Japanese Short Stories

Four short stories from some of the best known Japanese writers, giving a taste of this great artistic tradition.

Read by Michael Maloney

show more detailshow less detail

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
AR01Tattoo2003071520041003

Four short stories from some of the best known Japanese writers, giving a taste of this great artistic tradition.

Read by Michael MaloneyBy Tanizaki Junichiro, translated by Ivan Morris.

Seikichi, the most revered tattooist of his day, harbours a secret obsession.

His overwhelming desire is to find a beautiful young girl on whose skin he will tattoo the secrets of his soul.

After many years of searching he eventually finds her and this chance encounter leads to a life changing experience for them both.

AR02Mr Carp2003071620041010

By Mukoda Kuniko (translated by Tomone Matsumoto).

A carp is mysteriously left in a bucket in the kitchen while a family are sitting round the dinner table.

Only the father knows who has put it there, but he is terrified that his secret will be discovered by his wife and children.

Through the presence of the fish, he is haunted by a past affair and is compelled to take his young son on a tour of the district where he associated with his former lover.

AR03A Window2003071720041017

By Haruki Murakami, translated by Jay Rubin.

To supplement his student income, a young man takes a job with a letter writing company.

While at first he finds writing these letters somewhat daunting, they quickly become a matter of routine.

However, for his clients they are far more significant, allowing them to escape their loneliness, reveal their personal secrets and even illustrate their culinary skills.

AR04 LASTBlowfish2003071820041024

By Satomi Ton (Translated by Theodore W Goossen).

While the blowfish has long been praised in Japan as the most delicious of all fishes, it has also been feared, as, if it is not prepared very carefully, it can cause fatal poisoning.

Jitsukawa Endo is one of the most famous theatre actors of his day.

His decadent lifestyle, associating with geisha and dining out often on blowfish, leads him to ponder the nature and experience of dying after he has sampled blowfish for the very last time!