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How Japanese Stories Hook the World

December 5, 2023 at 11:00:00 PM



About the Event:

Join JSB as we celebrate the launch of Volume 4 of MONKEY: New Writing from Japan. MONKEY is the only annual English-language magazine of Japanese literature and art, creating a bridge between Japanese and American writers/readers to showcase the best in contemporary Japanese fiction in English translation, as well as other works both old and new by writers, artists, and translators.

Our program will be moderated by Roland Kelts, Tokyo-based Japanese-American writer, editor, lecturer, scholar, and longtime author of our Letters from Tokyo series. As a major contributing editor of the magazine, Kelts will lead a conversation with Motoyuki Shibata, Founding Editor of MONKEY, and Satoshi Kitamura, contributing illustrator, to discuss the appeal of Japanese literature around the world, and the important mission of the team at MONKEY. Enjoy a bilingual reading of a few excerpts from the recent publication and learn more about these artists and their work!

Check out MONKEY's website:

Volume 4 is currently available for purchase here

Click here for the MONKEY imprint book series published by Stone Bridge

This is a free, hour long presentation hosted on zoom. 

About The Speakers:

Roland Kelts is a Tokyo-based Japanese-American writer, editor, lecturer, and scholar. He is the author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture has Invaded the US, considered the ultimate guide to Japanese pop culture, and has taught literature, writing, and media studies at the University of Tokyo, Waseda University, and New York University. He has won various awards and fellowships, incuding a 2017 Nieman Fellowship in Journalism from Harvard University. 

He has written for many distinguished publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, Time, The Japan Times, Nikkei Asia, and Guernica Magazine, among others. He is also a primary source on Japanese culture for CNN, the BBC, the CBC and NHK. His latest book is The Art of Blade Runner: Black Lotus, published by Penguin Random House and Titan Books.

Motoyuki Shibata translates American literature and runs the literary journal MONKEY, both in Japanese and in English. He has translated Paul Auster, Rebecca Brown, Stuart Dybek, Steve Erickson, Brian Evenson, Laird Hunt, Kelly Link, Steven Millhauser, and Richard Powers, among others. His translation of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was a minor bestseller in Japan in 2018. Among his recent translations include Eric McCormack’s Cloud and Bernard Gotfryd’s Anton the Dove Fancier (co-translated with Kyoko Hirooka). He is professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo.

Satoshi Kitamura is a picture book author and illustrator. Born in Tokyo in 1956, he started work as freelance illustrator of advertising and magazines in 1975. He lived in London between 1979 and 1981 and illustrated his first picture book, Angry Arthur (text by Hiawyn Oram, published by Andersen Press in 1982) which won the Mother Goose Award (for illustrator for his/her first picture book) in 1983. Kitamura again lived and worked in the UK from 1983 to 2009, but now resides in Kobe, Japan. He illustrates a weekly article ‘Nayamino Rutsubo’ in ‘be’ pages in Asahi Shimbun newspaper every Saturday for the last 15 years, and contributes illustrated stories to ‘Monkey’ magazine regularly. ‘Millie’s Marvellous Hat’ has been included in the second year Japanese text book for elementary schools for the last 10 years. 

Selected publications: Angry Arthur (1982 Andersen Press) Me and My Cat? (1999 Andersen Press) Stone Age Boy (2007 Walker Books) Millie’s Marvellous Hat (2008 Andersen Press) Hat Tricks (2019 Scallywag Press) The Smile Shop (2020 Scallywag Press) When Creature Met Creature (text by John Agard 2022)


MONKEY: New Writing from Japan debuted in 2011 as Monkey Business: New Voices from Japan. Twelve years later, in 2023, MONKEY remains the only annual English-language publication showcasing contemporary and classic Japanese fiction, poetry and art. Scholars, translators and editors Ted Goossen and Motoyuki Shibata founded the magazine to show English-language readers the diversity and richness of Japanese artists beyond the globally renowned Haruki Murakami--who has nevertheless been a staunch supporter of MONKEY from the beginning, and whose work appears in nearly every issue. Today, with the launch of Vol. 4 of the new iteration of MONKEY under the guidance of Managing Editor Meg Taylor, writers such as Mieko Kawakami, Yoko Ogawa, Hiromi Kawakami, Hideo Furukawa and Aoko Matsuda have won huge audiences and multiple awards worldwide, and readers now know that stories from Japan have expanded beyond Murakami, Hayao Miyazaki and manga. MONKEY helped make that happen.

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