JA Reading List

Hi, welcome to my JA Reading List!

Below you will find a list of Japanese writers from around the world. Ok, some of them are not writers, or do things in addition to writing, but most of them are writers!

I created this page because, as a kid, reading was my absolute favorite thing to do. At the same time, the only English-language fiction I really saw myself or my culture reflected in was Yoshiko Uchida’s Japanese American historical novels and Lensey Namioka’s Zenta and Matsuzo mystery series.* I loved these books, but two authors was a very small number, especially when I could walk into any bookstore or library and see hundreds or thousands of white authors on the shelves.

Although I can’t go back in time, I hope this list will prove helpful to fellow Japanese readers searching for writing reflective of their experiences. The list includes books in Japanese, English, or a combination of both languages.** Please note, some of these writers cater to audiences over 18, so read with caution.

To all fellow Japanese readers – especially the diaspora kids like me – our voices and our stories matter. They will always matter. Just as no one but you can define your “Japanese-ness,” no one but you can tell your story. If you have a story you want to share, why not give it a shot?

Fiction Writers

  • Akemi Dawn Bowman
  • Aki Gibbons
  • Akimitsu Takagi
  • Alice Arisugawa
  • Alma Katsu
  • Andrew Fukuda
  • Angela Yuriko Smith
  • Arimasa Osawa
  • Banana Yoshimoto
  • Cynthia Kadohata
  • Dale Furutani
  • Fumiko Enchi
  • Fumiko Hayashi
  • Fuminori Nakamura
  • Gail Tsukiyama
  • Gaku Yakumaru
  • Haruki Murakami
  • Hiromi Goto
  • Hiromi Kawakami
  • Hiroshi Nakamura
  • Hiroshi Sakurazaka
  • Hisaye Yamamoto
  • Hitomi Kanehara
  • Hitori Nakano
  • Iori Kusano
  • Isamu Fukui
  • Issui Ogawa
  • Jacqueline Koyanagi
  • Jami Nakamura Lin
  • Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
  • John Okada
  • Joy Kogawa
  • Julie Kagawa
  • Julie Otsuka
  • Junichiro Tanizaki
  • Kanae Minato
  • Kaori Ekuni
  • Karen Tei Yamashita
  • Karin Tanabe
  • Kazuaki Takano
  • Kazuhiro Kiuchi
  • Kazuki Kaneshiro
  • Kazuki Sakuraba
  • Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Keigo Higashino
  • Keith Yatsuhashi
  • Ken Mochizuki
  • Kenzaburo Oe
  • Kenzo Kitakata
  • Kerri Sakamoto
  • Kido Okamoto
  • Kim Moritsugu
  • Kobo Abe
  • Koji Suzuki
  • Kyo Maclear
  • Kyoko Mori
  • Kyotaro Nishimura
  • Lisa Matsumoto
  • Lois-Ann Yamanaka
  • Lorna Suzuki
  • Lynne Kutsukake
  • Margaret Dilloway
  • Marie Mutsuki Mockett
  • Mariko Nagai
  • Mariko Tatsumoto
  • Masako Fukui
  • Michelle Sagara
  • Miki Dare
  • Milton Murayama
  • Misa Sugiura
  • Miyuki Miyabe
  • Murasaki Shikibu
  • Nagaru Tanigawa
  • Nahoko Uehashi
  • Naomi Hirahara
  • Natsuhiko Kyogoku
  • Natsuo Kirino
  • Nina Revoyr
  • Novala Takemoto
  • Osamu Dazai
  • Otsuichi
  • Patricia Kiyono
  • Risa Wataya
  • Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
  • Ruth Ozeki
  • Ryu Murakami
  • Ryunosuke Akutagawa
  • Sakae Tsuboi
  • Sarah Kuhn
  • Sayuri Ueda
  • Seicho Matsumoto
  • Seishi Yokomizo
  • Shizuko Natsuki
  • Shohei Ooka
  • Shoson Nagahara
  • Shuichi Yoshida
  • Shusaku Endo
  • Soji Shimada
  • Soseki Natsume
  • Sylvia Watanabe
  • Tabitha Suzuma
  • Taiyo Fujii
  • Takashi Nagatsuka
  • Takiko Morimoto
  • Taku Ashibe
  • Tatsuzo Ishikawa
  • Terry Watada
  • Teru Miyamoto
  • Tetsuya Honda
  • Todd Shimoda
  • Toh EnJoe
  • Tomotake Ishikawa
  • Tomoyuki Hoshino
  • Toshio Mori
  • Toson Shimazaki
  • Valynne Maetani
  • Yasunari Kawabata
  • Yasutaka Tsutsui
  • Yoko Kawashima Watkins
  • Yoko Ogawa
  • Yone Noguchi
  • Yoshiko Uchida
  • Yukio Mishima
  • Yukito Ayatsuji
  • Yuya Sato
  • Zoe Tokushige

