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[Nichibunken-IHJ Forum] Foreign Languages in the Formation of Shiga Naoya’s Literature


  • *This program has finished.
    • Lecturer: Guo Nanyan (Associate Professor, Nichibunken)
    • Commentator: Toko Koji (Translator; Professor, Waseda University)
    • Date: Friday, January 20, 2017, 6:30-8:00 pm
    • Venue: Lecture Hall, International House of Japan
    • Language: Japanese (without English interpretation)
    • Co-organized by the International House of Japan and the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken)
    • Admission: Free (reservations required)
    The literature of Shiga Naoya (1883-1971) is considered to be the peak of modern prose in Japan. Many writers have emulated his concise expression, precise depictions, and sharp visual images as a model of writing. Shiga, in his younger days, unsatisfied with the literary styles that imitate Chinese and Japanese classics, Edo humorous writings, and translated Western works, was determined to create a new Japanese writing style for modern literature. Surprisingly he eagerly absorbed from the English writings of Lafcadio Hearn, the potter Bernard Leach’s speech and a Japanese essay written by a Taiwanese student. His attitude toward language was remarkably flexible. Shiga once even suggested that Japan adopt French as its written language. In this forum, Dr. Guo will talk about what kind of inspiration we can draw in this globalized world from Shiga’s pioneering spirit in “reforming” Japanese language and literature.

    Nanyan Guo (Associate Professor, International Research Center for Japanese Studies)
    Photo:Nanyan GuoStudied at the Graduate School of Ochanomizu University, and earned a Ph.D. in Humanities in 1996. Taught at the University of Otago in New Zealand from 1993, and started her current position from 2008. Specializes in modern Japanese literature and East-West cultural exchange. Major publications include Refining Nature in Modern Japanese Literature (Lexington Books, 2014) and Interpreting World Literature through Shiga Naoya (Sakuhinsha, 2016).
    Toko Koji (Translator/ Professor, Waseda University)
    Photo:Toko KojiBorn in Fukuoka Prefecture in 1969. He is a translator and American literature scholar. His published works include The Birth of Pseudo-American Literature (Suiseisha, 2009), Towards a Planetary Reading of 30 Books in the 21st Century (Shinchosha 2012), Being Planetary for Survival: 24 Books in the 21st Century (Shinchosha, 2014), and The Rapturous Reader [Kyoki no Yomiya] (Editorial Republica, 2014). He has also translated The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (co-translator, Shinchosha, 2011), Don DeLillo’s The Angel Esmerelda (co-translator, Shinchosha, 2013), and more.