Resources: Japanese Literature in Translation

In college, when I had a lot more time to read modern and premodern Japanese literature, I often found myself wondering whether certain authors had more works in translation that I could get my hands on, but didn’t know where to turn beyond a simple search. Or, in many cases, a friend was reading someone obscure in Japanese that a simple search wouldn’t turn up. Did you know that there are some great resources out there online for finding out if something has been produced in translation? Here’s a couple sites that literature buffs might find useful.

 The Japan Foundation Japanese Literature in Translation Database


The Japan Foundation maintains a really great Japanese Literature in Translation Database ( that’s hidden away in their Arts and Cultural Exchange section, under the Audio-Visual and Publication Exchange sidebar in the Sharing Information on Films and Publications subsection. People might not think to go to the Japan Foundation website of all places to find publication information, but it really is a great little resource. 

JF database1The best thing about the database is the extensive options for searching for materials. If you know what author you want to look for or what the name of the text is, or if you just want to browse around, you can go directly to a List Search of author by name or name of the text (circled in red to the right).

Otherwise, there is a whole slew of other options in the Data Entry Search section, where you can enter a query by keywords, year of publication, or even the language in which the work was published, with the ability to organize results by author, title, translation title, or publication year.

Especially useful is that every entry is included both in English AND in Japanese, so you can use whichever you’re most comfortable with, whether you only know a title or an author in either one. The search will bring up the basic details of each search result, with more specifics available via a small icon to the left.

JF database2One drawback is that you can’t search with a keyword based on content. So if you’re looking for a work based themes or ideas not in the title (say, for example, you thought to yourself you just really want to read a book about spiders), you’ll only be able to get a result based on something with that keyword in the title. So this database is for finding specific translations, not browsing for some new readings based on what you like (unless it’s a particular author). You also can’t search based on the date of original publication, only translation publication.

Regardless, overall this database is immensely useful for finding out what exists in translation. I’m not sure how periodically they update their lists, but it’s a really great starting point for literature buffs and researchers.

Japanese Literature in English

Japanese Literature in English

A relatively newer site, Japanese Literature in English ( seems to have been launched in early 2013 by Allison Markin Powell, a literary translator of fiction, nonfiction, biography, essays, and manga. As opposed to the Japan Foundation database, this site appears to cater more towards popular fiction, and to be in the initial stages of development.

The site design is quite clean, with a basic search function that allows you to query  based on title, author, translator, subject, publication date, and publisher. There’s also a “most popular searches” section at the bottom of the page, which lends itself to interest in recent releases and trends.

One downside to this setup is that there’s no way to casually browse the entirety of what’s in the database, as with the Japan Foundation’s alphabetical listings. There are tags and subject listings, but they seem to only be accessible on the site after an initial search, and some of them appear to be linked as opposed to individual keywords, such as “nature, fiction” as one subject. It’s difficult to tell if the subjects listed on the right are exhaustive for the site, since it is only just getting on its feet.

JLTHowever, the search by subject function seems quite useful, as a basic search will also turn up results based on the information page, which includes notes on each entry (particularly helpful if the work is a collection of short stories). The information page has a great deal of technical information about each entry, including the ISBN and OCLC numbers, making it easy to look the works up on research databases or vendor sites (Japan Foundation has a place for ISBN numbers, but the information is typically not included). There is also a button for purchasing the book directly from the publisher.

 Japanese Literature in English has a lot of potential, and it will be interesting to see how it changes and grows as more content goes up!

JLPPJLPP (Japanese Literature Publishing Project)

 Finally, today we have the Japanese Literature Publishing Project (, a site launched in 2002 by the Agency for Cultural Affairs to promote the awareness and popularization of overseas publishing of modern Japanese literature. This site is not simply a database to provide information on or recognition of Japanese literature, but part of a broader effort to produce translations abroad. As stated on the information page, “under this program, works of Japanese literature published in the past 150 years are selected by a committee of professional members, translated into various languages, and published overseas.”

Although unclear at first from the English-language page, the JLPP produces translations on the basis of competitions, five of which have been seen to completion. The resulting translations that are selected as the winners are listed on the site and promoted for professional publication in their respective language. On the Translation Works page you can see the various titles translated for each of the five competitions that have been held, including the names of translators and whether the work is published now or not.



Clicking on each individual work listed brings you to an information page with title, author, translator, and publication information, as well as synopses of the work and any distinguishing prizes or awards for its translation. Also, it’s neat that if you click on the authors themselves from the translated works page you get an author mini-bio and some information about their publication history. Additionally, clicking on the little “Published” button for a particular work next to its translation language will take you to a summary PDF of what works have been translated from Japanese into that language. 

