Japan Shopping Haul / Books

Blue Yusuke Nakamura, The Makioka Sisters Tanizaki Jun'ichiro, Amrita Banana Yoshimoto, Books, Book Haul, Literature, Japanese Literature
I haven't really spoken about this much on my blog, but I'm a huge reader. My collection of books is frightening; I seem to buy four news books for each one that I read. Obviously when travelling purchasing books is not the most sensible thing to do, but while I was in Japan I had a couple of moments of weakness. In my defence, the books I bought were all by Japanese authors, so I figured they would be sensible purchases (ahh, the excuses we tell ourselves when shopping, am I right?).

Many of my favourite books are written by Japanese authors, so I treated myself to three books - a level of restraint I very rarely show.

The Makioka Sisters Tanizaki Junichiro, Japanese Literature, Books, Book Haul
The Makioka Sisters, by Tanizaki Jun'ichirō.

I've had this book on my 'to buy' list for quite a while, as it's considered a classic of both International and Japanese Literature. Books set around the time of World War II have always fascinated me, so I think this one will interest me greatly.

In Osaka in the years immediately before World War II, four aristocratic women try to preserve a way of life that is vanishing. The story of the Makioka sisters forms what is arguably the greatest Japanese novel of the twentieth century, a poignant yet unsparing portrait of a family-and an entire society-sliding into the abyss of modernity. 
Tsuruko, the eldest sister, clings obstinately to the prestige of her family name even as her husband prepares to move their household to Tokyo, where that name means nothing. Sachiko compromises valiantly to secure the future of her younger sisters. The unmarried Yukiko is a hostage to her family's exacting standards, while the spirited Taeko rebels by flinging herself into scandalous romantic alliances. Filled with vignettes of upper-class Japanese life and capturing both the decorum and the heartache of its protagonist, The Makioka Sisters is a classic of international literature.

Amrita Banana Yoshimoto, Japanese Literature, Books, Book Haul
Amrita, by Banana Yoshimoto.

I've read two of Banana Yoshimoto's books before (Goodbye Tsugumi and Asleep) and really enjoyed both, so when I saw this on the shelf at Kinokuniya in Shinjuku, I knew I had to buy it. Amrita tells the story of an actress dies in shocking circumstances. She leaves behind an unconventional extended family of three who embark on a journey through grief and suffering, memories lost and gained, forbidden romance, redemption and recovery, and a confrontation with spirits on a remote Pacific island.

Many of Yoshimoto's books follow a young, modern Japanese woman who has endured hardships during her life, so Amrita seems like it will follow in a similar vein. I can't wait to see what kind of misery she puts her protagonist through in this one!

Blue Yusuke Nakamura, Design, Illustration, Art, Japanese Art

Blue, by Yusuke Nakamura.

I picked this art book up on a whim, as I loved the cover and really wanted to take a look inside (the book was sealed in the shop). I'm so glad I did, as it's filled with incredible work by an artist and designer called Yusuke Nakamura. The book includes 10 years of his art, from CD covers, light novel covers, games, posters, and more. His work is incredibly creative and bold, often with surreal illustrations and fantastic use of colour.

Take a look at a couple of the pages from the book below - how fantastic is his work?

Blue Yusuke Nakamura, Design, Illustration, Art, Japanese Art

Blue Yusuke Nakamura, Design, Illustration, Art, Japanese Art

Book synopsis taken from Goodreads.