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Outside looking in
Author in Focus
Garbage Dissect Our Modern Age

Break on through
The elusive Murakami

The Postmodern in Murakamis Novels
Terrorism before WTC
Japanese writer probes souls dark kingdom
Big in Japan
The healer
Murakami shares his thougts with students
A Japanese Novelist in Search of Lost Ideals
Inner space
Haruki Murakami does Seattle
Overview of the hard-boiled fiction of hm
The other Speech
dancing as fast as he can
Tokyo Prose
A Voice from Postmodern Japan
The American Scene
Hi Mr Haruki Murakami
The Return from the Lost world
Presents from the dead


Naomi Matsuoka
Murakami & Carver: The American Scene
     
     
  1993
Comparative Literature Studies

 

In the preface to From Puritanism to Postmodernism, Malcolm Bradbury and Richard Ruland write:
Now, by virtue not only of its quality but its modern resonance, and indeed America's own power of influence and distribution as well as its possession of a world language, American literature more than ever exists for more people than simply the Americans. It is part of, and does much to shape, the writing of literature through much of the contemporary world.
 
 

 

Twentieth-century American literature has indeed made a strong impact on Japanese literature. And since the 1980s, Japanese novels and stories have influenced and also exhibited the influence of contemporary American works. Japanese million-seller writers such as Murakami Haruki and Yoshimoto Banana are read widely in the United States: Murakami's A Wild sheep Chase (trans. 1989) and Yoshimoto's Kitchen (trans. 1993) were popular among both readers and reviewers, the latter of whom do not fail to point out that the novels are very similar to American stories.

 

In 1992, two of Murakami's short stories, "Sleep" and "Barn Burning," appeared in The New Yorker, and these and other stories have been published in the first English collection of Murakami's stories, The Elephant Vanishes. It was of course The New Yorker as well that published a number of stories by Raymond Carver, whom Murakami admires, and whose stories Murakami has been translating into Japanese. Thus readers in America can read a Japanese author as a contemporary of an American author in the same magazine.

 
 

 

Similarly, in Japan Murakami's short stories and his translations and interpretations of Carver's stories as well as his interview with Carver have been published in literary magazines such as Shincho and Eureka: the former, an established literary magazine circulated among avid readers of literature, and the latter, a more specialized and academic magazine on both domestic and international cultural issues, including current literature.

 

Murakami's readers trust his choice of translations, especially those of Carver's stories. So in this case as well, readers in Japan can read contemporary Japanese and American stories in a similar literary environment.

 
   
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