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Home > Sunday Mid Day News > Love Japanese literature Join this online book club to meet like minded people

Love Japanese literature? Join this online book club to meet like-minded people

Updated on: 12 February,2023 07:54 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Jane Borges |

A former book publicist’s Instagram is opening us up to the genius behind Murakami and Kawakami

 Love Japanese literature? Join this online book club to meet like-minded people

Representation pic

Arunima Mazumdar admits having a soft spot for translations and Japanese literature, but while there are many online and offline book clubs encouraging reading, she realised there were none dedicated to Japanese books. “Some months ago,” says the former book publicist, “I chanced upon an article about Japanese bookish words and discovered  ‘dokusha’, which means reader. It was around the same time I had reviewed Mieko Kawakami’s latest book, and thought why not build a community of readers.” That led to the birth of the Dokusha Book Club on Instagram in December last year.

Arunima Mazumdar
Arunima Mazumdar

Within a month’s time, Delhi-based Mazumdar had received over 120 registrations to the community, and 1,500 followers on her page. “They weren’t just from metros such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, but also Dehradun, Odisha, Jorhat, Guwahati, and Cuttack. Sayaka Murata’s debut short story collection in English—Life Ceremony—had just come out and I thought of beginning the year with fiction.” 

The Dokusha Book Club is much more than an online community. While Mazumdar posts reviews of books she has read and liked, she says it’s also a platform for readers to share theirs. A link on her bio allows for readers to register. “Registered users have an option to submit reviews of books. Their reviews will get posted on the page and they’ll get due credit,” she says, adding that submissions will be screened, reviewed and edited thoroughly to match the tone and quality of the page.

The idea, she says, is also to offer registered readers a wholesome glimpse of Japanese writing. “While many are well-acquainted with the authors, they hardly take notice of the translators. Honestly, outside the publishing industry, no one really pays attention to translators. I want to use this opportunity to introduce Dokusha Book Club’s readers to the wonderful ones who make it possible for us to read Haruki Murakami, Mieko Kawakami, Yoko Ogawa, etc.” Mazumdar is currently working on an e-magazine—still in conceptual stage—that will have interviews of prominent Japanese-to-English translators such as Philip Gabriel (best known for translating Murakami’s works), Sam Bett (Mieko Kawakami), Lucy North (Hiromi Kawakami), and Stephen Snyder (Ryu Murakami, Yoko Ogawa).
@dokusha.bookclub, Instagram

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