Doug Slaymaker and Akiko Takenaka on Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure by Hideo Furukawa

slaymaker-takenaka

We were very pleased to be joined by Doug Slaymaker and Akiko Takenaka before an enthusiastic crowd to discuss the Japanese, post-Fukushima novel Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure by Hideo Furukawa. Although Furukawa is little-known in the United States, in Japan he is celebrated an a prolific and expansive author, someone who has vaulted onto the Japanese scene with a ferocity and who has quickly taken on a leading position.

Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure deals directly with the disastrous earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, that began on March 11, 2011, and that continues (by some counts) to this day. It is also a response of sorts to September 11, 2001 in the United States and the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Slaymaker and Takenaka discuss these enormous historical events, as well as Furukawa’s unique evocation of his experiences in Fukushima after the meltdown, the challenges of translating his Japanese prose, his other literary works, and what Japanese literature they are looking forward to experiencing.

Audio of this event plus a table of contents if available below.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

0:00 Introductions

1:20 Origins of the translation of Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure and background on author Hideo Furukawa

4:45 How uncommon was it for a book to come together and be published as rapidly as Horses, Horses was, just four months after the 3/11 disaster?

6:25 Overview of the 3/11 disaster, and Doug’s and Akiko’s experiences in Japan during and immediately after the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown

11:35 Furukawa’s experiences of the earthquake, feelings of guilt and “spirited away” because he was away from Tokyo when the earthquake struck

15:30 Furukawa’s decision to go to Fukushima directly after the disaster

18:00 Furukawa’s integration of his mammoth novel The Holy Family into Horses, Horses, and what exactly Furukawa is doing when he puts a character from that book into Horses, Horses

21:30 Integration of taboo elements of Japanese history into Horses, Horses

29:30 Furukawa’s arrival in New York City right after the assassination of Osama bin Laden and integration of that event into Horses, Horses, as well as 9/11/2001 and the broader history between the U.S. and Japan

34:30 Furukawa’s level of involvement in the translation of Horses, Horses, and translation challenges of the book

47:30 Furukawa’s decision to abandon the writing he does on any day in which an aftershock strikes

48:30 Furukawa’s invocation of Fukushima and Japanese politics and society in books after Horses, Horses

50:45 Doug’s and Akiko’s favorites of Furukawa’s books

54:15 Audience Q & A

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