Novelist Jayne Joso discussed Japan’s deep affinity with nature, how this permeates traditional everyday life and culture, and how it pulses through the country’s art and literature. She talked us through the insights she gained into Japan’s relationship with nature as one of a cycle of transmigration, as one that places the human in equal relation, and as one that is for forever fluid, dynamic and ultimately humbling. She also described how her experiences of living in rural Japan, pressed up hard against the elements, ultimately bled into her own fiction – most notably her recent critically acclaimed novel – My Falling Down House – longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2017 and recipient of a Great Britain-Sasakawa Foundation Award. A work described by Sho Konishi, Professor of Japanese Studies, Oxford as ‘a remarkable achievement’, and by Richard Lloyd-Parry, The Times, Asia Correspondent as ‘a novel I’ve been waiting for all my life.’
‘What a simple being I am. An injection of nutrients or the warmth of the sun…
I am just like leaves.
I close my heavy eyes hoping to return to the dreams of a cat.’
About the contributors
Jayne Joso is a writer and artist who has lived and worked in Japan, China, Kenya and the UK. She is the author of three novels, the most recent of these is set in Japan and draws on her years living in the snowy mountains of Niigata, and later in Tokyo. Her journalism has been published in various Japanese architectural magazines and in the UK’s Architecture Today magazine. She has also ghost written on Japanese architects for the German publisher, Prestel Art. Her literary works are largely concerned with matters of human empathy, issues surrounding home, homelessness; and cultural identity. Joso’s latest work on Japan, the novel My Falling Down House received a Great Britain-Sasakawa Foundation Award and was longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Award 2017. She has also recently been granted Arts Council England support for her literary writing. Joso is now planning a number of new Japan focussed projects that centre on exploring and discoursing contemporary life, engaging by equal measure with the banal and the sublime.