Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Japanamerica talk @ Meiji Univeristy, July 25

Profiles of Lecturers and Brief Abstracts of Lectures
for Cool Japan Summer Program 2011

Date: Tuesday, July 25
Lecturer: Roland Kelts
Roland Kelts is a half-Japanese American writer, editor and lecturer who divides his time between New York and Tokyo. He is the author of <http://japanamericabook.com/> Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture has Invaded the US and the forthcoming novel, Access. He has presented on contemporary Japanese culture worldwide and has taught at numerous universities in Japan and the US, including New York University and the University of Tokyo. His fiction and nonfiction appear in such publications as Zoetrope: All Story, Psychology Today, Playboy, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue Japan, Adbusters magazine, The Millions, The Japan Times, Animation Magazine, Bookforum, and The Village Voice. He is the Editor in Chief of the Anime Masterpieces screening and discussion program, the commentator for National Public Radio's series, "Pacific Rim Diary
<http://www.scpr.org/programs/madeleine-brand/2011/02/15/sometimes-comedy-doesnt-travel-pacific-rim-diary-w/>," and the author of a weekly column for
<http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/features/arts/T110214005577.htm> The Daily Yomiuri newspaper. His latest project is the English edition of the Japanese literary culture magazine,
<http://www.apublicspace.org/pre-order_monkey_business.html> Monkey Business, and his blog is: http://japanamerica.blogspot.com/>
Title of Lecture: Pop Culture from a Multipolar Japan
Brief Abstract of Lecture: Is there something more to the West's fascination with Japanese anime and manga? How are anime films and manga comics cultural channeling zones, opened by the horrors of war and disaster and animated by the desire to assemble a world of new looks, feelings and identities? Lecturer at the University of Tokyo, Sophia University and the University of the Sacred Heart Tokyo, Roland Kelts addresses the movement of Japanese culture into the West as sign and symptom of broader reanimations. With uncertainty now the norm, style, he argues, is trumping identity, explaining, in part, the success of Japanese pop and fashion, design and cuisine in the West.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Monkey Business Tokyo launch event, June 12


ブルックリンの人気文芸誌『A Public Space』の協力で、年一回、
TOWER BOOKSには英語版編集者のテッド・グーセン、柴田元幸が

猿、アメリカに行く --『モンキービジネス』英語版刊行を記念して

出演: 柴田元幸(東京大学教授、翻訳家)
日時: 2011年6月12日(日) 16:00スタート
場所: タワーレコード渋谷店 7F TOWER BOOKS


ご予約は タワーレコード渋谷店 03-3496-3661



テッド・グーセン(Ted Goosen)
『The Oxford Book of Japanese Shortstories』編者。

『Monkey Business new writings from japan』
Vol.1 2011
輸入雑誌 ¥1,575(税込)

Online here

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Monkeying around with Japanese literature - New York japanese culture | Examiner.com

[Monkey Business editors and translators, Motoyuki Shibata and Ted Goossen]

Susan Hamaker on the Monkey Business launch party at BookCourt bookstore in Brooklyn, NYC:

In his 1956 rock 'n' roll tune "Too Much Monkey Business," Chuck Berry laments the Groundhog Day-ness of everyday life.

"Monkey Business" the song is much like Monkey Business the literary magazine: Straightforward and no-nonsense. Impressed by the song's frankness of attitude, essayist Motoyuki Shibata and his cohorts decided to name their journal of writing from Japan (and other places) after it.

Five years ago A Public Space, a literary journal in Brooklyn, published a portfolio of Japanese literature that included an interview with Shibata, who is considered one of the foremost translators of American literature into Japanese. A year and a half ago, Shibata approached A Public Space with the idea of producing an English-language version of the JapaneseMonkey Business. Brigid Hughes, editor of A Public Space, says, "You don't go into the lit mag business if you have any common sense." So, of course, they did it. Monkey Business: New Writing from Japan launched in the U.S. on May 1 at BookCourt, a cozy Brooklyn space where people fall in love with books and, it's been written, with each other.

But I digress. I was fortunate to attend the launch and to hear editors Shibata and Ted Goossen, managing editor Anne McPeak, and contributing editor Roland Kelts discuss the project and the five dynamic authors who read from their works... [more here]

Monday, May 16, 2011

Me on Monkey in Daily Yomiuri

SOFT POWER HARD TRUTHS / Fantasy, art--and the real Japan

For several years, I have been trying to marry my two chief interests in Japan's contemporary culture--its popular arts, represented by anime, manga, fashion and design, and its literary voices: fiction writers and poets whose visions of a surreal 21st century Japan use postmodern conceits with a preternatural calm, as if skies full of falling frogs (Haruki Murakami) and swimmers with suddenly detached limbs (Yoko Ogawa) were perfectly commonplace in today's Nippon. In my book, Japanamerica, and in my lectures, I incorporate comments from Murakami and woodblock prints by Katsushika Hokusai alongside stories about Osamu Tezuka and Hayao Miyazaki, with splashes of Pokemon, Naruto and Hello Kitty. If I'm successful, the integration feels organic. If not, I feel like a hustler.

