Best Japanese Books In English Romance?

By Ishika

13 February, 2024

While Japanese literature isn’t as renowned for romance novels compared to other genres, there are still several notable works that feature compelling romantic elements.


Here are four Japanese romance books translated into English:

Although primarily known for its blend of fantasy, mystery, and dystopian elements, “1Q84” also weaves a poignant love story between the two main characters, Aomame and Tengo. Their connection transcends time and space, adding a layer of depth to this intricate and mesmerizing novel.

1. “1Q84” by Haruki Murakami:

2. “Kitchen” by Banana Yoshimoto:

This novella includes two interconnected stories centered around love, loss, and finding solace in the midst of grief. The protagonist, Mikage, finds comfort in cooking and forms a close bond with a transgender woman named Yuichi, exploring themes of family, friendship, and romantic connection.

While not solely focused on romance, this novel beautifully depicts the protagonist Toru Watanabe’s relationships with two very different women, Naoko and Midori. Murakami delves into themes of love, loneliness, and the complexities of human connection in 1960s Tokyo.

3. “Norwegian Wood” by Haruki Murakami:

4. “Be With You” by Takuji Ichikawa:

This heartwarming novel tells the story of a widow named Takumi and his young son Yuji, who are visited by Takumi’s deceased wife, Mio, on the anniversary of her death. As they spend time together as a family once again, Takumi and Mio rediscover their love for each other amidst the mysteries of life and death.

While these books may not fit the traditional mold of romance novels, they offer unique and thought-provoking perspectives on love and relationships within the context of Japanese culture and society.