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Filmmaker Ōbayashi Nobuhiko: War and Peace and Cinema

Veteran director Ōbayashi Nobuhiko was told he had terminal cancer just before the filming of his latest film, Hanagatami, but lived to see it completed and is still thinking about his next project. In this interview, he talks about cinema and its connections with war and peace.

Ishimure Michiko, Writer of Minamata Disease Books, Dies at 90 (News)

Tokyo, Feb. 10 (Jiji Press)—Ishimure Michiko, a prominent Japanese author known for her books about Minamata mercury poisoning disease, died of acute exacerbation of Parkinson's disease at a care facility in the southwestern Japan city of Kumamoto on Saturday. She was 90. Born in Amakusa in Kumamoto Prefecture, Ishimure soon moved to Minamata in the same prefecture. While supporting patients…

Japanese Novels Gaining Popularity in China (News)

Shanghai, Jan. 4 (Jiji Press)—Japanese novels are increasingly popular in China, with mainly young people showing interest in contemporary works by authors such as Higashino Keigo and Murakami Haruki. At one of the largest bookstores in Shanghai late last month, half of the 10 bestselling foreign novels were Higashino works, including Namiya zakkaten no kiseki (The Miracles of the Namiya Genera…

Ishiguro “Very Touched” by Japanese Reaction to Nobel Win (News)

London, Dec. 6 (Jiji Press)—Japanese-born British author Kazuo Ishiguro, the winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature, said Wednesday he has been happy to know that people in Japan congratulated him on getting the honor. Kazuo Ishiguro talks to the press in Stockholm on December 6, 2017, a few days before the Nobel Prize award ceremony. (© Jiji) "I've been very touched...by the emotion …

The Importance of Being Mishima YukioDamian Flanagan

On November 25, 1970, the celebrated author Mishima Yukio shocked Japan with his ritual suicide. Damian Flanagan argues that his death went beyond a nationalistic call to arms or the final act of a madman, carrying real literary significance and shedding light on Mishima’s final artistic aims.

Sōseki vs. Shakespeare: Two Giants of World LiteratureDamian Flanagan

Born 150 years ago, Natsume Sōseki was Japan’s first great modern writer. For much of his writing career, though, he had his eyes on another literary titan—William Shakespeare. The critic Damian Flanagan examines how this Japanese challenger took on the British champ.

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…

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