December 1, 2008

Japanese literary rebels had rocky start

by

Genichiro Takahashi

Genichiro Takahashi

Banana Yoshimoto

Banana Yoshimoto

The Vietnamese news site Thanh Nien News.com interviews one of Japan’s leading postmodernists, Genichiro Takahashi, about how “Takahashi and his peers” Haruki Murakami and Banana Yoshimoto “were part of a literary movement that played down and rejected the values cherished by their predecessors” and were “lambasted” as a result. Takahashi (whose only book so far translated into English is Sayanora, Gangsters, from Vertical Press, the great indy known for its focus on Japanese translation) says, “We don’t share a common voice with writers from the previous literary movement. In our opinion, their work reflect unreal things while we seek to portray the real. To them, novel writing far surpasses other arts, while we believe that literature and other arts are on equal footing.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives

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