Bringing the World Books from Japan

Scenes from the 2013 Tokyo International Literary Festival

The three-day Tokyo International Literary Festival attracted more than 2,500 visitors in early March 2013. It was an opportunity for writers, translators, editors, and other individuals in the publishing industry to come together with members of the public to engage in literary discussions. This debut literary festival in Tokyo was a resounding success. Some of its highlights are introduced in this video.


A complete 14-minute version is available here.

Tokyo International Literary Festival

Japan’s first major literary festival was held in Tokyo from March 1 to 3, 2013. Even though the event was not widely promoted, the attendance figures were impressive, as spaces for most sessions were quickly filled up.

The festival was highly anticipated by the event organizers and book lovers alike. And it lived up to expectations, as the event’s program planner and director, Makoto Ichikawa, explains: “It was extremely gratifying to hear from many attendees, from both Japan and overseas, that the festival was just the sort of event they had hoped for; this made us feel that our efforts had been worthwhile.”

Keynote Speech by Natsuki Ikezawa

In his keynote speech at the festival, Natsuki Ikezawa—a novelist, translator, and essayist—stressed the importance of face-to-face meetings in the literary world. He predicted that such personal encounters will become increasingly important amidst the spread of electronic books and digital communications, as he explains: “Readers may remember the name of an author of a book they’ve read, but the image of the author still remains insubstantial. Meeting and speaking with the writer deepens a reader’s understanding and interest in that author. This sort of interaction is especially meaningful in this day and age.”

It is hoped that the festival will not only bring more people around the world into contact with Japanese literature but also raise interest within Japan.

Video and editing by Shogo Kido
Video by Masayuki Tanaka