Fiction Map Of The World- Japan

by Travelbag on 12 January 2015, 15:01PM Fiction Map Of The World- Japan

There is nowhere on earth quite like Japan. This thriving, bustling cultural metropolis is unique in every way. It manages to offer both the traditional and the incredibly new – so new, in fact, that this country is often at the forefront of the global technical revolution.
It is difficult to describe this part of the world to people who have not yet experienced it, because it is so much more than can be put into words. The only way to know for sure is to visit – you will be astounded, amazed, moved, delighted and awestruck in equal measure.

Essential Holiday Reading
There is an incredibly diverse literary culture in Japan, which has very much influenced writers in the western world too. At present, authors like Haruki Murakami, Kazuo Ishiguro and Banana Yoshimoto are some of the most acclaimed on the planet. Their novels are routinely translated into scores of different languages, and enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of avid book worms. The contemporary Japanese writer, Haruki Murakami is considered to be amongst the finest novelists in the world – his books The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore are greatly admired for their surrealist narratives. For a gripping holiday read, check out the mysterious and intriguing IQ84. 
 
Notable Japanese Books
If the characteristic secrecy and weird postmodernism of Murakami does not sound like your idea of fun, you might prefer a thriller from Kenzaburo Oe. His highly acclaimed novel The Changeling tells the surprisingly redemptive story of a novelist, forced to deal with the wholly unexpected suicide of his best friend. Whilst the narrative sounds like a dark one, its seriousness is altogether lifted by its lessons about life, friendship, love and family. Or, if you do prefer a chilling thriller, whilst lounging in your hotel room, waiting for the rain soaked Japanese streets to clear, you could try the creepy Out, by crime writer Natsuo Kirino. The film rights to the novel are already rumoured to have been snapped up by Ring director Hideo Nakata. 

Notable Japanese Authors
As one of the most famous writers in Japan, it is fair to say that Banana Yoshimito is rather well regarded in her home country. She is a deeply contemporary writer, dealing with issues of love, loss, tragedy, and the restrictions and exhaustions of youth – particularly within Japanese culture. The 1988 novel Kitchen tells the tale of a young woman struggling to deal with the death of her grandmother. She ends up growing close to a friend of her grandmother, Yuichi, eventually deciding to stay with him and his transgender mother, Eriko. Whilst there are many layers to this novel, its heart is defined by a story of loss, grief and redemption. As a result of her love for cooking, the protagonist discovers an inner strength, and realises some important truths about life along the way.  
 
Notable Japanese Films
The Japanese film industry is highly regarded, all across the world. It has its own distinct style, features and characteristics, ensuring that it always stands out amongst the western blockbusters. One of the most enduring Japanese films in history has to be Gojira - or Godzilla, as it is known to western audiences. Whilst the Americans may have been playing with this monster for as long as anybody can remember, it is a creation of the Japanese, a representation of a looming anxiety of nuclear power. If you have not seen the original 1954 film, you are missing out on an iconic piece of cinema. For a more modern watch, check out animated classics Grave of the Fireflies, Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle.
 
Essential Holiday Listening
Just like the film industry, the music industry in Japan is similarly diverse. This is a country that has long been exposed to western styles and trends, so it is rich in rock, rap, blues, pop, soul, metal, disco and any other genre which you care to name. It does not matter what your favourite style of music happens to be, you will find something to make you smile in Japan. The Yellow Magic Orchestra are considered to be innovators in the field of electronic music – for music fans who like their tunes ambient, but engaging, they could be the perfect choice. This collective blends facets of pop, rock, dance, techno, house, hip hop and even video game music.  

Notable Japanese Musicians
You do not need to have visited Japan to know the name Yoko Ono. This spirited and fiery musician may have initially come to the attention of the world, as a result of her marriage to John Lennon, but these days Yoko Ono is known for her work with some of the biggest rock and pop artists on the planet. She is not only an acclaimed musician, but a highly regarded artist and peace activist. At the grand old age of 81, she shows no signs of slowing down either – Ono has released both a documentary and several books over the last two years.

 

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