Monkey Business: Contemporary Fiction and Poetry from Japan and the US

Colloquium: Center for Japanese Studies | October 23 | 2 p.m. | 180 Doe Library

 Tomoka Shibasaki; Hiromi Itoh; Roland Kelts; Ted Goossen

 John Wallace, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, UC Berkeley

 Center for Japanese Studies (CJS), Japan Foundation, The Nippon Foundation, A Public Space, Japan Society of Northern California

Monkey Business is a Tokyo- and Brooklyn-based annual literary journal which showcases Japanese fiction & poetry newly translated into English. The magazine draws a large part of its materials from the Japanese quarterlies Monkey Business (2008-2011) and Monkey (2013- ), but it also publishes new works by contemporary American and British writers popular in Japan, providing a literary space where new voices from both sides of the Pacific meet. Since 2011 there have been four issues, in which short stories, poems and essays by such noted writers as Paul Auster, Hideo Furukawa, Haruki Murakami, and Richard Powers have been featured.

Two award-winning Japanese authors visit the Bay Area to discuss their writing, contemporary Japanese culture, and what it feels like to live in post-disaster Japan. They will be joined by Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica, and professor Ted Goossen, co-editor of Monkey Business, the only English-language journal focused on Japanese literature, culture and visual art. There will be readings, discussions and a lively Q&A.

Tomoka SHIBASAKI is known for novels and stories that capture the sensibilities of young women living in cities. Winners of the Oda Sakunosuke Prize and the Noma New Writers’ Award among others, she is the recipient of the 2014 Akutagawa Prize, the most prestigious literary award in Japan. Her books include Asleep or Awake (2010), Viridian (2011), and In the City Where I Was Not (2012). Translations in English include “The Seaside Road” and “The Glasses Thief,” which appeared respectively in Issues 2 and 3 of Monkey Business.

Hiromi ITOH is a poet, novelist, essayist, and translator, and one of the most important female voices to come out in Japanese poetry of the late twentieth century. She is author of numerous books, including La Niña (1999), Supernatural Stories from Japan (2004), and Wild Grass on a Riverbank (2005). English translations include Killing Kanoko: Selected Poems by Hiromi Itoh, translated by Jeffrey Angles (Action Books, 2009). She is recipient of numerous awards, including the Hagiwara Sakutaro Award and Murasaki Shikibu Literary Award.

Roland KELTS is the author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling Japanamerica (2007), and his articles, essays and stories are published in The New Yorker, Time, Zoetrope: All Story, The Village Voice, The Wall Street Journal, A Public Space, Newsweek Japan, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, The Yomiuri and The Japan Times among others. He is also a regular contributor to CNN, The BBC, NPR and NHK. He is a visiting scholar at Keio University and contributing editor to Monkey Business who divides his time between Tokyo and New York City.

Ted GOOSEN teaches Japanese literature and film at York University in Toronto. He is the general editor of The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories and has published translations of stories and essays by Hiromi Kawakami, Haruki Murakami, Yōko Ogawa, Sachiko Kishimoto, and Naoya Shiga, among others. He is the co-founder and co-editor of Monkey Business.

This event will also be held on Wednesday, October 22 at 5 p.m. at the University of San Francisco, Xavier Auditorium, Fromm Hall. For more information, click here.

Free and open to the public. Wheelchair accessible.

 cjs-events@berkeley.edu, 510-642-3415