Arts and Culture
In a context of globalization, literature and its production have become commodities. Some authors are object of what could be defined as a ‘myth of personality,’ becoming themselves - rather than their books - targets of international attention. Haruki Murakami - with millions of copies sold abroad as well as in Japan has come to represent this contemporary ‘cult of the author.’ The extreme circulation of Murakami’s literary production in Europe and in the US is part of a series of cultural flows and backflows circulating across the globe. Murakami is emblematic as he is generally recognized as being the Japanese author par excellence. Translations of his books are, however, generally enjoyed as an abstract product, detached from their specific cultural context. While being written for a global audience, Murakami’s books still retain some characteristics and references related to the Japanese context. Nonetheless, the ‘lost in translation’ are innumerable, creating for the English reading audience a new text, situated in a fluid space of encounter between the original context of production and the framework of its reception. In addition, Murakami himself assumes the role of translator, rendering many European and American classical authors into Japanese. This factor influences his use of the Japanese language and his writing process, making his books already part of flows of cultural exchanges between languages and texts. These flows, I argue, play an essential role in adding and modifying literary productions through translations, generating different texts adapted to culturally diverse audiences.