Opening of the 33rd JFFM

As I mentioned before, the 33rd Japanese Film Festival of Montreal was held at the Cinémathèque Québécoise on October 27th and 29th. This free annual event is co-organized by the Japan Foundation (Toronto) and the Consulate General of Japan in Montreal.

Before the screening of the first movie, A Tale of Samurai Cooking, the attendees were treated with a few canapé and a degustation of sake. There was a presentation by the a staff member of the Japanese consulate in Montreal, followed by allocutions of the Cinémathèque general director, Marcel Jean, and the Consul General in Montreal, Hideaki KURAMITSU.

Here’s a video of the opening allocutions (available on Vimeo):


You can also check our comments on two of the three movies presented at the festival: A Tale of Samurai Cooking and Sue, Mai & Sawa: Righting the Girl Ship.


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A Tale of Samurai Cooking

“Haru has an excellent sense of taste and unsurpassed skill in the kitchen, but her impetuous character leads to her husband asking for a divorce after only a year of marriage. One day, she is approached by Dennai Funaki, a samurai chef from Kaga, to marry his son and heir, Yasunobu.”

“Serving the Lord of Kaga not with the sword, but with the kitchen knife, the Funaki family has been known as “Kitchen Samurai” for generations. However, Yasunobu’s lack of culinary skills has placed the Funaki name in peril. To save her new family and its status as “Kitchen Samurai”, Haru decides to teach her new husband the refined art of Kaga cuisine from her point of view. Inspired by a true story.”

(Text from the Cinémathèque website)


WARNING: May contains trace of spoilers! People allergic to the discussion of any plot’s elements before seeing a movie are strongly advised to take the necessary precautions for their safety and should avoid reading further.

Haru is a maid for Lady Otei. She is now orphaned but she grew up in her parents’ restaurant and is an excellent cook. The Lady Otei arranged her marriage but her spirited and rebellious character displeased the husband and she was sent back. During a banquet she succeeds to identify all the ingredients in a mystery dish, thus impressing the Maeda family head’s Master chef, Funaki Den’nai. So much that he asked her to marry his second son, Yasunobu. His first son was supposed to take over his position of Master samurai chef but he died of a disease and now the responsibility fall on Yasunobu who would rather practice fencing than cuisine in order to be a “real” samurai. The father hopes that Haru could helps Yasunobu become more passionate toward his new job and improve his skills. She refuses at first, but with the Master Chef insistance she finally accepts the challenge and eventually finds her way into the samurai heart.

It is primarily a romantic story and the dramatic tone is provided by a backdrop of political power plays inside the Kaga clan. It’s a little complex to detail but, in a nutshell, a high-ranking (and powerful) Kaga samurai, Denzo Otsuki (the lover of Lady Otei), wanted to do fiscal reforms, but is opposed by a faction in the clan who put him under arrest. In revenge, his supporters (including Sadanoshin Imai, Yasunobu’s fencing instructor and friend) attempt to kill the Lord. There was also a power play between the Maeda family (head of the Kaga clan, in Kanazawa, Ishiwaka prefecture) and the Tokugawa clan (both being the top two richest clans). Those events (the so-called “Kaga Disturbance“) and characters are historical — even the Master chef, Funaki Den’nai, who wrote books about Kaga’s cuisine. Strangely, the Japanese political situation was not dissimilar to Louis XIV court, where the king was trying to keep the nobility busy at court with banquets and inner struggles in order to prevent them plotting against him.

Japanese drama often have a strong comedic undertone (which can annoy western audience who is not used to such a mix). In this case, the comedic aspect is more subdued. The whole set up of banquets and qualifying cooking competitions for a prominent position on the domain’s kitchen reminded me of the Japanese TV cooking show Iron Chef. And, surprise!, the family head, Naomi Maeda — who is never seen before the end, is played by none other than the Iron Chef‘s show host Takeshi Kaga! Coincidence? I don’t think so.

