Ep. 34 – Translating Finnegans Wake into Japanese (w/ Kenji Hayakawa)


Kelly and Dermot are joined by translator Kenji Hayakawa to discuss the gargantuan task of translating Finnegans Wake into Japanese.  We discuss Naoki Yanase’s translation of Joyce’s classic novel into Japanese, creating special software Japanese characters to tackle Joyce’s various coinages, why Japanese is an ideal language in which to read Finnegans Wake, why only translators truly understand Finnegans Wake, the sadism of Finnegans Wake, the influence of Harriet Shaw Weaver, and how Finnegans Wake is the antidote to book club hierarchies.

No need to speak Japanese or have read Finnegans Wake!


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Further Reading

For more information on Yanase’s Japanese translation of Finnegans Wake: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13844245._Yanase_Naoki 



Kanji literally meaning “river run” but sounding like the Japanese word for “war”
Screen Shot 2020-01-12 at 4.15.25 PM
“riverrun” paragraph in English


Japanese thunder word in context


Screen Shot 2020-01-12 at 4.17.20 PM
English thunder word in context
Kelly with the thunder word at the James Joyce Centre in Dublin
Japanese translation of “The word is my wife” in context
Kanji translation process; “wife” becomes “life wife”
Translation process of “the word is my wife”
A paragraph discussed by Dermot and Kelly around 41:24
“But the duvlin sulph…” paragraph in Japanese
“Ingen Mingen has to hear” in Japanese
More of Yanase’s translation notes
An excerpt of “All River Names” that appears in Book 1, Chapter 8
The Word Editor UI is the interface of the software which Yanase was using at the time, which is an OASYS 30 AX word processor.

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