Libmonster ID: UK-1221


Doctor of Philological Sciences


Sakhalin State University (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk)

Key words: Sakhalin, Korean Diaspora, Japanese literature, A. A. Kim

The language of true fiction is the language of world literature. A writer reaches the highest level of skill when his books are translated, when his works become popular in other countries and are understandable to people of different nationalities, faiths and views.

This is what happened with the work of Anatoly Kim , a Russian Soviet writer, the author of numerous books-well-known in Russia and abroad. His debut prose collections, Blue Island (1976) and Four Confessions (1978), were published in Moscow. The writer's works have been repeatedly translated into foreign languages, including in England, Spain, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Finland, America and Turkey. Anatoly Kim's prose is presented in more than 25 languages of the world. But the greatest attention to the legacy of this author is paid in the countries of Asia and the East.

There are several reasons to explain this fact. In one of his interviews, Anatoly Kim spoke about himself like this:: "I am a Russian writer of Korean origin. My homeland is the Russian language."

However, the biography of the writer, who grew up in a family of descendants of Korean immigrants, covers a significant area of the former Soviet Union. Anatoly Kim was born in 1939 in one of the villages of Kazakhstan. During his childhood years, together with his family, he made several serious moves: first to Kamchatka, later to the Ussuri Region and Sakhalin. Then in his life there were Vladivostok and Khabarovsk, and later-studying in Moscow, where the first pen test took place.

Anatoly Kim's belonging to the Korean diaspora contributes to the fact that critics and researchers are trying to find in his work the classical traditions of Far Eastern prose. The writer's view on the history of Korean immigrants in Russia is also important. Anatoly Kim for the first time in Russian literature portrayed the many-faced and often

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due to the tragic beginning of the fate of ethnic Koreans scattered across the vast expanses of Soviet Asia and the Far East. He is one of the few writers who introduced references to the Japanese period in the development of Sakhalin into his works. That is why the works of Anatoly Kim are largely in demand by Korean and Japanese readers.

Since 1949. Anatoly Kim lived on Sakhalin: first-in Ilyinsky, then-in Gornozavodsk. In 1956, he graduated from high school in the Nevelsky district, after which he repeatedly came to the island. The writer's childhood and youth memories of life on the shores of the Tatar Strait and the Sea of Okhotsk formed the basis of the books " Blue Island "(1976) and" My Past "(1998), occasional references to the Sakhalin period are also found in the novel"Squirrel". Now A. Kim is perceived as the most prominent author of the Russian avant-garde. The writer's creative achievements have been recognized with several literary awards, including international ones.

A. Kim's prose is both intellectual and poetic. The writer's artistic search is not limited by prejudice. It develops outside of time and outside the laws of society. In the story "My Past" Anatoly Kim formulated a tolerant attitude to the world: "... humanity has one nationality, and it is called-a person. And I became its national writer. Russian has become my written and spoken language, and all my original books are written in it. My pre-written non-sounding language became the universal language of the human heart, known and understood by everyone who ever appeared to live in this world. And each of them, my brother and companion in the moment of existence, reads my books in our common native language."

You can fully appreciate a work of art, feel the author's mood, and enjoy the beauty and richness of the language only by reading the original text. However, thanks to the skill, skill of the translator, his personality, the book sometimes gets a new sound, gets a new reading in another language.

* * *

Japanese translator Yuko Ariga opened the doors for her compatriots to the rich universe of the prose word A. Kim, in his fairy-tale novel "Squirrel". According to her, it is this somewhat mystical work that is closest to the Eastern understanding of the world. Who knows, maybe this book will stretch another thread of friendship between Russia and Japan...

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you learn Russian? What influenced your choice of profession?

- I studied Russian at Sofia University in Tokyo, after which I started studying Russian literature at the graduate school of the University of Tokyo. At the age of sixteen, I heard a tape recording of Pushkin's poem "To the Sea"and decided to study Russian language and literature. I was captivated by the beauty of the sound of Russian speech. I remember how happy I was a few years later when I saw this poem in Marina Tsvetaeva's essay "My Pushkin". At that time, I was studying the work of this poet. My first opinion about the world was probably formed by Goethe. My late mother was very fond of this writer and always spoke to me about him.

Who were your mentors in studying Russian literature?

