Libmonster ID: U.S.-1417
Author(s) of the publication: E. IKONNIKOVA
Educational Institution \ Organization: Sakhalin State University

In the works of two famous Japanese writers - Haruki Murakami (b. 1949) and Masahiko Shimada (b. 1961) - the image of Russia and, in particular, the theme of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands reveals itself with quite interesting frequency. In 2003-2004, both authors published completely different books in genre: one is dedicated to Sakhalin (recall that from 1905 to 1945, the southern part of this island was under the jurisdiction of Japan and was called the Karafuto governorate), the other-to the island of Iturup, which belongs to the Kuril Islands.

What is the picture of modern Sakhalin and Iturup in the works of Japanese writers and what preceded such attention of authors, whose general content of books is rather surreal than has exact analogies with the real world?


Being popular among modern Russian readers, Japanese writer Haruki Murakami first visited Russia only in the summer of 2003. Moreover, the writer began the geographical "development" of Russia from its eastern borders - from Sakhalin. Coming to the island was due, on the one hand, to the personal desire of the writer himself, who intended to visit the eastern outskirts of Russia in the company of his Russian translator Dmitry Kovalenin, on the other - a specific order from the Japanese glossy magazine "Title". The editorial task was reduced to the need to tell in a form accessible to the average reader about what kind of entertainment package Japanese people can get if they go on the next foreign trip to the Far Eastern region.

The assignment of the magazine's management was carried out by Murakami together with his colleagues in the creative workshop - Yumi Yoshimoto and Kyoichi Tsuzuki, who, together with the writer, are members of a self - created association with an intricate name - "Tokyo Dried Cuttlefish Club". The name "club" was most likely given by analogy with the speed and maneuverability of movement of shellfish in sea waters. The speed of exploring unknown places and the mobility of club members are similar to the typical characteristics of cuttlefish (one of the conditions for membership in the "club" is reduced travel time, in which the arrival of a famous writer in a particular place is not advertised). At the same time, dried cuttlefish, which is the basis for the name of such an unusual association, is perceived in Japan as a small gift made from the heart.

The result of Murakami's Sakhalin trip was a series of articles in the magazine "Title", which later, together with recommendations and generalizations for traveling Japanese, was duplicated on the pages of the travel guide " Tokyo Dried Cuttlefish Club. Lost on Earth "(2004) 1.


Murakami's trip took place during the July days*: it was in July, as you know, that A. P. Chekhov himself began to get acquainted with Sakhalin. The comparison between Murakami and Chekhov is also based on the fact that the Japanese writer's interest in Sakhalin realities is first recorded in the context of an artistic narrative (in the books of the Rat Trilogy, and specifically in the novel Sheep Hunting, 1983), then in an essayistic documentary (in the Tokyo Club guidebook shared with friends). dried cuttlefish"). In the case of Chekhov, the documentarian's view preceded the actual artistic development (it is known that the theme of the travel essays "Sakhalin Island" (1895) was subsequently repeatedly projected in the prose of the Russian writer). But, like Chekhov, Murakami began his acquaintance with Russia not from the official parade side (not from the capital, where he was invited many times to participate in book fairs), but from the "lost" outskirts.

Murakami's interest in the name of the Russian writer is shown in the pages of two of his books: in the so-called "Russian ""Preface" 2 to the novel "Wonderland

* More precisely, on June 30, 2003, Murakami Haruki and his friends arrived from Hakodate to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, and on July 4, they left Korsakov, Sakhalin Region, by ferry to Wakkanai.

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without brakes and the End of the World "(1991) 3, in a somewhat distorted reference to the dialogues about the soul of the characters of "Chamber No. 6", and in the book "Kafka on the Beach" (2002)4, where Chekhov's understanding of the intentional nature of things in the world is treated in a special way 5.

In the" Preface "to" Wonderland without Brakes and the End of the World", as well as in the novel" Kafka on the Beach", the name of A. P. Chekhov is necessary for the Japanese writer situational-Chekhov's understanding of the soul is partly akin to the philosophy of the book's heroes, or explains the actions of certain characters in his works. But the guidebook has slightly different goals. In his presentation of Sakhalin, Murakami often compares what he saw with what was described by Chekhov.

