100 books like In Search of the Sun

By Leza Lowitz,

Here are 100 books that In Search of the Sun fans have personally recommended if you like In Search of the Sun. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of At Home in Japan: A Foreign Woman's Journey of Discovery

Suzanne Kamata Author Of Squeaky Wheels: Travels with My Daughter by Train, Plane, Metro, Tuk-tuk and Wheelchair

From my list on memoirs by foreigners in Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

Japan is endlessly fascinating. Many foreigners who have spent a year or two engaging with Japanese culture have published memoirs. But there are also many who have lived here longer, perhaps marrying and raising families and retiring in Japan. The stories of long-term foreign residents dig deep into the culture and share unique challenges and triumphs. My own memoir, Squeaky Wheels is about my experience raising a biracial daughter who is deaf and has cerebral palsy in off-the-beaten-track Japan. It also details our mother-daughter travels around Japan, to the United States, and ultimately to Paris. It is ultimately a story of my attempt to open the world to my daughter.

Suzanne's book list on memoirs by foreigners in Japan

Suzanne Kamata Why did Suzanne love this book?

Otowa, originally from California, who later moved to Brisbane, Australia, has lived in Japan for over thirty years. When she married the eldest son of a prominent Japanese family near Kyoto, she became the lowly yome-san, or “bride,” of the household. Later, after the death of her in-laws, she inherited the role of chatelaine of a large, traditional Japanese house with a 350-year history. Through a series of vignettes, Otowa dives deep into the minutiae of Japanese country-living and family life. Otowa, who has also published a children’s picture book and a collection of short stories, provided the delightful illustrations for her memoir herself.

By Rebecca Otowa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At Home in Japan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"This portrait of Japanese country life reminds us that at its core, a happy and healthy life is based on the bonds of food, family, tradition, community, and the richness of nature." -John Einarsen, Founding Editor and Art Director of Kyoto Journal

What would it be like to move to Japan, leaving everyone you know behind, to become part of a traditional Japanese household? At Home in Japan tells an extraordinary true story of a foreign woman who goes through a fantastic transformation, as she makes a move from a suburban lifestyle in California to a new life, living in…


Book cover of The View From Breast Pocket Mountain

Suzanne Kamata Author Of Squeaky Wheels: Travels with My Daughter by Train, Plane, Metro, Tuk-tuk and Wheelchair

From my list on memoirs by foreigners in Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

Japan is endlessly fascinating. Many foreigners who have spent a year or two engaging with Japanese culture have published memoirs. But there are also many who have lived here longer, perhaps marrying and raising families and retiring in Japan. The stories of long-term foreign residents dig deep into the culture and share unique challenges and triumphs. My own memoir, Squeaky Wheels is about my experience raising a biracial daughter who is deaf and has cerebral palsy in off-the-beaten-track Japan. It also details our mother-daughter travels around Japan, to the United States, and ultimately to Paris. It is ultimately a story of my attempt to open the world to my daughter.

Suzanne's book list on memoirs by foreigners in Japan

Suzanne Kamata Why did Suzanne love this book?

Anton, a former columnist for The Japan Times, grew up in New York City, one of three children raised solely by an African American father. (Her mother was institutionalized due to mental illness.) She studied dance with Martha Graham, modeled for the pages of LOOK magazine at a time when African American models were few and far between, and copy-edited for Joseph Heller. Later, she traveled to Europe where she met Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton when she interviewed to be their house-sitter in Gstaad, fell in love and gave birth in Denmark, then later journeyed overland from Europe to Asia with her childhood friend and future husband, Billy. Any one chapter of her life could have been the basis for an entire book. Anton is an engaging storyteller with an exceptional story -- an unbeatable combination. I highly recommend this memoir to anyone interested in Japan, multicultural families,…

By Karen Hill Anton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The View From Breast Pocket Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

GRAND PRIZE Winner 2022 Memoir Prize
GOLD PRIZE Winner SPR Book Awards (2020)
Book Readers Appreciation Group (B.R.A.G.) MEDALLION (2021)

Crossing Borders and Cultures, Creating Home
The View From Breast Pocket Mountain is a unique and previously untold story, a treasure trove of experiences crossing borders and cultures, creating a life, and finding contentment in a far-off country.

