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Cream and Sugar
Special of the Month:
Kei Ishiyama Interview

Cream and Sugar

A Japanese manga artist who published her graphic novels in Germany.
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Interviews from Past Months

Eric Kotani
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Flavor of the Month: June 2011

Now you can listen to the renowned Japanese Author's Book, Botchan in English for free. Download Audio Here
今月の英語オーディオお奨め作品 夏目漱石著『坊ちゃん』

Botchan (Master Darling)
by Sōseki Natsume (1867 - 1916)
translation by Yasotaro Morri

Soseki portrait

An excerpt from the translators introduction:

For the benefit of those who may not know the original, it must be stated that "Botchan" by the late Mr. K. Natsume was an epoch-making piece of work. On its first appearance, Mr. Natsume's place and name as the foremost in the new literary school were firmly established. He had written many other novels of more serious intent, of heavier thoughts and of more enduring merits, but it was this "Botchan" that secured him the lasting fame. Its quaint style, dash and vigor in its narration appealed to the public who had become somewhat tired of the stereotyped sort of manner with which all stories had come to be handled.

In its simplest understanding, "Botchan" may be taken as an episode in the life of a son born in Tokyo, hot-blooded, simple-hearted, pure as crystal and sturdy as a towering rock, honest and straight to a fault, intolerant of the least injustice and a volunteer ever ready to champion what he considers right and good. Children may read it as a "story of man who tried to be honest." It is a light, amusing and, at the name time, instructive story, with no tangle of love affairs, no scheme of blood-curdling scenes or nothing startling or sensational in the plot or characters. The story, however, may be regarded as a biting sarcasm on a hypocritical society in which a gang of instructors of dark character at a middle school in a backwoods town plays a prominent part. The hero of the story is made a victim of their annoying intrigues, but finally comes out triumphant by smashing the petty red tapism, knocking down the sham pretentions and by actual use of the fist on the Head Instructor and his henchman.

The following summary is by Availle.
Botchan is the story of a young math teacher from Tokyo whose first assignment takes him to a middle school in the country side. His arrival there is not very lucky: The pupils are bound to test his perseverance and cheerily comments every one of his perceived missteps. In the teacher's room, he soon finds himself in the middle of an intrigue between the jovial "Porcupine" and the fat "Hubbard Squash" on one side, and the effeminate "Red Shirt" and his follower "Clown" on the other. Will Botchan choose the right side in the end? 
Botchan - with morality as the main theme - is one of the most popular novels in Japan. Sōseki Natsume bases the story on his own experiences as teacher in Matsuyama, his first assignment away from Tokyo. Download Audio Here

Free Book! A Text Download!

Now you can read a famous Japanese Sci-Fi author's Book, Martian Corps, by Juza Unno in Japanese for free. Read or Download Book Here

Japanese Book of the Month:

Martian Corps, by Juza Unno, 1897-1949
今月の日本語お奨め作品 海野十三著『火星兵団』1941

今月のお奨め作品は、日本におけるSFの始祖海野十三(うんのじゅうざ、または、うんのじゅうぞう)の作品『火星兵団』です。「小学生新聞」に連載されたこの作品は、少年少女に科学に親しみ、科学に関心を持ってもらうために執筆されました。そのために、話は紙芝居を見ているようにワクワク・ゾクゾクしながら進んで行きます。作者は、1940年頃の日本に多くの科学者が必要であったこと、そして、宇宙からの侵略に備える準備をすべきとの警告をしています。ブック・カフェでごゆるりとお過ごしください。 千津子

A Japanese favorite by a 'founding father' of Japanese Sci-Fi, Jusa Unno is well known in Japan by fans of science fiction. Ask almost anyone who is a senior and they will probably have read his work when they were children. It is our pleasure to make this available to you.

For more about Japanese Science Fiction and its history (in English)
For more about the author (in English)