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Read Real Japanese Fiction: Short Stories by Contemporary Writers

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  143 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Long-awaited by teachers and students, Read Real Japanese Fiction presents short works by six of todays most daring and provocative Japanese writers. The spellbinding world of Hiromi Kawakami; the hair-raising horror of Otsuichi; the haunting, poignant prose of Banana Yoshimoto; even the poetic word-play of Yoko Tawada whatever a readers taste, he or she is sure to find so ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 2nd 2008 by Kodansha USA
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Community Reviews

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Dec 21, 2014 Keith rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who despise pointless textbook dialogs
Shelves: 日本語で
I think this is the best Japanese resource I've come across yet. Six actual contemporary Japanese short stories, in actual Japanese text. Finally. No bullshit textbook dialogs, no ridiculous all-hiragana children's stories. This is the real deal, but handled in such a way that it's not impenetrable for the intermediate Japanese student. There are furigana readings the first time you encounter any kanji, there are rough translations of tricky parts on the opposite page, there's a full dictionary ...more
Jul 29, 2011 Simon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nihongo
This book really whetted my appetite for getting into Japanese literature. It has a good cross-section of authors and stories. The format made it very easy to read the stories with large font with furigana over kanji and translations of most phrases on the opposite page. It also has a dictionary at the back, but I never used it as it was generally easy to guess the meaning of a word from the translation. The CD was good to listen to. The thing that I found the most helpful were the translation n ...more
Earlier this year I already reviewed Read Real Japanese Essays . The Fiction version has the same set-up as that book, so I won't get into that again (check the Essays review for that). The structure of the book just works, and it's awesome for students of Japanese, the end.

Anyway! Let's get into content. While I enjoyed Essays, Fiction was infinitely more interesting to me. It's so enjoyable reading Japanese literature in Japanese (makes you feel like you actually accomplished something in you
Apr 17, 2015 Christian rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Intermediate Japanese learners
The stories are short, interesting and not too difficult. On the right page is the original and on the left some translations. The only bits that are left untranslated will be easy enough to understand for the intermediate learner.

Not sure how useful the notes are. They are in a separate section of the book so reading the story and reading the notes can't be done at the same time. And there are quite a lot of those annotations (taking a good 20-25% of the book).

On the other hand, those
Irene Adler
Jan 20, 2015 Irene Adler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan
This book is absolutely AMAZING! I couldn't recommend it more. It contains stories of all genres and all levels; no matter what type of person you are you're surely going to find something that interests you in this fantastic book! The glossary of words at the end and the bilingual translations are of great help too, especially in order to understand idioms or certain nuances which I hadn't managed to grasp even after years of learning Japanese.
Some of the texts are really difficult, but the en
Jan 22, 2011 Joy rated it really liked it
While I did not like all of the stories, that really isn't the point of this book. It's a nice introduction to contemporary Japanese fiction in a user-friendly format that helps you increase your ability to read authentic Japanese independently. I prefer this format (translations for tricky sections on a facing page with a full glossary in the back) to side-by-side translations because I think it encourages the reader to try to figure out the meaning on their own. I actually like that the glossa ...more
Fernando Torre
Jun 10, 2015 Fernando Torre rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, languages
The stories were interesting (although too many horror-ish stories in my opinion, not balanced enough). This type of book is very helpful for intermediate learners of Japanese. My only other criticism beside story genres is the fact that the grammar explanations are on the other side of the book, making flipping around too troublesome.
Skivvy Jones
Aug 31, 2014 Skivvy Jones rated it it was amazing
One of the best. I like editor/translator Michael Emmerich's notes and enthusiasm for the stories in this book. I return to it often (how often can we say that about language books) and I must admit it feels really cool to finally be able to read (or read along) with these Japanese stories. Be persistent. I can't recommend this book enough.
Thomas Dimattia
Sep 12, 2012 Thomas Dimattia rated it it was amazing
Still the best book ever to bridge the gap between the Japanese student and the world he or she is trying to peer into.
Dec 16, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
Wish this book had existed when I was learning Japanese--but still find lots to learn from it after thirty years!
Feb 26, 2015 Inga rated it liked it
It's a good source for learning Japanese, I guess, but I didn't particularly enjoy the selected stories. Except for Kitamura Kaoru's piece. That one was splendid.
Cynthia Wood
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Michael Emmerich’s scholarly interests in Japanese literature range from the classical, court-centered prose and poetry of the Heian period to the popular printed fiction of the early modern age, and on from there to the prose fiction of modern and contemporary times. His engagement with the literary products of these diverse periods is informed by a sensitivity to the material and visual forms th ...more
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