An Evening with Haruki Murakami

The Consulate General of Japan in Kolkata organized a literary talk and provided a platform inviting 3 eminent professors of Jadavpur University to talk about renowned novelist Haruki Murakami and particularly one of his Japanese novels ‘Umi be no Kafka’ which is also known as ‘Kafka on the Shore’ in the English version.

The event was held at the Indo-Japan Welfare and Cultural Association, Kolkata on Friday, 31 March 2017.

The occasion was graced by Mr. Masayuki Taga, Consul General of Japan in Kolkata, who delivered the opening remarks in Bengali. He summarized the plot of ‘Umi be no Kafka’ and introduced Prof. Abhijit Mukherjee to the guests in addition to thanking him, Jadavpur University Press and Japan Foundation for their respective roles in publication of the Bengali translation of the novel.

Prof. Supriya Chaudhuri, Professor Emeritus, Jadavpur University, gave a brief account of Murakami’s early life which led to intermixing of Japanese and Western elements in his novels, a post-modern gesture. She elaborated on this post-modern style of Murakami and agreed with the argument that Murakami’s popularity is marking Japan’s emergence as a global dispenser of soft power.

Prof. Abhijit Mukherjee, Teacher-in-charge, Japanese Language course, Jadavpur University spoke about his interpretation of the ‘Message of the East through Umibe no Kafka’, particularly Tagore's idea of the cultural unity of the east and resonance of it in the writings of Yasunari Kawabata and Yukio Mishima. He contended that Umi be no Kafka brings Tagore’s idea of preservation of Asia’s spiritually rich culture to a perfectly sound conclusion.

Prof. Abhijit Gupta, Director, Jadavpur University Press who is also the Head, Department of English, Jadavpur University delivered the closing remarks. He elaborated the press’ role during publication of the Bengali translation of the novel and thanked the administration of Jadavpur University, Japan Foundation and Consulate General of Japan in Kolkata for the support extended.


Umi be no Kafka was translated into Bengali version ‘Samudratate Kafka’ in two parts by Prof. Abhijit Mukherjee. He is also a senior faculty in the Department of Electrical Engineering of Jadavpur University who had also served as visiting faculty of Kanazawa University, Japan.


Both the translations were published by Jadavpur University Press and released on 5 March 2016 and 4 February 2017 respectively.

This event is also listed in the agenda of ‘2017 The Year of Japan-India Friendly Exchanges’


***The literary talk was preceded by a screening of a Japanese movie, Rail Truck, directed by Hirofumi Kawaguchi ***