A funny anecdote: a friend of my wife, who’s not used to Japanese movies and culture, found the samurai’s hairdo rather ugly. It made me realized that I was so used to it that I never wondered why samurai wore such a strange hairdo. This traditional topknot style was called Chonmage and was not only the symbol of the samurai status (hence cutting the hair in defeat or disgrace) but was also used “to hold a samurai helmet steady atop the head in battle”. Fascinating!

A Tale of Samurai Cooking is an interesting jidai-geki movie that is somewhat similar to Abacus & Sword, where the protagonist is a samurai accountant. It teaches us about Japanese history (Edo period) and shows us plenty of beautiful landscapes and local dishes while entertaining us with a very good love story. It’s worth watching but, unfortunately, it is not available in DVD here (although there’s a R2 Dvd with english subtitles).

A Tale of Samurai Cooking: A True Love Story (武士の献立 / Bushi no kondate / lit. “Warrior’s Menu”). Japan, 2013, 121 min.; Dir.: Yûzô Asahara; Ass. Dir.: Masanori Inoue; Scr.: Michio Kashiwada, Yukiko Yamamuro, Yuzo Asahara (based on the novel by Naoki Oishi); Phot.: Yukihiro Okimura; Music: Tarô Iwashiro; Prod.: Yoshio Ishizuka, Hideaki Miyoshi; Cast: Aya UETO, Kengo KÔRA, Kimiko YO, Toshiyuki NISHIDA, Riko Narumi, Tasuku Emoto, Kenta Hamano, Hana Ebise, Ayane Ômori, Toshiki Ayata.

Film screened at the 33rd Japanese Film Festival of Montreal on October 27th, 2016 (Cinémathèque Québécoise, 19h00 – the small theatre was filled to the last seat). This free event is organized each year by the Japan Foundation (Toronto) and the Consulate General of Japan.

For more information you can visit the following websites:

A Tale of Samurai Cooking © 2016 「A Tale of Samurai Cooking」movie. All Rights Reserved.

The trailer is avaialble on Youtube:


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Toulouse-Lautrec: Affiche la Belle Époque

Toulouse-Lautrec: Affiche la Belle Époque

Mercredi après le travail je me suis dépêché d’aller visiter l’exposition sur les affiches de Toulouse-Lautrec au Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal qui se termine dimanche.

“Cette exposition présente une collection particulière d’exception qui comprend plus de quatre-vingt-dix estampes et affiches, couvrant presque toute la période de la production lithographique de Toulouse-Lautrec, de 1891 (…) à 1899.”

Même si on y retrouve que les affiches de Toulouse-Lautrec (pas de peintures), c’est tout de même très intéressant. Lautrec était vraiment un illustrateur de talent. Toutefois, c’est une petite exposition qui ne comprend que quelques salles et j’en ai donc fait le tour assez rapidement (en un peu plus d’une heure). Comme à mon habitude, j’ai photographié les pièces de l’exposition qui m’interpellaient le plus afin de garder un petit souvenir de ma visite.

Voici un bref diaporama des mes photos que j’ai converti en video sur Vimeo:


Voir aussi mon album photo sur Flickr (avec titres et détails des affiches):

Toulouse-Lautrec
(iPhone 6s, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, 2016-10-26)
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Weekly notable news (W42)

Not much happened this week. Same old, same old, as we say. Some aberrations at work keep exasperating me (but there’s only 552 more weeks to endure). On the way back from a doctor’s appointment, my wife and I walked through the mountain to admire the colours of fall. It was superb and I wonder why we don’t do this kind of walk more often. We’ve also spent time watching more of the American presidential insanities, two excellent animated features (Miss Hokusai and Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha Movie 1: The Red Desert! It’s Beautiful) as well as a new episode of Poldark. For my part, I’ve also started a promising new series (Westworld) and watched the season finale of Halt and Catch Fire. And I probably did a zillion other things (like updating my anime & manga bibliography) that I can’t even remember. But, does it really matter?

