In the summer of 2020, to partially offset the disruptions of the pandemic, I and several Washington University Ph.D. students launched an online Japanese Book Club. We met monthly on Zoom and the club kept growing.
Last December, the J-Book Club cordially welcomed Murata Sayaka, the author of Convenience Store Woman and Earthlings, to discuss her book Shōmetsu sekai (Dwindling World) at our online meeting. Due to her popularity and high research demands in the field, we expanded our invitation to this meeting. More than two dozen scholars gathered virtually from the US, Canada, China, and Japan to exchange their ideas and insights.
It is one of the purposes of the J-Book Club to provide opportunities to connect and learn from one another and researchers sharing similar scholarly interests, who reside in different locations.
Furthermore, professional authors usually do not have the chance to talk to scholars like the club members. The club has successfully invited three guests so far: two authors and a celebrity activist who shared their professional insights as well as absorbed “fresh” ideas from researchers and academics.
All the club activities were made possible through a generous grant by the Japan Foundation Los Angeles, which will collaborate with the club in March 2022 for another author event with Eto Mori, a celebrated writer of children’s and young adult books. The date of this event and other details will be announced soon.
We look forward to another great year of reading in Japanese and discussing in English in 2022!
A Brief History of the J-Book Club
Summer/Fall 2020: Pyua by Ono Miyuki/『ピュア』（小野美由紀）
Spring 2021: Jizoku kanōna tamashii no riyō (The Sustainable Use of Our Souls) by Matsuda Aoko/『持続可能な魂の利用』（松田青子）with special guest speaker, Wada Ayaka /和田彩花
Summer/Fall 2021: Shōmetsu sekai (Dwindling World) by Murata Sayaka/『消滅世界』（村田沙耶香）
Anyone who is interested in reading books in Japanese is welcome to join the club at any time. Please feel free to contact Mitsu Nakamura, Japanese and Korean studies librarian, for more information.