “Yoshimoto Banana Writes Home: Shojo Culture and the Nostalgic Subject” in The Journal of Japanese Studies, 1993.

Wakabayashi, Judy. “Foreign Bones, Japanese Flesh: Translations and the Emergence of Modern Children’s Literature in Japan” in Japanese Language and Literature, 2008.

3 thoughts on “Episode 27: Japanese Children’s Literature

  1. I have yet to listen to this episode but can’t wait! Thank you so much for the extraordinary work you put into each podcast.
    Posie 🙂

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