Read Lovely Books

14 Great Japanese Historical Fiction Books

When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission

) I’ve started with straight up novels, but have also included a whole section of historical manga,

I know I’ve mentioned feudal Japan as a popular time period, but these picks represent a

Miyamoto Musashi is one of the most renowned swordsmen and rōnin from Japan’s feudal period

It is also the basis for the acclaimed historical manga Vagabond by Takehiko Inoue

The Waiting Years takes place during the Meiji era and follows Tomo, the wife of a government

Best known for some of his later novels like The Remains of the Day and Never Let

An Artist of the Floating World, his second book, is narrated by Masuji Ono, an artist reflecting

After the war, Ono must try to accept responsibility for his contributions, and struggles to adjust to

Sign up for our weekly newsletter about historical fiction!

Another prominent 20th-century female writer, Sawako Ariyoshi was well known for writing about various Japanese social issues

A few of the books she is most known for include The River Ki, The Doctor’s

Lord Genji, a young nobleman with the gift of prophecy, has had a vision that his life

The unlikely group journey toward a legendary castle known as the Cloud of Sparrows, dealing with both

But here are some examples of more realistic historical manga for you to really immerse yourself in

Side note: check out this other list for a few examples of historical manga that take place

And if, after reading this series, you’re on the hunt for even more epic and brutal

It follows Suzu, a young artist living in the city of Kure, near Hiroshima, during the final

Following the Russo-Japanese War, veteran Saichi Sugimoto now works as a panner in Hokkaido, looking for gold

Sugimoto sets off to pursue a legendary hidden treasure, crossing paths with an Ainu girl named Asirpa

During the Edo period, the Ōoku was the name for the women’s quarters of Edo Castle,

The shōgun is now female, and the Ōoku has now become the quarters for the harem

Ōoku is both critically acclaimed and commercially popular in Japan, having won multiple awards and borne many

Tominaga Sei is a young girl who poses as a boy in order to join the Mibu-Roshi,

I couldn’t help but add another Gail Tsukiyama title, this time her most recent

Daniel Abe, a young doctor, returns to his hometown in Hawai’i

His uncle Koji, while excited to be reunited with Daniel, prepares to reveal long held family secrets

However, Daniel’s arrival back in Hawai’i coincides with the 1935 eruption of Mauna Loa, which threatens

Amidst the horrific events and injustice all around them, the teens must work together and remain united

For even more reading on the topic, check out this list that includes both fiction and nonfiction

And this historical mystery by the author of the Edgar Award-winning Mas Arai series takes us to 1940

Aki Ito and her parents have just been released from Manzanar, and are being resettled in Chicago,

Aki doesn’t believe this story though, and is determined to find the truth behind her sister’