A couple months ago, I heard about a month-long celebration of Japanese literature called January in Japan or Japan January. Whatever hashtag you use, you’ll find a brilliant collection of Japanese literature.
I’ve loved seeing the dozens of titles of translated literature, especially the wide selection of audiobooks available on my favorite audiobook apps. So here are few books for your TBRs!
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori
Keiko Furukara works at a convenience store, perfectly happy with her place in life. After eighteen years of working at the store, Keiko finds herself berated by family who keep pushing her to do more. But why should she upend her life when she has no idea how her life could be different?
Narrated by Nancy Wu
Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Miri, translated by Morgan Giles
A homeless man has just died and begins telling the story of his life. He wasn’t always homeless. He once had a family who he worked to support for decades. But he always had the worst of luck. This short novel tells the story of his life, the hopes and dreams he never saw come true.
Narrated by Johnny Heller
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
Banana Yoshimoto is a treasure of Japanese literature, and one of her most famous books is Kitchen, a novel about a young woman who’s taken in by her friend and his family. In this much-beloved story, Yoshimoto tells the story of kitchens and the people who call them home.
Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami, translated by Allison Markin Powell
Hiromi Kawakami tells stories loved by readers around the world. Strange Weather in Tokyo follows Tsukiko, a thirty-eight-year-old woman drinking alone in a bar. While there she meets a former teacher, and as they make small talk, a greater intimacy begins to grow, perhaps turning from friendship into love.
Narrated by Allison Hiroto
The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, translated by Philip Gabriel
Nana and his human, Satoru, head out on a journey to visit old friends—at least, that’s what Satoru has told Nana. This charming story is perfect for cat and book lovers alike.
Narrated by George Blagden
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, translated by Jay Rubin
Toru Okada knows his wife’s cat is missing. But what begins as a search for the cat turns into a search for his wife. Across Tokyo, in the hidden places where most don’t know to look, Toru Okada is determined to find what’s been lost.
Narrated by Rupert Degas
Out by Natsuo Kirino, translated by Stephen Snyder
When a factory worker kills her husband while defending herself from his violent attacks, she begs her co-workers for help. What starts as an effort to help out a friend turns into something they never expected. This thriller will have you sitting at the edge of your seat until the very end.
Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yōko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder
The Housekeeper works for the Professor, a man with only eighty minutes of memory. Every day, she meets him for what he believes to be the first time. Everyday, the Housekeeper comes to marvel at how the Professor can remember equations from the past, but can’t remember a woman he sees everyday.
Narrated by Cassandra Campbell
The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea by Yukio Mishima, translated by John Nathan
A group of thirteen-year-old boys reject the world of adults, focusing instead on a ship’s officer they view as the ideal example of manhood. But through a series of events, they become disillusioned with the man, and grow angry at what they view as his betrayal.
Narrated by Brian Nishii
Find more great audiobooks by browsing our other audiobooks posts!