‘Quake anthology’ to be published
TOKYO — An anthology on the Great East Japan Earthquake comprising the works of 17 authors in Japan and abroad will be published in February, followed by the publication of an English version in the United States and Britain in March.
Poet Shuntaro Tanikawa as well as novelists Natsuki Ikezawa and Mitsuyo Kakuta are among the authors telling the world how they felt about and depicted the disaster.
The anthology will be titled “Soredemo Sangatsu wa Mata” in Japanese and “March Was Made of Yarn: Reflections on the Japanese Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Meltdown” in English.
Fourteen of the writers are from Japan, and three are from the United States or Britain. Ten of the 17 pieces were newly written for the project.
Kazumi Saeki, a novelist living in Sendai, describes in his novel “Hiyoriyama” the devastating scene of trees planted along the coastline for protection being swept away by the tsunami.
“It looked like a scene of the African savannah that you see in television programs or photographs,” he writes.
Tanikawa, in his poem “Words,” emphasizes the power of words amid a sense of deep loss.
“We even lost our words
“But words did not break”
Other pieces include reflections on the disaster and musings on the future. For example, one author sounds a warning of what Japan may look like in the near future, while another attempts to heal readers’ minds by transporting them into an imaginary world.
David Karashima, 32, who oversees a program to introduce Japanese literature to other countries for the Nippon Foundation, explained how the project came about. “After the disaster, I was often asked by my friends overseas what Japanese writers were thinking about,” he said.
The book is scheduled to be published by Kodansha Ltd. in Japan, and by Random House-affiliated publishers in the United States and Britain. All royalties from the anthology will be donated to help reconstruction efforts in disaster-hit areas.