March 4, 2015/ 7:00 PM

Japan Foundation LA, 5700 Wilshire Blvd. #100, Los Angeles, CA

Lecture: Japanese literature in this decade

How a smaller world leads to more literature we can all enjoy

Presentation by Motoyuki Shibata and Tomoka Shibasaki

In this age of instant access via the internet to content, Japanese literature has become easier than ever to enjoy. While in the past it was often said that Japanese authors existed in a kind of bubble cut off from the rest of the world, presumably due to the fact that relatively few Japanese novels were translated into other languages, Japanese literature has enjoyed a wider readership in recent years thanks in special part to internationally successful writers such as Haruki Murakami. Literary expert and translator Motoyuki Shibata’s Monkey Business, an annual literary journal available in both Japanese and English, features the writings of modern Japanese authors as well as British and American authors, and has contributed to this spread and increasing popularity of Japanese literature across borders. On March 4th, Motoyuki Shibata and acclaimed Japanese author Tomoka Shibasaki will discuss many topics surrounding modern Japanese literature. The evening will also include a reading by Tomoka Shibasaki from her work.

Motoyuki Shibata is a gifted author, translator, and American literature and literary translation professor at the University of Tokyo who has been building literary bridges for years now through his annual literary journal Monkey Business, a journal available in both Japanese and English which focuses on Japanese writing today but also solicits contributions from American and British writers. In addition to numerous books of essays, has published translations of works by Paul Auster, Rebecca Brown, Stuart Dybek, Kelly Link, Steven Millhauser, Richard Powers, Thomas Pynchon, Charles Simic, Mark Twain, Steve Erickson, and others.

Tomoka Shibasaki was born in Osaka and began writing fiction while still in high school. After graduating from university, she took an office job but continued writing, managing to get onto the shortlist for the Bungei Prize in 1998. Publication in a magazine of her short story Reddo, iero, orenji, buru (Red, Yellow, Orange, Blue) the following year marked her debut in print. Her first book, Kyo no dekigoto (A Day on the Planet, 2000), was turned into a hit movie, thrusting her into the limelight as an author. She is known for novels and stories that capture the sensibilities of young women living in cities. Winners of the Oda Sakunosuke Prize and the Noma New Writers’ Award among others, she is the recipient of the 2014 Akutagawa Prize, the most prestigious literary award in Japan. Her books include Asleep or Awake (2010), Viridian (2011), and In the City Where I Was Not (2012).

(Illustration by: Satomi Shimabukuro)

RSVP required on Japan Foundation LA website-follow link below

Cost : Free and open to the public

Sponsor(s): Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, Asian Languages & Cultures, The Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities, Japan Foundation LA

Monkey Biz