North American Japanese Literary Forum: Questioning, “What am I?” with HIRANO Keiichiro

HIRANO Keiichiro is an award-winning author of novels such as A Man and At the End of the Matinee. In March 2024, he will visit Seattle and Vancouver to share his personal experiences as a writer of Japan’s “Lost Generation,” defined as a generation whose socio-economic stability declined dramatically following the collapse of the country’s asset price bubble. Mr. HIRANO will also discuss the characteristics of writers of the generation before and after him, delve into the question of identity, and as a current member of the Akutagawa Prize selection committee, touch upon recent trends in Japanese literature.


1st Stop in Seattle, Washington

Date/Time: Saturday, March 16, 2024 @ 12:15 PM – 1:45 PM

Venue: Seattle Convention Center, Room 609 (705 Pike Street, Seattle, WA USA)


2nd Stop in Vancouver, British Columbia

Date/Time: Monday, March 18, 2024 @ 1:00 PM – 2:45 PM

Venue: UBC Asian Centre Auditorium (1871 West Mall, Vancouver, BC Canada)


About the Speaker:

HIRANO Keiichiro

Keiichiro Hirano has published more than 15 novels since his debut work “The Eclipse” for which he won the prestigious Akutagawa Prize at the record age of 23. His deeply psychological fiction deals with profound and universal themes like self-love, relationships and acceptance, and spans from short stories and historical novels to essays, love stories, and literary sci-fi.

As a cultural envoy to Paris appointed by Japan’s Ministry of Cultural Affairs, he traveled all over Europe giving lectures and many of his books have been translated and are widely read in France, China, Korea, Taiwan, Italy, and Egypt. In his widely viewed TED talk, he discusses what it means to really love oneself, arguing that it’s not easy to holistically love ourselves without knowing all our “selves”, good and bad, but we can discover the “self” we like with the help of the person we love.

Based on this theme, his novel “At the End of the Matinee” was a runaway bestseller in Japan and released as a movie in November 2019. “A MAN” is the first of his novels to be translated into English. His second title in English “At the End of the Matinee” was released in April 2021. Following the 2019 picture adaptation of “At the End of the Matinee”, his work keeps coming to life on screen with the 2022 series adaptation of “Fill in the Blanks” and picture adaptation of “A Man”.

In 2023, the 20 years long work “Theory on Yukio Mishima” is finally getting published. Based on a thorough reading of 4 of Mishima’s novels, the book is written upon both Mishima’s works as a man of Literature, as well as his actions as a believer of the Emperor system. This Reiwa era ultimate edition of the theories on Mishima Yukio is the unmissable key to understanding Mishima’s beliefs and actions.

[Awards]
・120th Akutagawa Prize for The Eclipse(Nisshoku)(1999)
・59th Education, Science and Technology Ministers Art Encouragement Prize for New Writers for BreachKekkai) (2009)
・19th Prix Deux Magots Bunkamura for Dawn (2009)
・ the Watanabe Junichi Literary Prize for At the End of the Matinee(2017)
・ the Yomiuri Prize for Literature for A MAN(2018)
・ the Kobayashi Hideo Prize for Theory on Yukio Mishima(2023)

About the Coordinator:

SATO Ayako

Ayako Sato, born in Tokyo, Professor Emerita at Meiji Gakuin University, translator, President of The Canadian Literary Society of Japan, and Executive Director of Japan PEN. Specialized in Canadian Literature and American Literature.

Her translation works include Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride, Alias Grace, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, and The Year of the Flood as well as Tomson Highway’s Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing.

She is a co-author of J.D. Salinger Bungaku no Kenkyu, Kebekku o shiru tame no 54 sho, and Kanada o tabi suru 37 sho.


*This forum is co-presented by the Japan P.E.N. Club and the Japan Foundation, Toronto.

*The event in Vancouver is co-presented by the University of British Columbia, Department of Asian Studies.