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Newcastle event celebrates renowned Japanese writer

March 12th, 2018 | by Valentina Egorova
Newcastle event celebrates renowned Japanese writer
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Last week, Newcastle University hosted a conference and multimedia event series about the acclaimed Japanese author Haruki Murakami.

The project, Eyes on Murakami, celebrated the works of the author that transcended into literature, art and film, and featured representations of gender in contemporary Japan.

During his career, Murakami has won many of literature’s top international prizes

Eyes on Murakami was a scholarly attempt to translate the author’s works into other languages, mediums and scholarship and to shed light on the transmedial processes. 2018 marks the 14th year since Murakami set to write his first novel ‘Hear the Wind Sing’ and brings together international experts to reflect on Murakami’s works.

The author’s most famous novels include ‘Kafka on the Shore’, ‘Norwegian Wood’ and ‘The Wind-up Bird Chronicle’ that have been translated into 50 languages. During his career, Murakami has won many of literature’s top international prizes including the World Fantasy Award (2006), Franz Kafka Prize (2006), the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award (2006) and the Jerusalem Prize (2009).

Eyes on Murakami attracted more than 100 international experts, including the scholars from Waseda University (Japan), where Murakami studied drama in 1968. The project was sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Council (AHRC) and led by Dr Gitte Marianne Hansen in partnership with a diverse group of scholars from around the world.

Dr Gitte Marianne Hansen, AHRC fellow and Lecturer in Japanese Studies, in Newcastle University’s School of Modern Languages, said: “Murakami is able to make us all feel something very individual when we read his work. It inspires deep emotion which speaks to many people in specific individual ways.”

Eyes on Murakami saw a range of events, brand new publications and art objects. An art exhibition ‘Beyond Words: Transmediating Murakami Haruki’, held by Professor Christopher Jones and the Fine Arts Department, featured a process of the translation from text to art.

A group of artists – who have read Murakami – presented their artistic responses to the novels or stories of their choice at the Atrium and Long Galley spaces of the King Edward VII Building, on Tuesday, 6 March.

The academic conference ‘40 years with Murakami Haruki’ explored various aspects of Murakami, his literary works and characters and was held on 8-9 March at Newcastle University. Three films based on Murakami’s books were shown at Tyneside Cinema followed by a discussion between the filmmakers and film scholars.

“I’ve been really happy to see scholars, artists, filmmakers and the general public come to Newcastle for our events and conference.”

Dr Gitte Marianne Hansen

AHRC Fellow and Lecturer in Japanese Studies

Dr Hansen, said: “I’ve been really happy to see scholars, artists, filmmakers and the general public – who travelled from as far away as Japan, Mexico and Australia–come to Newcastle for our events and conference. I hope Eyes on Murakami will lead to more links and research collaborations in the future.”

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