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Breaking into Japanese Literature: Seven Modern Classics in Parallel Text [Paperback]

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Item description for Breaking into Japanese Literature: Seven Modern Classics in Parallel Text by Giles Murray...

Reading great books in the original should be the culmination of language study, but reading Japanese literature unassisted is a daunting task that can defeat even the most able of students. Breaking into Japanese Literature is specially designed to help you bypass all the frustration and actually enjoy classics of Japanese literature.
Breaking into Japanese Literature features seven graded stories covering a variety of genres: whether it's the spellbinding surrealism of Natsume Soseki's Ten Nights of Dreams, the humor of Akutagawa Ryunosuke's fable of temple life ("The Nose"), or the excitement of his historic thrillers ("In a Grove" and "Rashomon"), you are sure to find a story that appeals to you in this collection.
The unique layout-with the original Japanese story in large print, an easy-to-follow English translation and a custom dictionary-was created for maximum clarity and ease of use. There's no need to spend time consulting reference books when everything you need to know is right there in front of your nose.
To make Japanese literature fun, Breaking into Japanese Literature also has some unique extra features: mini-biographies to tell you about the authors' lives and works, individual story prefaces to alert you to related works of literature or film, and original illustrations to fire your imagination. Best of all, MP3 sound files of all the stories have been made available for FREE on the Internet.
Breaking into Japanese Literature provides all the backup you need to break through to a new and undiscovered world-the world of great Japanese fiction. All the hard work has been taken care of so you can enjoy the pleasures of the mind. Why not take advantage?
o 50% of all common-use kanji covered
o Kanji entry numbers given for follow-up study
o Japanese + English translation + custom dictionary on the same page
o Every single kanji word explained
o Free download of sound files from the Net
o 7 original atmospheric illustrations
o Original stories for Kurosawa's Rashomon and Dreams
All the stories in this book are available on the Internet as MP3 sound files read by professional Japanese actors.
For students who want to consolidate their understanding of kanji, the entry numbers for any of the 2,230 characters in The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary have been provided when those characters feature in Breaking into Japanese Literature. This makes cross-referencing a matter of seconds.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   240
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 7.5"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 14, 2003
Publisher   Kodansha International
ISBN  4770028997  
ISBN13  9784770028990  

Availability  0 units.

More About Giles Murray

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Senji Kuroi is the penname of Shunjiro Osabe, a novelist from Tokyo who graduated in economics from Tokyo University. He worked as a "salaryman" while writing novels and was an Akutagawa Ryunosuke Prize candidate in 1968. The following year he published Jikan (Time) and in 2001 won the Tanizaki Jun'ichiro Prize for his novel Life in the Cul-de-Sac, which is available in English translation. He also has won the Yomiuri Prize and the Noma Prize and currently serves as president of the Japan Writer's Association as well as a member of the selection committee for the Akutagawa Prize.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > English
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > Anthologies
4Books > Subjects > Reference > Foreign Languages > Instruction > Instruction
5Books > Subjects > Reference > General
6Books > Subjects > Reference > Words & Language > Reading Skills

Reviews - What do customers think about Breaking into Japanese Literature: Seven Modern Classics in Parallel Text?

Difficult but Amazing  Jun 16, 2008
This book is absolutely amazing. It helps you with kanji, vocabulary, reading speed, and much more. But don't think that this is easy. I've taken two semesters of college Japanese, and I find this book very difficult. This is not for a beginner. I haven't gone through one whole story yet. I reread each page probably more that 5 times. But in reading and learning the first page, I've learned over 10 new kanji and about 20 new words. Some of the kanji, though not many as far as I've seen, are old and you should make sure you learn the current kanji instead. As with everything in life, it is VERY beneficial if you are willing to put the time and effort into it (LOTS of time and effort).
Fantastic!  Apr 25, 2008
Great book. Very good stories. Well translated. Easy on the eyes to read! Well done, guys!
But, why didn't anyone think of this before? This book basically works like those reading segments you find in books like the Genki series. Only this time you won't find the usual stuff about Mr. Yamada's introduction to the staff of his new company, or Mr. Smith's first experience with tempura, but several selected short stories by two of the most revered masters of modern Japanese literature: Natsume Soseki and Ryunosuke Akutagawa. If you don't like literature, let me put it this way: at least one of the writers strongly inspired one of Akira Kurosawa's greatest films: Rashomon. Like those manuals to study Japanese, this volume comes with mp3 files to help you with both your reading and your listening, and you can find them for free at the website of the publishers. I've written in other reviews there's no single bulletproof method for anything. There's no such thing as a method for everyone. The great thing about this book is this: the last word that comes to mind is "method", because it's not about learning Japanese language itself as much as it is about Japanese literature. I'd suggest it for intermediate students, though, because of the basic knowledge it requires.
Obviously done by a serious language student...  Aug 6, 2007
An excellent resource for intermediate students of Japanese working their way to a more advanced level. The author puts all the necessary learning tools in one convenient location. And the free MP3 files help students fine tune their reading, kanji, and pronunciation skills. I would like to see more products like this. I would buy more products like this.
Great refresher or supplement. Portable and self-contained.  Jul 17, 2007
I studied Japanese for three semesters ten years ago and have had no opportunity to practice it since. I'm not exactly a blank slate, but I certainly don't remember very much -- maybe 35 kanji (numbers, sun, moon, etc.) and roughly 85% of the kana.

With what basic knowledge of Japanese sentence structure, common particles, and a few verb-ending constructions (v~te, v~tari, v~nakareba, v~tai are common) I've retained, I can read these stories at about one page per 10 minutes with no other reference material needed.

It's that "no other reference materials needed" that makes this an outstanding book.

The first stories have the same slightly repetitive nature that textbooks use to help one learn kanji or sentence structures, but these are classic stories with a repetitive stylistic element, rather than the mindnumbing textbook equivalent. All the benefits of "I am Smith. Who are you? I am Jones. Are you American? Yes, I am American. Are you American? No, I am Canadian. Is your friend Canadian?..." without the boredom!

Granted, some of the kanji I've learned to recognize are not really the highest priority, in terms of usefulness -- "eyebrows" and a phrase for someone who's blind (now considered too rude to use) are in there -- but I've also learned kanji for several useful nouns and adjectives in painless increments, just while reading.

Best, it's fun and gives me a sense of accomplishment I just don't get from reading, say, a Japanese newspaper at the rate of one sentence per half-hour, surrounded by dictionaries.

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