It may be a quite effective way of knowing a foreign country to read novels written by its national authors while it is so difficult. Novels written by national authors are accepted by the people through sharing common feelings in the country. For example, Britain has Shakespeare or Maugham. That of the United States may be Hemingway. Japan has some national authors, too. Although it is difficult to define who is a national author, I will introduce some Japanese national authors from the view of mine.
I want to introduce Shiba Ryotaro, at first. Shiba was born in Osaka in 1923. After graduating a college, he experienced World War 2 as a soldier. After WW2, he became a journalist. During working as a journalist, he began to write novels. Then he became a full-time writer. One of his typical works is "Saka no ue no kumo (A cloud on the slope)" describing the Meiji period.
As a soldier, he became to detest the war and the skepticism for it became his major motivation to write. In other words, he wondered how Japan had resulted in such catastrophe. His writings were the answer to this question and most of them were historical novels. As this question was common of other many Japanese, the people read his writings. He narrated the history through many characters including historical leaders, based on huge amount of materials.
In my opinion, he gave Japanese history a “story”. It means that he interpreted Japanese history and told the people what happened during their history. As a result, his view of history affected the people a lot. It is called "Shiba's view of history". Of course, some criticize him while many support his writings. In any cases, many of them argue about his views and it means they are affected by "Shiba's view of history". That’s why he is one of the most important national authors.