Nonfiction/Academic Writers

  • Akemi Kikumura-Yano
  • Akiko Hashimoto
  • Akiko Takenaka
  • Akira Iriye
  • Akira Kawaguchi
  • Amy Sueyoshi
  • Annmaria Shimabuku
  • Ayako Ishigaki
  • Barbara Kawakami
  • Bill Hosokawa
  • Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi
  • Bobby Okinaka
  • Brian Komei Dempster
  • Brian Masaru Hayashi
  • Candace Fujikane
  • Chizuko Ueno
  • Christine Yano
  • Daisuke Miyao
  • Dale Ann Sato
  • Darrell Hamamoto
  • Daryl J. Maeda
  • David Mura
  • David Yamaguchi
  • Delphine Hirasuna
  • Dennis M. Ogawa
  • Dina Okamoto
  • Donald Teruo Hata
  • Dorinne Kondo
  • Edward Nakasone
  • Eiichiro Azuma
  • Eiji Okawa
  • Eiko Maruko Siniawer
  • Eileen Tamura
  • Elena Tajima Creef
  • Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney
  • Eri Hotta
  • Eric K. Yamamoto
  • Etsu Inagaki Sugimoto
  • Evelyn Iritani
  • Evelyn Nakano Glenn
  • Frances Kakugawa
  • Franklin Odo
  • Gail Nomura
  • Gary Okihiro
  • Gil Asakawa
  • Gordon Hirabayashi
  • Haru Sugiyama
  • Haruki Murakami
  • Haruko Taya Cook
  • Harumi Befu
  • Haruo Shirane
  • Hayao Kawai
  • Hiroki Azuma
  • Hiromichi Yahara
  • Hiromitsu Takano
  • Hiroshi Kashiwagi
  • Jack Fujimoto
  • Jane Iwamura
  • Jane Yamashiro
  • Jeffrey T. Yamashita
  • Jere Takahashi
  • Jonathan Okamura
  • Joseph Shoji Lachman
  • Joshua Hotaka Roth
  • Joshua Takano Chambers-Letson
  • Joyce Hirohata
  • Jun Okada
  • Jun Uchida
  • Kakuzo Okakura
  • Kaori Tanegashima
  • Karen Inouye
  • Karen Ishizuka
  • Karen Nakamura
  • Karen Shimakawa
  • Karen Umemoto
  • Karl Taro Greenfeld
  • Katsu Kokichi
  • Katsuichi Honda
  • Katsuya Hirano
  • Kazuko Kuramoto
  • Kazuko Nakane
  • Ken Kawashima
  • Kent Ono
  • Kerry Yo Nakagawa
  • Koichi Iwabuchi
  • Koichi Mera
  • Koji Steven Sakai
  • Kristen Hayashi
  • Lane Hirabayashi
  • Laura Honda Hasegawa
  • Lawson Fusao Inada
  • Linda Austin
  • Linda Tamura
  • Lisa Nakamura
  • Lisa Yoneyama
  • Lon Kurashige
  • Lori Kido Lopez
  • Lorraine K. Bannai
  • Lynne Miyake
  • Mari J. Matsuda
  • Marie Mutsuki Mockett
  • Masako Fukawa
  • Masami Kawamura
  • Masayo Duus
  • Masayoshi Shibatani
  • Melody Miyamoto Walters
  • Michihiko Hachiya
  • Michiko Iwasaka
  • Michitaro Tada
  • Midori Yamamura
  • Mikiso Hane
  • Minae Mizumura
  • Mineko Iwasaki
  • Mira Shimabukuro
  • Mire Koikari
  • Mitzi Uehara Carter
  • Miyako Inoue
  • Mizuko Ito
  • Myra Sachiko Ikeda
  • Naoki Sakai
  • Naoko Shibusawa
  • Naoko Shimazu
  • Naomi Murakawa
  • Noriko Aso
  • Noriko Reider
  • Noriko Sanefuji
  • Robert Shimabukuro
  • Ronald Takaki
  • Ryan Masaaki Yokota
  • S. Floyd Mori
  • Saburo Ienaga
  • Saito Tamaki
  • Satoko Shimazaki
  • Sayo Masuda
  • Scott Kurashige
  • Sei Shonagon
  • Seiji Lippit
  • Setsu Shigematsu
  • Shiho Imai
  • Soetsu Yanagi
  • Stefan Tanaka
  • Stephen Fugita
  • Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu
  • Susan Hasegawa
  • Takako Day
  • Takako Lento
  • Takashi Fujitani
  • Takashi Yoshida
  • Takayuki Tatsumi
  • Takeyuki Tsuda
  • Tamiko Nimura
  • Teresa Tamura
  • Tetsuden Kashima
  • Tetsuo Najita
  • Timothy Yamamura
  • Tomiko Higa
  • Tomiko Yoda
  • Toshio Mori
  • Valerie Katagiri
  • Valerie Matsumoto
  • Wendy Matsumura
  • William Tsutsui
  • Yasuko Takezawa
  • Yoko Hasegawa
  • Yoshiaki Yoshimi
  • Yoshihiko Amino
  • Yoshiko Uehara
  • Yoshikuni Igarashi
  • Yoshimi Takeuchi
  • Yoshio Sugimoto
  • Yuichiro Onishi
  • Yuji Ichioka
  • Yuki Tanaka
  • Yukichi Fukuzawa
  • Yukiko Kimura
  • Yukiko Koshiro
  • Yuko Ogasawara
  • Yumi Moon
  • Yuri Kochiyama

