The 10 best Japanese writers and their books

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Do you know Japan's most famous Japanese writers? Have you had a chance to read Japanese literature? In this article we will talk about the best Japanese literature writers and recommend the best Japanese books for you to read.

Os melhores escritores japoneses e seus livros

Haruki Murakami - The surreal writer

Haruki Murakami is one of the most popular Japanese writers in the West. His way of writing is surreal and leaves reality completely in a fantasy world inspired by the style of Franz Kafka.

Their themes involve loneliness, alienation, romance and generally break any unimaginable logic. His works have won several awards and his most famous books are 1q84, Norwegian Wood and sheep hunting.

We’ve already written a full article on our website about Haruki Murakami. If you want to see details about the books of this famous writer, we will leave 4 books for you to access on Amazon where you can see comments and purchase the book.

Yasunari Kawabata - THE NOBEL CONQUEROR

Yasunari Kawabata was the first Japanese to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968. A writer so humble and kind that he would have preferred the prize to be given to Yukio Mishima.

He worked on themes involving poetry and prose with great sensitivity, sometimes transmitting melancholy, forbidden desires and other themes that were the result of his life story full of tragedies and loneliness.

The Yasunari Kawabata style involved surrealist and impressionist techniques combined with Japanese aesthetics and culture full of psychological and erotic narratives.

He was born in 1899 and died in 1972, but his books are memorabilia and help many people and even writers these days. Some of his works are Kyoto, the country of snow, the sound of the mountain, a thousand tsurus and the home of sleeping beauty.

Yukio Mishima - THE MODERN SAMURAI

Yukio Mishima was a novelist who was born in 1925 and died in 1970 and during his career wrote several successful books like Kinkakuji, forbidden colors and more than 40 novels, poems, essays and even made plays.

One of his first books was written at the age of 24 and is called Confessions of a Mask, where it was already about homosexuality, subjects that were taboo in society. Their themes were inspired by traditional Japanese culture.

Yukio Mishima took an attitude inspired by the samurai and tried to deliver a coup by persuading soldiers to rebel against the Emperor. As it didn't work, he committed seppuku, a suicide piercing the belly like the samurai.

Yukio Mishima and Yasunari Kawabata were friends, so much so that there is a book that tells the story and the contact that the two had during their careers. A book full of letters, artistic reflections and everyday matters among friends.

Junichiro Tanizaki - The storyteller

Junichiro Tanizaki was one of the authors of modern Japanese literature and a famous novelist who wrote themes involving eroticism, fetishism and taboo. He lived between 1886 and 1965 and started writing from a young age at school.

His works are inspired by the events of his life, involving the repressed past that the Japanese faced and their romantic relationships throughout life. He has also written on feudal and traditional Japanese themes.

He translated Western authors such as Stendhal and Oscar Wilde into Japanese. Despite being remembered for his novels and short stories, Jun Tanizaki also wrote poetry, drama and essays. He was known as a masterful storyteller.

Natsume Soseki - The face of the thousand yen

A famous Japanese philosopher and writer of the era Meiji who lived between 1867 and 1916 and even had his face on the thousand yen notes between 1984 and 2004. He was born into a Samurai family and taught in English before he even graduated from Toudai.

Inspired by English literature, Seseki started writing fiction at the age of 37 with the book “I am a cat”. Works like the trip have become symbols of the difficulties Japan experienced during Westernization and modernization.

He is the author of 14 novels with the popular botchan, sanshiro, sorekara, mon, kokoro and michikusa. You can follow some of his works below:

Kazuo Ishiguro - Japanese-British writer

Kazuo Ishiguro was born in 1954 in the city of Nagazaki and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017. He spent his childhood in England and grew up under the influence of both cultures.

His dream was to become a musician, he tried several times but failed each time. Soon he decided to dedicate himself to writing studying at the universities of Kent and East Anglia. His works have already been translated to more than 28 countries.

Before writing his novels with drama and fiction, Ishiguro published short stories and articles in various magazines, in the 1980s. His success and Nobel is the result of great emotional strength present in his novels.

Kenzaburo Oe - Don't kill the baby

Kenzaburo Oe he received several awards, including a Nobel Prize for Literature for his poetic strength capable of creating an imagined world where life and myth are condensed to form the disconcerting design of man's difficulties today.

