Art & Design

Japanese Fiction in Translation: Michael Emmerich and Stephen Dodd in conversation

18 April 2013, London

The Japan Society is delighted to be hosting a discussion between two eminent figures in the world of Japanese translation and literature studies, Michael Emmerich and Stephen Dodd.


The evening will begin with a short presentation on Emmerich’s current book project, The Tale of Genji: Translation, Canonization, and World Literature, in which he re-examines the conventional narrative of this iconic work’s history, arguing that it became a classic outside of Japan before it was popularized domestically.


Stephen Dodd, Senior Lecturer in Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, will then join Emmerich in conversation about theories of world literature and how its canon is constituted and recognised. The discussion will expand to encompass Emmerich and Dodd’s own translation work, which ranges from classical to contemporary-era Japanese fiction. The two scholars will consider wider issues surrounding work being translated today and the opportunities that remain for new translations in the field. After this discussion the audience will have a chance to engage in an extended question and answer session, with the opportunity for more informal networking over sake and light refreshments at the end of the evening.


Michael Emmerich is an assistant professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In addition to his many publications in English and Japanese on early modern, modern, and contemporary Japanese literature, he is the translator of works by writers such as Kawabata Yasunari, Yoshimoto Banana, Takahashi Gen’ichiro, Akasaka Mari, Yamada Taichi, Matsuura Rieko, and Kawakami Hiromi. Emmerich’s research has been generously supported by a number of grants, including a Fulbright Scholarship and an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies. He was also the recipient of a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University’s Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, from 2008-2009.


Stephen Dodd gained two BA degrees in Chinese (1977) and Japanese (1980) from Keble College, Oxford.  He obtained a PhD in Japanese Literature from Columbia University (1993). From 1994, he has been teaching at SOAS, University of London, where he is presently Senior Lecturer in Japanese.  He has written a wide range of articles on modern Japanese literature, including ‘The Significance of Bodies in Soseki’s Kokoro’ (Monumenta Nipponica 53, 1998) and ‘History in the Making: Negotiations between History and Fiction in Tanizaki Jun’ichiro’s ‘A Portrait of Shunkin,’ in Japan Review 24 (Summer, 2012).  He is the author of Writing Home: Representations of the Native Place in Modern Japanese Literature (Harvard East Asian monographs, distributed by Harvard University Press, 2004).  His new book, The Youth of Things: Life and Death in the Age of Kajii Motojiro, is due to come out in spring 2014 (Hawai’i University Press).



"To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 7828 6330 or email or submit the online booking form."

18 April 2013, 6.45pm

The Swedenborg Society, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Hall entrance on Barter St) London WC1A 2TH

The Japan Society, British Centre for Literary Translation