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Inside and other short fiction showcases the very best of recent writing by Japanese women writers today-including prize-winning novelists and authors never before published in English-as they explore the issue of female identity in a rapidly changing society. AMY YAMADA ("Fiesta"), widely published overseas and with many fans among Western readers, offers us a sophisticat Inside and other short fiction showcases the very best of recent writing by Japanese women writers today-including prize-winning novelists and authors never before published in English-as they explore the issue of female identity in a rapidly changing society. AMY YAMADA ("Fiesta"), widely published overseas and with many fans among Western readers, offers us a sophisticated psychological portrait of a sexually repressed woman. TAMAKI DAIDO ("Milk"), winner of the Akutagawa Prize in 2002, and talented young newcomer RIO SHIMAMOTO ("Inside"), paint two very different pictures of teenage life. The trials of a busy working mother are depicted by SHUNGIKU UCHIDA ("My Son's Lips"), who shocked Japan in 1993 with the publication of her novel, Father Fucker. YUZUKI MUROI ("Piss"), a prolific, popular and outspoken essayist, novelist and TV commentator, tells the sexually explicit and very moving story of a young Tokyo prostitute. Winner of the 1999 Akutagawa Prize, CHIYA FUJINO ("Her Room"), delves into the relationship between two women, one divorced and one single, with a subtle and powerful tale. Well-known essayist, JUNKO HASEGAWA ("The Unfertilized Egg"), makes a first foray into fiction with a hard-hitting portrait of the single thirty-something lifestyle. NOBUKO TAKAGI ("The Shadow of the Orchid") is a highly respected member of the Japanese literary establishment, and winner of many prizes, including the Akutagawa Prize in 1984. Her short story is a sensitive depiction of a moment of crisis in the life of a fifty-year-old housewife.


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Inside and other short fiction showcases the very best of recent writing by Japanese women writers today-including prize-winning novelists and authors never before published in English-as they explore the issue of female identity in a rapidly changing society. AMY YAMADA ("Fiesta"), widely published overseas and with many fans among Western readers, offers us a sophisticat Inside and other short fiction showcases the very best of recent writing by Japanese women writers today-including prize-winning novelists and authors never before published in English-as they explore the issue of female identity in a rapidly changing society. AMY YAMADA ("Fiesta"), widely published overseas and with many fans among Western readers, offers us a sophisticated psychological portrait of a sexually repressed woman. TAMAKI DAIDO ("Milk"), winner of the Akutagawa Prize in 2002, and talented young newcomer RIO SHIMAMOTO ("Inside"), paint two very different pictures of teenage life. The trials of a busy working mother are depicted by SHUNGIKU UCHIDA ("My Son's Lips"), who shocked Japan in 1993 with the publication of her novel, Father Fucker. YUZUKI MUROI ("Piss"), a prolific, popular and outspoken essayist, novelist and TV commentator, tells the sexually explicit and very moving story of a young Tokyo prostitute. Winner of the 1999 Akutagawa Prize, CHIYA FUJINO ("Her Room"), delves into the relationship between two women, one divorced and one single, with a subtle and powerful tale. Well-known essayist, JUNKO HASEGAWA ("The Unfertilized Egg"), makes a first foray into fiction with a hard-hitting portrait of the single thirty-something lifestyle. NOBUKO TAKAGI ("The Shadow of the Orchid") is a highly respected member of the Japanese literary establishment, and winner of many prizes, including the Akutagawa Prize in 1984. Her short story is a sensitive depiction of a moment of crisis in the life of a fifty-year-old housewife.

30 review for Inside and Other Short Fiction: Japanese Women by Japanese Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    Meghan Fidler