"If you read the book Sakhalin Island," Murakami says to his compatriots, " you will be able to really look at things, despite the fact that the book about Sakhalin is written from the point of view of a Europeanized person (meaning the Czechs. - E. I.). Together with Chekhov, you will visit even the most remote areas of Sakhalin, you will be able to get acquainted with the way of life on the island"6. He seems to be creating a new account of life on Sakhalin after a visit to the island by a famous Russian writer a hundred years later. At the same time, Murakami, who goes to the "God-forsaken corner", like Chekhov, is driven by "writer's curiosity" 7.

At the very beginning of his Sakhalin narrative, Murakami refers to Chekhov's name, offering readers general information about the Russian writer's journey to the convict island. The Japanese author calls the book "Sakhalin Island ""an extremely interesting, rare book", "the most valuable travel notes"8 and says that he got acquainted with Chekhov's artistic and ethnographic research before he decided to go on a Sakhalin trip: "Since I read "Sakhalin Island", I have developed an interest in the island land. And I thought: "If I ever get the chance, I will definitely go there." 9

In the Tokyo Dried Cuttlefish Club guidebook, Murakami writes that "Chekhov's vision of the life of weak-willed people (and human life in general) is extremely fair and warm." 10 The Japanese writer is interested in how Sakhalin has changed since Chekhov's time.


Murakami's description of Sakhalin's reality is striking with its special attention to ordinary and inconspicuous things for the Russian mentality. Unlike the author's books, impressions of Sakhalin in the Japanese edition of the Tokyo Dried Cuttlefish Club are presented not by one person, but by three members of the "club" of travelers - a writer (Murakami himself), a journalist (Yoshimoto) and a photographer (Tsuzuki).

In order for the reader to find the right landmarks in the almost 4,000-page guide to "lost" places on Earth (this book clearly does not belong to the pocket manuals of potential travelers), the beginning of the text belonging to one or another member of the club is indicated by a caricature of its author on the title pages.

The Sakhalin review of Tokyo Travelers takes up 70 pages of book narration. The Sakhalin section in the Japanese edition opens with a schematic fragment of the geographical map of Sakhalin. And this is probably not accidental: according to Murakami, in earlier epochs Sakhalin was "a God-forsaken land", "a wild land not only geographically, but also psychologically"11.

The cartographic information presented in the book is concise and selective: in addition to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the port cities of Sakhalin - Poronaysk, Korsakov, Nevelsk, Aniva and Kholmsk-are marked, the Tatar Strait and Tyuleniy Island are marked. Accompanying travel essays by members of the Tokyo Club, photos and their names define the character of the current island civilization.

A historical excursion into the distant past of the island civilization allows the Japanese writer to draw the following conclusions: "island " was actively settled by political migrants. In fact, the so-called migrants were exiled to Sakhalin together with their families, and there were people who supervised them. "Ordinary people" practically did not live on Sakhalin. Living conditions were very harsh, and people were constantly in need. Many prisoners died from severe beatings. " 12

Murakami called the five-day "difficult" trip to Sakhalin "big", which contained, obviously, the most important discovery for the writer - Sakhalin is not at all like abroad, internally it is perceived as a provincial Japanese city. The provinciality of Sakhalin, or to be more precise, its southern part, is emphasized by the focused gaze of Tokyo travelers not on museums and other educational centers, but on kiosks, book stalls, market squares and shops on wheels - grocery stores of vegetables and fruits brought from the south, generically called "Uzbek"in the commentary to one of the photos. It is in the bookshelves, not in book pavilions, that Murakami tries to find his book "Sheep Hunting" (in which the writer casually mentions the landscapes of southern Sakhalin, and also talks about island migrants from Japan).

The hotel industry on the island of s is also being evaluated by traveling Tokiyans.

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presentation of hotel rooms and conditions of stay in them. Actually, traveling around the island and the adjacent water area becomes an example of combining extreme situations and obtaining some encyclopedic knowledge about the history, ethnography and culture of the island region.

Special attention of travelers should also be paid to the unsightly moments of island life - garbage dumps outside the city, asphalt cracked in city squares, wooden insulation on the northern sides of five-story buildings typical of Sakhalin, the observation deck of the Gorny Vozdukh tourist base and the construction of ski jumps that have fallen into disrepair.

