Sunday, July 12, 2009

miura ayako book clubs

What is commonly referred to as the "Hyoten Boom" swept through Japan in the years following the publication of Miura Ayako's debut novel Hyoten (Freezing Point, Asahi Shimbunsha, 1964). For the next forty years, Hyoten and the Miura novels that followed it were enormously popular, and many were made into television dramas and films for the silver screen. It may be that Miura's works are not as widely read as they once were, but it is safe to say that there is always a Miura book club going on somewhere in Japan (and most likely Korea as well). In addition to the museum-sponsored book discussions held regularly at the Miura Ayako Literature Museum, the Miura Ayako Dokushokai (Miura Ayako Book-reading Society) organizes book clubs all over Japan. I myself participate in a book club that meets every other month in Sapporo. Our lecturer/discussion leader is Morishita Tatsue, former professor of Japanese literature at Fukuoka Women's University and current special researcher attached to the museum. The society also plans special lectures and tours to locations of significance to Miura Ayako's works. As far as I know, the society's book clubs are all conducted in Japanese. I started the English-language Miura Ayako Book Club group on Facebook a year ago, and strongly encourage English-speakers of any nationality to join us there. If anyone reading this blog knows of other Miura book clubs conducted in English, please post the information in the comments box below.