However, I do remember that I managed to find some time to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world. I therefore share with you a few notable news & links that I came across lately (in no particular order):

Funnies


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Otaku & other popular (sub)culture phenomenons

Many elements of the Japanese teens subculture are generated, influenced or more often simply expressed by anime & manga: otaku, enjo kōsai (teenage prostitution), hikikomori, karōshi (overwork death), idols, cosplay (as well as various fashion styles like gothic lolita, kogal or ganguro), hentai (including yaoi [“Boys’ Love”, i.e. manga showing romantic relationships between male characters], yuri [“Girls’ love”], lolicon [underage love], panchira [panties shots] and burusera [stores for panties & school uniforms fetishists]), manga café, kawaii, moe — just to name the few that quickly come to mind. Also, Japanese (pop)culture is having (as it often had in the past, i.e. “japonisme”) a great influence on our western culture (and particularly, lately, on the teen pop-culture, with the so-called Japanification).

Therefore, this is a subject particular enough to deserve a separate entry in my “Anime & Manga Bibliography”.

Index

The essentials
More anime & manga references
Otaku & other popular (sub)culture phenomenons
Japanese culture
Japanese drama & cinema
Japanese economy, geography & history
Japanese language
Japanese literature
Various others

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Otaku & other popular (sub)culture phenomenons

(Collectif). Cosplay Girls: Japan’s live animation heroines. Tokyo, DH Publishing (Cocoro books), 2003. 96 pg. $30.00 US. ISBN 978-0-9723124-2-0.

 

(Collectif). Eastern Standard Time: A Guide to Asian Influence on American Culture from Astro Boy to Zen Buddhism. Boston, Mariner Books, 344 pg. $24.95. ISBN 978-0-395-76341-X. See the review in PA.

 

(Collectif). Japan Edge: The Insider’s Guide to Japanese Pop Subculture. San Francisco, Cadence Books, 1999. 200 pg. $19.95 US / $29.95 Can. ISBN 978-1-56931-345-8.

 

AZUMA, Hiroki (Translated by Abel, Jonathan E. & KONO, Shion). Otaku: Japan’s database animals. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2009. 144 pg. ISBN 978-0-8166-5352-2.

 

BARRAL, Étienne. Otaku: Les enfants du virtuel. Paris, Denoël (Impacts), 1999. 314 pg. ISBN 978-2-207-24319-2.

 

KELTS, Roland. Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S. Hampshire (UK), Palgrave MacMillan, 2007. 242 pg. $14.95 / $17.25 Can. ISBN 978-1-4039-8476-0.

 

MACWILLIAMS, Mark W. (Ed.). Japanese Visual Culture. Explorations in the World of Manga and Anime. Armonk NY, ME Sharpe/East Gate, 2008. 352 pg. ISBN 978-0765616029.

 

WEST, Mark I. (Ed.). The Japanification of Children’s Popular Culture: From Godzilla to Miyazaki. Lanham, Scarecrow Press, 2009. 294 pg. ISBN 978-0-8108-5121-4.

 

WICHMANN, Siegfried. Japonisme: The Japanese influence on Western art since 1858. New York, Thames & Hudson, 1981. 432 p. ISBN 978-0-500-28163-7.

Next: Japanese Culture

More Anime & Manga References

We continue our “Anime & Manga Bibliography” — started with the “Essential References” — with more useful anime & manga references.

The books we own are on a yellow background. We have added pertinent links for those who want further details about the listed references.

Index

The essentials
More anime & manga references
general
anime
manga
anime & manga-related merchandizing
Otaku & other popular (sub)culture phenomenons
Japanese culture
Japanese drama & cinema
Japanese economy, geography & history
Japanese language
Japanese literature
Various others

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More Anime & Manga References

General

[Collectif] Le petit monde de la japanim’ et du manga (Animeland Hors-Série 5). Paris, Anime Manga Presse, 2003. 260 pg. 8,50 €. [in french]

 

BRENNER, Robin E. Understanding Manga and Anime. Libraries Unlimited, 2007. 356 pg. ISBN 978-1591583325. $40.00.