    A compilation of 9 short stories by female authors, the foreword promises an exploration of Japanese womenhood by Japanese women. With such a delightful introduction, written by Ruth Ozeki (whose work I am now avidly seeking out) I was really excited about the promise behind the book. "Recently I saw and ad for a California-based skateboard company, which featured a different vision of Japanese womanhood: an anime-style image of a saucer-eyed, knock-kneed schoolgirl, dressed in a blood-spattere A compilation of 9 short stories by female authors, the foreword promises an exploration of Japanese womenhood by Japanese women. With such a delightful introduction, written by Ruth Ozeki (whose work I am now avidly seeking out) I was really excited about the promise behind the book. "Recently I saw and ad for a California-based skateboard company, which featured a different vision of Japanese womanhood: an anime-style image of a saucer-eyed, knock-kneed schoolgirl, dressed in a blood-spattered, miniskirted school uniform and sailor blouse, carrying a chain saw and dragging a severed head. Hmm." The book had its highs and lows. The stories, in hindsight, appear to be organized in a rough chronology of age by the lead protagonist. I enjoyed the social complexity and apathy in the first story 'Milk,' by Tamaki Daido. If I understand the word play on the title- the idea that milk is important for growing children, then the title is particularly clever. The second story in the book, 'Inside,' by Rio Shimamoto, was my favorite. I won't say much about these, for they are difficult to present without ruining some of the beauty in the way they unfold. The third story, 'Piss,' by Yuzuki Muroi, needs to come with a warning label. I don't mind depictions of the violence involved in the sex industry, but to me using ANY depiction of violence with the only apparent goal as 'I'm-gonna-get-paid-for-my-story' not only reinforces the binds which make these horrid conditions possible, but uses the women in the same abusive way as their 'manager.' In short, this story is vulgar, violent, and disgusting only because, as far as I can tell, Muroi-san needed a shock boost in her career. Both 'My Son's Lips,' by Shungiku Uchida, and 'Her Room,' by Chiya Fujino, focus on the inability of some women to flatly refuse requests. The interplay in this effect was delightful. Amy Yamada's 'Fiesta' was an unique and interesting play on 'self,' dividing up the main character into a bundle of different emotions and thoughts which act as the main characters in the piece... though it was incredibly predictable to have Desire be a male character, separate from another male character, Reason. The gender of the internal characters is problematic for my sense and understanding of feminist theory, but this may be just personal idiosyncratic tastes. 'The Unfertilized Egg' used many dream sequences, which were nice to see because of they are an important historical trope in Japanese narratives. Since this is a book about women, you can guess what the story is about by the title. The last story, 'The Shadow of the Orchid,' by Nobuko Takagi, was another one of my favorites, focusing on a women entering menopause. I particularly enjoyed the main protagonists take on television: "She could avoid boredom by turning on the television, but Michiko could not watch the afternoon shows for more than ten minutes at a time. Trivial incidents involving celebrities were hashed out like major world events, and male analysts knit their brows over concerns such as a housewife who shoplifted during her period. It quickly became too much." That was a refreshing outlook on television aimed at housewives. For my decidedly American (and slightly askew) liberal college educated feminism, the choice (and I say choice because it's not necessarily all that's out there... just perhaps all that's famous) of nine stories which rely SO HEAVILY on the countenance of a male, and of sex, as a portrayal of how Japanese women are female was a little disturbing. While some stories did have less heterosexual sex emphasis than others, all of them did include a male-female coupling (whether these worked or not is, of course, part of the narrative). All of the narratives rely upon this in some form or the other. This was a bit of a letdown, as if the only way "Japanese Women" can see themselves is through their relationships to men, and their relationship to other women through sex with men. I wouldn't have found this so problematic if it wasn't for the mission statement given in the introduction of the text. It cannot be that this is the only core or female identity for women born in Japan. I have to believe that this, then, represents the core of what is acceptable to PUBLISH on Japanese women's identity... and like the television programing, perhaps the industry is still too male dominated to really write outside stereotypes.

  2. 5 out of 5

    David

    "I mean, why do Tokyo taxi drivers just take it for granted that their fares will give them directions?" "Recently I saw Molly Ringwald in a movie. The young star of Pretty in Pink had turned into a frumpy, middle-aged actress playing some desperate femme fatale. I got so excited I cried out, 'Molly! How've you been? Look what we've come to, huh?" and immediately put the movie on our order list. I could hear my coworkers muttering that I'm out of touch, old-fashioned, trying to restore my virgini "I mean, why do Tokyo taxi drivers just take it for granted that their fares will give them directions?" "Recently I saw Molly Ringwald in a movie. The young star of Pretty in Pink had turned into a frumpy, middle-aged actress playing some desperate femme fatale. I got so excited I cried out, 'Molly! How've you been? Look what we've come to, huh?" and immediately put the movie on our order list. I could hear my coworkers muttering that I'm out of touch, old-fashioned, trying to restore my virginity, or whater, but I didn't care."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ji

    Stories delve too much into sleeping with someone and sex. This book claims to be about Japanese women, but focuses only on a narrow aspect and unfortunately ignores women's perspectives, their cultures and lives in many other aspects. Seems shallow. Stories delve too much into sleeping with someone and sex. This book claims to be about Japanese women, but focuses only on a narrow aspect and unfortunately ignores women's perspectives, their cultures and lives in many other aspects. Seems shallow.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bonadext