The only internal search option is a google-powered search bar at the top right, but this site is not meant to be primarily a database. The NEWS/TOPICS section hasn’t been updated since February of 2013, which leads me to wonder if this project is still ongoing or if they simply don’t keep the site up to date until a new round of publications emerges (if they’ve only had five competitions since 2002, maybe they’re on a two year cycle?). Regardless, the Japanese Literature Publication Project looks like an interesting place to check out if you want to get an idea of how Japanese literature has been circulating internationally!


 Any other sites or resources you use to check out Japanese literature in translation? Let us know at or leave us a comment!

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Job Opening: Museum Preparator II, Stanford University

job opening - 5Institution: Stanford University
Location: Stanford, CA
Posted: 09/09/2014
Education: BA preferred
100% FTE, fixed term through December 2015

The Cantor Arts Center is a vital and dynamic institution with a venerable history. Founded in 1891 with the university, the historic museum was expanded and renamed in 1999 for lead donors Iris and B. Gerald Cantor. The Cantor’s encyclopedic collection spans 5,000 years, includes over 40,000 works of art and beckons visitors to travel around the world and through time: from Africa to the Americas to Asia, from classical to contemporary. With 24 galleries presenting selections from the collection and more than 20 special exhibitions each year, the Cantor serves Stanford’s academic community, draws art lovers from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, and attracts campus visitors from around the world. Free admission, free tours, lectures, family activities, plus changing exhibitions make the Cantor one of the most well-attended university art museums in the country and an invaluable resource for teaching and research on campus.

Under the supervision of the Acting Manager of Collections, Exhibitions and Conservation, the Museum Preparator II works with the team of Preparators at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University (CAC) in the preparation, installation, storage, packing, and general handling of art objects in the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. Preparators perform a wide variety of duties in support of museum operations and in collaboration with Registrars, Curators, Head of Exhibitions, and Conservators. This position is covered by a collective bargaining unit. The Preparator’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following: Serves as Lead Preparator on assigned exhibitions including active participation in the design, coordination, and implementation of exhibitions using a high level of organization, communication and time management skills. Designs and fabricates custom mounts and exhibition furniture. Works in galleries as part of the installation team for exhibitions and rotations. Assists with installation of digital media and multimedia and electronics (film, computer, audio video) and gallery lighting. Packs and transports art objects to and from lenders and donors. Assists with receiving exhibition shipments and with the unpacking and repacking. Helps maintain tools, equipment, shop spaces and art storage.


Minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible experience or equivalent combination of training and experience preferably in a museum setting. B.A. Degree preferred. Demonstrated proficiency of handling valuable works of art in a wide variety of media including but not limited to paintings, bronze, ceramic, glass, metals, mixed media, textiles, works on paper, contemporary art and new media. Demonstrated proficiency in installation of exhibitions and layout and lighting design. Ability to move or assist in moving heavy objects (must be able to lift 50 lbs) and ability to operate genie lifts, forklifts, pallet jacks, etc. Demonstrated proficiency of practices and methods in mount making including earthquake mitigation and demonstrated ability to apply this knowledge with initiative and judgment, concern for detail, accuracy, and neat execution of work. Demonstrated skills and knowledge of shop equipment and ability to effectively perform various skilled and semi-skilled tasks, including woodworking, brazing, use of adhesives and fasteners, construction methods, and use of stationary and portable power tools. Demonstrated skills and knowledge of archival materials and storage techniques for loaned and museum collection objects. Ability to work collaboratively with a team and work collegially with fellow preparators, staff, designers, guest curators, vendors, and the general public. Proficiency with design programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Google Sketch-up highly desirable and familiarity with computer applications in a multi-platform environment including Microsoft Word and Excel. Effective oral and written communication skills.

Full application details on

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LGBT Exhibition: Rainbow Messages from the Hirado Dutch Trading Post [Nagasaki]

September 14, 2014 – October 31, 2014
Opening times: 8:30-17:30
Place: Hirado Dutch Trading Post (Okubo 2477, Hirado, Nagasaki Prefecture)
Entry fee: 300 yen


At the Hirado Dutch Trading Post, Japan’s first western style building, exchanges between Japan and the Netherlands flourished and is now once again a place where cultures and new ideas meet.

