First Published: 2011-12-11


Kalima publishes Arabic version of Japanese novels


On occasion of 40th UAE National Day, Kalima announces publication of seven Japanese novels translated into Arabic


Middle East Online

40 years of Japan-UAE relations

ABU DHABI - On the occasion of 40th National Day of the UAE, which coincides with the anniversary of 40 years of close ties between the UAE and Japan, Kalima, the translation project of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), in collaboration with the Japanese Embassy in Abu Dhabi, announced organizing the launching ceremony for seven Japanese novels translated into Arabic.

The event was held last week at the Kinokuniya Bookshop in Dubai Mall, in the presence of the Ambassador of Japan in the United Arab Emirates, Tatsuo Watanabe and Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Director of Kalima.

"This gesture comes on the occasion of 40th National that celebrates the union in the United Arab Emirates, a day when we remember particularly the impressive heritage left to us by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God bless his soul. We also celebrate the appreciation of others and their cultures while taking pride in our culture and heritage without prejudice to one of them, which contributes to renaissance and positive awareness," said Dr bin Tamim.

"Here we are gathered today to celebrate Japanese culture and promote close cultural ties between the United Arab Emirates and Japan, in support of cooperation and deepen mutual understanding between the two countries in the fields of culture. Japan has rich cultural experience that the Arab World needs to recognize and appreciate its beauty. It is an appropriate occasion for additional reasons for joy, fraternity and pride for our people It is the 40th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates, and it is also the 40th anniversary of the close historical relations between our two countries," he added.

In turn, the Ambassador of Japan in the UAE showed that he is extremely pleased by the gesture, saying: "I would like to extend my congratulations to the UAE leadership and people on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates, and express my pleasure at the overwhelming happiness for this occasion, which is dear to the people of the UAE, coinciding with 40 years of close relations between Japan and the United Arab Emirates. I am pleased to express my happiness with this gesture and this wonderful cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage and Kalima translation project, which ultimately contributes to the deepening of cultural relations between the two countries and bring us closer to the world the Arab World."

With regards to the seven novels, bin Tamim said that they were considered to be among the most prominent modern literary works that provide a clear picture of Japan during the last quarter of the twentieth century to this day, expressing the intention of the project in presenting several copies of them to cultural institutions in Japan as well to universities and institutes. This series includes the following titles:

"All She Was Worth" by the writer Miyuki Miyuki Miyabe: This is one of the most important novels of the Japanese writer Miyuki Miyabe. The events of the novel take place in 1992 about a young woman who disappears, but who is this woman? Is she a victim? A killer? No one knows. It's a beautiful story about a stolen identity, but the horror is not only in committing crimes in cold blood, but the hunger for consumer goods and the fall of middle-class Japanese in a vicious cycle of personal debt in order to enjoy a good life. The book reflects on hard-working people in society who are drowning in debt which they cannot overcome as they fall prey to exploitation. The author seeks to reveal what is really responsible for all this.

"Floating Clouds" by the writer Fumiko Hayashi: Critics describe the novel "Floating Clouds " as one of the most wonderful gift by the writer Fumiko Hayashi (1904-1951) to Japanese and world literature. Events of the novel take place in the period after World War II. The events of the novel follow the life of the heroine, called Koda Yukiko, and her love relationship with Tomyuka, who is a former employee of the Ministry of Agriculture. She met him while working in the colony of Indochina as a typist in the army. The novel depicts all the fluctuations in Yukiko's life, starting with the sufferings of poverty and exploitation at the hands of a relative during her adolescence, then her enjoyment of a good life and the beautiful nature in the areas of Indochina and her warm love relationship of love arm with Tomyuka, moving to the hardships and difficulties she experienced when she was exiled from her place of work after Japan's defeat in World War II.

"Shame in the blood" by Tetsou Miura: The novel is one of the first works by the author, and it has occupied a prominent place in Japanese literature after World War II, making Miura one of the most famous Japanese contemporary fiction writers. The text combines between the privacy of biography, which the writer tries to distance himself from, and the widening of culture which hit the taste of a whole Japanese generation after the war, which made the numbers of sales in Japan following its publication to about a million copies.

"Tokyo Tango" by the writer Rika Yokomori: The character Saya turns in this novel slowly from an inexperienced girl to a mature woman who tests herself and the world. She gradually emerges from the world of rosy illusions to see things for what they are, the truth can sometimes be harsh, and faces crucial choices in her life. "Tokyo Tango" tells of the shifts of a young woman and her economic and social transformations in a country swinging between tradition and modernity.

"Botchan" by Natsume Soseki: The novel is a funny story about young professor who refuses monotony and the routine of education in rural schools. The novel is considered to be among the classic models, that reminds readers of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain. The story enjoys great popular circulation among Japanese readers young and old alike. The passage of time had no effect on its place among the masterpieces of Japanese literature, which prompted the expert in Japanese literature, Donald Keene, to say: "It is perhaps the most widespread novel in modern Japan".

The events of the story take place in the deep south of Japan, where the author started the same period of time as a professor of English at a school for boys. Botchan reaches the centre of a world ruled by conservative traditions and ethics of a particular social hierarchy that is organized according to a strict establishment. However, the next young professor from the capital, was rarely has respect for both those who are older than him or to his naughty students. The result is that he puts himself in a series of clashes and conflicts, severe and simple alike.

"Woman on the other Shore" by Kakuta Mitsuyo: The novel " Woman on the other Shore" won the Naoki Award in 2004, the top literary prize in Japan. Among the author's work are more than twelve novels. She received a number of literary awards, including the Fugin literary award. In the novel, we meet Sayuko, a 35-year old housewife and her three-year-old daughter. Her husband is indifferent and mysterious, but does not appear in the background of the novel most of the time. Her mother-in-law always hits Sayuko with stinging words on the up-bringing of her daughter and on her cooking. Sayuko stuck is in this situation and does not stop wondering: how long will this last?

"School of Freedom" by Shishi Bunroku: "School of Freedom" was the best-selling novel in the fifties of the last century. It has been selected for the program of the Japanese literary publication and publicity, because it represents a model for elevated humour in modern Japanese literature. The author has deliberately presented all classes in his novel of this, in addition to what is happening in the streets of Tokyo, secretly and openly, especially after Japan's defeat in World War II. The author built his novel around the main idea of freedom. As the occupation forces sought to achieve freedom and equality for all the Japanese through a new constitution promulgated in 1947, the protagonist - by leaving his home wanted to free himself from the shackles of a dominating wife, work, money and seeking freedom, and so did his wife Komako during his absence from home.

The Kalima translation project has recently received a gift of 100 books from the Japanese institution "Nippon Foundation" which deals with promoting the culture and heritage of Japan in various countries around the world. The distributed books are in areas such as literature, history, natural sciences, social sciences and the arts. Kalima will select a set of these books to be translated into Arabic.


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