Japanese Literary Lectures, Readings, and Performances

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - Saturday, February 16, 2008

Enjoy four literary events: poet Hiromi Ito, "A Thousand Years of Genji," "Tanka: An Ancient Poetic Form in a Modern World," and writer Yoko Tawada with jazz pianist Aki Takase.




KC Café

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Poet Hiromi Ito
Poet Hiromi Ito emerged in the 1980s as a leading voice of women's poetry with a series of works that depicted women's psychology, sexuality, and experiences with motherhood in fresh and often sensational ways. Much of her recent work draws upon her experiences living as a linguistically isolated transplant outside San Diego, where she has resided since the mid-1990s. Her talk will be in Japanese and translated by Jeffrey Angles, Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature and Language at Western Michigan University.
Feb. 12 at 9 p.m. in the KC Café

"A Thousand Years of Genji"
Considered by some to be the world's first true novel, The Tale of Genji is an 11th-century Japanese classic written by a Heian court lady known as Murasaki Shikibu that centers on the lives and loves of an emperor's son. Celebrating 1,000 years since the story was written, this panel discussion examines the tale and presents illustrations of scenes from the book. Moderated by Jeffrey Angles and featuring scholars Naomi Fukumori and Melissa McCormick.
Feb. 16 at 1:30 p.m. in the Family Theater

"Tanka: An Ancient Poetic Form in a Modern World"
Tanka are a short form of poetry in thirty-one morae written to mark an occasion with musical concision. Although they are not as well known in America as the more recent haiku, tanka poems have a far longer history and, even today, remain the dominant form of traditional Japanese verse.  Mutsuo Takahashi is one of Japan's most prominent living poets, with over two dozen anthologies of poetry and numerous literary prizes to his name. He will appear in a discussion with tanka scholar Amy Heinrich, director of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University, about the role of tanka in contemporary Japanese poetry and society.
Feb. 16 at 3:30 p.m. in the Family Theater

Writer Yoko Tawada and Jazz Pianist Aki Takase
Yoko Tawada is unusual in that she writes prolifically in both her native Japanese and in German, the language of the land that she now calls home. She has published more than two dozen novels, books of poetry, and essays, several of which are available in English translation. In a spoken-word performance, Tawada is accompanied by Aki Takase, a Japanese-born jazz pianist and composer who has lived in Germany since 1987.
Feb. 16 at 9 p.m. in the KC Café

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