- I would like to name three of my teachers. The first is Professor Shigeru Somei. He taught me to study the language carefully in order to better understand the literary text. Professor Somei is known in Japan as a translator of prose by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. My second mentor is Professor Misao Naito (who worked under the pseudonym Gosuke Uchimura). It was this man who instilled in me an interest and love for Russian poetry. It was during his lectures at the university that I first learned about formalism. Professor Shunichi Mori enthusiastically taught the students of Sofia University the Russian language. He considered it his duty and mission to help Japanese students master the Russian language at a high level. My classes with Professor Mori gave me the opportunity to write and speak Russian. By the way, he was a native of Sakhalin and spoke Russian better than Japanese. As a child, he attended a Soviet school. At the age of 18, Professor Mori returned to Hokkaido with his parents, but he could not speak Japanese at all and studied Japanese from scratch in high school. Now my teachers are no longer alive. I am particularly sorry that Professor Mori passed away very early. At the age of 52, he died of cancer.

Your translations of works by Japanese playwrights into Russian are known in Russia. Which, in your opinion, is more difficult: to translate from Russian to Japanese or vice versa?

- I think, of course, that it is much easier to translate from a foreign language into your native language. But still, I always suffer from not finding the right word or expression in my native language. Translating from my native language into a foreign language is much more difficult, but I enjoy the process. That is, I like to think about how to reproduce certain Japanese phrases in Russian. I once had to translate a play on words in Japanese in one script. I tried very hard to accurately reproduce this word game in Russian, and finally I came up with expressions that are suitable for this case in Russian in my own way. But the editor said to me without any hesitation: "The Russian people will not understand this!" Therefore, all the phrases I came up with were completely removed from the translation. I was upset at the time, but in

page 50

I swore to myself that next time I would definitely translate this passage into Russian.

How did you have the desire to translate Anatoly Kim's "Squirrel"?

"It was a suggestion from the late Gundzoshi Shun'ichi Miyazawa, a representative of the Japanese publishing house. I was still a graduate student and didn't know anything about this novel at that time, because I was only interested in Russian poetry. However, after reading Anatoly Kim's book, I became interested in the author's idea. Throughout the work, the Squirrel transforms and reincarnates into his deceased friends and tells about their extraordinary lives. This story seemed unusual to me, so I decided to translate the novel.

Why did "Belka" become the first work of the writer in Japanese?

- "Belka" is the first major work of Anatoly Kim. In this book, the writer showed himself to be a great prose writer, who is subject to voluminous epic forms. Before that, he wrote only short stories and novellas, "Squirrel" became his first novel. It organically connects the ideas that the writer mentions in his earlier, previous works. The content of this novel is diverse, it reflects the fate of different people. And that can't make a novel boring. So it made sense to translate "Squirrel" into Japanese and give our compatriots the opportunity to get acquainted with such a bright writer. However, I want to say that even before my translation of "Squirrels", in 1990, a well-known Slavist, Professor Ryohei Yasui, already introduced Japanese readers to one of Anatoly Kim's short stories"Lightning in the City". This story was published in the magazine of the radio course of the Russian language (such courses are conducted by NHK*). Professor Yasui's course began in the fall of 1989, but by the end of the six-month study of Russian by Japanese students, Kim's story was recommended for reading.

What difficulties did you encounter when translating?

- I translated Belka for almost 8 years. There were some difficulties during the work. First, it was very difficult to distinguish between the voices of the four characters and the author himself, who tells a fairy tale to his beloved. Secondly, I couldn't immediately find equivalents for the keywords "transformation", "reincarnation", or "werewolf", as well as for some other words and terms. To clarify these questions, I used the valuable advice of my friend, the famous Korean Slavist Gong Yong Choi. He studied books by Anatoly Kim during his doctoral studies at the University of Tokyo. In addition, I encountered various unfamiliar words and terms. Anatoly Kim has extensive knowledge in many areas of science, and he often mentions this in his works. Therefore, I often had to clarify these things.

What do you think is particularly interesting about Anatoly Kim's "Squirrel"?

- I am personally interested in how Russian all-encompassing cosmism and the Korean spirit merge in the writer's subconscious. The composition of a fairy-tale novel is unusual. In addition, this genre has its own special architectonics.

In your opinion, is it not difficult for the Japanese to perceive such a work? After all, it is not from the category of mass, popular literature that is understandable and accessible to a wide range of readers.

- The novel is philosophical, as is traditionally the case in Russian literature. The writer concerns the noospheric teaching**. But the book does not have the strict religious (I would say Christian) beginnings that sometimes make it difficult for Japanese people to understand Western literature. I do not claim that the concept of "the cycle of existence" alone can explain the glu-

NHK-Japanese television and radio corporation (editor's note).

** The theory of the transition of the biosphere to the noosphere - the sphere of interaction between society and nature, within which reasonable human activity becomes a determining factor of development, belongs to the greatest Russian scientist and thinker V. I. Vernadsky (1863-1945).

