Category Japanese

“Drawing a Blank”: Hiroko Oyamada’s “The Hole,” translated from Japanese by David Boyd

By Alex Andriesse It’s not always clear what is happening in Hiroko Oyamada’s The Hole, but by the time the reader notices how little he understands, he is too immersed in the novel to put it down. Obviously, I am speaking in the third person about my own experience, but I doubt that this experience […]

Authorial Women: The Gender of Character Construction in Hiromi Kawakami’s “The Ten Loves of Nishino,” Translated from Japanese by Allison Markin Powell

This month, in memory of our contributor Professor Jed Deppman who founded the Oberlin College Translation Symposium, instituted a literary translation minor, and taught courses in literary translation and comparative literature, we are featuring three reviews by Oberlin College Comparative Literature graduates and students, taught and trained by Professor Deppman and other Oberlin College faculty. Professor […]

Hirato Renkichi-Spiral Staircase

Kernel of the Future: Hirato Renkichi’s Spiral Staircase, Translated by Sho Sugita

Reviewed by Jordan A. Y. Smith Spiral Staircase, an engaging collection of poems and works by the dynamo of Japanese futurism, Hirato Renkichi, ably fulfills the translator and editor’s declared mission: “providing English-language readers a focused survey of Hirato’s life-long literary output” (8). Considering the brevity of his life (1893-1922), Hirato accomplished much, experimenting with […]

Forrest Gander

Forrest Gander on editing untranslatable poet Yoshimasu Gozo

Yoshimasu Gozo is a one-of-a-kind artist. While he’s usually referred to as a poet, such a categorization almost always comes with some sort of qualification. His work is often called “unconventional” or “unorthodox.” Others stress that his poetry draws heavily from performance, music, and/or multimedia art. In a word, he writes the sort of poetry that’s […]

Tawada-Memoirs of a Polar Bear

Narration Between Species: Yoko Tawada’s Memoirs of a Polar Bear, Translated by Susan Bernofsky

Reviewed by Jordan A. Y. Smith [Tawada’s Memoirs of a Polar is one of those novels that makes one loathe to reveal not only the ending but the beginning, so I will open with my clichéd but earnest recommendation that you trust me—and Tawada’s stellar and well-earned reputation—go read the novel, then continue reading this […]