The 52nd GJS SeminarPolitics of Transmediality in Murakami Haruki’s Bakery Attack Stories

Date and time: June 22, 2018 (Fri.), 5:00-6:00PM
Venue: First Conference Room (3F), Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo
Speaker: Michael Tsang (Research Associate, Japanese Studies School of Modern Languages Newcastle University, UK)
Language: English

Abstract:Murakami’s work forms an intriguing case study of transmediality—the transposition of creative expression between textual and other media forms. His writings have been translated into more than 50 languages, and are filled with references to works of art, films, jazz and classical music. Many of his writings such as Norwegian Wood have inspired adaptations across different media and genres including comics, dance and theatre performances, art works, and films. Finally, despite winning numerous prestigious literary awards such as the Franz Kafka Prize (2006), Murakami’s fandom is typically more associated with popular culture. In light of Murakami’s pivotal role in questioning the distinction between ‘pure’ literature (junbungaku) and ‘popular’ literature (taishū bungaku), this talk examines what sort of politics is involved in transmedial cultural productions using Murakami’s first and second Bakery Attack stories (“Panya Shūgeki” and “Panya Sai Shūgeki”) and their various translations and adaptations as a case study. Specifically, I aim to explore how themes such as gender, history, and capitalism are transposed thematically in the transmediated product. I will also study how these products’ aesthetic representation conforms to or challenges formal conventions of these media (such as narrative structure and sequence in film and comics). This paper aims to shed light on a much-neglected aspect in Murakami studies and propose new research directions on his work with these approaches to politics and transmediality.

Organizer: The Global Japan Studies Network (GJS)
Co-organizer: Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA)
Contact: gjs[at]