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The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories
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The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories

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4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  235 ratings  ·  17 reviews
This collection of short stories, including many new translations, is the first to span the whole of Japan's modern era from the end of the nineteenth century to the present day. Beginning with the first writings to assimilate and rework Western literary traditions, through the flourishing of the short story genre in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the Taisho era, to the ne ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published September 12th 2002 by Oxford University Press (first published April 1st 1997)
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David
"Sansho the steward" by Ōgai Mori
One of his historical things. Fun.

"The third night" by Natsume Sōseki
Soseki wrote a collection of short stories based around weird dreams. I gather it freaked everyone out. This one is based around a Zen koan: "What did your face look like before your parents were born?"

"The bonfire" by Doppo Kunikida
I really enjoyed this. Kids on the beach with their bonfire.

"Separate ways" by Ichiyō Higuchi
Woman and the boy from the umbrella shop.

"The peony garden" by Kafū Naga
...more
Louis
I love me a good short story. So does Japan.

I picked this up from the uni library after a couple of shock realisations - firstly that I hadn't read any Osamu Dazai, and secondly that the uni library only has some very old, yellowed Japanese versions of his complete works. I thought I might only read the Dazai story, Merry Christmas, but ended up reading all of the stories. Top five: Aguri, The Izu Dancer, Blind Chinese Soldiers, Merry Christmas, Onnagata, Prize Stock, The Elephant Vanishes &
...more
Miz Moffatt
The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories offers a varied overview of Japan's finest literary talents ranging from the late nineteenth-century to the present-day. Be prepared to expand that reading list of yours upon completion of this collection -- one taste guarantees the need for another hit.

Stand-out pieces include:

Okamoto Kanoko's "Portrait of an Old Geisha": An older woman offers to 'keep' a young man, allowing him to pursue his dream of inventing; however, the gift of easy gold does not a
...more
Jamie
There are thirty-five stories in this collection. They are arranged chronologically by the birth date of each author beginning with the year 1862 and ending with the year 1964. I know this kind of goes without saying, but each story truly was a reflection of the times in which each author lived. I really enjoyed that aspect of the book. It was a fascinating way to read through the literary history of Japan.

Two of my favorite stories were "Lemon" and "Prize Stock."


"Lemon" is written by Kajii Mot
...more
Kyle Muntz
I picked this up entirely to read "Desert Dolphin" a 15 page story by Masahiko Shimada (so, the rating is for the story, rather than the anthology). It was absolutely worth it.
Harperac
I'm so happy I found a copy of this book for myself - Japanese literature is hardly ubiquitous in the used bookstores I frequent. It's got a lot of the "greats" here - Soseki, Akutagawa, Kafu, Mishima, Kawabata, Naoya.

My issue with the book, why I didn't give it five stars, is that it doesn't really function as a definitive anthology, but it doesn't really function as a group of stories that happen to be together either. Some stories, like Higuchi Ichiyo's "Seperate Ways" were pretty mediocre a
...more
Madeline
As hard as it is to find Sakaguchi Ango in translation, there's this!
Stephen
Great collection of short stories with a broad sweep of different styles and settings, from ancient legends to modern day. I didn't enjoy every story but there was only one or two I found myself skipping ahead to the next. It'd take too long to pick out all my favourites but the ones that really stood out was Oe's "Prize Stock", Sakaguchi's "In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom", Kojima's "The Rifle" and of course Murakami's "The Elephant Vanishes" which is an old favourite!
Danielle
Read for a course by Professor Goossen himself, this collection had a great variety of Japanese stories. My favourites were The Third Night by Natsume Soseki, a ghost story about a dream, and In a Grove by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, a murder mystery about the subjectivity of truth.
Nick
Wonderful collection of stories. They were initially a little tough to get in to due to the chronological nature (though the earlier stories did have some emotional resonance). The book got more enjoyable as it went on, and I particularly liked Abe's story.
Nena Crist
If you plan on diving into this it helps to get at least a general idea of the cultural background. Otherwise, you miss quite a bit of the implications...BUT!! It is very much worth it!!!
Bucket
Liked: the story about the disappearing elephant is my favorite. i also like the one about the woman who collects heads (Under the Cherry lossoms i think its called)
Rachel
This expansive collection had stories that shocked me, stories I related to, and stories that made me think... I can't generalize much more than that.
Scott
I bought this to read some stories that are hard to find elsewhere. Some were worth the journey and some have made traveling a bit dusty and tiring.
Photina
I enjoyed the collection of sorry stories overall. Some more than others but it is neat collection.
Jon Holt
Not a perfect collection, but it has good variety.
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