Society and Culture
Haruki Murakami is one of the world's most celebrated writers, but he wears another hat, too, which has allowed him to greatly contribute to Japan's literary sphere: He is a superb translator of literary works into Japanese.
"As a translator and a novelist, I've striven earnestly, to the best of my ability, to find a way to translate that which constitutes the most important elements of 'The Great Gatsby—its very essence, if you will—more effectively and more accurately," Murakami writes in the postscript of his Japanese-language translation of the book.
For Murakami, literary translation is not a mere hobby. Rather, it is part of his life, on a par with his novel writing. His literary translation and novel writing play off each other to create him.
Imagine, if you will, the following scenario: As the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games reaches its climax in front of 80,000 live spectators on the evening of July 24, 2020, delegates from each country begin filtering into the freshly completed New National Stadium, and the Emperor and Empress take their seats in the VIP area. But just as Japan's national anthem begins wafting through the air, a series of bizarre events begins to unfold.
First, the prelude of Georges Bizet's "Carmen" suddenly begins blaring through the stadium speakers, drowning out the national anthem and throwing the audience into a state of confusion. Next, the stadium lighting goes out and a message flashes up on the stadium screen, proclaiming, "Japan, stop killing dolphins!" Only then do people start to understand what is happening.