    Sono rimasto affascinato da questo libro di otto racconti di altrettante autrici giapponesi, una lettura scorrevole e piacevole. Le storie riflettono le esperienze di protagoniste molto diverse fra loro: tre sono narrate da adolescenti, quattro da lavoratrici e uno da una casalinga. Le storie sono a tratti, delicate ed esplicite, incalzanti e aggressive, intense e ironiche... ovviamente ci sono alti e bassi tra un racconto e l'altro, leggere "Piss" è stato un pugno nello stomaco! Uno dei raccont Sono rimasto affascinato da questo libro di otto racconti di altrettante autrici giapponesi, una lettura scorrevole e piacevole. Le storie riflettono le esperienze di protagoniste molto diverse fra loro: tre sono narrate da adolescenti, quattro da lavoratrici e uno da una casalinga. Le storie sono a tratti, delicate ed esplicite, incalzanti e aggressive, intense e ironiche... ovviamente ci sono alti e bassi tra un racconto e l'altro, leggere "Piss" è stato un pugno nello stomaco! Uno dei racconti più duri di sempre; "Fiesta" è il racconto più originale e divertente che abbia mai letto; "Le labbra del figlio" ha un'atmosfera decisamente murakamiana; "L'ombra dell'orchidea" e "Uovo infecondo" ti fanno riflettere; "La stanza" è inquietante; mentre "Milk" e "Inside" non mi hanno suscitato grandi emozioni.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    This book was so damn...edgy. Why's Japan have to be so cool? It annoys me. This book was so damn...edgy. Why's Japan have to be so cool? It annoys me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    No rate Ecco...non dovevo leggerlo. O leggerli, sarebbe meglio dire, visto che sono una serie di racconti. Di una cattiveria, una disperazione, una tristezza, una malinconia che ti si appiccica addosso e penetra come nebbia fitta. Non sono propriamente una donna dalla vita gioiosa o serena, e devo trovare ogni giorno una scusa per non suicidarmi, perciò, credo sia possibile immaginare l'odio che nutro per questa raccolta. che ovviamente non rileggerò mai più. E' che solo il mio amore e il rispetto No rate Ecco...non dovevo leggerlo. O leggerli, sarebbe meglio dire, visto che sono una serie di racconti. Di una cattiveria, una disperazione, una tristezza, una malinconia che ti si appiccica addosso e penetra come nebbia fitta. Non sono propriamente una donna dalla vita gioiosa o serena, e devo trovare ogni giorno una scusa per non suicidarmi, perciò, credo sia possibile immaginare l'odio che nutro per questa raccolta. che ovviamente non rileggerò mai più. E' che solo il mio amore e il rispetto per la carta stampata, salvano dalle fiammelle blu dell'angolo cottura. Stile letterario? A pacchi, s'intende. Non avrebbe potuto essere più incisivo. Ma non posso dargli stellette. Mi spiace. Il mio animo si divide fra adorazione letteraria e crisi emotiva. Un consiglio: alla larga i deboli di cuore. P.S. Credo che dopo di questo farò una luuuuunghissima pausa dagli/lle autori/atrici giapponesi

  7. 5 out of 5

    Zen Cho

    Thought these were very good. The only stories I didn't feel worked so well were the one with the taxi driver (Shungiku Uchida's 'My Son's Lips') and the one from the point of view of the Desire of a woman who is in unrequited love with some dude in her office ('Fiesta' by Amy Yamada). Desire hangs out with Obsession and quarrels with Reason, that sort of thing. The others were good, though. Straightforward (or not, but interestingly so), slangy and unsentimental. I used to think my bouncing off Thought these were very good. The only stories I didn't feel worked so well were the one with the taxi driver (Shungiku Uchida's 'My Son's Lips') and the one from the point of view of the Desire of a woman who is in unrequited love with some dude in her office ('Fiesta' by Amy Yamada). Desire hangs out with Obsession and quarrels with Reason, that sort of thing. The others were good, though. Straightforward (or not, but interestingly so), slangy and unsentimental. I used to think my bouncing off Haruki Murakami was 'cos I couldn't really get down with literature in translation -- at least modern literature -- but now I think it's just that I don't like Haruki Murakami.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This book of short stories by female Japanese writers was very enjoyable. My favorite stories were The Unfertilized Egg and Inside. One story (P***) was very sexually graphic, so be aware. I might go as far as to call it pornographic. It was the only one like that though, and I would admit that the author did have something to say, it wasn't just porn for the heck of it. This book of short stories by female Japanese writers was very enjoyable. My favorite stories were The Unfertilized Egg and Inside. One story (P***) was very sexually graphic, so be aware. I might go as far as to call it pornographic. It was the only one like that though, and I would admit that the author did have something to say, it wasn't just porn for the heck of it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    3.5 stars, actually. That's what it came out to when I averaged my individual ratings of these stories: 5. Milk / Tamaki Daido 5. My son's lips / Shungiku Uchida 4. Piss / Yuzuki Muroi 4. The unfertilized egg / Junko Hasegawa 3. Inside / Rio Shimamoto 3. Her room / Chiya Fujino 2. Fiesta / Amy Yamda 2. The shadow of the orchid / Nobuko Takagi 3.5 stars, actually. That's what it came out to when I averaged my individual ratings of these stories: 5. Milk / Tamaki Daido 5. My son's lips / Shungiku Uchida 4. Piss / Yuzuki Muroi 4. The unfertilized egg / Junko Hasegawa 3. Inside / Rio Shimamoto 3. Her room / Chiya Fujino 2. Fiesta / Amy Yamda 2. The shadow of the orchid / Nobuko Takagi

