Convenience Store Woman, by Japanese novelist Sayaka Murata, has been attracting attention as a best seller in Japan. After the release of its English edition in 2018, the book quickly caught the eye of critics of the major U.S. newspapers. The New Yorker magazine selected it as one of The Best Books of 2018. Murata visited the U.K., the U.S. and Canada under a program organized by the Japan Foundation and communicated with her readers in various places. She describes her experiences in the U.K.
Masatsugu Ono grew up in the southern part of Oita Prefecture, and has portrayed the people who live there in detailed prose. As a participant in the Japan Foundation programs, Ono has conducted lectures and provided commentary on his works in Vietnam, talked about the Japanese literary scene in Toronto and Montreal, Canada, and given public readings and talks at international literary festivals in Russia, Armenia, and Germany. Here, Ono describes his contact with readers outside Japan, revealing the thoughts and ideas inspired by those encounters.
I served as curator for MANGA⇔TOKYO, an exhibition featuring manga (comics) and anime (animation) that was held in Paris as part of Japonismes 2018. The Japanese government's desire to present manga and anime abroad reflects the popularity that these cultural products have been enjoying in other countries.
The Japan Foundation invites academics and researchers in the area of Japanese studies to study in Japan. The guest contributor for this issue is Carolyn Wargula, a 2018 Japanese Studies Fellow who researched "Embodying the Buddha: The Presence of Women in Japanese Buddhist Hair Embroideries, 1200-1700" at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies as a fellow writing her doctoral thesis.