To those who've ever wondered what their lives would be if they'd taken that road without a map, this is the book you need to read. The View From Breast Pocket Mountain gives us a glimpse of a life not designed or…


Book cover of The Wagamama Bride: A Jewish Family Saga Made in Japan

Suzanne Kamata Author Of Squeaky Wheels: Travels with My Daughter by Train, Plane, Metro, Tuk-tuk and Wheelchair

From my list on memoirs by foreigners in Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

Japan is endlessly fascinating. Many foreigners who have spent a year or two engaging with Japanese culture have published memoirs. But there are also many who have lived here longer, perhaps marrying and raising families and retiring in Japan. The stories of long-term foreign residents dig deep into the culture and share unique challenges and triumphs. My own memoir, Squeaky Wheels is about my experience raising a biracial daughter who is deaf and has cerebral palsy in off-the-beaten-track Japan. It also details our mother-daughter travels around Japan, to the United States, and ultimately to Paris. It is ultimately a story of my attempt to open the world to my daughter.

Suzanne's book list on memoirs by foreigners in Japan

Suzanne Kamata Why did Suzanne love this book?

When Wakabayashi first arrived in Japan, as a journalist and curious traveler, she was not particularly religious. She met and married a Japanese acupuncturist with an affluent background, and began a family of her own. Later, she began to seek meaning in Judaism, even managing to engage with a small Jewish community in Tokyo. The heart wants what the heart wants, but Wakabayashi shows how difficult it can be to reconcile the conflicting desires of the mind and soul in an interfaith and intercultural family. Her deeply engaging story provides insight into rarely-scene subcultures in Japan, while detailing her spiritual development, and her eventual decision to leave. Wakabayashi is a skilled, veteran storyteller, with a story absolutely worth reading. This book is for anyone with an interest in Judaism, Japan, motherhood, marriage, and/or intercultural relationships.

By Liane Grunberg Wakabayashi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wagamama Bride as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Contrasting wedding ceremonies—a lavish Imperial Hotel Shinto affair for his side, a modest Jewish wedding for hers—set the stage for a fascinating union between two spiritual seekers, who raise their children in Tokyo with Jewish and Japanese roots.

Wagamama means "selfish" in Japanese, but not in the sense of hoarding cookies. Having an opinion that goes against tradition can be viewed in Japan as selfish. With the author coming from a line of feisty, opinionated, secular Ashkenazi Jewish women, friction was inevitable—despite the fact that she married into a remarkably peace loving family, who respected her need to connect to…


Book cover of The Only Gaijin in the Village

Suzanne Kamata Author Of Squeaky Wheels: Travels with My Daughter by Train, Plane, Metro, Tuk-tuk and Wheelchair

From my list on memoirs by foreigners in Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

Japan is endlessly fascinating. Many foreigners who have spent a year or two engaging with Japanese culture have published memoirs. But there are also many who have lived here longer, perhaps marrying and raising families and retiring in Japan. The stories of long-term foreign residents dig deep into the culture and share unique challenges and triumphs. My own memoir, Squeaky Wheels is about my experience raising a biracial daughter who is deaf and has cerebral palsy in off-the-beaten-track Japan. It also details our mother-daughter travels around Japan, to the United States, and ultimately to Paris. It is ultimately a story of my attempt to open the world to my daughter.

Suzanne's book list on memoirs by foreigners in Japan

Suzanne Kamata Why did Suzanne love this book?

In 2017, Scotsman Iain Maloney and his acerbic Japanese wife Minori decided to buy a house in rural Japan. This was no small decision, as Japan houses begin to depreciate almost as soon as they are built. Nevertheless, the author is resigned to spending the remainder of his days in Japan and is ready to commit. The book is ostensibly about one year in rural Japan, but Maloney veers frequently from the narrative path, flashing back and forth in time, riffing on, among other things, soccer, crowded trains, and tired tropes in memoirs written by foreigners.