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael Janairo

    Quick: Name three, living female Japanese authors? Stumped? How about three female Japanese authors -- living or dead? Got it? No? OK. Can you name just one? If you come up empty, don't worry. Most Americans draw blanks when trying to identify writers, artists or musicians from other lands. The cultural trade imbalance with Japan, though, is especially poignant when considering the history of the novel. Miguel de Cervantes' "Don Quixote" from 1605 is called the first novel in the West, but the ver Quick: Name three, living female Japanese authors? Stumped? How about three female Japanese authors -- living or dead? Got it? No? OK. Can you name just one? If you come up empty, don't worry. Most Americans draw blanks when trying to identify writers, artists or musicians from other lands. The cultural trade imbalance with Japan, though, is especially poignant when considering the history of the novel. Miguel de Cervantes' "Don Quixote" from 1605 is called the first novel in the West, but the very first novel is said to be Lady Murasaki's "Tale of Genji," written in Japan about 600 years before. With such a long literary tradition, female Japanese authors certainly have something unique to offer readers. The acclaimed Japanese-American novelist Ruth Ozeki ("My Year of Meats" and "All Over Creation") points to this literary history and cultural imbalance in arguing for the vitality of contemporary female Japanese writers in the foreword to "Inside and Other Short Fiction" (Kodansha America; 256 pages; $22.95), a necessary collection of eight short stories by eight different female, Japanese writers that have been translated into English. "Most of the authors contained herein are prizewinning popular Japanese novelists who have never before been published in English," Ozeki writes. "… What these eight stories share is a fearless and unsentimental narrative gaze that is fixed unblinkingly on the female experience in Japan today." That experience seems to be dominated by a desire to please others: friends, lovers, husbands, children and strangers. In the moving "Her Room" by Chiya Fujino, the main character Kyoko -- a 28-year-old living with her parents after divorcing her immature husband soon after their first anniversary -- finds herself unable to escape getting deeper into a relationship (friendship being too strong a word here) with "a woman friend of some mutual acquaintance" whom she and her cousin run into in the lobby of a theater after a performance. Kitahara-san (the honorific "san" denoting a polite distance) is pushy, tactless and far too talkative. But she also has a lonely, pleading look that makes Kyoko invite her out to dinner that night, and inadvertently into her life. What the narrator says next of Kyoko shapes the rest of the story, the situations she puts herself into even though she doesn't want to be there: "This was the girl whose grade school report card used to say, Always tries to please." This statement can apply to the women in some of the other stories. "My Son's Lips" by Shungiku Uchida presents a woman in a similarly strained situation, although it is much more intense because she is a mother and full-time worker. The narrator, a manager at an unnamed company, is taking a taxi ride home with her two small children and finds herself unable to decline the taxi driver's request that she help intervene in an argument he's having with his wife over the laundry. Later, when she tells her husband about the conversation at the taxi driver's house, she is made to feel weak for going there. She says, "It was a hundred times easier just to go, rather than refuse him." Later, she says, "You know, I'm so spaced out these days, and when he took me for some housewife with too much free time on her hands, I believed him!" The demands put on the narrator between home and work also play out in the office, where male subordinates, whom she calls "boys," view her as their own mother: "And even though they are taller than me, they somehow cleverly manage to look up at me from under furrowed brows." This, of course, doesn't mean the strains on a housewife are any easier. In the richest story of the collection, "The Shadow of the Orchid" by Nobuko Takagi, the main character, Michiko, who is a year shy of 50, continues with her household routines, though her son has gone off to college to become a doctor like his father, and finds herself communicating with the ghost of a young woman -- whom she calls Denko -- who had been her husband's cancer patient and lover. In their conversations, they reveal a mutual jealousy -- Michiko felt it when her husband spoke of Denko and when she thought of her youth; Denko felt it because Michiko got to spend time with her husband and knew intimacies, such as why he always kept his fingernails cut short. The story never makes clear whether Denko the ghost is a real ghost or a fantasy conjured up by Michiko, who seems to be going through an empty-nest depression, but their conversations reveal that Michiko sacrificed the possibility of a career as a translator to support his career as a doctor, and then to raise their son. Though the use of the supernatural can seem gimmicky, in this story it points to a truth of Michiko's experience, and perhaps that of other Japanese women, that it is nearly impossible to express the realities of their lives in an ordinary way. The other stories in the collection lack this depth, but it is worth noting the first three stories written by younger writers about younger women. "Milk" by Tamaki Daido gives a portrait of a high school girl, her relationships with boyfriends and friends, some of who date older men. "Inside" tells of a young woman's first, tentative and sensitive sexual encounters. "Piss" by Yuzuki Muroi is a sexually explicit account of the struggles of a young and not very bright prostitute. Though the situations and characters are very different, these three stories all share a young, female first-person point of view. Reading the stories one after the other gives the impression of reading the story from one person. This might be the result of a convention of the shisosetsu, or the "I novel," which isn't autobiography, but the use of the first person to create immediacy and the illusion of autobiography. Having this technique in the first stories opens up a problem with the book as a whole. Namely, the way that Ozeki's foreword frames the stories suggests they should be read as anthropological evidence of a "real" Japan, instead of an artistic works of the creative imagination. Taken further, the book could be said to suggest that the only authentic representation of the female experience in Japan today can come from Japanese females today. To counter that argument, the book needs to be seen in light of the cultural trade imbalance and the history of how Japanese women have been represented in the U.S. In addition to the iconic image of the geisha, as recently seen in the film adaptation of the novel "Memoirs of a Geisha," Western images of Japanese women range from Puccini's "Madame Butterfly" at the beginning of the 20th century to Quentin Tarantino's lethal nymphette Gogo Yubari in "Kill Bill: Volume 1" at the beginning of the 21st century. Those images have maintained a male fascination for extremes of sex and violence. Sure, the kimono-clad Butterfly dutifully awaiting her lying American husband is a far cry from Gogo, with her schoolgirl uniform, morning star and chain, and joy of killing. But they are both dominant and persistent clichés that get reaffirmed with each new production of "Madame Butterfly" and with the rising popularity of anime and manga, suggesting Japanese women have a suicidal narrow-mindedness when it comes to duty and honor, Beyond Japanese voices expressing Japanese lives, "Inside and Other Stories" also offers a chance to go against the grain of past images of Japanese women, to offer more subtle shades of experience, including a young woman discovering sex, a harried working mother and a disappointed wife and mother.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Surymae

