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Fiction Japan

Dragon Palace

by (author) Hiromi Kawakami

translated by Ted Goossen

Stone Bridge Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2023
Japan, Short Stories (single author), Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price

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Included in The New Yorker's Best Books of 2023

Stories from a Japanese master of transformative fiction, where reality, myth, and human foibles meet shifting dimensions of gender, biology, and destiny.

From the bestselling author of Strange Weather in Tokyo comes this otherworldly collection of eight stories, each a masterpiece of transformation, infused with humor, sex, and the universal search for love and beauty—in a world where the laws of time and space, and even species boundaries, don’t apply. Meet a shape-shifting con man, a goddess who uses sex to control her followers, an elderly man possessed by a fox spirit, a woman who falls in love with her 400-year-old ancestor, a kitchen god with three faces in a weasel-infested apartment block, moles who provide underground sanctuary for humans who have lost the will to live, a man nurtured through life by his seven extraordinary sisters, and a woman who is handed from husband to husband until she is finally able to return to the sea.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

HIROMI KAWAKAMI is one of Japan’s most popular novelists. Many of her books have been published in English, including Manazuru, The Nakano Thrift Shop, Parade, Record of a Night Too Brief, Strange Weather in Tokyo (shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2013), and The Ten Loves of Nishino. People from My Neighborhood, translated by Ted Goossen, was published in 2020.


TED GOOSSEN is the editor of The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories. He translated Haruki Murakami’s Wind/Pinball and The Strange Library, and co-translated (with Philip Gabriel) Men Without Women and Killing Commendatore.

Editorial Reviews

"Spirits, animals, and people cohabit the universe of these eight stories, which capture with quirky insight and deadpan humor the strangeness of human relationships."

The New Yorker

"Hiromi Kawakami returns to a world of fluid transfiguration with supernatural strangeness and knowing humor."

Thu-Huong Ha, The Japan Times

“Unsettling and provocative… prominent Japanese writer Kawakami and lauded Canadian professor-translator Goossen reprise their successful collaboration for People from My Neighborhood with another addictively strange collection.”


Terry Hong, Booklist

“An absurdist take on the human psyche.”


Walter Sim, The Straits Times

"Dragon Palace features eight surreal, emotionally affecting stories set in a world where the mystical and mundane rub elbows."

Jaclyn Fulwood, Shelf Awareness

"A short story collection tied together by an atmosphere of legends and metamorphosis."

Richard Medhurst,

"Dragon Palace showcases Kawakami’s knack for blending folklore and surrealism into modern day social politics and life experience."

Books and Bao

"Unique and attention-grabbing, Dragon Palace is a collection of open-ended fantasy tales about thwarted love and lost opportunities."


Eileen Gonzalez, Foreword Reviews

"A surreal and imaginative collection of stories that blur the line between human and nonhuman and explore the relationships we form with others and with ourselves throughout our lives."

Allison Mcclung, World Literature Today

“A vivid, disturbing collection”


M.A.Orthofer, The Complete Review

"Exceedingly unique... Kawakami melds the mundane and banal with the surreal and fantastic, to good effect."


Cameron Bassindale, The Japan Society Review

“A fascinating collection of oddities in which some stories are humorous and accessible while others are more poetic and surreal.”


Contemporary Japanese Literature

"The stories in Dragon Palace use the absurd to shine a light on the disaffected parts of ourselves, our feelings of isolation and estrangement in a world where kindness and love seem in short supply."


—Ian Mond, Locus Magazine

"Kawakami's stories seduce... offering tales of individuals’ interactions with shapeshifting animals, five hundred-year-old men, magical beings, and mythical Japanese deities."


—JP Cavender, Necessary Fiction

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