Entertaining Summer Articles

Just a few headlines that caught my eye in the last month or so:

Institution to create lifelike android of famed writer Soseki
Apparently they’re going to be building a robot Soseki so that Japanese literature can at last achieve the perfect fusion of technology and aesthetics.

Renowned novelist Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) is set to return 100 years after his death–as an interactive robot.

“My father and I and my grandfather Soseki were not the most friendly people, so we’d all be grouchy toward those whom we didn’t like,” said manga columnist Fusanosuke Natsume, the 65-year-old grandson of the famed writer. “But people can see that we’re all kindhearted and have a sense of humor once we open our arms. Personally, I want to see the android smiling.”

Fiction should be marketed as ‘good,’ not ‘Korean’
Translators are particularly conscious of how texts are freed from their source language and move out into the global community…

“When a writer succeeds on the international stage, they become, for an audience, an international writer,” Smith said at a forum on Korean literature’s global expansion held Sunday as part of the Seoul International Book Fair. Smith jointly won the Man Booker International Prize last month for her English translation of Korean writer Han Kang’s novel “The Vegetarian.”

“Murakami is not ‘Japanese literature’ any more than Han Kang is ‘Korean literature.’ Fervent Murakami fans are not, by and large, spurred on by this passion to read more Japanese literature — they want to read more Murakami,” the British translator said.

Is Japan ready for the LGBTQ revolution?
An article that really talks about the popularity of exhibits that don’t try and moralize or impose conservative standards on the media of previous eras. I got to see the Ikeda-Mostow Panel about the exhibition and the notion of a “third gender” at AAS in Chicago this year, and the ensuing audience discussion was fascinating.

Ironically, Japan’s rich artistic tradition complicates prevailing norms and attitudes, revealing a culture that reveled in diversity. Where did that disappear to?

Well, some of it made its way to Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). A current show running through Nov. 27 — “A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints” — displays mostly ukiyo-e woodblock prints focused on ebullient and bawdy representations of sexuality from the Edo Period (1603-1868), a time when Victorian values and Christian guilt had not yet cast a shadow over Japan.


About kathrynpagel

Working on my PhD in Japanese literature, visual studies, and new media.
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