 

LUNNING, Frenchy (Ed.). Emerging Worlds of Anime and Manga (Mechademia 1). Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2006. 184 pg. ISBN 978-0816649457. $19.95.

 

LUNNING, Frenchy (Ed.). Networks of Desire (Mechademia 2). Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2007. 184 pg. ISBN 978-0816654826. $19.95.

 

LUNNING, Frenchy (Ed.). Limits of the Human (Mechademia 3). Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2008. 184 pg. ISBN 978-0816652662. $19.95.

 

LUNNING, Frenchy (Ed.). War/Time (Mechademia 4). Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2009. 338 pg. ISBN 978-0-8166-6749-9. $21.95.

 

LUNNING, Frenchy (Ed.). Fanthropologies (Mechademia 5). Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2010. 380 pg. ISBN 978-0-8166-7387-2. $24.95.

 

LUNNING, Frenchy (Ed.). User Enhancement (Mechademia 6). Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2011. 320 pg. ISBN 978-0-8166-7734-4. $24.95.

 

LUNNING, Frenchy (Ed.). Lines of Sight (Mechademia 7). Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2012. 302 pg. ISBN 978-0-8166-8049-8. $24.95.

 

LUNNING, Frenchy (Ed.). Tezuka Osamu: Manga Life (Mechademia 8). Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2013. 320 pg. ISBN 978-0-8166-8955-2. $24.95.

 

LUNNING, Frenchy (Ed.). Origins (Mechademia 9). Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2014. 320 p. $24.95 US. ISBN 978-0-8166-9535-5.

 

LUNNING, Frenchy (Ed.). World Renewal (Mechademia 10). Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2015. 272 p. $24.95 US. ISBN 978-0-8166-9915-5.

 

MACWILLIAMS, Mark W. (Ed.). Japanese Visual Culture. Explorations in the World of Manga and Anime. Armonk NY, ME Sharpe/East Gate, 2008. 352 pg. ISBN 978-0765616029.

 

PATTEN, Fred. Watching Anime, Reading Manga. 25 Years of Essays and Reviews. Berkeley, Stone Bridge Press, 2004. 384 pg. ISBN 978-1880656921. $18.95 US.

 

SCHMIDT, Jérôme. Génération manga: Petit guide du manga et de l’animation japonaise. Paris : Librio, 2004. 94 pg. ISBN 978-2290333150. € 2.00. [in french]

 

SCHODT, Frederik L. Astro Boy Essays (The). Berkeley, Stone Bridge Press, 2007. 156 pg. ISBN 978-1933330549. $16.95 US.

 

Anime

[Collectif] Kaboom!: Explosive Animation from America and Japan . Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art, 2005. 160 pg. ISBN 9781875632329.

 

BROPHY, Philip. 100 Anime (BFI Screen Guides). British Film Institute, 2008. 271 pg. ISBN 978-1844570843. $19.95.

 

CAVALLARO, Dani. The anime art of Hayao Miyazaki. Jefferson NC: McFarland, 2006. 204 pg. ISBN 978-0-7864-2369-9. $35.

 

CAVALLARO, Dani. Anime Intersections: Tradition and Innovation in Theme and Technique. Jefferson NC: McFarland, 2007. 210 pg. ISBN 978-0-7864-3234-9. $35.

 

CAVALLARO, Dani. The Cinema of Mamoru Oshii: Fantasy, technology and politics. Jefferson, McFarland, 2006. 248 pg. ISBN 978-0-7864-2764-7.

 

CLARKE, James. Animated Films. London, Virgin Books, 2004. 298 pg. $24.95 US / $37.50 Can. ISBN 978-0-7535-0804-4.

 

DRAZEN, Patrick. Anime Explosion! The What? Why? & Wow! Of Japanese Animation. Berkeley, Stone Bridge Press, 2003. 376 pg. ISBN 1-880656-72-8. $18.95 US.

 

KANNENBERG, Gene. 500 Essential Graphic Novels. The Ultimate Guide. New York, HarperCollins / Collins Design, 2008. 528 pg. ISBN 978-0061474514. $24.95 US / $26.95 CDN.

