Friday, April 08, 2011

Just a little more Japanese...

I couldn't quite leave Japan, after all. Today, in Kamikaze diaries, which I downloaded onto my Kindle last night, I read that literature has a long tradition in Japan. In a country where much is unexpressed, the diary gives the individual a chance to use his voice. Maybe that is why I find Japanese literature so appealing.

The Kamikaze Diaries, by Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney is an exploration of how the Kamikaze pilots rationalized what they did. At the moment I am just reading the introduction, but later, I believe, there will be more excerpts from the diaries of young student-pilots, who were plucked from their studies at university, trained under cruelly harsh conditions, and then sent out on a small plane with a large bomb without enough fuel to come back.

The Kamikaze wind, I remember reading in an earlier book, was a wind that appeared to be divinely sent, which repelled the last Mongolian invasion onto Japanese soil. The Kamikaze pilots were an equally desperate attempt by the war -time Japanese government to prevent another invasion, this time from the West.

Also arrived today was a copy of Yasunari Kawabata's Palm of the Hand Stories I'd ordered a week or so ago. I couldn't resist dipping in at once, and feel I am going to really enjoy these. Kawabata wrote very short stories - just three or four pages long - all his life. Perhaps these are the original samples of 'flash fiction'.

And finally, from Alma Books, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time from the award winning writer Yasutaka Tsutsui. It sounds wonderful.


Anonymous marly youmans said...

Oh, I remember liking those tiny stories--was that in another life? Might have to do some rereading.

Yes, all this sounds so interesting. (Is this what happens when our children grow up? We have more time to read?) I am admiring of your reading record of late.

Fri Apr 08, 04:39:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

I can imagine you'd like them, Marly - some beautiful lines.

Yes, I've certainly got more time for everything now :)

Fri Apr 08, 10:13:00 pm  

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