We sat down with her this month to get the inside scoop on her favourite authors and the inspiration behind creating Osusume Books.
For Yuka, reading is part of the job but she doesn't see it as work at all. She’s been obsessed with books from a young age. As a schoolgirl, she was on the list of students who borrowed the most books from her school’s library. A fact that she was and still is proud of. We wanted to know what were her favourite books to read. “I loved the Sherlock Holmes series,” she told us with a grin.
Yuka was born and grew up in Tokyo. From a young age, she loved words and wanted to learn English. It was this passion that led her to a career in translation. It was always her dream to translate novels but life led her in a different direction.
Living in an urban, international city like Tokyo, Yuka met many ex-pats who, knowing and trusting her literary opinion, asked her to recommend translated Japanese novels to read.
Yuka had always loved browsing bookstores to find new, obscure authors and titles. She admits that bookstores, both new and used, are very popular in Japan, as Japanese people love and owning reading physical books. But when she was looking for Japanese books that were translated into English, she found only rows and rows of Haruki Murakami. When she talked to foreign friends, she realised that their knowledge of Japanese literature was limited to Murakami’s most well-known works, as well.
She knew that there was so much more to Japanese literature that her friends could enjoy. So, she took it upon herself to track down these translated gems, read them, and recommend them to her friends based on their interests and literary preferences. These recommendations, or osusume in Japanese, sparked the idea for Osusume Books, a personalised monthly book subscription for the best Japanese novels in English.
Although most of her reading these days is for Osusume Books, she still finds time to indulge in a good book for herself now and then. She told us that she still loves mystery novels and highly recommends one of her favourite writers, Keigo Higashino.
But she likes to read across genres too. Unfortunately, many of her favourite Japanese novels can only be found in their original language. She hopes that by promoting Japanese literature and spreading her culture that publishers will be encouraged by the increased demand for Japanese literature and begin translating more and more Japanese novels.
On the bright side, Yuka did confirm that there are many amazing translated Japanese novels for her to send to customers. So, if you are ready to dive into the world of Japanese literature, check out our most popular book subscription packages and let Yuka find the perfect novel for you!