Japanese Literature Recommendations for Each Zodiac Sign

I got my idea for this post from youtuber A Little Bit of Monika who made a post recommending different Studio Ghibli films to her followers based on their zodiac (star) signs. Given the twelve star signs that exist (and their characteristics), I will also try to recommend 12 Japanese fiction books to each of the twelve star signs.

ARIES (March 21 – April 19)

Aries will always be up for an adventure and an exciting action. Therefore, Eiji Yoshikawa’s Musashi [1939] may be a perfect read for them because the book is all about an adventure revolving around an unlikely warrior Musashi. Being confident, courageous, energetic, as well as a natural leader, Aries could identify with the book and its characters.

TAURUS (April 20 – May 20)

Taurus is stable, reliable and devoted. They can be very family-oriented, as well as appreciative of beauty and tradition. Therefore, Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sisters [1936] could be a good read for them since they will enjoy all the practical, day-to-day intricacies and familial values/duties than the book tries to present. The Makioka Sisters takes place in Japan from the years 1936 to 1941 and focuses on one’s family’s attempts to marry off Yukiko, already a thirty year old woman who remains woefully unmarried. Given Taurus’s patience and determination, I trust them to finish the 576-page book, finding it significant.

GEMINI (May 21 – June 20)

Gemini is expressive, easy-going and quick-witted. Restless, they are open to new experiences and people, and are often traditionally represented as having two (or more) distinct personalities. Since Kobo Abe’s The Face of Another [1964] concerns a man who “changes” his face, the book may appeal to this sign’s innate dual nature that is full of paradoxes. Gemini, a sign of change, may also find in Kobo Abe’s book the mental stimulation and transformative elements they seek.

CANCER (June 21 – July 22)

Being emotional, loving, charming, nostalgic and nurturing, I trust Cancer will find much to love in Sweet Bean Paste [2013] by Durian Sukegawa. This is a book about one man’s selling of dorayaki, Japanese pancakes, and how one elderly woman whom he takes as an “apprentice” revolutionises his place, bringing lessons of acceptance, inclusion and kindness with her.

LEO (July 23 – August 22)

Leo is the King of the Horoscope, and therefore they deserve the best that the Japanese literature has to offer. It is only right then to offer them the Queen of the Japanese literary world – The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu. Like them, this book is the most admired one in the Japanese literary tradition, and Leos would have even more reasons to get proud for having read the one book which is considered to be “the world’s first novel”. Being passionate and tenacious, Leos are also the people who will be up to the challenge to finish the 1080-page book.

VIRGO (August 23 – September 22)

The smart and elegant novel that is The Housekeeper and the Professor [2003] by Yoko Ogawa may appeal to analytical and perfectionist Virgos just on the basis of its “mathematical precision” and the lessons in kindness and helping others which are inside. Virgo is a sign that deals with communication that needs to be processed internally, and Ogawa’s book, which deals with memories that do not last longer than eighty minutes, may be to Virgo’s taste.

LIBRA (September 23 – October 22)

“No person is an island”, Libra would say, and they are right these Libra people that love harmony, justice, the great outdoors and making peace. Yasunari Kawabata’s The Old Capital [1962], which deals with two sisters unjustly separated at birth, may appeal to Libra’s mindset of seeking equality and partnership as Chieko and Naeko are reunited in the book and seek peace with their past. The gentleness of Kawabata’s writing may also provide Libra with much comfort.

SCORPIO (October 23 – November 21)

Scorpio can be dark and mysterious. They are not afraid of brutal truths and like to delve deep into the murky sides of the human nature and condition. Therefore, Kenzaburo Ōe‘s The Silent Cry [1967] could be the perfect book for them. The book’s gruesome scenes and death references will not put them off, and they could delight in discovering the book’s hidden messages. The Silent Cry is a book about two brothers Mitsu and Takashi whose escapade deep into the forests of Shikoku, Japan means the perilous testing of loyalties and priorities.

SAGITTARIUS (November 22 – December 21)

Sagittarius loves traveling, freedom and philosophy, so Shūsaku Endō‘s Silence [1966] may be a good book for them. The book talks about many philosophical issues and most concern the freedom to practice a religion of choice. Silence may also appeal to this sign because it has something of a travelogue inside as it follows two Catholic priests from Portugal who travel to Japan to try to discover the mystery behind the rumoured apostasy of Father Ferreira.

CAPRICORN (December 22 – January 19)

Organised and disciplined Capricorns will love In This Corner of the World [2009], a manga by Fumiyo Kōno. Capricorns should not be upset that their recommendation is a manga because this series by Kōno is probably one of the most far-reaching and important on the list, and its heroine the most hard-working, responsible and determined, just like them. In In this Corner of the World, our artistic heroine Suzu becomes the wife of a man attached to the navy and then has to overcome hardship after hardship while living on the outskirts of Kure City in times of the World War II. 

AQUARIUS (January 20 – February 18)

Aquarius is compassionate, analytical, original, open-minded and independent and, thus, could possibly relate to the struggles of the main character in No Longer Human [1948] by Osamu Dazai. Alienation from society is a theme that drives the book forward, and, Aquarius, who often feels so strongly about social justice and welfare of others, may just find Dazai’s book worthwhile and thought-provoking.

PISCES (February 19 – March 20)

Pisces are wise beyond their years, as well as compassionate, creative and intuitive. Given all this, The Last Children of Tokyo [2014] by Yoko Tawada may resonate with them. This is because the book mixes wonderfully imagination and emotion as it tells the story of one weak boy Mumei and strong-as-an-ox grandfather Yoshiro in a distant futuristic world that turned the aging process on its head. Pisces may find in the book just the sensitivity, creativity and subtlety they seek, converting it into their perfect “day-dream” material.


37 thoughts on “Japanese Literature Recommendations for Each Zodiac Sign

  1. I’ve heard of a lot of these books, but I’m a Capricorn and I have never heard of In This Corner of the World. I went through a manga phase but I haven’t read one in years. However, I’m intrigued with a more serious manga.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The animation (2016) that is based on this manga is also very good. I liked Hiroshima Diary which you recommended to me, and though In this Corner of the World has a fictitious heroine, the circumstances around, the details and some episodes happened in real life too, as it also deals with the pre and post-Hiroshima nuclear attack.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Really? That’s great to hear! I was actually thinking whether to put Silence under Scorpio (I love the book too and it has themes that apply to both) and then I thought it might be fitting somewhere in between and decided for Sagittarius.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and the comment! Actually your recommendation is most perfectly timed. I am into anime these past two weeks, and apart from thinking about No Longer Human I also decided to read Hell Screen by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa this coming weekend (already borrowed a book, a collection of short stories). I take it it also forms part of Aoi Bungaku? Really great stuff, thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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