This blog is meant as an open forum where translators of Haruki Murakami can share ideas and discuss solutions to problems encountered in the process of translating his works. It was launched by two translators of Murakami into Norwegian and Polish, Ika Kaminka and Anna Zielinska-Elliott. Some of us have collaborated in the past, and many of us are in touch regularly by e-mail, but the publication of the new novel in 2013 served as a catalyst for the creation of an online translation blog.
“Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” (“Shikisai wo Motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to, Kare no Junrei no Toshi”) fever has been sweeping Japan since Haruki Murakami’s latest novel was unleashed on readers last month: sales exploded any commercial expectations with more than a million copies disappearing from shelves in just over a week (“It’s record-breaking, and possibly the largest advance print run ever,” said Shigeki Okawa, an editor at Bungei Shunju Ltd, of the initial 500,000 copy printing), and Lazar Berman’s recordings of Franz Liszt’s “Years of Pilgrimage,” which feature in the book, have proved so popular as to ascend several music charts.
While our Japanese counterparts have been basking in Murakami’s latest, the English-speaking world has been twiddling its thumbs and re-reading “Norwegian Wood.” The good news? The wait is over.
This week, Asahi Shinbun announced that University of Arizona professor Philip Gabriel and former Harvard University scholar Jay Rubin — responsible for translating Murakami’s “1Q84” trilogy — will undertake the task of bringing “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki” to the West.
Rubin, who is currently translating Murakami’s “Talking With Seiji Ozawa About Music,” ("Ozawa Seiji-san to, Ongaku ni Tsuite Hanashi o Suru”) was looking forward to the task.
"I'm very much interested in this book, which reminds me of 'Norwegian Wood'. But first, I will have to finish translating the book I am working on," he told Asahi Shinbun.
And readers? Translation should conclude by the end of the year, with publication forecast for 2014. If that’s too long a wait, there’s always Berlitz.