    Con questo tipo di libri, dare una valutazione a braccio, senza alcun criterio, mi sembra ingiusto. Valuterò quindi tutti i racconti, dando a ciascuno un singolo voto, e poi ne farò la media. Milk - Daido Tamaki Questo racconto apripista ha due difetti. Il primo é che é scritto male: il punto di vista della protagonista adolescente é gestito bene, ma ciò non toglie che risulti fastidioso per il lettore, poco personale e noioso. Insomma, tutto quello che un punto di vista non dovrebbe essere. Inolt Con questo tipo di libri, dare una valutazione a braccio, senza alcun criterio, mi sembra ingiusto. Valuterò quindi tutti i racconti, dando a ciascuno un singolo voto, e poi ne farò la media. Milk - Daido Tamaki Questo racconto apripista ha due difetti. Il primo é che é scritto male: il punto di vista della protagonista adolescente é gestito bene, ma ciò non toglie che risulti fastidioso per il lettore, poco personale e noioso. Insomma, tutto quello che un punto di vista non dovrebbe essere. Inoltre, cosa più importante: dove voleva andare a parare l'autrice? Perché io non l'ho capito. Voto: 3/5. Inside - Shimamoto Rio Di nuovo protagonista adolescente che non aggiunge e toglie nulla alla narrazione, e sopratutto la stessa critica di prima. Un raccontino senza arte né parte che non lascia nulla al lettore, che pretende troppo dalle poche pagine a disposizione. Voto: 2/5 Piss - Moroi Yuzuki Sesso, sesso, sesso... e i contenuti? La caratterizzazione psicologica? E' sparita insieme ai due personaggi Shin e Misa? Il dolore della protagonista non arriva al lettore. E sì che é una prostituta, perdipiù con una vita orribile, non una banale impiegata! Le potenzialità c'erano, ma sono andate nel rusco. Voto: 1/5. Le labbra del figlio - Uchida Shungiku Uno tra i racconti migliori, e la cosa incredibile é... che non narra assolutamente nulla. Nonostante tutto, però, si fa leggere più che bene, anche e sopratutto per l'abilità dell'autrice nel gestire il linguaggio dei personaggi (molto realistici il tassista e la moglie). Voto: 4/5. La stanza - Fujino Chiya Il migliore dei racconti, decisamente (come se la concorrenza fosse alta...). Ottima la caratterizzazione della protagonista e soprattutto di Kitahara. L'unico punto debole é la fine, un po' affrettata e buttata lì. Voto: 5/5. Fiesta - Yamada Eimi Non l'ho nemmeno finito, da quanto era brutto e noioso. Voto: 1/5. L'uovo infecondo - Hasegawa Junko Non male, davvero. Una maggiore cura nella scrittura e nell'introspezione psicologica dei comprimari lo avrebbero fatto gareggiare con "La stanza" per il migliore della raccolta. Più che sufficiente, comunque. Voto: 4/5. L'ombra dell'orchidea - Takagi Nobuko E' partito bene, ma si é rovinato da solo con l'inserimento dell'elemento soprannaturale e la risoluzione dell'interrogativo sulla relazione tra Yukio e la sua paziente. Inoltre la mancanza di mostrato, che sarebbe necessaria nella descrizione dello spirito, é un difetto grave. Peccato, peccato. Voto: 4/5. Considerazioni finali La media finale é di 2,8, quindi tre stelle. In effetti, é il voto giusto. Come sempre in queste raccolte di racconti, c'è la storia da cinque stelline affiancata da quella da una, o da tre. Se proprio si voleva valorizzare la narrativa femminile giapponese in Italia, si sarebbe dovuto scegliere delle autrici quantomeno più talentuose. Soprattutto alla luce dell'"otto modi di essere donna nel Giappone di oggi": se si legge il libro volendo imparare qualcosa sulla donna giapponese moderna si farà un buco nell'acqua. Anche leggendolo per voler intrattenersi con una raccolta di racconti, però, porterà ad un buco nell'acqua. Raccolta inutile, dunque, che non aggiunge e toglie nulla alla narrativa giapponese in Italia.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    (Sorry, the review in Spanish, I wrote it some time ago) Casi todas las historias de este libro tienen varias cosas en común: están escritas por mujeres japonesas, tratan sobre mujeres japonesas y están escritas en primera persona por una narradora japonesa (excepto la última, la de mayor calidad literaria, aunque hace uso extensivo del estilo libre indirecto). Según los relatos de este volumen, la sociedad a la que se enfrenta la mujer japonesa –cada relato muestra una edad vital distinta- limit (Sorry, the review in Spanish, I wrote it some time ago) Casi todas las historias de este libro tienen varias cosas en común: están escritas por mujeres japonesas, tratan sobre mujeres japonesas y están escritas en primera persona por una narradora japonesa (excepto la última, la de mayor calidad literaria, aunque hace uso extensivo del estilo libre indirecto). Según los relatos de este volumen, la sociedad a la que se enfrenta la mujer japonesa –cada relato muestra una edad vital distinta- limita su mundo social y expresivo de tal modo que el único escape es a través de sus propias vivencias mentales; por ello el mejor modo de expresar ese mundo interior femenino es a través de monólogos interiores, cuyas diferencias con los diálogos empleados por sus personajes llegan al paroxismo en relatos como “My son’s lips” o “Her room”, donde los formalismos sociales provocan esquizofrenia comunicativa a sus personajes, que acaban cayendo en la depresión. “The unfertilized egg” utiliza alegorías “con mayúsculas” para describir los diferente estados de ánimo de la protagonista, ya en los treinta y tantos, distanciándola del lector y desdoblándola, como si de distintas personas se tratara, y haciendo uso de simbología onírica y reflexiones filosóficas. Es mi favorita. Aunque lo que de verdad muestran todos los relatos es la visión femenina de su lugar en la sociedad japonesa y las dificultades para poder desarrollarse como personas en la misma; también, las dificultades vitales y las vilezas a las que son sometidas por los hombres, que terminan por utilizarlas para el sexo o el dinero, como se ve en “Piss”, el relato más explícitamente sexual de todos, donde una prostituta de apenas 20 años lidia con muchos de clientes creativamente perversos y un novio buscavidas. Al igual que en la novela “Grotesque”, de Natsuo Kirino, los personajes masculinos brillan por su ausencia o tienen una caracterización tan plana que es como si no existieran, no entendieran o no quisieran entender a las mujeres, que se afanan en intentar entederse a sí mismas. Un libro muy recomendable por su valor sociológico, aunque de calidad literaria un poco discutible.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ere K.

