I’ve read a few Japanese novels over these past few years, like Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide, or Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto, and have done many critical comparison blog posts of Japanese literature and American literature. Every time I finish reading a book written by an American author, and immediately read a novel by a Japanese author, I could sense the difference.
I did a small amount of research about the novel itself, and I found out that this book is one of the most popular books in Japan, to the point where its used in many Japanese schools. Jiro Taniguchi had adapted parts of this small novel into a ten part volume series, published in Japan at 1986. This book had gone worldwide, with many other translations such as French and Spanish. There is a film adaptation, and an anime adaptation of this book too. Comparing this to American literature, if it has gone world wide enough, it would gain the title ‘best-seller’ and eventually will win an award, or become adapted into a movie.
Let’s be honest here. How many books that has reached the top 100 greatest novels ever were neither American nor European? I checked out this list, and I barely found books written outside Europe and America. I believe literature books that had originated from Asia and the Middle East should gain more popularity around the world. I’m emphasizing the word ‘literature’ here. If I ask someone to tell me a name of a book originated from Japan, I am pretty certain the answer would be the comic, or as they call it manga. So what happened to Bot Chan and Guest Cat? Only people who actually hunts for literary books will find them eventually. Can’t they be everywhere too?