Award-winning writer from Japan to give free public symposium

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Mari Yoshihara, (808) 956-8542
Professor, American Studies
Ken Ito, (808) 956-2233
Professor, East Asian Languages and Literatures
Posted: Mar 18, 2015

Minae Mizumura
Minae Mizumura

Renowned Japan writer Minae Mizumura will speak at a free public syposium at the UH Mānoa campus in April to discuss the recently published English translation of her book, Nihongo ga horobiru toki (“The Fall of Language in the Age of English”). 

This book addresses the impact that English as a universal language has on national languages and literatures. Mizumura’s historical and theoretical insights into language and translation have relevance for the humanities in general, and especially resonate in Hawaiʻi’s complex linguistic landscape.

The Fall of Language in the Age of English became a national bestseller upon its release in Japan, and received the prestigious Kobayashi Hideo Prize.

Mizumura's visit is planned by UHM American Studies Professor Mari Yoshihara, who translated the book into English with Juliet Winters Carpenter, and UHM East Asian Langauges and Literatures Professor Ken Ito.

Event Details
Wednesday, April 22, 12:00 noon to 1:15 p.m.
East-West Center, Burns Hall 2118, UHM campus
A seminar for UHM graduate students and faculty is featured as part of the International Cultural Studies Speaker Series. Mizumura will speak and engage with participants.

Friday, April 24, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Center for Korean Studies Auditorium, UHM campus
At this free public symposium, Mizumura will read from the translation. A guest panel composed of Juliet Winters Carpenter (Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts), Shoichi Iwasaki (East Asian Languages and Literatures), Brandy Nālani McDougall (American Studies) and Nathalie Segeral (Languages and Literatures of Europe and the Americas) will engage in discussion.

Mizumura is an award-winning writer of Japanese fiction and cultural criticism. She is renowned for sophisticated rewritings of literature and defying boundaries of language and genre. Her first novel written in 1990, Zoku Meian (“Light and Dark, Continued”), caused a sensation because she dared to complete the work of major canonical writer Natsume Sōseki.

Since then, Mizumura has subverted other literary forms in works such as Shishōsetsu from left to right, in which she mounted a bilingual challenge to a genre considered uniquely Japanese. Her Honkaku shōsetsu, a novel which reimagines a Wuthering Heights set in Japan, has been released in English translation under the title A True Novel in 2013. Her latest work of fiction, Haha no isan: Shinbun shōsetsu (“An Inheritance from My Mother”), examines aging and death.

Mizumura’s visit is made possible by:

  • The Japanese Language and Literature Fund and the Dane Lee Fund for the Study of East Asian Literature, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures.
  • The Japan Studies Endowment, Center for Japanese Studies.
  • Private contributions from alumni and friends of the Colleges of Arts & Sciences.

For more information on these two events, please contact Mari Yoshihara at or Ken Ito at

The College of Languages, Linguistics & Literature (one of the four Arts & Sciences colleges) of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa offers a broad curriculum in English, foreign and heritage languages and literatures, second language studies, and linguistics. Its Asia and Pacific focused curricula is unique in the nation. The faculty regularly teaches more than 25 languages, and has the capacity to teach many more.

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