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While intensely attentive to its own tradition, Japanese literature has also embraced the outside world, particularly the influence of China. It is also embraced by the outside world in turn, exporting bestselling authors such as Haruki Murakami and Yukio Mishima. Beyond this, Japan boasts a powerful literary culture, made up of cultivated reading publics, both aristocratic and bourgeois, literary salons, specialized presses, authoritative judges of talent who cultivated and celebrated particular writers and styles, and a canon consisting of classics. A succinct introduction to one of the most dynamic and diverse world literatures, this Very Short Introduction traces the rich history of Japanese literature from its beginnings over a millennium ago to the present day.
Alan Tansman is Professor and Louis B. Agassiz Chair in Japanese at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of The Writings of K?da Aya, The Aesthetics of Japanese Fascism, and The Culture of Japanese Fascism, and coeditor of Studies in Modern Japanese Literature.
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