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Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 18:15 - 20:30

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BB20170726 macmillan

Peter MacMillan

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Peter MacMillan, a renowned translator of Japanese literature, will speak on his new translation of The Tales of Ise and One Hundred Poems, One Poem Each (英語で読む百人一首 = Eigo de yomu hyakunin isshu).


Written by multiple authors over a period of approximately one hundred years, The Tales of Ise is one of the most famous and important works of Japanese literature. Consisting of 125 poems loosely based on the life of the hero, Narihira, a model lover of the Heian period, they evoke a world in which beauty and refinement are a way of life. Covering such themes as love, friendship, and delight in nature – these lyrical episodes combine great elegance with a subversive, experimental wit. This groundbreaking and brilliant new translation brings out the sophisticated humour and playfulness of the original, which has inspired Japanese art and literature for a millennium. The foreword was written by Donald Keene, a legend in Japanese literature, and the book was published by Penguin Books in 2016.

The Hyakunin Isshu is the best-loved and most widely read of all Japanese poetry collections and contains 100 short poems on nature, the seasons, travel, and, above all, love. Dating back to the seventh century, these elegant, precisely observed waka poems (the precursor of haiku) express deep emotion through visual images based on a penetrating observation of nature. The One Hundred Poems, One Poem Each, his new translation of his multiple prize-winning original conveys even more effectively the beauty and subtlety of this magical collection. It was published by Bungei Shunju in April 2017.

The author is a prize-winning translator, scholar, poet, and artist. He was born and grew up in a part of the Irish countryside surrounded by more horses than people. He graduated first in his class from the National University of Ireland, University College Dublin, and then went on to take an M.A. in philosophy and a Ph.D. in English literature. He currently teaches at The University of Tokyo. A citizen of both Ireland and Britain, he has lived in Japan for over twenty years and strives to be a bridge between Japan and the world. His artist name is Seisai (西斎).

The library committee is offering a cocktail party–"Meet the Author"–starting at 6:15 pm, followed by dinner at 6:45 pm (Main dish: Hamburger Steak). Drinks can be ordered on a cash basis from the bar in the room. Book Break charges are 2,100yen / 3,500yen (members / non-members) per person. The member price is applicable to members' guests.

To FCCJ members: Sign up now at the reception desk (03-3211-3161) or on the FCCJ website. To help us plan proper seating and food preparation, please reserve in advance, preferably by noon of the day of the event. Those without reservations will be turned away once available seats are filled. Reservations cancelled less than 24 hours in advance will be charged in full.

To non-members: Sign up now at the reception desk by mail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). Please reserve and pay in advance by Friday, July 21. Those without reservations will be turned away once available seats are filled. No refund is available unless the event is cancelled for the reasons on our part.



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