Here is a list of a few good books from my recent reading. If you are interested in any one of them, take it and read.
- Machi Tawara. Salad Anniversary. Translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1989.
This is Machi Tawara's first collection of Japanese tankas, a bestseller in 1987. Tankas in the book have expressed contemporary life afresh to everyone's surprise.
- Ryuichi Matsushita. A Tofu-Maker's Four Seasons: A Record of A Young Man.
Although a bit sentimental, this is a record of a young man's soul in mid 1960s. It is such an endearing story. No English translation is available, however.
- Yukichi Fukuzawa. Invitation to Learning.
The turbulent era from the last Tokugawa years to Meiji Restoration always makes a very interesting history. In this book written in early Meiji period, Fukuzawa advocates the independence of the mind. No English translation is available, however.
- Jean Vanier. Becoming Human. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1999.
This is not the same book as the Japanese translation listed on the Japanese version of this Web page, but it presents the same vision of what it means to be human. The author is the founder of the L'Arche communities, homes where people with and without learning disabilities choose to live and work together.
- Michiko Ishimure. Kukai Johdo.
This is a strange book representing the diametric aspects of life: Kukai (Suffering) and Johdo (Innocence). Depicting the life of people who have suffered Minamata Mercury Poisoning, it is a must for you Japanese. Chapter 4 titled "Ten no Sakana" is especially moving. It is unfortunate that there is no English translation.
- Shihei Umehara. Ai wa Genki desuka.
This is a collection of essays which can make you find what compassion is and what the dignity of life is. The book is accompanied by a CD. I recommend "A Song of Life" recorded in it. It is unfortunate that there is no English translation.
- Tatsuu Fukui. Why shall we not walk more slowly?.
Here is a great Japanese man like Jean Vanier. This book is a collection of essays by a man who has lived with people with severe intellectual disabilities, struggling against the discrimination of them and working for their rights, especially the right of education. It will give you a good opportunity to challenge the majority opinions of today and reflect on your own life. It is unfortunate that there is no English translation.
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