Hirado flourished as an international trading port and through the trade with the Netherlands it took in some of the latest European cultural trends and values at the time. In modern times the Netherlands has been at the forefront of LGBT rights by being the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriages. After 400 years the Hirado Dutch Trading Post is building new bridges between the Netherlands, Hirado, and other parts of the world on the theme of LGBT.

The Hirado Dutch Trading Post aims to increase awareness and understanding of sexual minorities in order to contribute to a society in which LGBT`s can be themselves and live with pride.

Leaflet front

Leaflet back

(LGBT is the abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender.)

LGBT Photo exhibition:
– The Netherlands: Pride Photo Award (
Winning contributions of the annual international photo contest on sexual and gender diversity organized by this Dutch NPO
– Japan: Koji Kinoshita Photo exhibition. Born in Kumamoto in 1972. He has been organising a yearly photo exhibition since 2006. We show his latest photography project about people from the LGBT community `So Many Colors Photo Session`.

There will also be other panels and short video fragments about the history and the current situation of the LGBT community in the Netherlands, USA, Taiwan and Japan.

More information at The Kingdom of the Netherlands Embassy page.

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Funding Opportunity: Council on Foreign Relations 2015-2016 Fellowship Programs

CFR 2015-2016 Fellowship Programs


The Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) Fellowship Program offers unique opportunities for mid-career professionals focusing on international relations. The program affords fellows the opportunity to broaden their perspective of foreign affairs and to pursue proposed research in the United States and abroad. The program awards a stipend, which varies with each fellowship. CFR is seeking applicants for four 2015-2016 fellowship programs listed below.


The International Affairs Fellowship (IAF) assists mid-career scholars and professionals in advancing their analytic capabilities and broadening their foreign policy experience. Selected fellows from academia and the private sector spend fellowship tenures in public service and policy-oriented settings, while government officials spend their tenures in a scholarly atmosphere free from operational pressure. The IAF program is only open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents between the ages of twenty-seven and thirty-five who are eligible to work in the United States. CFR does not sponsor for visas. The duration of the fellowship is twelve months. The program awards a stipend of $85,000. CFR awards approximately ten fellowships annually. The application deadline is October 31, 2014.


The International Affairs Fellowship in Japan (IAF-J), sponsored by Hitachi, Ltd., provides a selected group of mid-career U.S. citizens the opportunity to expand their professional horizons by spending a period of research or other professional activity in Japan.The IAF-J is only open to U.S. citizens between the ages of twenty-seven and forty-five. The program is intended primarily for those without substantial prior experience in Japan. Knowledge of the Japanese language is not a requirement. The duration of the fellowship is between three and twelve months. The program awards a stipend in yen, which covers travel and living expenses in Japan. CFR awards approximately three to five fellowships annually. The application deadline is October 31, 2014.


The Stanton Nuclear Security Fellowship (SNSF) Program, made possible by a generous grant from the Stanton Foundation, offers younger scholars studying nuclear security issues the opportunity to spend a period of twelve months at CFR offices in New York or Washington, DC, conducting policy-relevant research. Qualified candidates must be junior (non-tenured) faculty, postdoctoral fellows, or predoctoral candidates from any discipline who are working on a nuclear security related issue. The program is only open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are eligible to work in the United States. CFR does not sponsor for visas. The program awards a stipend of $100,000 for junior (non-tenured) faculty; $75,000 for postdoctoral; and $50,000 for predoctoral fellows. CFR awards up to three fellowships annually. The application deadline is December 15, 2014.


The International Affairs Fellowship in Nuclear Security (IAF-NS), sponsored by the Stanton Foundation, offers university-based scholars valuable hands-on experience in the nuclear security policymaking field and places selected fellows in U.S. government positions or international organizations for a period of twelve months to work with practitioners. The IAF-NS is only open to faculty members with tenure or on tenure-track lines at accredited universities and who propose to spend a year working in government or at an international organization. Qualified candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are eligible to work in the United States and be between the ages of twenty-nine and fifty. CFR does not sponsor for visas. Former Stanton nuclear security fellows who meet the eligibility requirements can apply. The program awards a stipend of $125,000. CFR awards approximately two fellowships annually. The application deadline is January 16, 2015.

For more information, visit or contact Via

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Book Announcement: The Princess Nun

Princess NunHarvard East Asian Monographs 366

The Princess Nun: Bunchi, Buddhist Reform, and Gender in Early Edo Japan
Gina Cogan

The Princess Nun tells the story of Bunchi (1619–1697), daughter of Emperor Go-Mizunoo and founder of Enshōji. Bunchi advocated strict adherence to monastic precepts while devoting herself to the posthumous welfare of her family. As the first full-length biographical study of a premodern Japanese nun, this book incorporates issues of gender and social status into its discussion of Bunchi’s ascetic practice and religious reforms to rewrite the history of Buddhist reform and Tokugawa religion.

