There has never been a better time to get into Japanese books. 2022 is ripe with newly translated gems of both contemporary and classic authors, as well as works originally written in English. Here are some recently released and soon-to-be-published titles this calendar year. We’ve covered all bases, with a mix of fiction, non-fiction, young adult literature and even a few sequels. Happy reading!

1. Longing and Other Stories by Junichiro Tanizaki (Translated by Anthony H. Chambers and Paul McCarthy)

One of Japan’s most esteemed writers and author of classics such as The Makioka Sisters, Quicksand and Some Prefer Nettles, Tanizaki has captured the hearts of generations of readers all over the world. This new collection features three of his earlier works and focuses on family — specifically the relationship between mother and son. It’s a must-read for Tanizaki fans, especially if you’re only familiar with his postwar titles. 

Publish date: Jan 4 | More info

2. My Annihilation by Fuminori Nakamura (Translated by Sam Bett)

Macabre and disturbing, Fuminori Nakamura’s latest dark thriller is a complex narrative presented as a confessional diary. A heinous crime has been committed, but conflicting accounts and unnerving philosophical questions keep readers on their toes, wondering what is true and what are simply monstrous and unfiltered thoughts of a disturbed human being. It’s a shocking and darkly rich tale that will stay with you. 

Publish date: Jan 11 | More info

3. This Monk Wears Heels: Be Who You Are by Kodo Nishimura (Translated by Tony McNicol)

A gentle but firm nudge to live your authentic life, the English edition of This Monk Wears Heels approaches the topic of self-acceptance with practical advice and inclusive Buddhist teachings. For those who feel they don’t belong or are worried about being judged, this guide encourages you to be your true self, unapologetically. And who would know more about that than a Buddhist monk who breaks all the conventions?

Publish date: Feb 8 | More info

4. Of Arcs and Circles by Marc Peter Keane

A collection of essays that elevate the reader’s knowledge on gardens, design and the aesthetic pleasures of taking notice of the details. Keane is an American landscape architect who has preserved traditional environments, designed gardens and created art installations in Kyoto for many years. Speaking from his experience in his field, these almost ethereal narratives cover everything including why garden names are important to the meaning of art. It’s a book worth savoring and rereading for additional insights. 

Publish date: Feb 8 | More info

5. Woman Running in the Mountains by Yuko Tsushima (Translated by Geraldine Harcourt)

A captivating tale of a woman defying social conventions as well as her abusive parents as she takes on raising a child on her own. Reprinted translation.

Publish date: Feb 22 | More info

6. Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada (Translated by Margaret Mitsutani)

Tawada gifts us another remarkable story of a dystopian future, this time where what used to be Japan is simply referred to as “the land of sushi.” First novel of a trilogy.

Publish date: Mar 1 | More info

7. Don’t Worry: 48 Lessons on Relieving Anxiety from a Buddhist Monk by Shunmyo Masuno (Translated by Allison Markin Powell)

Though this is our second self-help book by a Buddhist monk on the list, Masuno’s timely 48 lessons are in a different vein from Nishimura’s guiding thoughts and could serve as a complement. A combination of gentle advice and Zen sayings focus on freeing the reader of their anxieties, with the most effective being lesson number one: stop comparing yourself to others and 90 percent of your obsessions will disappear.

Publish date: Apr 5 | More info

8. The Color of the Sky is the Shape of the Heart by Chesil (Translated by Takami Nieda)

17-year-old Ginny Park is about to get kicked out of school — again. She jots down her thoughts in a journal, reflecting on her life growing up in Japan as an ethnic Korean and the reason she eventually left. Inspired by mononymous author Chesil’s own experiences, this award-winning debut investigates the complexities of belonging while fighting prejudice and hate.

Publish date: Apr 5 | More info

9. Three Assassins by Kotaro Isaka (Translated by Sam Malissa)

An otherwise ordinary math teacher finds himself enmeshed in a criminal gang and seeking revenge after his wife is murdered.

Publish date: Apr 12 | More info

10. Beautiful Star by Yukio Mishima (Translated by Stephen Dodd)

Written in 1962, Mishima’s tale of family, love, nuclear war and UFOs is translated for the first time into English. The Osugi family, who find out they all come from different planets, are brought closer by the need to save humanity and find more extra-terrestrials like themselves.  

Publish date: Apr 28 | More info

11. All the Lovers in the Night by Mieko Kawakami (Translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd)

Literary sensation Mieko Kawakami returns with another extraordinary and insightful tale, this time about a shy copy editor named Fuyuko Irie. Reaching her mid-thirties, Irie feels her life has come to a standstill and she needs to change. However, delving into the painful memories of her past stirs more than self-developmental realizations. All the Lovers in the Night is — as with Kawakami’s other works — a poetic emotional rollercoaster, so be prepared to laugh, cry and wince in empathy.

Publish date: May 3 | More info

12. Kamusari Tales Told at Night by Shion Miura (Translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter)

The sequel to The Easy Life in Kamusari, Kamusari Tales Told at Night follows Yuki after his first year as a woodsman. He is finally finding his place in the village and deepening his ties with the locals.

Publish date: May 10 | More info TBA

13. The Shining Sea by Koji Suzuki

Renowned author of the Ring series returns with a spine-chilling tale on the water. A woman has lost her memory after almost drowning and her partner is out on the open sea. Something happened between them, but what?

Publish date: May 31 | More info

14. Fish Swimming in Dappled Sunlight by Riku Onda (Translated by Alison Watts)

Taking place over one night in Tokyo, two people find themselves in a battle of wills trying to get a murder confession from the other.

Publish date: Jun 16 (UK), Jul 26 (US) | More info

15. Gokumon Island by Seishi Yokomizo (Translated by Louise Heal Kawai)

A mysterious prophecy brings Kosuke Kindaichi to Gokumon Island, an isolated pocket of the world full of secrets that trigger a series of gruesome murders.

Publish date: Jun 7 | More info

16. Solo Dance by Li Kotomi (Translated by Arthur Reiji Morris)

Winner of the Gunzo New Writers’ Award for Excellence in 2017, Solo Dance is an emotional coming-of-age story about growing up gay in Taiwan and Japan. We follow Taiwanese Norie Cho who, on the surface, is an average office worker in Tokyo. However, she lives an “unconventional life” — at least by the heteronormative standards around her — and often obsesses about death.

Publish date: Jun 7 | More info

17. Tokyo Express by Seicho Matsumoto

Where others see a cut-and-dry lovers’ suicide, unlikely duo Jutaro Torigai and Kiichi Mihara suspect something more sinister. Re-release with Penguin Classics.

Publish date: Jun 30 | More info

18. Diary of a Void by Emi Yagi (Translated by David Boyd and Lucy North)

Ms. Shibata announces she can no longer do menial tasks like serving tea and clearing away her coworkers’ cups as she is pregnant. The problem? She isn’t pregnant. Dedicated to the lie, she continues the increasingly difficult ruse for as long as she can.

Publish date: Aug 9 | More info

19. The Thorn Puller by Hiromi Ito (Translated by Jeffrey Angles)

Ito’s first novel translated into English is a humorous and poetic detailing of the complexities and absurdities of cross-cultural living. The narrator juggles caring for her two families — separated by an ocean and cultural differences that seem impossible to traverse without causing chaos along the way. 

Publish date: Aug 16 | More info

20. Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura (Translated by Allison Markin Powell and Marie Iida)

This novel concludes the story begun in its predecessor, Lady Joker, which is inspired by the real-life unsolved 1984 Glico-Morinaga kidnapping. 

Publish date: Aug 30 | More info

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