It was my great pleasure to introduce Yukio Mishima, one of the canonical contemporary writers. He’s the unparalleled writer in many senses and the repercussions of his shocking death still linger on.
Here, I would like to quote George Orwell’s description of Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer”. “They give you an idea of what can still be done, even at this late date, with English prose”. The same can be applied to Mishima’s Japanese. His prose is so beautifully crafted and distinctive.
Today, I could also introduce Kabuki to the participants through Mishima’s work “Onnagata”. The translator of this story is Donald Keene. In the last class, we read Kafu Nagai’s story translated by Seidensticker. Coincidentally, we have been able to be introduced to the two of the most famous translators. Personally, I find Keen’s translation of Mishima very faithful to the original and retain the elegance and beauty of Mishima’s writing. One participant told us that she had really enjoyed Mishima’s writing even in English, which really made me happy.
In the next class, we are going to have a new participant!
I’m very much looking forward to it. We will read and discuss “The Expert” by Atushi Nakajima, who is the main protagonist of that famous “Bungo Stray Dogs”.