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Anna's Guide to Japanese Translated Fiction!

“It's funny. No matter where you go, or how many books you read, you still know nothing, you haven't seen anything. And that's life.” –Satoshi Yagisawa, Days at the Morisaki Bookshop

With translated fiction it is always important to keep in mind the things that may have been lost in translation. Each of these books will resonate differently with each reader and I hope you enjoy them all as much as I did.

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These first few books are the literary embodiment of a full body hug. Something to read to brighten your day with real human emotion. These may make you cry, but in a good heartwarming, way.

  • Days at the Morisaki Bookshop by Satoshi Yagisawa: A story of love and loss and finding the joy in life through family. 
  • What You Are Looking for Is in the Library by Michiko Aoyama: A relatable story about finding the tools to achieve your dreams.
  • Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi: This series is certainly guaranteed to make you cry with all the love each character’s story holds.

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These books are unsettling yet relatable stories about the hardships that come with simply being human. From aging, to break ups, to dealing with work, there is something in these for everyone.   

  • There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumuro: A story about a woman trialing a series of bizarre jobs in an attempt to counteract her burnout.
  • The Hole by Hiroko Oyamada: Sometimes life is so daunting you’d rather have an Alice in Wonderland-esque experience and fall into a mysterious hole.
  • Diary of a Void by Emi Yogi: When one lie to get out of work spirals and blurs with reality.
  • All the Lovers in the Night by Meiko Kawakami: A powerful exploration of adulting and loneliness, a quietly captivating character driven story.

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Books full of magic and weirdness for when you aren’t sure what kind of mood you’re in but you want to read something new.

  • The Miracles of the Namiya General Store by Keigo Higashino: Another story that may be tear inducing, what would you ask if you could drop a letter through time to the Namiya General Store?
  • Earthlings by Sayaka Murata: For the times you think you’re turning into an alien, happens to the best of us!
  • Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura: In the depths of despair, what fairy tale world might you create?

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These books are mysteries and thrillers, some cozy, some suspense. They are certain to keep you on the edge of your seat!

  • Piercing by Ryu Murakami: While disturbing, this thriller is also compelling enough to have to consistently on the edge of your seat.
  • The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Hagishino: A tragic marriage, a murder cover-up, and a detection certain he can solve the case.
  • The Kamogawa Food Detectives by Hisashi Kashiwai: A cozy mystery to lift your spirits after the last two.

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Literary fiction books across a wide spectrum to fit what remains.

  • Sunrise: Radiant Stories by Erika Kobayashi: A collection of stories about the fall-out of the atomic bomb and its effects on the lives of women.
  • The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina: A portrait of grief in an incredibly heartbreaking while also heartwarming way.
  • No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai: In an effort to fit in, a man becomes less and less the person he hoped he would be.


Anna was born and raised in Boston, MA. Her favorite genre to read is fantasy romance. She spent a summer studying dolphin communication in the Bahamas.

Interested in buying? Check out the list here!