In Britain, Kazuo Ishiguro’s fictions have been received favourably from the start of his career, and his reticent writing style has proved attractive to readers. However, in Japan the translation of An Artist of the Floating World (1986) was quietly received.1 Immediate responses to Ukiyo no Gaka (1988) were focused on the readability of the translation rather than on the novel itself: the paradoxical nature of ‘retranslating’ into Japanese the original English text’s representation of Japan, and the transfiguration of Ishiguro’s understated writing style. What this discussion of form ‘repressed’, however, was the fact that it was Ukiyo’s uncomfortable subject matter that made the novel unpopular, because it confronted readers in post-war Japan with the debate about the ‘war responsibility’ of the nation.
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