Author’s Note: Today, I’m introducing a new section to my blog. I’m hoping people will find it interesting to read what has and still does influence my writing, as I’m pretty sure most of it will surprise you.
A little background: I have eclectic tastes in both literature and art. I like what I like. As I’m sure you can imagine, as a writer, both mediums feature highly on my list of influences. So, I thought I’d start with somewhere that incorporates both.
Today’s influence is JAPAN.
There’s always been something about Japan that’s stirred my soul. The country is different, elegant in a way the West is not. It’s probably no surprise then that several Japanese mediums rate right up there in my list of influences. Here are those stories, films, books etcetera that I will always be grateful for having seen or read. If any are new to you, I would recommend giving each a try.
On a side note, the characters of the Sunyin monks, the oldest holding particular significance in my books, would not have developed without my love for everything Japanese.
Film: Lost In Translation. My favourite film. If ever something was me this is. Not Japanese in the true sense of the word, but set there. A true exploration of a culture counter to our own. I love it’s understated brilliance.
Manga: If you love Japanese Graphic Novels, you’ll always love them. Ghost In The Shell, which is soon to be released as a major movie, was my introduction to such things. This was followed by Death Note a battle of wits that just keeps on going and finally Vampire Hunter D. All three were visual in both the art and the storytelling, so much so that I bought several Vampire Hunter D novels to essentially read without pictures. This leads me on nicely to my next subject.
Anime: I love Japanese animation and in particular the work of Studio Ghibli. Three of their films, even if some might claim them for children, would rate in my top ten: Spirited Away; My Neighbor Totoro; Howl’s Moving Castle (Based on the Diana Wynne Jones book of the same name). Ponyo would be up there too, but I never admit to it. The Japanese have a more subtle approach to animation than the West and their portrayal of children will always be superior in their perception and portrayal of innocence.
Art: Yoshitaka Amano. I so wish I knew if I could show his artwork here, so instead have created this link. Take a peak. Take a look. Take your time. Stunning! You won’t need me to explain why if you do.
Books: Last but not least comes the literary side. I own many translated Japanese works, but one author stands above all. Haruki Murakami is a master of his chosen art. I often think Murakami could write about the contents of a bin liner and make it a surreal masterpiece. Both Norwegian Wood and After Dark would rate in my top ten books and many more would rate not much higher still. I don’t think anyone can blur the transition of fantasy and reality like Murakami. He is unique. If I could be perceived in the future as even a quarter as good as he, I’d die happy knowing my work well done.
I hope you’ve found this interesting and that something might have caught your eye. It is a good thing to broaden one’s horizons, I think. The wider our range of input, the better the narrowed down output. At least, I hope so.
Thank you for reading
Richard M. Ankers
Author of the Eternals Series
Into Eternity (SOON!)