The best books on Japan, recommended by Chigusa Yamaura

Japan is one of the world’s most technologically advanced industrial societies, but it is organised around very conservative social and familial paradigms, says the Japanese sociocultural anthropologist Chigusa Yamaura. Here she selects five books that throw light on a fascinating country and culture.

Best Classic Japanese Mysteries, recommended by On Nomoto

Crime novels are hugely popular in Japan, but English translations of Japanese mysteries not always easy to come by. As Pushkin Vertigo publishes translations of two novels by Seishi Yokomizo, one of Japan’s most famous mystery writers, his grandson, On Nomoto, talks us through the best classic Japanese mysteries of the last century.

The best books on Samurai, recommended by Michael Wert

The samurai, Japan’s warrior caste, have been embraced by popular culture and made their way into films, comic books and video games. But who were they really? Michael Wert, professor of East Asian History at Marquette University and author of Samurai: A Concise History, recommends the best books to learn more about samurai, literally ‘one who serves.’

The Best Modern Japanese Literature, recommended by Linda Flores

To the western eye, Japan often appears as a surprising combination of very advanced development, and extreme cultural peculiarity. Linda Flores, Associate Professor of modern Japanese literature at the University of Oxford, guides us through this discovery with five great works of modern Japanese literature.

The best books on Japan, recommended by Ian Buruma

Which are the best books to read about Japan? Author and journalist Ian Buruma picks some beautifully written works by scholars—and one novelist—that give a feel for its culture and civilization.

The best books on Manga and Anime, recommended by Susan J Napier

Many people have heard of manga and anime, but would be surprised to learn how deeply this niche is steeped in Japanese tradition and culture—or how often manga features strong, smart female leads, says Susan Napier, anime expert and Professor of the Japanese Program at Tufts University. Here, she picks five books that encapsulate manga and anime as both forms of art and cathartic re-workings of Japanese history.