Re-launch of Japanese short-stories with the launch of Pakistan-Japan Literature Forum

‘Translation is definitely a difficult task and one has to have firm grip of both languages to get something translated into another language. Shahid Hameed is a senior penman and a literary translator who rendered Urdu translation of selected modern short-stories of Japan. This is certainly a commendable job which shall further link both languages closely’, said the eminent Urdu literary figure, Professor Dr. Younus Hassani, while addressing the launching (in fact, ‘re-launch’) ceremony of a book entitled, “Jadeed Japani Afsanaay”, (Contemporary Japanese short-stories). At the same time a new literary body, Pakistan-Japan Literature Forum-PJLF was announced by the moderator Khurram Sohail. This unique gathering of a select audience was held at the Consulate General of Japan in Karachi, yesterday.

This is for the first time that the diplomatic mission has come out openly to support an idea of bridging gaps between the two countries and their national languages. The Consul General His Excellency Toshikazu Isomura, an ardent Urdu-lover has this time stood up as the patron of the newly introduced forum, whereas few names of the members of advisory board has also been announced by the moderator.

Mr. Muhammad Ilyas, richly experienced language instructor of Japanese was the first speaker, who briefly spoke about the event and offered his full cooperation, as and when required. Next to express his thoughts was the famous educator and prominent writer & researcher, Professor Dr. Younus Hassani who had also visited Japan on a study tour and written a useful, though concise Haiku-guide for the people of Pakistan.

Professor Muhammad Rais Alvi, the most renowned littérateur for putting extraordinary efforts in bringing Urdu & Japanese closer through his great translation works of Tanka, besides contributing original Haiku & Tanka appreciated the friendly gesture and recalled lightly that the idea of such a literary body was not new, but, ‘lost’ sometime in the history. It may not be inappropriate to mention here that

  1. The writer of this report had first submitted the concept of a Pak-Japan Friendship Society in 1995, then, the proposal of Pak-Japan Adabi Sangat, with English alternate, Pak-Japan Literary Forum in 1999 with the then Director (later Advisor to the Consul General) E. Shigeyuki (Muhammad Azmat) Ataka, who knew him since 1985, when he joined the invaluable treasure-trove of Japan Cultural Center Library.
  2. Haiku International was and still is the Pioneer & Only multi-lingual Haiku journal of South Asia, which published a record number of Haiku-related stuff (and some material on other genres) in 25 world languages & dialects including Japanese. Its 5th Issue alone contained matter in 15 languages. Both are world records, indeed. And the writer of this report had founded and published Haiku International in 1998, without any support from the Japan Consulate; the journal ceased to publish in 2008, facing critical financial losses.
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H.E. Toshikazu Isomura had once again amused the audience through his fluent and prompt Urdu, while announcing the future projects of the Forum in near future. The speakers highlighted the significance of the translation works that adds a lot to the literary treasure, besides intermingling the cross-culture people.

Mr. Shahid Hameed had definitely served the Urdu literature by getting the work done. However, he had not translated directly from Japanese language. So, the first translation is still very much required.

Jadeed Japani Afsanaay” comprises 12 short stories on various themes, written by notable

Japanese writers including two Nobel laureates Kawabata Yasunari and Oe Kinzaburo, besides well-known writers like Ibuse Masuji, Dazai Osamu, Shono Junzo and others.

The programme came to an end with some Japanese food delights and special Japanese tea.

Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui

Poet, Writer, Journalist, Broadcaster and TV Host
Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui had served various organisations in different fields. He has got approximately 700 published writings (Urdu/English) and a few books to his credit. Currently, he is the Chief Editor, Live Rostrum.

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