Murakami in Translation

Yes, Roland Kelts is ostensibly writing about the ins-and-outs of translating Japanese author Haruki Murakami from his native tongue into English. But, even within that narrow literary chore are several interesting nuggets about the cultural literary (and otherwise) differences between Japan and America.

It’s nearly impossible to find just one nugget worth pulling out, but I’ll try:

The Japanese language acquires much of its beauty and strength from indirectness — or what English-speakers call vagueness, obscurity, or implied meaning. Subjects are often left unmentioned in Japanese sentences, and onomatopoeia, with vernacular sounds suggesting meaning, is a virtue often difficult if not impossible to replicate in English.

I find this is often the case with anime, as well. There’s a dream-like quality to much of anime, or a magical realism, if you prefer.

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