    Interessante raccolta di racconti di autrici giapponesi contemporanee. Spazia dall'adolescenza all'età adulta fino alla maturità, con stili e contenuti molto diversi, per quanto non omnicomprensivi. Milk di Daidō Tamaki ★☆☆☆☆ L'ho trovato davvero illeggibile a causa dei tremendi calchi linguistici in essa presenti. Il contenuto ne ha risentito, ma non era particolarmente interessante, mi sono piaciute giusto un paio di descrizioni. I racconti della noia adolescenziale, quella vuota come questa, no Interessante raccolta di racconti di autrici giapponesi contemporanee. Spazia dall'adolescenza all'età adulta fino alla maturità, con stili e contenuti molto diversi, per quanto non omnicomprensivi. Milk di Daidō Tamaki ★☆☆☆☆ L'ho trovato davvero illeggibile a causa dei tremendi calchi linguistici in essa presenti. Il contenuto ne ha risentito, ma non era particolarmente interessante, mi sono piaciute giusto un paio di descrizioni. I racconti della noia adolescenziale, quella vuota come questa, non quella dello spleen e del mal di vivere, mi lasciano sempre un retrogusto amaro. Inside di Shimamoto Rio ★★★★☆ Rispetto al precedente non c'è paragone. È decisamente più profondo e più realistico, pur parlando di ragazze della stessa età. Ben strutturato, non lascia nulla al caso. Piss di Muroi Yuzuki ★★★☆☆ Crudo e triste, ma molto interessante. Mi ha colpito la profondità crescente del racconto. Le labbra del figlio di Uchida Shungiku ★★★★☆ Divertente e profondo allo stesso tempo, con un ottimo twist alla fine. La stanza di Fujino Chiya ★★★☆☆ Due stelle e mezzo. Interessante la storia e il ritmo, ma un po' oscura sul finale e soprattutto un po' allungata in alcuni punti. Fiesta di Yamada Eimi ★★★★☆ All'inizio mi sembrava illeggibile, ma dopo due pagine mi si è rivelato: incalzante, ricco di colori e appassionante. Non l'avrei detto, ma è uno di quelli che mi è piaciuto di più. L'uovo infecondo di Hasegawa Junko ★★★★☆ Mi ha davvero impressionata: la storia è pungente e profonda. Ci avrei visto bene giusto una punta di critica in più (al sistema che fa muovere la protagonista in questo modo), ma questo elemento è totalmente assente. L'ombra dell'orchidea di Takagi Nobuko ★★★☆☆ Una narrazione aggraziata accompagna tutto il plot. Giusto in un paio di momenti mi sono annoiata, ma l'impressione generale è positiva.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Arianna