But last week, I had the good fortune to participate in an evening that gracefully wedded both. Amid a series of events in New York City to launch Monkey Business: New Voices from Japan, the first English-language edition of a Japanese literary magazine by University of Tokyo scholar and literary translator Motoyuki Shibata and York University scholar and translator Ted Goossen, I shared the stage with Shibata, American novelist Steve Erickson and Japanese novelist Hideo Furukawa to talk about storytelling. [Full disclosure: I am invovled in the publication as a curator and contributing editor.] We focused on the visual elements of all narratives--fiction, manga, film, woodblock prints and scroll painting. Miraculously, it all made sense.

[translator Chisato, Hideo Furukawa, Steve Erickson, Motoyuki Shibata, Roland Kelts in NYC]

The English edition of Monkey Business contains a manga created by a sibling team of artists called the Brother and Sister Nishioka and based on Franz Kafka's story, "The Country Doctor."

It also includes Furukawa's spastically apocalyptic short story, "Monsters," in which the eponymous creatures have overtaken Tokyo's most famous neighborhoods, Ginza and Shibuya, and express deep longing and exasperation about what the humans have left behind. And Furukawa's conversation with Murakami is the centerpiece of a thrilling manuscript.

With all the news from Japan about ongoing aftershocks, the nuclear threat in Fukushima, and rising casualties in Tohoku, the opportunity to bring together manga, anime and literature in a peaceful setting was an inspiring gift.

By sheer coincidence, I've been in the United States since the Tohoku quake and tsunami hit, having flown out of Tokyo 24 hrs. before ... [more here; and at 3AM]

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Moto on the Monkey in Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun

Allegedly, the newspaper boasting the world's largest circulation:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Motoyuki Shibata in Paper Sky magazine

Me and Motoyuki Shibata in Paper Sky.

Roland Kelts: When you’re traveling, are you able to translate and write as easily as you do at home in Japan?

Motoyuki Shibata: Oh, even better.

RK: How so?

MS: Well, let’s say I’m in a park, or in an open air café, and I’m translating something, and people are talking around me. In a Tokyo park, they would be speaking Japanese, so I would be catching all of their comments and that would interfere with my translation work. But if I’m overseas, I would be hearing English conversation, and if I don’t concentrate, I wouldn’t know what they were talking about. Just sounds—like nice background music.

Read the rest online here.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Japan Society final Monkey Biz event, NYC

Thank you / Arigato.

Translator Chisato, Hideo Furukawa, Steve Erickson, Motoyuki Shibata, Roland Kelts @ The Japan Society, Tuesday, May 3, 2011.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Join us tonight @ Japan Society, NYC; Final MB event

Seeing Stories: Fiction, Manga & Graphic Novels

Tuesday, May 3, 6:30 PM

© The Brother and Sister Nishioka.

American and Japanese artists have been inspiring each other for decades. Tonight, authors Hideo Furukawa and Steve Erickson share their strong apocalyptic imaginations, and Roland Kelts, half-Japanese author ofJapanamerica, will discuss the mutual influences in narrative visual art. Haruki Murakami’s love of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Raymond Carver is well known; Susan Sontag and Paul Auster have professed their love of the filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu, and Ozu’s seemingly quintessentially Japanese films were created after he immersed himself in Hollywood movies during the war. American comics and animation by Walt Disney, Max Fleischer and others were transformed by Japanese artists into manga and anime, which now enjoy an enormous following among American youth. The panelists discuss how and why as they launchMonkey Business International, the first trans-national literary journal with fiction, poetry and manga from both nations. The influence has entirely been mutual, and they will discuss and contextualize contemporary Japanese visual and narrative culture.

Followed by a reception.

$12/$8 Japan Society members, seniors & students

Buy Tickets Online or call the Japan Society Box Office at (212) 715-1258, Mon. - Fri. 11 am - 6 pm, Weekends 11 am - 5 pm.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Monkey Biz launch 2 @ BookCourt in Brooklyn

Wonderful crowd, Monkey Biz wine and electrifying readings at the Monkey Business launch party in Brooklyn last night. Gynormous thanks to Katie Assef from APS for making arrangements, Brooklyn Brewery and Monkey Business wine, BookCourt bookstore, the stellar writers and editors from Tokyo, Los Angeles, Toronto and NYC, and the standing-room-only audience.

One more event tomorrow.

Monkey Biz wine.

The readers: Rebecca Brown, Hiromi Kawakami, Minoru Ozawa, Hideo Furukawa, Motoyuki Shibata, Steve Erickson and Ted Goossen.

Old geezer and Shibata.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Monkey Biz launch event # 1

We had an overflow crowd (several additional chairs were necessary) at yesterday's first launch event for Monkey Business: New Voices from Japan at the Asia Society in Manhattan. Thanks so much for the support. Launch party tonight in Brooklyn; final event on Tuesday night at the Japan Society.

Order issues online here.

Hitomi Yoshio, Minoru Ozawa, Ted Goossen, Joshua Beckman and Motoyuki Shibata @ Asia Society, NYC.

Hiromi Kawakami, Hitomi Yoshio, Minoru Ozawa, Ted Goossen, Joshua Becman, Motoyuki Shibata, Rebecca Brown and Asia Society Executive Director Michael Roberts.