 

LAMARRE, Thomas. The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2009. 385 p. ISBN 9780816651559. (see back cover)

 

LEDOUX, Trish (Ed.). Anime Interviews: The First Five Years of Animerica (1992-97). San Francisco, Cadence Books, 1997. 192 pg. ISBN 1-56931-220-6.

 

LENT, John A. (Ed.). Animation in Asia and the Pacific. Bloomington/Indianapolis, Indiana University Press, 2001. 270 pg. ISBN 978-0-253-34035-7.

 

LEVI, Antonia. Samurai From Outer Space. Understanding Japanese Animation. Chicago, Open Court, 1996. 169 pg. ISBN 0-8126-9332-9.

 

McCARTHY, Helen. 500 Essential Anime Movies: The Ultimate Guide. New York, HarperCollins / Collins Design, 2008. 528 pg. ISBN 978-0061474507. $24.95.

 

McCARTHY, Helen. Anime! A Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Animation. London, Titan Books, 1993. 64 pg. ISBN 1-85286-492-3. £6.99.

 

McCARTHY, Helen. The Anime! Movie Guide. Movie-by-Movie Guide to Japanese Animation. Woodstock, The Overlook Press, 1997. 285 pg. ISBN 0-87951-781-6. $17.95 US.

 

McCARTHY, Helen. Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation. Berkeley, Stone Bridge Press, 1999. 240 pg. ISBN 1-880656-41-8.

 

MANGELS, Andy. Animation on DVD: The ultimate guide. Berkeley, Stone Bridge Press, 2003. 578 pg. $24.95 US. ISBN 978-1-880656-68-X.

 

NAPIER, Susan J. Anime: From Akira To Princess Mononoke. Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation. New York, Palgrave, 2001. 312 pg. ISBN 0-312-23863-0. $16.95 US / $23.95 Can.

 

NAPIER, Susan J. Anime: From Akira To Princess Mononoke. Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation. Updated Edition. New York, Palgrave, 2005. 356 pg. ISBN 978-1403970527. $17.95 US / $23.95 Can.

 

NARGED, Sid. Anything I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned from Anime. Townsend MA, Narged, 2008. 100 pg. ISBN 978-0-9793080-3-1. $12.95 US.

 

OMEGA, Ryan. Anime Trivia Quizbook 1. Berkeley, Stone Bridge Press, 2000. 176 pg. ISBN 1-880656-44-2. $14.95 US.

 

OMEGA, Ryan. Anime Trivia Quizbook 2. Berkeley, Stone Bridge Press, 2000. ISBN 1-880656-55-8. $14.95 US.

 

OSMOND, Andrew. Satoshi Kon: The illusionist. Berkeley, Stone Bridge Press, 2009. 128 pg. $18.95 US. ISBN 978-1-933330-74-7.

 

POITRAS, Gilles. Anime Companion (The). What’s Japanese in Japanese Animation? Berkeley, Stone Bridge Press, 1999. 163 pg. ISBN 1-880656-32-9. $16.95 US.

 

POITRAS, Gilles. Anime Companion 2 (The). What’s Japanese in Japanese Animation?. Berkeley, Stone Bridge Press, 2005. 154 pg. ISBN 978-1880656969. $18.95 US.

 

WIEDEMANN, Julius (Ed.). Animation Now! Köln, Taschen, 2004. 576 pg. ISBN 978-3-8228-2588-3.

 

Manga

(Collectif). Critical Survey of Graphic Novels: Manga. Hackensack, Salem Press (Coll. Critical Survey of Graphic Novels), septembre 2012. 400 pages, 2.5 x 20.3 x 26.7 cm, $195 US / $226.20 CND, ISBN 978-1587659553. Available as ebook (electronic format). Readership of 14+. (See short sample).

 

(Collectif). Osamu Tezuka Exhibition. Tokyo, The National Museum of Modern Art, 1990. 352 p.