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this is not the real meaning of this novel, but we Japanese understand this approach to the world around us, a world that is full of voices of people who have passed away. We listen to these voices. We believe that life on this Earth repeats itself, and we carry with us memories of other existences. Such a worldview in "Belka" we, the Japanese, understand not with the mind, but with the soul and accept it. In this sense, the writer and I are people of Eastern origin. I remember how easy it was for me to translate the "Epilogue" of the novel, the writer's thought took over my mind and my feelings. This is how moisture is absorbed into the soil.

When you taught at Sofia University in Tokyo, did you manage to attract your students or graduate students to Kim's prose?

"I didn't make it. But one talented student, Suzuki Takashi, became interested in Kim's work. He started reading and studying his works with me. Unfortunately, he had to leave the university due to illness without completing his studies. But now he continues to study on his own, reading Kim's new books and sometimes corresponding with him. I hope that in the near future Anatoly Kim's "Blue Island" will appear in Japanese in Suzuki's translation. The same collection will be the second translated book of the writer in Japan. By the way, Suzuki speaks his native language very well. I admire the rich vocabulary of this translator.

- Have you met Anatoly Kim? How do you remember it?

- In the summer of 1993, Takashi Suzuki and I visited a writer in the suburbs of Seoul. Then he lived in Korea and gave lectures to students. This visit was made possible thanks to my Korean friend, Slavist Kyung Yong Choi. Anatoly Andreevich met us at the station. Then it seemed to me that he looked more like an ancient Korean thinker than a popular modern writer from Russia. His voice was calm and measured. When my colleague and I started asking him questions about his work, the writer began to speak with stunning energy. He spoke long and earnestly. We were able to publish that interview in one of the Japanese magazines. In early 1994, we invited the writer to Tokyo with his family. Kim gave a lecture at Sofia University, then communicated with Japanese Slavists. He also went to my hometown near where Fujiyama is located. By the way, I am sure that it was his stay in Japan that inspired the writer to write his novel "Picking Mushrooms to Bach's Music". This work was first published in the first issue of the magazine "Yasnaya Polyana".

"Blue Island" is one of the most realistic books, and in my opinion, it is not very popular with translators. Why do you think that is?

- I personally love this collection very much. It tells very vividly how people live on Sakhalin. It seems to me that all the works in "Blue Island" are based on the personal experience of the writer. Those who are not interested in Sakhalin probably do not care about such "local" literature in comparison with other books by Anatoly Kim. In addition, from the translator's point of view, it is difficult to understand the peculiarities of life on Sakhalin, at the end of the world (sorry for such an expression). Maybe that's why the" Blue Island " is not so noticeable by translators.

Which of the works of "Blue Island" do you like best and why?

- From the stories I single out "Meko's Briar". I was touched by the life of a modest, poor, but spiritually strong Korean woman who had a Japanese name. I feel nostalgic for the old days, when many people were financially poor, but at the same time they were distinguished by sincerity of feelings. The emotional movement and change of Myoko's husband, a young Korean boy named Ri Gichen, is conveyed accurately and with restraint. I really like the general tone of the story, the way the main ideas are expressed in it. Even simple rosehip flowers are described very effectively, vividly and impressively! I also like the story "Herb Gatherers". Especially good is the final part, which colorfully describes the sea, and along with it - and the state of mind of the literary hero Eiti, plunging into the sea element. The blue Island that Eti is sailing to is, in my understanding, nothing more than Sakhalin. Thanks to this work, Sakhalin appears before my eyes as a very bright and shining island under the summer sun. Although, of course, I know that the "blue island" in the story is not Sakhalin itself, but a small island visible in the sea opposite the Camaron. But in my imagination, this island and the surrounding sea are inseparable from Sakhalin. Together with such small islands located close to the coast, the whole of Sakhalin rises before my eyes in a blue fog. And in my subconscious, I also wanted Sakhalin to really be a "blue island" that I should strive for, like Ety.

Have you ever been to Sakhalin?

"Unfortunately, no. I'm just imagining this island. It's probably really "blue". After all, so it is written by Anatoly Kim, so they say and write about the island in various reports.

Do you plan new translations of Russian writers into Japanese in the future?

- I think that it is absolutely necessary to translate Anatoly Kim's mystery novel "Mushroom Picking to Bach's Music"into Japanese. After all, the hero of this book, Tanji, is none other than Takashi Suzuki. It is probably our duty (together with translator Suzuki) to make such a work appear in Japan.


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