Japanese writers talk about their work at celebration of journal ‘Monkey Business’

MonkeyBusinessJapanese writers Masatsugu Ono and Yoko Hayasuke will be at York University to read from their translated works and talk about their writing and what it means to be a young author in today’s Japan.

The event will celebrate the third volume of Monkey Business International, the only English-language journal focused on contemporary Japanese literature of which Ono and Hayasuke are contributors. The celebration will take place Monday, Sept. 9, from noon to 2pm at 038 Heath, Nursing & Environmental Studies Building, Keele hayasukecampus.

Yoko Hayasuke

Hayasuke made her writing debut with the story “John”, published in the 12th issue of the Japanese Monkey Business, founded in 2008 and based in Tokyo. The English translation of her story appeared in the second issue of the English Monkey Business. Her story “Eri-chan’s Physics” was then published in the 14th issue of the Japanese Monkey Business. Hayasuke’s stories have appeared in various other literary journals, including Waseda Bungaku, Subaru and Bungei.


Ono, a professor of French Literature & French in the Faculty of Letters at Meiji Gakuin University, combines his academic work with an acclaimed career as an author. His work has been shortlisted three times for the prestigious Akutagawa Prize – a Japanese prize awarded semi-annually for the best literary works of fiction – including for Shishiwatari-bana (Lion’s Tread Point). His first novel, in 2001, Mizu ni umoreru haka (The Water-Covered Grave), won the Asahi Award for New Writers. Another of his novels, Nigiyakana wan ni seowareta fune (Boat on a Choppy Bay), won the Mishima Yukio Prize in 2002. Ono has also published translations of foreign literature, including work by V.S. Naipaul, Edouard Glissant, Paul Nizan and Marie NDiaye.

The two authors will be joined by the journal’s editors Ted Goossen of York University’s Department of TedGoossenHumanities in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and Motoyuki Shibata of the University of Tokyo, as well as Roland Kelts who is a critic, author and a lecturer at the University of Tokyo.

Ted Goossen

Goossen specializes in modern and contemporary Japanese literature and has translated works by many Japanese authors, including Haruki Murakami, Hiromi Kawakami, Yukio Mishima and Yoko Ogawa. Kelts, a co-editor of the New York-based literary journal A Public Space, will publish his forthcoming first novel, Access, next year. His articles, essays and stories have appeared in Motoyuki Shibatavarious publications, including Playboy, Salon, The Village Voice, Newsday and The Japan Times.

Motoyuki Shibata

Professor Shibata teaches American literature and literary translation and received the 1992 Kodansha Essay Award for his book The Half-Hearted Scholar. He was also the winner of the 27th Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities for his work American Narcissus. He has translated works by Paul Auster, Thomas Pynchon, Rebecca Brown, Stuart Dybek, Kelly Link, Steven Millhauser, Richard Powers, Charles Simic and Barry Yourgrau, among others.

The event is supported by the Nippon Foundation, the Japan Foundation, Toronto and the Department of RolandKeltsHumanities, York University’s Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and hosted by the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR).

Roland Kelts

For more information, contact YCAR at ycar@yorku.ca or visit the YCAR website. To learn more about the literary journal, visit the Monkey Business website.

The authors will also be speaking in Toronto at “Dialogues: Japanese Literature at Home and Abroad” on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 6:30pm at the Japan Foundation and at “Japanese Literature Today” on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 7pm at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre.