Jump to content


History of East Asia - Need some fiction recommendations

Recommended Posts

My ds has expressed an interest in learning about East Asia, specifically China and Japan. After many hours on Amazon I've a found a text that looks like it will be just what we want for the year: East Asia: A Cultural, Social and Political History. It covers China, Japan and Korea.



I'm now looking for some works of fiction for him to read through out the year. So far I've found:


Monkey: Folk Novel of China

Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Tale of Genji


I have no idea if these are suitable for my ds so I'll be reading them over the summer.


What are some other works of fiction that you could recommend? Any time period just so long as the original is by a Chinese, Japanese or Korean author.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you don't mind TV, there are tons of Korean historical fiction drama with English subtitle available at hulu.com. (There is a whole section devoted to Korean dramas under Genre tap.) I am watching Empress Ki with my American husband on Hulu+ & Apple TV thesedays. :D My other favorite recent ones are The Moon Embracing the Sun, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Tree with Deep Roots and Chuno.


There are also several movies about Korean history you can find on Neflix and Hulu. If you have a Netflix account, I recommend you to check out these movies:


Masquerade (2012)

Welcome to Dongmakgol (2005)


Regarding books, I'm not familiar with fictional works about Korean history that are translated in English and published in America although I know many nonfiction books.


I'm a Korean, so I can only talk about the Korean stuff, lol.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

A Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi and translated by Victor Harris is a good one. The translators introduction provides a history of Japan during Musashi's (a famous samurai), Kendo and Zen, and a bit of a biography. Musashi's text is about his sword fighting philosophy and strategy.  It is a short and interesting book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was going to second the recommendation of the Korean dramas.  I'm still suffering from withdrawals now that Empress Ki is over.  It was awesome.  I also loved Sungkyunkwon Scandal.  I've heard good things about Queen Seon duk, A Tree with Deep Roots (about the Hangeul alphabet), The Moon That Embraces the Sun,  and I've got Chuno on my to watch list.  I also enjoyed Bridal Mask and Inspiring Generation and the stories they told about the Japanese occupation of Korea.


I've heard that China has quite a few good history based dramas as well.


As far as fiction, Pearl S. Buck wrote a number of interesting books that bring to life conflicts between western and eastern cultures in China mostly. 


I'll be watching this discussion as well because I think Asian history is going to be something that we may do as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Monkey are considered two of the Four Masterpieces (四大åè‘—) of Chinese Literature. The other two are Water Margin and Dream of the Red Chamber. All of these are very hefty books -- translations of Romance of the Three Kingdoms are usually split into volumes, because the whole thing can sometimes be over 2,000 pages long.


There is also The Book of Odes, if you think poetry might be appreciated.


For Japanese poetry, I think the most famous authors are BashÅBuson, Issa, and Shiki. If you are looking for something more modern, you could try looking at some of the manga (a form of Japanese comic book) produced by Osamu Tezuka.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...