Asian studies in Lithuania
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The Divine Wind. Japanese kamikaze during World War II

Authors: Inoguchi, Rikihei, Nakajima, Tadashi, Pineau, Roger
Translated by: Venckevičius, Norbertas
Translated from: English
Published on: 2019

During World War II, Rikihei Inoguchi, Tadashi Nakajima and Roger Pineau fought on different sides of the barricades. However, after its end they were brought together by a special kamikaze, or otherwise, shimpu squad, formed by the Japanese army in 1944. The unprecedented tactics of modern warfare have caused both the world’s admiration for determined and dedicated pilots, and sadness for the many lives lost. In the book ’’The Divine Wind. Japanese kamikaze during World War II’’, commented on by American historian R. Pineau, and written by captains R. Inoguchi and T. Nakajima, who contributed to the formation of the kamikaze squad, share their memories. More

Killing Commendatore

Authors: Murakami, Haruki
Translated by: Enciūtė, Gabija
Translated from: Japanese
Published on: 2019

“Killing Commendatore” is another master-piece of Haruki Murakami which takes us to yet another surrealistic world and fantastically written characters. This time it is a novel about a thirty-six year old painter who after a sudden divorce with his wife decides to run away from his past and current job as a portrait painter. He moves to the house that belongs to his friend’s father, who happens to be a very famous Japanese Nihonga artist. We learn about the narrator’s daily life and constant struggles as an artist. More

Please Look after Mom

Authors: Kyung-sook, Shin
Translated by: Šiaučiūnas-Kačinskas, Martynas
Translated from: Korean
Published on: 2019

“Please Look after Mom”- it is a novel that has won many awards and created a name for Shin Kyung-sook not only in her home country but also in the world. This novel portrays deep motherly love, however, it also conveys the message of how much do we actually know about our loved ones. The plot starts slow and creates this mysterious atmosphere as well as makes you feel thrilled about family secrets. More

The Storyteller’s Secret

Authors: Badani, Sejal
Translated by: Banelytė, Antanina
Translated from: English
Published on: 2019

“The Secret of a Storyteller” is a story of a woman who, in order to run away from her problems and mend the pieces of her broken heart, goes on a trip to her family’s homeland India. However, even here she faces with family secrets that have never been revealed before.

Jaya is a journalist born to a family of immigrants from India and living in New York. After having her third miscarriage, she finally breaks down, her relationship with her husband Patrick completely shatters and they decide to separate. Suffering from an unbearable feeling of loss and no longer knowing her further path, she visits her parents. There she More

Convenience Store Woman

Authors: Murata, Sayaka
Translated by: Čepulionytė-Žukauskienė, Gabija
Translated from: Japanese
Published on: 2019

“Convenience Store Woman” is a book about 36-year-old Japanese Keiko Furukura, who for 18 years has been a loyal employee of a food and essentials store called “Kombini”. However, she and the “kombini “ share a much deeper connection, Keiko feels like she is a part of the store or even its lover. In this place she feels a sense of fulfillment and meaningfulness that she has never experienced before. This unusual relationship and dedication to the store is incomprehensible to her family and friends, as it is not a “normal” way of life. Even though Keiko feels the pressure from her relatives to start a “normal life”, which is to find a full-time job, marry and have children and so become a proper member of the society, she feels that her sole purpose is to be a perfect convenience store employee. While working, Furukura also meets Shiraha, who is employed in the same store. Shiraha has a similar fate as the heroine of the book – he is a social outcast and does not live his life properly, according to the rules set by society. More

A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea

Authors: Ishikawa, Masaji
Translated by: Jėčienė, Vaida
Translated from: English
Published on: 2019

“A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea” is a real and shocking story that tells the tragic story of an author who went to North Korea. The story is reminiscent of the terrible reality of North Korean people‘s lives, which is still hard to believe today. The book reflects the strict totalitarian regime in North Korea and the cult of “Great Leader’s Friend Kim Il Sung.”

Masaji Ishikawa was born between two worlds: a Korean father and a Japanese mother. The Ishikawa family spent several years in Japan, where they experienced horrific violence by their alcoholic father. However, when North Korea launched a repatriation campaign in 1958, the family went to “paradise on earth.” Hoping to start life anew as a happy, More

The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

Authors: Mishima, Yukio
Translated by: Kugevičiūtė, Dagija
Translated from: Japanese
Published on: 2019

Yukio Mishima’s novel “The Temple of the Golden Pavilion” tells the story of the changing mind and life of a Zen Buddhist monk. The life of a monk is full of philosophical insights and inner monologues that show the cruel tragedy of existency and man. The story is based on real facts, and the main focus of the book, as the name suggests, is the Kyoto Golden Pavilion set on fire in the 1950s. The book contains a number of Buddhist terminology and real historical events that will broaden the reader’s horizons. More

White Chrysanthemum

Authors: Bracht, Mary Lynn
Translated by: Kapočiūtė, Anita
Translated from: English
Published on: 2019

“Comfort women” are little girls and women, who were forced to be sex slaves by the Imperial Japanese army. These events occurred during World War 2 in Japan occupied countries. the name of “comfort women” is translated from the Japanese word ianfu (慰安婦).

“White chrysanthemum” is written by Korean-American writer Mary Lynn Bracht. Although the author now lives in London, she grew up in the United States, in a large community of Korean emigrants. After a 2002 visit to a South Korean village where her mother grew up, and the first time she heard of “comfort women,” the writer decided to depict their life endured in slavery. The novel is based on the history of Japan, Korea and “comfort women”. The book uses fictional events, characters, places and names. The action of the novel intertwines between the perspectives of two sisters. The time zone is divided between Emi’s life in 2011 and Hana’s living in the 1940s. More

The Little Book of Ikigai

Authors: Mogi, Ken (Kenchiro)
Translated by: Krištopaitienė, Daiva
Translated from: English
Published on: 2018

“The Little Book of Ikigai” is an easy book to read, which conveys exotic Japanese everyday life philosophy and a way to find your purpose- ikigai. In this book author talks about the main five principles of ikigai, which should help readers to understand the importance to this philosophy in Japanese culture and in people‘s lives in general. ‚Ikigai‘ is a Japanese word that means pleasures and the meaning of life. Using Japanese cultural examples, such as, sumo, kodawari, Japansese tea ceremony, etc., author easily conveys the message, meaning and explains every principle of ikigai. More

Mr. Mani

Authors: B. Yehoshua, Abraham
Translated by: Gudelytė, Kristina
Translated from: Hebrew
Published on: 2018

“Mr. Mani” is a novel about six generations of Mani family. The action takes place from the middle of 18th century until the end of 20th century. However, the timeline of events is not chronologically consistent. The author Abraham B. Yehoshua not only talks about the historical events of that time, but also reveals the inside world of a person who has appeared in the middle of political disagreements, repressions and cruelty. More

Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU