Thursday, December 1, 2016

A New Murakami Novel to Appear in February

The Japanese publisher Shinchosha has just announced that a new long novel by Murakami Haruki is to appear in February. 

A representative of the Marketing Department said, "We don't know any details, such as the title or contents yet, but we are looking forward to it.”


Sunday, November 27, 2016

"Men Without Women" to Come out in English in May 2017

Men without Women, the English-language translation of the short story collection Onna no inai otokotachi, will appear on May 9, 2017.  The collection came out in Japan in 2014, after four of the six stories had appeared in Bungei Shunju and one in Monkey. The English-language edition follows the same pattern, since some of the stories have already been published in The New Yorker.  Here are the titles with links:  "Scheherazade" (October 23, 2014), "Kino" (February 23 and March 5, 2015, and "Yesterday" (9-16 June, 2014). The remaining three ("Independent Organ," "Drive My Car" and "Men without Women") are not available in English yet -- at least not in authorized translations.  

Since the description on the UK Amazon page refers to seven stories, one assumes that the collection will also include the story "Samsa in Love" (The New Yorker, October 28, 2013), as was the case with other language translations, although it wasn't a part of the original Japanese volume. 

Here are the American and the British covers. The translators are Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen. 

You can find the announcements on and The UK page offers the following description:

"A dazzling new collection of short stories--the first major new work of fiction from the beloved, internationally acclaimed, Haruki Murakami since his #1 best-selling Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. 

"Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all. 

"Marked by the same wry humor that has defined his entire body of work, in this collection Murakami has crafted another contemporary classic."

 I have written on this blog in the past about the similarity of the title to the 1927 Hemingway collection of stories, "Men without Women." You can find those posts here and here.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Danish Version of Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 to Appear on October 14

Murakami's Danish publisher, Klim, has announced the approaching appearance of the Danish translation of Murakami's first two books, "Pinball 1973" and "Hear the Wind Sing." Translated by Mette Holm, both titles will appear together in one volume on October 14.

Below you can see the somewhat somber but beautiful cover (on the left) and another image (on the right) that I found on a different page. It seems that the book has been designed like the Portuguese and Dutch translations (see the posts of August 23, 2016 and September 16, 2014), where there are two front covers, so that the book can be flipped to read the other novel from the other side.

Mette Holm has just sent me the picture on the left, which shows that it's the sleeve, not the book, that is black. The book appears to be white.

Readers will note from the Danish title, "Flipperspil 1973," that we have here another case (in addition to Polish, Dutch, French, Norwegian, and Portuguese), where the word for "pinball" is derived from the word "flipper."

Which reminds me that I recently ran across this image of a "Murakami pinball machine" from a year ago. Machines like this were apparently set up in two Waterstones bookstores (the London - Piccadilly and Glasgow branches) to celebrate the publication of the books in the UK. Waterstones in Piccadilly Circus claims to be the largest bookstore in Europe, and Waterstones Glasgow on Sauchiehall Street, the biggest in Scotland. You can see more pictures here. It looks like the highest scores won signed copies of the book.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

"A Novelist by Profession" to Come Out in German in October

Dumont, the German publisher of Murakami, announced that the 2015 essay collection titled "Shokugyō to shite no shōsetsuka" is to come out in Germany on October 18. The translator is Ursula Gräfe. The German title will be Von Beruf Schriftsteller (literally, "A writer by profession").  The cover is pictured below; link to the announcement here.

The book is also advertised on and on The description emphasizes the fact that Murakami, a writer known for his reserve and reluctance to talk about himself, finally "breaks the silence."

Another book coming out soon is Absolutely Music, which consists of conversations between Haruki Murakami and Seiji Ozawa. It is supposed to appear on November 15, 2016 in Jay Rubin's English translation. The book came out in 2011 from Shinchōsha, followed by a set of CDs in 2013. Here is a link to Knopf's announcement, where the book is described as:
"A deeply personal, intimate conversation about music and writing between the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author and his close friend, the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. .... It is essential reading for book and music lovers everywhere."


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

I Translate Murakami Therefore I Am, Says His Portuguese Translator

I recently came across an interesting article by Murakami's Portuguese translator, Maria João Lourenço, a very personal piece describing how she began to translate Murakami and the influence his writing has had on her life. Near the end of the article, she writes, "Traduzo Murakami logo existo," which means "I translate Murakami, therefore I am." This is a true translator's credo, I would say!  She has this to say about Murakami's writing: 
"O escritor japonês toca uma corda sensível no coração dos seus leitores e obriga as meninges a laborar em pleno."  Loosely translated: "The Japanese writer tugs on the sensitive heartstrings of his readers and forces their brains to work intensively."

You can read the whole article here.

Her translation of Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 (she translates through English) appeared recently from Casa das Letras, Murakami's Portuguese publisher.  The titles are Quve a cancāo do vento and Flíper, 1973, which means that Portuguese (next to Polish and Dutch) also uses the word "fliper" for "pinball." Note also the clever design of the book, with two front covers!   

Also, since I missed the publication of the Spanish and Catalan translations of the same two books, I hasten to make up for it now. The covers are pictured below. The Spanish version came out in October 2015 from Tusquets Editores, translated by Lourdes Porta Fuentes. The Catalan came out in 2015 from Empuries, translated by Albert Nolla Cabellos.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

About Dialect in Chinese and Korean versions of "Yesterday"

I have recently had a chance to talk with Ziyi Xu and Hui Quan from the University of Tokyo. Both do research on Murakami and they have kindly checked the use of dialogue (or more precisely the lack thereof) in the mainland Chinese and Korean versions of the story "Yesterday." 

In the mainland version (published in 2015 by 上海译文出版社) the story was translated by Zhu Jiarong. According to Ziyi Xu, no dialect was used to differentiate Kitaru's speech from Tanimura's. Kitaru is only made to speak in a more colloquial register. Ziyi Xu said that his lines sounded more like "he was from the countryside, rougher."  

The Korean version (2014) was translated by Yang Ŏk-Kwan. According to Hui Quan, the translation apparently shows no trace of dialect either in the lyrics in the beginning or in the dialogue. 

Thank you, Ziyu Xu and Hui Quan, for your help! 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Brazilian Men without Women and the Surprises of Google Translate App

A Brazilian Portuguese translation of Onna no inai otokotachi (Men without Women) came out from Editora Objective in January 2015 in a translation by Eunice Suenaga.
The title, Homens sem mulheres has "women" in plural, as in most European versions. I also became curious what happened to Kitaru's Kansai dialect in "Yesterday." Here is the first exchange between Kitaru and the narrator, which I have quoted in earlier posts in other languages.

––  Kitaru é um sobrenome raro, né? –– eu disse.
–– É, é bem raro –– ele respondeu.
–– No Chiba Lotte Marines tinha um arremessador com esse sobrenome. 
–– Ah, ele não tem relação com a gente. Mas, como é um sobrenome bem raro, talvez a gente seja parente distante. (p. 48)

I don't speak Portuguese, but friends tell me that there is not trace of a dialect in Kitaru's speech. 

On another topic: recently I saw on Facebook an advertisement for Google Translate app, which said that you could read and translate signs by posting your phone at them. I decided to try it out for reading covers of Murakami translations. (You open the app, choose the languages you want to translate from and to, and press on the camera icon. Then move your phone over the image with the words you want to read.) 

Here are some of the somewhat surprising results. 

These are some of the translations of the Brazilian cover.  The app clearly struggleswith the words "Haruki Murakami."


Below are some translations of the Russian cover of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki. Here, too, the writer's name turns out to be a major obstacle. The first picture is the normal cover, for comparison.

And here is the Turkish Tsukuru Tazaki and its "translation," in which "Haruki Murakami" becomes "Genuine Interview..."

But joking aside, it is an amazing app, allowing one to figure out just enough to know what the title is. And it seems like it would be really convenient when traveling. Unless, of course, one has to deal with proper names... It seems to work a little differently with Japanese or Chinese (you have to "align text" first), but it does work.