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Japanese Poetry or Literature

pooh bear

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Tales from Japan and Japanese Children's Favorite stories that were already mentioned plus-

There is a series of books called bilinual classics - Inch High Samauri is one of them. For Poetry - Grass Sandals is a good start. We also have lots of books like I Live in Tokyo that showcase modern Japanese culture. And don't forget to include a story about Hachiko.

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How old is your ds?


I'm no expert, but there are a few Japanese writers I enjoy - however, most of them are appropriate before high school really - not so much because of sex or violence (though there is some sexual content in some of the writers I've read) - but more because it's higher level reading stuff. One of my favorite authors is Huruki Murakami, but I wouldn't recommend him to anyone before about age 16, I don't think. I think obviously, any decent anthology of older poetry or fiction is likely to be completely fine. There's also a compilation of modern stories I know I read parts of for a class ages ago - I think it was just called Modern Japanese Stories: an Anthology - though I can't vouch for every story in there - it seems like many would be fine for middle school and up.


One book I read not too long ago that I enjoyed, though it's on the long side, was Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe - it's shelved in YA or MG and it's fine for middle school and up, though it contains themes dealing with divorce (the main character's parents are getting separated, possibly because of an affair - but it's all from the kid's perspective).


Any look at Japanese fiction can also include manga, obviously. There's plenty out there appropriate for younger readers. Most libraries are improving their collections immensely recently - I would just go to the library and let your ds look through the children's graphic novels collection... though if he's about to do Japanese, there's a good chance he already has a handle on those resources!


In addition to the Katherine Patterson books mentioned above, my favorite non-Japanese fiction about Japan is the mystery series by Dorothy Hoobler that begins with The Ghost in the Tokkaido Inn. Those are great books - probably for about 3rd or 4th grade and up, depending on the reading level of the kid - and could be appreciated up to about 8th or 9th grade at least.

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