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Japanese-Born British Author Ishiguro Wins Nobel Prize in Literature (News)

London, Oct. 5 (Jiji Press)—The Swedish Academy said Thursday that it has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2017 to Japanese-born British author Kazuo Ishiguro. Kazuo Ishiguro speaking in Tokyo in June 2015. (©Jiji) The academy said that Ishiguro, 62, is an author "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with…

The “Yōkai” Art of the Master

Toriyama Sekien was an influential Edo-period artist who taught some of the giants of the ukiyo-e world. Today he is best known for his collections of yōkai illustrations, which he released in four books in 1776–84 as a form of mass-produced popular literature. We spoke with the translators who have made his work available to Spanish and English readers about the artist and the impact he continues to have to this day.

Bridging the Gap to Early Japanese Literature: Translator Peter MacMillanRichard Medhurst

If you had to pick one book to introduce Japanese culture, what would you choose? For the translator and poet Peter MacMillan, it would be the thirteenth-century anthology Hyakunin isshu, which he rendered in English as One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each. “These hundred short poems tell us almost everything we need to know about the Japanese,” he said in a talk at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club …

Noted Japanese Poet Ōoka Dies at 86 (News)

Tokyo, April 5 (Jiji Press)—Noted Japanese poet Ōoka Makoto died of respiratory failure at a hospital in Mishima, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Wednesday. He was 86. Ōoka started his career as a poet while he was a University of Tokyo student. He published his first poetry book in 1956, when he was working as a staff writer at the major Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun. The book won him a lot of acc…

Researchers Back Record of Red Aurora in Thirteenth-Century Kyoto (News)

Tokyo, April 4 (Jiji Press)—To see an aurora is almost impossible in Kyoto in the present day, but it was possible in the low-latitude Japanese city in the early thirteenth century, as recorded by poet Fujiwara no Sadaie (1162–1241), according to a recent study by a Japanese research team. In his diary titled Meigetsuki (Record of the Brilliant Moon), the poet, also known as Teika, wrote that h…

“Killing Commendatore”: A First Look at Murakami Haruki’s Latest NovelRichard Medhurst

Murakami Haruki’s new novel Kishidanchō goroshi (Killing Commendatore) was released in Japan on February 24, 2017. There have been no announcements about when an English translation will see the light of day, but fans will probably have to be patient. 1Q84 came out in English a year and a half after the 2010 publication of the third volume in Japanese. There was also over a year between the Japane…

Murakami Haruki’s New Novel Released in Japan (News)

Tokyo, Feb. 24 (Jiji Press)—Japanese novelist Murakami Haruki's new two-volume novel, Kishidanchō goroshi (Killing Commendatore) hit bookstore shelves in Japan on Friday. The new Murakami Haruki novel Kishidanchō goroshi, (Killing Commendatore) at a Tsutaya store in Daikanyama, Shibuya, Tokyo, on February 24, 2017. (© Jiji) Ardent Murakami fans, often called Harukists, lined up at bookstore…

Natsume Sōseki: Japan’s Foremost Modern Novelist

A portrait of Natsume Sōseki, Japan’s most highly regarded modern author, 150 years after his birth. Skilled in both the traditional learning of classical Chinese and the newly fashionable English, Sōseki transformed Japanese literature in the early twentieth century. In classic works like Kokoro, his characters grapple with the pains of egoism and isolation.

Scorsese’s “Silence” Grapples With Questions of Faith in Seventeenth-Century Japan

Director Martin Scorsese first learned of the novel Silence in 1988. Deeply moved by its exploration of faith among “hidden Christians” in seventeenth-century Japan, he resolved to film the work. More than a quarter of a century later, this passion project is complete.

On Unearthed Tape, Mishima Talked Death Nine Months before Suicide (News)

Tokyo, Jan. 12 (Jiji Press)—In an audiotape recently unearthed in a Tokyo television station, Japanese author Mishima Yukio (1925–1970), made an ominous remark about death nine months before committing seppuku ritual suicide, it was learned Thursday. Mishima Yukio gives a speech from the second-floor balcony of the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Eastern Corps Headquarters in Ichigaya, Tokyo, shor…

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