    Ciò che mi ha spinto a comprarlo è stata la copertina particolare e il fatto che parlasse del Giappone (uno dei miei punti deboli), aggiungiamoci pure il fatto che costasse davvero poco e il gioco e fatto. Aggiunto alla mia libreria. Sono otto storie, di otto autori diversi, e ognuna descriveva il modo di vivere di donne di età diverse. Non so cosa mi aspettassi, ma mi hanno delusa e alcune lasciata decisamente perplessa. (vedi Piss). Sì, per essere una lettura scorrevole lo è, però no so. Forse Ciò che mi ha spinto a comprarlo è stata la copertina particolare e il fatto che parlasse del Giappone (uno dei miei punti deboli), aggiungiamoci pure il fatto che costasse davvero poco e il gioco e fatto. Aggiunto alla mia libreria. Sono otto storie, di otto autori diversi, e ognuna descriveva il modo di vivere di donne di età diverse. Non so cosa mi aspettassi, ma mi hanno delusa e alcune lasciata decisamente perplessa. (vedi Piss). Sì, per essere una lettura scorrevole lo è, però no so. Forse mi aspettavo troppo.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Although the short stories were initially published in Japanese, the compilation was only ever published in English. The authors are: Amy Yamada, Chiya Fujino, Shungiku Uchida, Tamaki Daido, Rio Shimamoto, Yuzuki Muroi, Junko Hasegawa, and Nobuko Takagi. Some stories were better than others, which is to be expected. The best part was that it introduced me to some amazing writers whose books i am just itching to read (Yamada being the first).

  16. 5 out of 5

    Natalie (CuriousReader)

    Overall, the stories were "alright". Some I liked better than others (Inside; Her Room), some I liked less (Fiesta, The Unfertilized Egg). The enjoyment was so-so, but my problem lies with the actual collection as a whole, especially the aims that it has and how those aims seems to fall flat for the most part. I didn't think it was diverse enough to be a depiction of "Japanese women by Japanese women". Overall, the stories were "alright". Some I liked better than others (Inside; Her Room), some I liked less (Fiesta, The Unfertilized Egg). The enjoyment was so-so, but my problem lies with the actual collection as a whole, especially the aims that it has and how those aims seems to fall flat for the most part. I didn't think it was diverse enough to be a depiction of "Japanese women by Japanese women".

