Sweet Bean Paste

Pages: 224
Subject: Fiction, Translated Fiction
Imprint: Oneworld

Sweet Bean Paste

Durian Sukegawa

Translated by Alison Watts
A charming tale of friendship, love and loneliness in contemporary Japan
9781786071958 (5 Oct 2017)
RRP £8.99 / US$16.99

The Book

Sentaro has failed: he has a criminal record, drinks too much, and hasn't managed to fulfil his dream of becoming a writer. Instead, he works in a tiny confectionery shop selling dorayaki, a type of pancake filled with sweet bean paste. With only the blossoming of the cherry trees to mark the passing of time, he spends his days listlessly filling the pastries. Until one day an elderly, handicapped woman enters the shop.

Tokue makes the best bean paste imaginable, and begins to teach Sentaro her art. But as their friendship flourishes, societal prejudices become impossible to escape, in this quietly devastating novel about the burden of the past and the redemptive power of friendship.

Additional Information

Subject Fiction, Translated Fiction
Pages 224
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Durian Sukegawa studied oriental philosophy at Waseda University, before going on to work as a reporter in Berlin and Cambodia in the early 1990s. He has written a number of books and essays, TV programmes and films. He lives in Tokyo.

Alison Watts is a freelance translator, translating literature from Japanese into English. She lives in Ibaraki, Japan.


'I'm in story heaven with this book.'

- Cecelia Ahern, author of P.S. I Love You

'Enthralling...This is that rare book that leaves readers truly humbled, reminding us of everything we should be thankful for, and that it is never too late to do something with our lives.'

- The Bookbag

'A poignant, poetic fable.'

- Denis Thériault, author of The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman

‘An ode to cuisine and to life. Poignant, poetic, sensual: a treat.'

- Lausanne Cités

‘This mixture of grief and solace, cherry blossoms and red beans is a recipe for happiness.' 


- Radio SRF 2 Kultur Kompakt