While many have written about their experiences in Japan, few have taken readers quite so far off the beaten path – literally. Maloney’s understanding of the Japanese language and his immersion in Japanese culture (he’d first arrived in 2005) add credibility and depth, while his self-deprecation and humor make this an entirely enjoyable read.

By Iain Maloney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Only Gaijin in the Village as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 2016 Scottish writer Iain Maloney and his Japanese wife Minori moved to a village in rural Japan. This is the story of his attempt to fit in, be accepted and fulfil his duties as a member of the community, despite being the only foreigner in the village.

Even after more than a decade living in Japan and learning the language, life in the countryside was a culture shock. Due to increasing numbers of young people moving to the cities in search of work, there are fewer rural residents under the retirement age - and they have two things in…


Book cover of Cruising the Anime City: An Otaku Guide to Neo Tokyo

Gianni Simone Author Of Otaku Japan: The Fascinating World of Japanese Manga, Anime, Gaming, Cosplay, Toys, Idols and More!

From my list on otaku Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived in Japan for the last 30 years but my love for manga, anime, and games is much older and dates back to when UFO Robot Grendizer was first shown on Italian TV a fateful summer evening in 1978. Many years later, I was able to turn my passion for all things Japanese into a job and now I regularly write about politics, society, sports, travel, and culture in all its forms. However, I often go back to my first love and combine walking, urban exploration, and my otaku cravings into looking for new stores and visiting manga and anime locations in and around Tokyo.

Gianni's book list on otaku Japan

Gianni Simone Why did Gianni love this book?

The mother of all otaku guides was published by current Otaku USA magazine’s honcho Macias and famous otaku writer Machiyama and reflects their tastes and idiosyncratic approach to the subject. Admittedly, you can find better, more complete, and updated otaku travel guides now (e.g. my book… wink wink) but this colorful book has a funky turn-of-the-century design and features things that you will hardly find elsewhere, like interviews with Mandarake owner Masuzo Furukawa, magazine editor Hisanori Nukata (about action figures), past cosplay queen Jan Kurotaki and Japan’s most notorious plastic model kit collector Chimatsuri. It’s a wonderful blast from the past.

By Patrick Macias, Tomohiro Machiyama,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cruising the Anime City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you're into anime (and manga), there's no place like Neo Tokyo. Here otaku dress-up cos-play style for real, 100,000+ fans attend cons to buy and trade, and anime soundtracks are performed in concert halls. Neo Tokyo is where anime has become both urban fashion and cultural zeitgeist, and this is its first street-smart guide in English. Featuring interviews with tastemakers, it covers studios, toys, museums, games, film "locations," music, plus where to hang and how to cruise. Four-color, with maps and index.

Patrick Macias, a specialist in Asian film and Japanese pop culture, is the author of TokyoScope.

Tomohiro…


Book cover of The Thief

Milena Michiko Flašar Author Of Mr Kato Plays Family

From my list on diving into modern Japan from someone half Japanese.

Why am I passionate about this?

As someone half-Japanese who grew up in Austria, I've spent the last few years making sense of my relationship to my mother’s homeland. My mother spoke Japanese to us children from an early age, and we spent many childhood summers with our grandparents in Okayama. Because of this, my mother's home feels intimate and familiar to me. But it is also distant and foreign, and it is precisely this unknown, the seemingly exotic and mysterious, that I hope to approach through reading. For me, Japan is a kind of poetic space I set my characters in. In my last three books Japan was both the setting and the secret protagonist.

Milena's book list on diving into modern Japan from someone half Japanese

Milena Michiko Flašar Why did Milena love this book?

From the start, the reader can’t help but notice a tower looming in the distance.

The image has something threatening about it, and also deeply significant; the tower will continue to surface over the course of the novel’s unfolding, when certain fateful moments in the plot become clear, as well as the inescapable and hopeless nature of the main character entangled in it.