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lindaanne

    As a longtime Japanophile I really enjoyed the diversity of these short stories by Japanese female authors. Although the Japanese have been "modernized" in their embracing of Western culture, their attitude towards male/female relationships are still quite different from ours (USA). I especially liked the grittiness of the story about the prostitute, so different from the more commonly seen tales of housewife drudgery. Excellent compilation. As a longtime Japanophile I really enjoyed the diversity of these short stories by Japanese female authors. Although the Japanese have been "modernized" in their embracing of Western culture, their attitude towards male/female relationships are still quite different from ours (USA). I especially liked the grittiness of the story about the prostitute, so different from the more commonly seen tales of housewife drudgery. Excellent compilation.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nippon

    Sono racconti assurdi senza né capo, né coda. Il linguaggio, poi, è completamente diverso da quello della letteratura giapponese: è più occidentale. Le uniche storie che si possono definire tali sono "Piss", "Fiesta" e "L'ombra dell'orchidea".....anche un po' "Le labbra del figlio" sebbene la trama sia assurda. E' un libro che non consiglierei a nessuno. Sono racconti assurdi senza né capo, né coda. Il linguaggio, poi, è completamente diverso da quello della letteratura giapponese: è più occidentale. Le uniche storie che si possono definire tali sono "Piss", "Fiesta" e "L'ombra dell'orchidea".....anche un po' "Le labbra del figlio" sebbene la trama sia assurda. E' un libro che non consiglierei a nessuno.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I savored every page of this book for it's rare and honest glimpse into the lives of contemporary Japanese women, told by Japanese women authors and translated to English. Parting is such sweet sorrow. I savored every page of this book for it's rare and honest glimpse into the lives of contemporary Japanese women, told by Japanese women authors and translated to English. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

  20. 5 out of 5

    s

    My favorite story from this book is Piss. The first story annoyed me somehow and I wanted to give up, but continued to read on which I'm glad I did. My favorite story from this book is Piss. The first story annoyed me somehow and I wanted to give up, but continued to read on which I'm glad I did.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bree

    I think that Gina will enjoy this. Interesting stuff- women writing about sex and love and death and all that juicy stuff in that semi-detached manner that many Japanese authors employ.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Noah

    4/5

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tishita

    1. Milk by Tamaki Daido 2. Inside by Rio Shimamoto

  24. 5 out of 5

    David Haws

    Good. I especially liked Nobuko Takagi's The Shadow of the Orchid. I'm looking for a few of her other novels--have ordered some, but can't find (so far) Embracing the Light. Good. I especially liked Nobuko Takagi's The Shadow of the Orchid. I'm looking for a few of her other novels--have ordered some, but can't find (so far) Embracing the Light.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sae-chan

    Why are they so emotionally detached? Is feeling that inaccessible? I really can't relate with them. But still, they are written quite nicely. Why are they so emotionally detached? Is feeling that inaccessible? I really can't relate with them. But still, they are written quite nicely.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ermina

    Very insightful, and at times strange.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Flavia Tucci

    Otto donne, otto storie. Otto personalità diverse, stili di vita diversi, per raccontare all'Occidente in quanti modi si può essere una donna in Giappone, certo non solo come te la aspetti dai racconti tradizionali. Il mondo femminile in Giappone è in lotta per il raggiungimento di alcuni diritti. È una situazione sociopolitica certamente diversa dalle proteste femministe europee, diversa per situazione di partenza, percezione della donna nella società, tipologia di richieste, modalità d'espressi Otto donne, otto storie. Otto personalità diverse, stili di vita diversi, per raccontare all'Occidente in quanti modi si può essere una donna in Giappone, certo non solo come te la aspetti dai racconti tradizionali. Il mondo femminile in Giappone è in lotta per il raggiungimento di alcuni diritti. È una situazione sociopolitica certamente diversa dalle proteste femministe europee, diversa per situazione di partenza, percezione della donna nella società, tipologia di richieste, modalità d'espressione del malcontento.

  28. 5 out of 5

    yengyeng

    Another gem I found at my local library with a small selection of English books. Way before Inside Out was made, the author of Fiesta wrote a plausible grownup version of Riley with grownup grey area Emotions rattling around her head. The story is told by Desire and talks about its interactions with Pure Love, Murderous Intent, Reason and Conditioned Reaction. Brilliant!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cassie G

    Some stories were quite disturbing, and as others have noted, mostly all of them involve sex in some way. A little different from what I expected, but interesting nonetheless and examples of great Japanese to English translation.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Patrycja

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