Feb 7, 2023
Novelist David Joiner on writing novels set in Japan
David Joiner is an American novelist who lives in Japan. In January 2022 Stone Bridge Press published his _Kanazawa_, the story of an American married to a Japanese woman and how they are navigating different views of their future. This year, we will be publishing _The Heron Catchers_, about an American whose marriage has fractured and now finds himself in a new relationship with a Japanese woman and her troubled son. Both novels are set in and around the western Japan city of Kanazawa, a mid-sized urban area with natural beauty and deep cultural and literary traditions.
In this interview with publisher Peter Goodman, David talks about his novels and about the tricky position of being a non-Japanese, aka "foreigner," writing about Japan. And while many novels by foreigners have as their central theme the protagonist as "different," David says that in his books the emphasis is on people leading normal lives and not the "foreignness" of the narrator.
* how Japanese sensibilities are captured in English prose with an emphasis on conversation and closely observed details
* David's writing process, and how he "practiced" writing by transcribing out full copies of translations he enjoyed
* the fiction writing scene, or lack thereof, in Kanazawa, and the legacy of literary native son Izumi Kyoka
* the tricky issue of cultural appropriation
* whether Japanese are interested in how non-Japanese writers depict Japan
Other online interviews with David Joiner can be found at:
Books on Asia podcast:
Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan
David Joiner made his first trip to Japan in 1991--a five-month study program in Hokkaido--and three years later moved for the first of seven times to Vietnam. In Japan, where he has also moved numerous times, he has called Sapporo, Akita, Fukui, Tokyo, and most recently the western Japanese city of Kanazawa home. David's writing has appeared in literary journals and elsewhere, including _Echoes: Writers in Kyoto 2017, The Brooklyn Rail, Phoebe Journal, The Ontario Review_, and _The Madison Review._ His first novel, _Lotusland_, set in contemporary Vietnam, was published in 2015 by Guernica Editions. _Kanazawa_ (2022) and _The Heron Catchers_ (forthcoming) are both published by Stone Bridge Press.
Peter Goodman is publisher of Stone Bridge Press in Berkeley, California, which for over thirty years has specialized in books on Asia, especially Japan and China. For a complete list of Stone Bridge Press books, visit www.stonebridge.com.