Putting World Fiction On The Map 

Author of the award-winning Memoirs of a Polar Bear (translated by Susan Bernofsky) tales told from three generations of polar bear, Tawada is an author that isn’t afraid of a high concept. Her recent novel, The Last Children of Tokyo (translated by Margaret Mitsutani) is a finalist for this years’ National Book Award in translated literature and describes a dystopian future Japan where the youth are born frail and old. Her excellent short story Time Differences has been recently translated by Jeffrey Angles as part of the Keshiki series by Strangers Press.
Born in Osaka, Shibasaki is known for her ability to capture situations with sharp, photograph-like accuracy. Spring Garden (translated by Polly Barton) was revered for capturing the isolation of city living. Taro, who is alienated from his family and lives alone, experiences symptoms of depression but doesn’t recognize them. He’s drawn in to an unusual relationship with a woman who lives upstairs.
The youngest ever winner of the Akutagawa prize for her novel I Want to Kick You in the Back (translated by Julianne Neville), Wataya was born in Kyoto and debuted as a novelist at the age of 17. Her novels focus on feelings of isolation, the dark youthful underbelly of Japan, and the unique relationships that form there.
Furukawa is author of the critically acclaimed novella Slow Boat (translated by David Boyd), a retelling of Murakami’s short story A Slow Boat to China. Not afraid to experiment with his stories, Furukawa has been tipped to be the next Nobel laureate. Slow Boat is an existential crisis of a novel, following a man who recalls his past, with each of the three loves he describes representing a failed attempt to leave Tokyo physically or metaphorically.

Mieko Kawakami, a singer, blogger, and writer from Osaka, published her first book in 2007. Since then she’s won a whole list of awards and is a personal favourite of Japan’s most esteemed novelist Haruki Murakami. Very few of her novels have been translated in to English, unfortunately, but a great place to start is Miss Ice-Cream Sandwich (translated by Louise Heal Kawai). The novella tells the story of a lonely boy who becomes obsessed with the woman who works at the local sandwich shop.