For me this book is so much more than “just” a crime novel, like it says on the cover. It is an existential masterwork. Slim, though so much is contained within its pages! The reader stays close at the pickpocket’s heels, following him breathlessly through a maze of streets, at the end of which stands the tower, appearing and disappearing in the distance. Nakamura has been compared to Dostoyevsky.

In my opinion, he doesn’t need that ascription. He is Nakamura – through and through. And for anyone…

By Fuminori Nakamura,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nishimura is a seasoned pickpocket, weaving through Tokyo's crowded streets, in search of potential targets. He has no family, no friends, no connections ...But he does have a past, which finally catches up with him when his old partner-in-crime reappears and offers him a job he can't refuse. Suddenly, Nishimura finds himself caught in a web so tangled and intricate that even he might not be able to escape. Taut, atmospheric and cool, The Thief will steal your breath away.


Book cover of Scandal

Peter Tasker Author Of Samurai Boogie

From my list on Tokyo noir: dark deeds in the neon wonderland.

Why am I passionate about this?

Japan has been my home for many decades. I know the world of business and finance inside out, and have an obsessive interest in art, film, and literature. I’ve written several books, fiction and non-fiction, and countless articles on Japan-related subjects, as you can see on my blog. I think I may have actually been Japanese in a previous life…

Peter's book list on Tokyo noir: dark deeds in the neon wonderland

Peter Tasker Why did Peter love this book?

Imagine you are a respected member of the literary establishment, a prize-winning novelist, and, a rare thing in Japan, a devout Christian. A man like the real Shusaku Endo, in fact. Suddenly, rumors start circulating that you have been seen frequently in a raunchy part of town, partying into the wee wee hours with hookers and taking women to love hotels. You catch glimpses of a strange face at various events. It is your own face but wearing a horrible lewd sneer. Who is this person? What is going on? Endo has come up with a taut psychological thriller that explores the deep contradictions of the human heart. As well as being a Christian, Endo is a leading expert on the Marquis de Sade.

By Shusaku Endo, Van C. Gessel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Scandal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Suguro is an eminent Catholic novelist who is about to receive a major literary award. When a drunk woman he has never met before approaches him at the award ceremony, claiming she knows him well from his regular visits to Tokyo’s red-light district, he assumes she must surely be mistaken. But with a scurrilous press campaign damaging Suguro’s reputation, his sleazy doppelgänger appears more and more, as if deliberately trying to discredit him. He is sighted touring the love hotels and brothels of Shinjuku; a leering portrait of him appears in an exhibition—and Suguro is forced to undertake a journey…


Book cover of Three Assassins

Douglas Weissman Author Of Life Between Seconds

From my list on feeling magical without actual magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with magical realism and stories that have a sense of whimsy after hearing my grandparents tell stories of their lives. They always embellished a bit, making a simple detail of a bread line or a penny found on the ground feel massive. Then I read Tom Robbins’s Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates. I didn’t understand at the time that the light touches of magic or moments that felt magical, even if not truly enchantment, were uplifting in stories both light and dark. I quickly fell under the spell and have placed elements of magic or whimsy in my own writing ever since. 

Douglas' book list on feeling magical without actual magic

Douglas Weissman Why did Douglas love this book?

Three Assassins almost feels like the movie Bullet Train with Brad Pitt.

It’s a series of seemingly unrelated events that connect a network of assassins together and pit them against one another, knowingly or unknowingly. The novel itself is less about the action and pace and unfurls like a twisted puzzle, making every piece lean into a seemingly surreal universe.

We see all the characters, good and bad, their flaws, good and bad, and the ones we can stand up for, good and bad. “All the knowledge and science that human beings have, it only helps humans.” But even when we’re cheering, I didn’t necessarily know what to believe until I reached the end. Even then, I walked away holding doubts and a smile. 

By Kotaro Isaka, Sam Malissa (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Three Assassins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SUZUKI IS JUST AN ORDINARY MATHS TEACHER...UNTIL HIS WIFE IS MURDERED.

Seeking justice, he leaves his old life behind to infiltrate the criminal gang responsible. What he doesn't realise is that he's about to get drawn into a web of the most unusual professional assassins, each with their own agenda:

THE WHALE convinces his victims to take their own lives using just his words.

