Haruki Murakami is the most popular Japanese writer in the US today, with more than three million copies of his translated works in print. But how did this come to be? Who We’re Reading When We’re Reading Murakami is an illuminating history of Murakami’s introduction to the English-speaking world, and a fascinating look behind the curtain of translation
Author David Karashima cracks open the translation process, giving us a rare and frank account of the relationship between Murakami and his first translators and editors—and the fascinating relationship between the original Japanese text and the English translations, which were consciously reworked for an English audience
The book provides astonishing access and insight into the history of Murakami’s profile in the US, and includes interviews with Murakami himself, as well as interviews with and correspondence between translators Alfred Birnbaum, Jay Rubin, editors from Kodansha, Knopf, The New Yorker, and more
Who We’re Reading When We’re Reading Murakami explores the responsibilities of translators and editors, what it means to translate and edit "for a market," the way that Japanese culture is exported and understood by the West, and how hundreds of behind-the-scenes choices over the course of many years work to build an internationally celebrated author's persona and oeuvre
This book will be fascinating to readers of Murakami, but also to those interested in translated works generally, literary criticism, and cultural criticism like Raymond Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love and Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest
David Karashima is an associate professor of creative writing at Waseda University in Tokyo, where he lives. He has translated a range of contemporary Japanese authors into English, and is the International Editor of Granta Japan.
Olympics will be happening in Tokyo from August 25th-September 6th, 2020
International Translation Day is September 30th
David Karashima: David Karashima has translated a range of contemporary Japanese authors into English, including Hitomi Kanehara, Hisaki Matsuura, and Shinji Ishi. He co-edited the anthology March Was Made of Yarn: Writers Respond to the Japanese Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Meltdown and is co-editor of Pushkin Press’s Contemporary Japanese Novellas series and Stranger Press’s Keshiki Series. He is an associate professor of creative writing at Waseda University in Tokyo.