Chinese literature club launched in Tokyo

Updated: October 12, 2022 Source: China Daily
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The covers of Japanese translations of Chinese science-fiction books. [Photo provided to China Daily]

To mark the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, the Japanese branch of the Chinese Literature Readers' Club was launched at the end of September at the China Cultural Center in Tokyo.

Co-organized by China Educational Publications Import and Export Corp, Japanese publishing house Hayakawa and Chinese publishing company Eight Light Minutes Culture, the event had Chinese sci-fi writers Wang Jinkang, Bao Shu, and Qi Yue, alongside Japanese sci-fi writer Taiyo Fujii and Nozomi Oomori, the Japanese translator of Liu Cixin's The Three-Body Problem, as guest speakers to talk about their sci-fi creations and the influences on their writing.

Shi Yongjing, cultural counselor at the Chinese embassy in Japan, said at the launch event that "China and Japan both have a long history of translating each other's cultural works, and literature has played an irreplaceable role in cultural exchanges".

The launch of the Japanese branch of the Chinese Literature Readers' Club will provide a new platform for Japanese readers to learn about contemporary China, and will inject new vitality into cultural exchanges between the two countries, she said.

During the event, which ran for more than two hours, three Chinese writers shared stories about how they became sci-fi writers and their contact with Japanese sci-fi works, including Sakyo Komatsu's novel Japan Sinks, the cartoon adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's manga Astro Boy, the TV show Dinosaur Squadron Koseidon and the cartoon show Legend of the Galactic Heroes, which have exerted great influence on their writing.

The Japanese branch of the Chinese Literature Readers' Club is launched in Tokyo. Shi Yongjing, cultural counselor at the Chinese embassy in Japan, delivers a speech at the event. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Starting from Chinese writer Lao She's Cat Country, Japanese guest speakers talked about their experience of reading Chinese science fiction. For them, Chinese sci-fi literature has developed quickly in the last 10 years, and works like The Three-Body Problem are profound, with splendid views of the world and impactful themes, and thus have attracted a lot of Japanese readers.

Chinese science fiction burgeoned at the start of the 20th century, when writers like Liang Qichao and Lu Xun tried to popularize science among Chinese people by introducing science fiction. After 2000, especially in recent years, Chinese science fiction has made great progress with the rise of excellent writers such as Liu Cixin, Wang Jinkang, Han Song and He Xi, as well as a new generation represented by Hao Jingfang, Chen Qiufan, Bao Shu and Qi Yue. In recent years, China has published, on average, more than 500 sci-fi novels annually. In 2023, Chengdu in Southwest China's Sichuan province will host the 81st World Science Fiction Convention.

Initiated by the Chinese Writers Association and readers from different countries, the Chinese Literature Readers' Club is to introduce more Chinese literary works and writers to overseas readers. Launched in August 2021, the club has set up branches in 22 countries and has hosted more than 40 reading events.

Editor: Tian Shenyoujia