He was born in 1935 and his most popular book is called "A Personal Question". His works are inspired by French and American literature and deal with political, social and philosophical themes where he even addressed the attack on Hiroshima.

He was involved in several political struggles against the injustices caused by the battles and the American and Japanese army throughout history. He is totally against nuclear power plants and made appeals after the Fukushima incident.

Matsuo Bashou - The poet of the Edo era

Matsu Bashou was the most famous poet during the Edo period. He was born in 1644 and lived until 1694 and was known for writing haikai no renga. It was he who codified and established the canons of traditional Japanese haikai.

His poetry is recognized throughout the world and appears in traditional monuments and places across Japan. He was a teacher and his poetry was known throughout Japan.

He renounced urban life to roam the country looking for inspirations for his works. His last words before he died were "Sick on a dream trip in dry fields Go on my way".

Hiromi Kawakami - The Japanese writer

Hiromi Kawakami is a Japanese writer who was born in 1958 and writes non-fiction, poetry, short stories, novels and literary criticism. She was born in Tokyo and graduated from the Ochanomizu women's college in 1980.

Kawakami's work explores emotional ambiguity, describing the intimate details of everyday social interactions. Many of his stories incorporate elements of fantasy and magical realism.

Unfortunately, only two of his works were translated into Brazilian Portuguese. Nakano trinkets and the professor's bag, winner of the Tanizaki award.

Shusaku Endō - The Japanese Catholic

Shusaku Endo is in the third group of the best Japanese writers after the Second World War. He is one of the few Japanese Catholics and has written some stories that address religious themes and the difficulties of Christians in the country.

He studied French literature at the University of Lyon. His works reflect his life and childhood experiences, the stigma of being an outsider, the experience of being a foreigner and the struggles against diseases in the hospital.

His characters often struggle with moral dilemmas that often result from their choices. His most popular works are "Silence", "Samurai and" Scandal ".

Murasaki Shikibu, Ryunosuki Akutagawa, Kobe Abe and Banana yoshimoto

There are many other famous poets, writers and novelists in Japan. Unfortunately, many of them did not have works adapted to Portuguese. So we will try to talk a little about each one briefly and present their works.

Murasaki Shikibu - A Japanese novelist, poet and chaperone during the Heian Period. She was born in 978 and died in 1031 and her literary genre was the waka. Genji's Romance is available in Portuguese.

Ryūnosuke Akutagawa - He was a Japanese writer during the Taishou period, he is considered the "Father of the Japanese Tale" and explores the dark side of human nature with rich and detailed stories.

Kobo Abe - One of the leaders of Japanese avant-garde, he is even compared to the famous Kafka. His work, like that of Haruki Murakami, addresses themes such as surrealism, existentialism and even Marxism.

Banana Yoshimoto - Daughter of the philosopher and poet Takaaki Yoshimoto. She makes use of Western cultural references in her novels to talk about the problems of Japanese youth.

List of famous Japanese writers

Now that you have finished reading our article, I want to end by sharing a list of famous Japanese writers with the date of birth and death of some of them. I hope you enjoyed the article. We appreciate comments and shares.