 

ALLISON, Anne. Permitted and Prohibitted Desires: Mothers, Comics and Censorship in Japan. Hardcover: Boulder, Westview Press, 1996. 224 pg. ISBN 0-8133-1698-7. Paperback: Berkeley, University Of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21990-2.

 

INGULSRUD, John E. & ALLEN, Kate. Reading Japan Cool: Patterns of Manga Literacy and Discourse. Lanham (NY), Lexington Books (Rowman & Littlefield Publ.), 2009. 230 pg. ISBN 978-0-7391-2753-7.

 

KINSELLA, Sharon. Adult Manga: Culture and Power in Contemporary Japanese Society. Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 2000. 228 pg. ISBN 0-8248-2318-4.

 

MASANAO, Amano & WIEDEMANN, Julius (Ed). Manga Design. Koln, Taschen, 2004. 576 pg. ISBN 3-8228-2591-3.

 

ORSINI, Alex. Naoki Urasawa: L’air du temps. Montélimar, les moutons électriques (vol. 8 de la «la bibliothèque des miroirs-BD»), mai 2012. 252 pages, 17 x 21 cm, 63 € / $56.95 Cnd, ISBN 978-2-36183-076-2. Lectorat de 14 ans et plus.

 

PEETERS, Benoît. Jirô Taniguchi: L’homme qui dessine (Entretiens). Paris, Casterman, 2012. 192 pg. 20 €. ISBN 978-2-203-04606-1.

 

SIGAL, Denis. GraphoLexique du Manga: Comprendre et utiliser les symboles graphiques de la BD Japonaise . Paris: Eyrolles, 2007. 160 pgs. 17 €. ISBN 978-2-212-11791-2. Recommanded for adults. See my comment.

 

Anime & manga-related merchandizing

MOSS, Marie Y. Hello Kitty® Hello Everything! 25 Years of Fun! New York, Abrams Books, 2001. 72 pg. $17.95 US / $26.95 Can. ISBN 978-0-8109-3444-2.

 

SIGNORA, Guglielmo. Anime d’Acciaio: Guida al collezionismo di robot giapponesi. Bologna, Kappa Edizioni, 2004. 480 pg. € 32,00. ISBN 978-88-7471-067-4. [in Italian]

 

STEINBERG, Marc. Anime’s Media Mix: Franchising Toys and Characters in Japan. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2012. 314 pg. ISBN 978-0-8166-7550-0.

Next: Otaku & other popular (sub)culture phenomenons

Weekly notable news (W39)

Another busy week spent brooding about the craziness at work (still 555 weeks before retirement), going to the hospital for another CT enterography for my wife and backing-up my computers to install macOS 10.12 Sierra on both my iMac and Mac Mini. Didn’t have much else on my mind.

To relax we finished watching Dancing on the edge (Brit period drama about a black jazz band, part mystery and part social commentary on racism), the first episode of Maigret (Brit adaptation of Georges Simenon‘s police drama set in the ’50s Paris with Rowan Atkinson in the title role!!! It’s quite good once you’ve passed seeing Mr. Bean face. Now I understand why he never speaks in his sketches: he has a really serious, deep voice!) as well as the first two episodes of the second season of Poldark (yes, another Brit period drama).

And, of course, I still found a little time to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world. I therefore share with you a few notable news & links that I came across this week (in no particular order):

Funnies

Pearl Before Swine: Friday, May 27, 2016

[Reminds me of someone…]
Ben: Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

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Weekly notable news (week 33)

Here are twenty-five notable news & links that I found interesting, amazing or plain weird (in no particular order & some in French) / Voici vingt-cinq nouvelles et liens notables que j’ai trouvé intéressant, étonnant ou tout simplement bizarre (sans ordre particulier et la plupart en anglais):

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Weekly notable news [week 31]

Here are a few notable news & links that I came across this week:

Funnies

Non Sequitur: Monday, March 21, 2016 (The two-party detour)

Dilbert: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 (The Elbonian Religion)

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Haikus par Soseki

“Si Sôseki le romancier est de longue date traduit et commenté chez nous, une part plus secrète et à la fois plus familière de son œuvre nous est encore inconnue. Sôseki a écrit plus de 2500 haikus, de sa jeunesse aux dernières années de sa vie : moments de grâce, libérés de l’étouffante pression de la vie réelle, où l’esprit fait halte au seuil d’un poème, dans une intense plénitude.”

