Friday, May 08, 2015

The Magical Art and Haiku

Last night WL and I attended the talk "The Magical Art of Translation: From Murakami to Japan's Latest Storytellers" at Japan Society. American translators Jay Rubin and Ted Goosen spoke about their personal encounters with Murakami. Motoyuki Shibata, the eminent translator of American literature into Japanese, gave the most interesting talk. He told the audience that Murakami wrote the earliest passage of his first novel in English, in order to try to get away from the decorum and burden of past literature. In this, he had a predecessor in a late nineteenth-century writer, who wrote the second part of his book in Russian, for the same reason. Aoko Matsuda, a young novelist, grew up with Murakami the classic at school. Satoshi Kitamura, a children's book illustrator based in London, showed slides of his very beautiful work, illustrations of poems by Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens, Charles Simic, Edgar Allen Poe, amongst others. I am very glad to discover Monkey Business, the only journal featuring translations of contemporary Japanese literature in English. The journal, founded by Motoyuki Shibata and Ted Goosen, has just published its fifth annual edition.


the venerable translator
cannot explain murakami's appeal
welcomed as a check in the mail

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