Writers on Writing: Mitsuyo Kakuta in conversation with Rui Umezawa

writersTuesday, October 27, 2015

During her first visit to Canada, acclaimed Japanese author Mitsuyo Kakuta delighted a packed house of fans with a reading from her million-selling novel The Eighth Day, followed by a discussion with local author Rui Umezawa, who recently celebrated the release of his book of stories, Strange Light Afar.

Responding to Mr. Umezawa’s probing and sensitive questions, Ms. Kakuta discussed such topics as the pressure on Japanese writers to constantly publish, the separation she feels between her written works and their screen adaptations, and the decisions she makes in developing her mainly female characters.  Audience members snacked on madeleines as Ms. Kakuta described how she dealt with the surprising criticism she received for embarking on her most recent collaboration, a much abridged Japanese-language translation of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. Ms. Kakuta also revealed some information about her current project: a three-year long rewrite in contemporary Japanese of Japan’s first novel, The Tale of Genji.

Thank you to our co-presenters, University of Toronto Libraries, to whom we are grateful for their support and organization. Thank you also to Deirdre Tanaka for her wonderful simultaneous interpretation.