THE CICADA is a talkative and deadly knife expert.

THE PUSHER dispatches his targets in deadly traffic 'accidents'.

Suzuki must take on the three assassins to avenge his wife - but can he keep his innocence…


Book cover of Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan

Brian Klingborg Author Of Thief of Souls

From my list on international crime both fiction and nonfiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a small town in the days before the internet and cable television, so books were my escape, and through them, I traveled to faraway places and learned about different customs and cultures. Later, I studied Chinese cultural anthropology and lived and worked in Asia for many years. Now, I write a series about a Chinese police inspector in the brutally cold far north province of Heilongjiang and use mystery stories to unpack some of the more fascinating and essential aspects of Chinese society, politics, and religion.

Brian's book list on international crime both fiction and nonfiction

Brian Klingborg Why did Brian love this book?

This is an autobiographical tale by an American journalist on the crime beat in Tokyo.

It’s not only a riveting tour of the underbelly of Japanese society – hostess bars, yakuza gangs, murder, and mayhem – it’s a fascinating cultural journey.

The author, Jake Adelstein, studied at a Japanese university and fell into journalism almost as an afterthought.

His description of the stringent procedures for getting hired, the brutally hierarchical nature of working for a major Japanese daily, and his growth as an intrepid investigative reporter is a must-read for anyone interested in Japanese culture, society, media, and crime.

By Jake Adelstein,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tokyo Vice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A riveting true-life tale of newspaper noir and Japanese organised crime from an American investigative journalist. Soon to be a Max Original Series on HBO Max

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EITHER ERASE THE STORY, OR WE'LL ERASE YOU. AND MAYBE YOUR FAMILY. BUT WE'LL DO THEM FIRST, SO YOU LEARN YOUR LESSON BEFORE YOU DIE.

From the only American journalist ever to have been admitted to the insular Tokyo Metropolitan Police press club: a unique, first-hand, revelatory look at Japanese culture from the underbelly up.

At nineteen, Jake Adelstein went to Japan in search of peace and tranquility. What he got was a…


Book cover of Inheritance from Mother

Karen Laura Thornber Author Of Global Healing: Literature, Advocacy, Care

From my list on aging and end-of-life decisions and care.

Why am I passionate about this?

Karen Thornber is Harry Tuchman Levin Professor in Literature and Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard. Her work brings humanistic insights to global challenges.  Thornber is the author of the award-winning scholarly books Empire of Texts in Motion and Ecoambiguity as well as most recently Global Healing: Literature, Advocacy, Care. Current projects include books on gender justice in Asia, mental health, inequality/injustice, sustainability/climate change, and indigeneity.

Karen's book list on aging and end-of-life decisions and care

Karen Laura Thornber Why did Karen love this book?

This expertly translated novel draws from the prolific Japanese writer Mizumura Minae’s experiences caring for her aging parents and eloquently exposes the vulnerability of women whose elderly family members require substantial care. To be sure, financial security mitigates precarity as does having professional caregivers who respect the family’s wishes concerning the medical treatment of their ailing loved ones. At the same time, Inheritance emphasizes that with so many younger individuals already overextended – whether because of their own health concerns, spousal conflicts, childcare responsibilities, employment challenges, and other factors – there are few reserves with which to compassionately care for others.

By Minae Mizumura, Juliet Winters Carpenter (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inheritance from Mother as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now in paperback, this Osaragi Jiro Award-winning novel demystifies the notion of the selfless Japanese mother and the adult daughter honor-bound to care for her.

Mitsuki Katsura, a Japanese woman in her mid-fifties, is a French-language instructor at a private university in Tokyo. Her husband, whom she met in Paris, is a professor at another private university. He is having an affair with a much younger woman.

In addition to her husband's infidelity, Mitsuki must deal with her ailing eighty-something mother, a demanding, self-absorbed woman who is far from the image of the patient, self-sacrificing Japanese matriarch. Mitsuki finds herself…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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