Originally published in 1982 by Stanford University Press, this is an enlightening collection of shosetsu--longish, novel-like stories--written by Japanese women writers of the last few decades. The characteristics of Japanese male writing are frequently paralleled: an oblique eroticism, an unrushed way with the details of everyday life. But there's also a more open, emotional attack--often centering on the melodrama of victimization. Among the more western-like stories: Yumiko Kurahashi's Golden Notebooks-like ""Partei""; Minako Oba's snappy repartee in ""The Three Crabs,"" about a Japanese woman following her husband's business career; and Machiko Yamamoto's etiolated, shaped story of apprehension, ""The Man Who Cut The Grass."" More especially Japanese: Takeo Kono's ""The Last Time""--in which a woman postpones her death for 24 hours, reflectively savaging her placid marriage; Takeo Tomoika's ""Family In Hell,"" which, like Tanazaki's classic The Makioka Sisters, superbly handles sequential time and trouble; and Setsuko Tsumura's very erotic ""Luminous Watch."" The collection's standout, however, is Fumiko Enchi's story of a retarded man's marriage to a normal young woman, ""Boxcar of Chrysanthemums""--with its masterly shifts in narrative direction, uses of rumor and hearsay, and delicate but quite frank sexuality. A solid anthology of what is being turned out on a vigorous literary scene.