June 2021: Rashomon by Akutagawa Ryūnosuke
June’s selection is from the Father of Japanese short stories himself, Akutagawa Ryūnosuke. We will be reading Rashomon. A classic short story that has often been referenced in Japanese and even North American pop culture. Bonus points if you have seen the film adaptations of this short story!
May 2021: Chiru Sakura — Falling Cherry Blossoms: A Mother & Daughter’s Journey through Racism, Internment and Oppression by Grace Eiko Thomson
We have invited Author Grace Eiko Thomson to discuss her memoir, Chiru Sakura — Falling Cherry Blossoms: A Mother & Daughter’s Journey through Racism, Internment and Oppression. Join us as we learn more about the Canadian Japanese History through Grace Eiko Thomson’s powerful story of resilience in the face of racism, sexism, and internment.
April 2021: “The Special Place” or “Flower Abstraction” by Yumiko Kurahashi
Choose one or both of the following short stories from Yumiko Kurahashi’s Anthology “The woman with the flying head.” Yumiko wrote these stories based on the art pieces linked beside each short story:
March 2021: “The Pregnancy Diary” by Yoko Ogawa
The Akutagawa Prize winning short story by Yoko Ogawa accumulates details to subtly yet expressively comment on the human psychology in her writing. What kind of meaning into the details of this short story can you gain?
February 2021: “The Tattooer” by Tanizaki Junichiro
A classic short story by Tanizaki Junichiro’s debut work, “The Tattooer.” This is Tanizaki’s very first published short story and really sets the tone of his future writing styles and themes. Tanizaki is one of Japan’s famous modern writers. His writing often challenged aesthetics and sexuality in an era where Japan was being introduced to “western” ideas.
December 2020: “Faith” by Sayaka Murata
“One friend gathers their old college friends in an attempt to start a cult for economic gain.”
November 2020: “A Clean Marriage” by Sayaka Murata
This short story explores a couple who entered an asexual marriage in exploring ways to have children.
October 2020: “The Lonesome Bodybuilder” by Yukiko Motoya
This book is a collection of eleven stories where individuals who lift the curtains of their orderly homes and workplaces are confronted with the bizarre, the grotesque, the fantastic, the alien–and, through it, find a way to liberation. This collection of short stories would be a good contrast of discussion with this week’s reading. *rephrased from the Goodreads synopsis.
September 2020: “The Elephant Vanishes” by Haruki Murakami
Discussions will start with “Barn Burning” and then we will move to the other short stories in the book. Food for thought: What is the Elephant that Haruki is acknowledging in each short story in order for the “elephant in the room” to vanish?