“Affranchis de la question de leur qualité littéraire, ils ont à mes yeux une valeur inestimable, puisqu’ils sont pour moi le souvenir de la paix dans cœur… Simplement, je serais heureux si les sentiments qui m’habitaient alors et me faisaient vivre résonnaient, avec le moins de décalage possible, dans le cœur du lecteur.“

“Ce livre propose un choix de 135 haïkus, illustrés de peintures et calligraphies de l’auteur, précédés d’une préface par l’éditeur de ses Œuvres complètes au Japon.”

(Texte du site de l’éditeur; voir aussi la couverture arrière)

Lire la suite après le saut de page >>

J’ai déjà introduit le haiku quand j’ai commenté Cent sept haiku par Masaoka SHIKI, cet auteur même qui a encouragé Sōseki à écrire et l’a initié aux haïkus. Né Kinnosuke Natsume à l’aube de l’ère Meiji, en 1867, il prendra le pseudonyme de «Sōseki» en 1888 (utilisant les deux premiers charactères d’une expression chinoise attribuée à Liu Yiqing: 漱石枕流 / shù dàn zhěn liú ou sōsekichinryū en japonais, littéralement «Se rincer la bouche avec une pierre et faire de la rivière son oreiller»). [ci-contre: p. 43]

Natsume Sōseki (夏目 漱石) deviendra l’un des auteur emblématique du Japon moderne. Après avoir étudié la littérature anglaise à l’Université de Tokyo, il part enseigner à Matsuyama (1895), puis à Kumamoto (1896), avant de passer trois ans d’études en Angleterre (1900-03) et de finalement succèder à Lafcadio Hearn à la chaire de littérature anglaise de l’université de Tokyo. Toutefois, il quitte ce poste en 1907 pour se consacrer à l’écriture. On lui connait plus d’une vingtaine d’ouvrages dont principalement Je suis un chat (吾輩は猫である / Wagahai wa neko de aru, 1905), Botchan (坊っちゃん, 1906), Sanshirô (三四郎, 1909), Et puis (それから / Sorekara, 1909), La porte (門 / Mon, 1910), et Choses dont je me souviens (思い出す事など / Omoidasukoto nado, 1910-11). Son importance dans la littérature japonaise est soulignée par le fait que son portrait apparait sur le billet de 1 000 yens.

Haikus est un ouvrage assez simple qui se lit très rapidement. Les petits poèmes sont typiquement présenté trois par page, agrémentés de peintures et de calligraphies par Sōseki. Dans mon commentaire de Cent sept haiku, j’ai déjà mentionné ma déception de ne pas ressentir la profondeur de la pensée ou des sentiments de l’auteur que l’on s’attendrait à retrouver dans cette forme de poésie. Il est toutefois intéressant d’essayer de comprendre ce que l’auteur désir exprimer. C’est un bel ouvrage et j’ai particulièrement apprécié les illustrations de l’auteur (ci-contre: p. 23) ainsi que la préface et les notes qui lévent un peu le voile sur les intensions et le parcours de Sōseki.

Somme toute c’est une très bonne lecture de chevet et pas nécessairement que pour les amateurs de culture nippone ou de poésie.

Haikus, par Sōseki (traduits par Elisabeth Suetsugu). Arles, Éditions Philippe Picquier, janvier 2002. 144 pages, 14.5 x 23.0 x 1.0 cm, 8,00 € / $32.95 Cnd, ISBN 2-8097-0125-8. Lectorat: pour tous!

Pour plus d’information vous pouvez aussi consulter les sites suivants:

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