Waseda to establish an international research center for scholars of world literature and translation
On November 4, Waseda University held a press conference at Okuma Kaikan on Haruki Murakami’s donation of his collection of materials and the plan to establish an international research center. After President Kaoru Kamata gave a brief overview, author Haruki Murakami ’75, who is a graduate of the School of Letters, Arts and Sciences I, and President-elect Aiji Tanaka (President as of November 5) spoke on the future plan.
President Kaoru Kamata
“There are three reasons as to why this plan is being unfolded at Waseda University. Firstly, Mr. Murakami is a fellow graduate of Waseda. Secondly, we currently enroll the largest number of international students in Japan, and many of them are studying here out of admiration and respect for Mr. Murakami’s works of literature. Lastly, Mr. Murakami’s works are translated in over 50 countries and are read all over the world. We hope to create a place where cultural exchange among various countries is promoted and where Murakami fans worldwide and scholars of Murakami literature must visit.”
“(Looking back on his university years,) Waseda’s liberal campus culture was a good match for me. I got married when I was a student and ran a coffee shop back then, so I didn’t really have time to actually attend classes, but I did go to the Theatre Museum (Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum) often to read old film scripts and create original images of the film in my head. I am extremely grateful that my alma mater, Waseda University, will be creating a place to archive and research my works. I hope that this place will let literary enthusiasts from all over the world interact internationally and will be an opportunity for an open cultural exchange.”
President-elect Aiji Tanaka
“As the new president, I would like to realize this plan in which Mr. Murakami has entrusted us with. I hope that it will become a place where scholars of Murakami literature and literary translation worldwide come together. The current Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum is a facility where researchers who study theatre in the world visit, and if this plan is materialized, this new international research center could possibly become the second Theatre Museum.”
In the Q&A session held after the press conference, Mr. Murakami was asked about the kind of collection he plans to provide. He said, “I have over 10,000 records. As of books, it will be mainly be items that are related to me, such as books I have written or translated. (When asked about a memorable item, Murakami answered,) The issue of the literary magazine Gunzo when I won the Gunzo Award makes me feel nostalgia. Also, if I could find it, I would like to give the draft of “Norwegian Wood” written in a notebook, though it will be a proofread first draft.”
In the photo session, Mr. Murakami handed President Kamata two books as the first bestowed gifts, which were the English version of “Killing Commandatore” and his debut novel ”Hear the Wind Sing,” both signed with his signature.