Poets

  • Amy Uyematsu
  • April Naoko Heck
  • Brandon Shimoda
  • Brynn Saito
  • Chika Sagawa
  • Christine Kitano
  • Heather Nagami
  • Kaneko Misuzu
  • Kazumi Chin
  • Kenji C. Liu
  • Kimiko Hahn
  • Lisa Linn Kanae
  • Mari L’Esperance
  • Mia Ayumi Malhotra
  • Mitsuye Yamada
  • Ono no Komachi
  • Sally Ito
  • Sawako Nakayasu
  • Tamiko Beyer
  • Terry Watada
  • W. Todd Kaneko
  • Yone Noguchi
  • Yuri Kageyama

Mangaka

  • Ai Takahashi
  • Fujiko Fujio
  • Fumio Obata
  • Henry Kiyama
  • Hinowa Kouzuki
  • Inio Asano
  • Keiji Nakazawa
  • Kiri Wazawa
  • Kiyohiko Azuma
  • Mika Yamamori
  • Natsumi Itsuki
  • Nobuhiro Watsuki
  • Nozomi Uda
  • Osamu Tezuka
  • Rumiko Takahashi
  • Satsuki Yoshino
  • Shigeru Mizuki
  • Stan Sakai
  • Taeko Watanabe
  • Tsugumi Ohba
  • Umi Sakurai
  • Yoshihiro Tatsumi
  • Yuki Kodama
  • Yuki Midorikawa
  • Yumi Hotta

Graphic Novelists/Artists

  • Adrian Tomine
  • Cindy Mochizuki
  • C.N.R. Shiotsuki
  • Hiroshi Yoshida
  • Howard Ikemoto
  • Jamie Noguchi
  • Jem Yoshioka
  • Jillian Tamaki
  • Kay Watanabe
  • Kazu Kibuishi
  • Kiku Hughes
  • Mariko Tamaki
  • MariNaomi
  • Mayu Kanamori
  • Melanie Ujimori
  • Mine Okubo
  • Nina Matsumoto
  • R. Kikuo Johnson
  • Roger Shimomura
  • Sana Takeda
  • Yumi Sakugawa

Picture Book Creators & Writers

  • トロル
  • Allen Say
  • Chieri Uegaki
  • Florence Sakade
  • Keiko Kasza
  • Mari Takabayashi
  • Sandi Takayama
  • Setsu Broderick
  • Sunny Seki
  • Taro Yashima

Filmmakers

  • Akira Kurosawa
  • Daryn Wakasa
  • Emiko Omori
  • Goro Miyazaki
  • Hayao Miyazaki
  • Isao Takahata
  • Linda Ohama
  • Mamoru Hosoda
  • Matthew Hashiguchi

If you are Japanese and you have a name to contribute to the list, feel free to tweet or email me!

Since this list is meant to be a resource created BY Japanese people FOR Japanese people, I will not be accepting any recommendations from non-Japanese. If you are non-Japanese, while I can’t stop you from reading the works on this list, please know it wasn’t created for you.

I will be updating the list as I find more names to add, but this will probably not happen on a regular basis. Note: inclusion on the list ≠ endorsement by me. If you’re curious about which of these writers I’ve actually read and recommend, check out my Favorites page.

*I was really disappointed when I learned Lensey Namioka was actually Chinese – not because I have anything against Chinese writers, but because I so desperately hoped I’d found a Japanese American woman writing kickass samurai novels in English.

**Unfortunately, I haven’t read any Japanese authors writing in languages other than Japanese or English. If you are Japanese and you grew up with languages other than Japanese and English – and you know of Japanese authors writing in those languages – please let me know so I can add them to the list!