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Lin Shaohua, Spread Wamth to More Through Letters
    2008-01-04 16:18:30     CRIENGLISH.com

In a previous edition of our program, we've talked about Haruki Murakami. Many Chinese say that works of the Japanese writer inspired and encouraged them in their youth. Behind his popularity in China is an important Chinese translator, Lin shaohua. Mr. Lin has translated the best of Haruki Murakami's works into Chinese, acting as a bridge between the Japanese writer and his Chinese audience.

Lin Shaohua [Photo Source: Xmnn.cn]

In many Chinese readers' eyes, the name Lin Shaohua, which is always printed on the covers of the Chinese version of Murakami's novels, can somewhat equal the writer himself.

Some even claim that if it were not Lin Shaohua, Murakami wouldn't have enjoyed such a great reputation among Chinese readers.
Xiao He is an enthusiastic reader of Murakami's books.

"I would use 'graceful' to describe his translation. Though I've read same books translated by others, compared to Lin's translation, they always seemed mechanical and plain. I firmly believe that if not for translation of Lin Shaohua, I probably would not like Murakami so much."

As a Japanese major, Ran is another admirer of Murakami's works.

"You know, I read the Chinese version first, but when I was able to read the original works, I got the same meaning and the same artistic feelings from the original books. I've always believed that Lin Shaohua and Haruki Murakami must be sort of soul mates, who think and feel alike, only that one writes in Japanese and the other expresses his feelings in Chinese."

Lin Shaohua says if he hadn't encountered works by Haruki Murakami, he could have led a different life, and would most likely become a writer himself.

Graduated as a master in Literature back in 1982, Lin Shaohua used to picture his future as an essayist.

But seven years later, when he was teaching Japanese at a university, he happened to read "the Norwegian Woods" and translated it into Chinese.

He didn't expect that Murakami's works would accompany him for so long; neither did he predict that the Japanese writer's works would become such an important part of his life.

"It has been 18 years that I've been translating Murakami's books in China, and someone says that there must be some reason behind that. I must confess that I share much with him. Mostly, the way he looks at this world. If there is a flower, instead of just seeing its beauty and vitality, he never fears to point out its definite future of withering and falling. He believes that death, though to be grieved, should be faced directly with a brave and poetic heart. And the real beauty of life lies just in this process."

In addition to his translating work, Mr. Lin continues his teaching in both China and Japan as a professor. Lin Shaohua says he likes both roles of teacher and translator.

He says the roles are quite complementary. After burying his head in the toiling translation, he can relax among his students and be motivated by them.

And there is something he really wants to deliver to readers.

"You know that the characters in Murakami's novels may be just marginalized figures, who are ordinary people, or the so-called successful persons. But they have their independent views on life, their own solid criteria on judging things, as well as their unique feelings. They have a kind of respect and nobility that they are not willing to impose on others. They always care for people with kindness, warmth and silent consideration, in a comfortable distance. I want to spread the warmth and comfort to more people."

When being asked to choose a life as one character in Murakami's novels, Liu Shaohua singled out the character in novel "Dance, Dance, Dance", whose name was merely "I". He said, though the man was divorced and not rich, but he tried his best to operate his little business and enjoy a carefree life. To make the greatest joy from what life offers is his definition of a happy life.

Lin Shaohua now lives in Qingdao, a beautiful coastal city in Eastern China's Shandong Province, teaching Japanese at a college there.
He is still translating Murakami's books, his two-decade-long old friend.



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