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"Everything about this series' intention and design is steeped in Japanese culture...the books are thematically diverse [and] signal a cultural exchange...communicating directly and intentionally with Western audiences through fiction...similarly effective is Lord Asunaro, which charts with similar precision Asunaro's slow and quiet ascension to lordship, and maturation into an adult.' TLS
'Coping with expectations and finding our place in the world is something even Japanese warlords have known to struggle with. This is a samurai story with a difference - an amusing and compelling yarn concerning the discovery of one's passions and legacy. All good storytelling can be read as a metaphor for something, and this thought-provoking tale by Kanji Hanawa is no exception.' Alex Pearl, author of Sleeping with the Blackbirds.
'I have admired, the Akutagawa Prize-nominated Hanawa's literary style for a long time. Each time he is nominated, I recommend him. And I am delighted that he continues to write at the same prize-winning level.' Shohei Ooka, novelist and winner of the Mystery Writers of Japan Award, as well as the Noma, Asahi and Yomiuri Prizes
'...is an important work of social commentary doing what all the greatest short stories do: opening a rabbit hole of thought down which the reader will fall'. The Japan Times, commenting on Backlight by Kanji Hanawa
Red Circle Minis are: 'Small books for big brains' and 'beautiful pocket-sized slices of Japanese literature.' PopMatters.
'Red Circle has so far put out five mini-books of specially commissioned original Japanese fiction. All are well worth exploring and The Chronicles of Lord Asunaro is one of the most satisfying.' Japan Forward
'At short novella-length, Backlight is a quick story -- but quite effective at raising interesting questions, including about cultural and social differences and attitudes, and parental responsibilities... the universal issues and questions it addresses give it the air of larger work'. The Complete Review, commenting on Backlight by Kanji Hanawa