Gina Cogan’s approach moves beyond the dichotomy of oppression and liberation that dogs the study of non-Western and premodern women to show how Bunchi’s aristocratic status enabled her to carry out reforms despite her gender, while simultaneously acknowledging how that same status contributed to their conservative nature. Cogan’s analysis of how Bunchi used her prestigious position to further her goals places the book in conversation with other works on powerful religious women, like Hildegard of Bingen and Teresa of Avila.
Through its illumination of the relationship between the court and the shogunate and its analysis of the practice of courtly Buddhism from a female perspective, this study brings historical depth and fresh theoretical insight into the role of gender and class in early Edo Buddhism.

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Job Opening: Japanese & Chinese, Assistant Professor

job opening - 5Institution:         California State University – Northridge, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures
Location:          California, United States
Position:           Assistant Professor of Japanese and Chinese

Department: Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures
Effective Date of Appointment: 2014 – 2015 AY (Subject to Budgetary Approval)
Rank: Assistant Professor of Japanese & Chinese (Tenure Track)
Salary: Dependent upon qualifications
The University:
California State University Northridge (CSUN), one of the largest of the 23 campuses of the California State University system, is located 20 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley, a suburb with a multi-cultural population of 1.8 million people. CSUN enrolls approximately 38,000 students from diverse backgrounds, served by 2,000 faculty. CSUN is home to 9 Colleges, offering baccalaureate degrees in 69 programs, master’s degrees in 58 graduate programs, 2 doctorate programs, 55 teaching credentials in the field of education, and various opportunities in extended learning and other special programs.

CSUN is strongly committed to achieving excellence through teaching, scholarship, active learning and diversity. Our values include a respect for all people, building alliances with the community and the encouragement of innovation, experimentation and creativity. CSUN is designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and an Asian American, Native American, Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) and we value the diversity of all of our students and the campus community. CSUN actively encourages qualified candidates to apply who have experience working with students from diverse backgrounds and a demonstrated commitment to improving access to higher education for under-represented students.

As an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer, CSUN strives to create a community in which a diverse population can work, teach and learn in an atmosphere of civility and respect for the rights of each individual. We consider qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, genetic information, medical information, marital status, or veteran status. For more information about the University, check our website:

Required qualifications: 1) PhD in Japanese or Chinese (or related discipline) at time of appointment; 2) native or near-native proficiency in Japanese, Chinese and English; 3) proven excellence in proficiency-oriented language teaching in Japanese and Chinese; 4) proven excellence in undergraduate teaching; 5) ability to teach courses in English on Asian literature and culture (Asian business culture especially); and 6) willingness to develop new courses in Chinese language and culture to further program goals. Applicants must also be committed to working with an ethnically and culturally diverse student population. Desirable qualifications: 1) interest in pursuing ties with local high schools and colleges; 2) awareness of the latest developments in technology-supported instruction and experience in integrating its use into the learning process. All faculty are expected to engage in scholarship and serve on committees and to participate in other service, as needed.

The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to and participate in the life and development of the department. The standard teaching load is 12 units per semester, although reassigned time may be available for research and/or curriculum and pedagogical development. All faculty are expected to engage in scholarship and community service and to remain current in their field. All faculty are expected to serve on departmental, college, and/or university committees and to participate in other service, as needed. The University seeks individuals who will contribute to both their chosen disciplines and the University’s significant commitment to teacher preparation and general education.

Application Deadline:
Screening of applications will begin November 17, 2014.  Priority will be given to applicants who meet the screening deadline. However, the position will remain open until filled. Applicants should submit a letter of application, curriculum vitae, and three current letters of recommendation to the address below.  In later phases of the search process, applicants may be requested to provide verification of terminal degrees, licenses and certificates.

Inquiries and nominations should be addressed to: 
Japanese/Chinese Search Committee
Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures Department
California State University
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, California 91330-8247

Contact:            Inquiries should be addressed to: Drake Langford, Japanese Section Head,



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Fun Link Friday: Sôseki’s Kokoro on Hark! A Vagrant

History-comic artist Kate Beaton of Hark! A Vagrant recently drew a series of comics about Sôseki Natsume’s novel Kokoro.

Image from HaV tumblr; full comic here.

Image from HaV tumblr; full comic here.

Check out the full comic on Hark! A Vagrant.

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