Raifuku no Ie (House of Arriving Happiness)
Author.Wen Yu Ju
Includes two stories: "Raifuku no Ie" about the struggles and growth of a young Taiwanese woman living in Japan who is embarrassed about not being able to speak Chinese and the emotion-filled depiction of her unconstrained ideas about her mother language; and "Kokyo Kourai-ka," the author's debut novel and the winner of the 33rd Subaru Prize for Literature (Honorable Mention). The author, Wen Yu Ju, was born in 1980 in Taipei and was brought up in Tokyo. With subtle and bold control of Japanese, Chinese, and Taiwanese, she delves into the essence of family and the history of the people. She is said to be a new leader in the world of literature who is reminiscent of Levy Hideo and Jhumpa Lahiri. A witty, mildly bitter portrait of the modern family.
Cheer Danshi!! (Cheerboys!!)
Haruki, a college freshman who has faithfully practiced judo since he was a kid, and his childhood friend Kazuma find themselves starting up Japan's first guys-only cheerleading squad. Its members, all super individualistic with unique circumstances, make their debut performance at the campus festival and aim for the national competition, however… The novel is full of entertaining behind-the-scenes anecdotes about cheerleading! The author followed Shockers, a real-life cheerleading squad at Waseda University where he is a student, to write this sports novel bursting with youthful energy.
A 44-year-old bachelor finds himself taking in Nazuna, the two-month-old baby daughter of his brother and his wife. Knowing nothing about raising a child, he is perplexed by the situation at first, but with help from people like the pediatrician and his family, the proprietress of the neighborhood eatery, and his boss at the local newspaper company he works at, he begins to see splendor in his everyday life that he never noticed before. The changes in him are depicted slowly and thoughtfully. The protagonist gradually realizes that "he is not raising the child but is being raised by her" and feels what love is for the first time in his life.
The 1870s... The Edo Period has come to an end, and there is the new social system of the Meiji Period. Sadakuro, a former samurai, lost everything in the Meiji Restoration and has fallen so far as to luring customers to whorehouses in the red-light district of Nezu. The poignant portrayal of men and women unable to catch up with the tide of the new era but who try desperately to survive in their bleak surroundings is a reflection of the stagnant, modern society. This outstanding full-length novel is a winner of the Naoki Prize, Japan's most prestigious literature award.
Wagaya no Mondai (Our Family's Problems)
A newlywed man who dreads going home to his too-perfect wife… A wife who discovers that her husband is a burden on his company… A wife who is shocked by her husband's sudden claim that he saw a UFO… A collection of witty short stories about the trivial yet bothersome problems that may be nagging even your own family. Funny, mildly bitter portraits of modern families.
Hakoniwa Toshokan (Box Garden Library)
A collection of six short stories set in a fictional town whose catchphrase is "a town that weaves stories." What is the real reason why the boy who wrote stories in his notebook became a novelist? What is the mysterious encounter prompted by shoeprints in the snow? A collection of heartrending stories of various genres-mystery, horror, "light novel," SF fantasy-about young men and women who make peace with themselves and take a new step forward in their lives.
Owarazaru Natsu (Never-Ending Summer)
On August 15, 1945, the war started. Told from the viewpoints of an English literature editor who was drafted right at the age limit, a battle-scarred sergeant, an aspiring medical student, a female volunteer at a canned food factory, a child evacuee, a Russian soldier, and people of a farming village, this is a multilayered depiction of "war" based on an "untold battle" that actually took place on the remote Shumushu Island up north following the emperor's announcement over the radio about the start of the war. A moving chronicle that addresses the true horrors of war and the meaning of life. Winner of the 64th Mainichi Publishing Culture Award.
Iogami (Fish God)
A remote island on which there once was a flourishing red-light district. On this island rich with legends, people who were forced out of the mainland establish autonomy and foster a unique culture. The beautiful Hakua and her little brother, Sukekiyo, are raised on this island but are separated as adults. Hakua becomes a prostitute, and Sukekiyo, an underworld medicine seller. Their attraction for each other overlaps with the island's "Snakehead Legend," and eventually a big change occurs on the island... An exquisitely beautiful fantasy novel. Winner of the 21st Novel Subaru Newcomer Award and the 37th Izumi Kyoka Literature Award.