  • Akazome Emon (956 - 1041)
  • Akiko Yosano (1878–1942)
  • Akiyuki Nosaka (1930–2015)
  • Ango Sakaguchi (1906–1955)
  • Asai Ryōi (1612–1691)
  • Aya Kitō (1962–1988)
  • Ayako Miura (1922–1999)
  • Ayako Sono (b. 1931)
  • Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653–1725)
  • Chiyo Uno (1897–1996)
  • Denji Kuroshima (1898–1943)
  • Doppo Kunikida (1871–1908)
  • Edo Meisho Zue (1834)
  • Edogawa Ranpo (1894–1965)
  • Eiji Yoshikawa (1892–1962)
  • Fukuda Chiyo-ni (1703–1775)
  • Fumiko Enchi (1905–1986)
  • Fumiko Hayashi (1903–1951)
  • Futabatei Shimei (1864–1909)
  • Haruki Murakami
  • Haruo Umezaki (1915–1965)
  • Hideo Oguma (1901–1940)
  • Hiratsuka Raichō (1886–1971)
  • Hisashi Inoue (1933–2010)
  • Hisashi Inoue (1934–2010)
  • Hokuetsu Seppu (1837)
  • Hyakken Uchida (1889–1971)
  • Hōmei Iwano (1873–1920)
  • Ichiyō Higuchi (1872–1896)
  • Ihara Saikaku (1642–1693)
  • Itō Einosuke (1903–1959)
  • Itō Sachio (1864–1913)
  • Izumi Shikibu (976 - 1027):
  • Jippensha Ikku (1765–1831)
  • Jun Ishikawa (1899–1987)
  • Jun'ichirō Tanizaki (1886–1965)
  • Juza Unno (1897–1949)
  • Kafū Nagai (1879–1959)
  • Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (662–710)
  • Kan Kikuchi (1888–1948)
  • Kansuke Naka (1885–1965)
  • Kenji Miyazawa (1896–1933)
  • Kenji Nakagami (1946–1992)
  • Kenzaburo Oe Natsume Soseki (1867–1916)
  • Kenzaburō Ōe (b. 1935)
  • Ki no Tsurayuki (872–945)
  • Kitao Masanobu (1761–1816)
  • Kobayashi Issa (1763–1828)
  • Kobo Abe (1924–1993)
  • Koda Rohan (1867–1947)
  • Kyokutei Bakin (1767–1848)
  • Kyōka Izumi (1873–1939)
  • Kōbō Abe (1924–1993)
  • Kōda Rohan (1867–1947)
  • Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904)
  • Lafcádio Hearn (1850–1904)
  • Machiko Hasegawa (1920–1992)
  • Masaoka Shiki (1867–1902)
  • Masuji Ibuse (1898–1993)
  • Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694)
  • Meiji (1852–1912)
  • Michitsuna no Haha (935 - 995): Kagerō Nikki
  • Mitsuharu Kaneko (1895–1975)
  • Miyamoto Musashi (1584–1645): The Book of Five Rings
  • Mori Ōgai (1862–1922)
  • Motojirō Kajii (1901–1932)
  • Motoori Norinaga (1730–1801)
  • Murasaki Shikibu (973 - 1025): The Tale of Genji
  • Murasaki Shikibu 978 AD – 1016 Saigyō (1118–1190)
  • Nakane Kōtei (1839–1913)
  • Naoya Shiga (1883–1971)
  • Natsume Sōseki (1867–1916)
  • Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (1235)
  • Ono no Komachi (825 - 900)
  • Osamu Dazai (1909–1948)
  • Ozaki Kōyō (1868–1903)
  • Ryōtarō Shiba (1923–1996)
  • Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (1892–1927)
  • Sakae Tsuboi (1899–1967)
  • Sakunosuke Oda (1913–1947)
  • Santō Kyōden (1761–1816)
  • Sawako Ariyoshi (1931–1984)
  • Sei Shōnagon (966 - 1017): The Pillow Book
  • Shigeji Tsuboi (1897–1975)
  • Shigeko Yuki (1900–1969)
  • Shōhei Ōoka (1909–1988)
  • Shūsaku Endō (1923–1996)
  • Sugawara no Michizane (845–903)
  • Sugawara no Takasue no musume (1008 - 1059): Sarashina Nikki
  • Sugita Genpaku (1733–1817)
  • Takeo Arishima (1878–1923)
  • Takiji Kobayashi (1903–1933)
  • Takuboku Ishikawa (1886–1912)
  • Tamiki Hara (1905–1951)
  • Tatsuzo Ishikawa (1905–1985)
  • Tatsuzō Ishikawa (1905–1985)
  • The Tale of the Heike (1212–1309)
  • Toyoko Yamasaki (1924–2013)
  • Tōson Shimazaki (1872–1943)
  • Ueda Akinari (1734–1809)
  • Yaeko Nogami (1885–1985)
  • Yamamoto Tsunetomo (1659–1719)
  • Yasunari Kawabata (1899–1972)
  • Yoko Ono Kamo no Chomei (1155–1216)
  • Yokoi Yayū (1702–1783)
  • Yonejiro Noguchi (1875–1947)
  • Yosa Buson (1716–1784)
  • Yoshida Kenkō (1283–1352): Tsurezuregusa
  • Yoshio Toyoshima (1890–1955)
  • Yuki Saito
  • Yukio Mishima (1925–1970)
  • Yuriko Miyamoto (1899–1951)
  • Yūzō Yamamoto (1887–1974)