Among the distinctive features of the island region, Murakami and his friends refer to the" fishing " profile of Sakhalin and its unique natural flavor, recorded in photographic images framing the entire story of Sakhalin with a sparse but imaginative seascape - a sandy and stone coast, a clear horizon line, cloud smoke going into the distance and a lonely figure of a traveler.

In Murakami's opinion, modern Sakhalin differs "from the Sakhalin of the times of hard labor"13. A new image of Sakhalin reality, according to Murakami, was formed as a result of the economic collapse that followed perestroika. Currently, life on the island is improving due to changes in infrastructure and the development of oil and gas projects: "Such changes in the economy have led to a big difference between rich and poor people...> society is divided into losers and winners, " writes a Japanese author14.

Murakami's impressions of the island trip come down to the fact that Sakhalin is terra incognita, and the first touch to the "unknown", like many heroes of the Japanese writer's books, should be personal and, to some extent, secret. The uncertainty of the life achievements of the heroes of Murakami's works opens the way for a clash or reconciliation of different points of view and views on the still boundless and full of mysteries of the earthly world. A world that, apparently, should begin with" lost on Earth "and" God-forsaken " provincial suburbs, similar to modern Sakhalin.


In modern Japanese literature, Masahiko Shimada's books are as popular as Murakami's. Moreover, Shimada's passion for Russian issues is associated with his professional outlook: a year after his literary debut with the story "Divertissement for the Tender Left" (1983), the aspiring writer graduated from the Russian department of the Tokyo Institute of Foreign Languages (1984). But the actual introduction to Russia took place three years earlier: in 1981, he made his first tourist trip to Moscow.

During his more than 20-year career, the writer, among other things, created two works, the plot of which unfolds directly on the territory of Russia-this is the story "Travelers-emigrants shout-grumble" and the story "Chernodyrka". In Russian translations, Shimada's work was until recently familiar to readers only from large-scale epic works translated into Russian - "The Lord of Dreams", "The Floating Woman, the Drowning Man" and "King Armadillo", as well as from a number of short stories, one of which gave the name to the anthology of Japanese prose of the XX century - " Theory catastrophes " 15.

In the summer of 2006, one of Shimada's last works, Love on Iturup (2003), was translated into Russian, completing the Canon that Sounds Forever trilogy. The plot twists and turns of the novel, the system of images, the ideological and thematic basis, and many other formal and substantive components of the book define it as a work with "Russian" problems. At the very beginning of "Love on Iturup", both Chekhov's name and one of the islands of the Kuril Ridge, located within the borders of the modern Sakhalin Region, are involved in a single semantic space. What is the reason for such a combination of such diverse images, and what are the reasons that prompted the writer to send the main character of his trilogy in search of the meaning of life on a Pacific island remote from a large civilization?

The main character of the novel "Love on Iturup" is the great-grandson of the famous Cio-Cio - san-opera singer Kaoru Noda, who decided to "start a second life on Iturup" 16. Kaoru compares his stay on the island, "where cold winds are raging" 17, to a voluntary exile in which he will have to learn the deepest secrets of true love. The hero's journey to Iturup starts from the Japanese city of Wakkanai, from where he goes to the Russian port of Korsakov. Subjected to an unbiased inspection by Sakhalin customs, Kaoru likens himself to Chekhov: "They say that when Chekhov lived on Sakhalin, the island of exiles, he was also constantly asked why he came here." 18

Unlike the Russian writer, the hero of the book Kaoru hardly knows the true reason that prompted him to go on such a trip.

* In the autumn of the same year, Shimada came to Moscow at the invitation of the Inostrannka publishing house to meet with Russian readers of his works and participate in public discussions of books of contemporary Japanese literature.

** The previous two books in the trilogy - " The Comet Master "and" Happy Souls " are written in the genre of family chronicles.

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an unusual trip. Each of the options that he suggests to himself or his interlocutors who are interested in this fact is unlikely. People refuse to believe that it is possible to relax or admire the island on Iturup, but they readily agree that Kaoru, without special education, can study the Kuril fauna at a professional level.

Kaoru's visit to Iturup is rather an attempt to test the metaphysical power of love between the protagonist and his mysterious lover Fujiko, who is soon to become the wife of a very famous person. It is no coincidence that Shimada wrote in the afterword of his novel that " now only the other side can connect them. Hoping for a rebirth, Kaoru goes to the island-it is on the other side, and Fujiko goes to the shore called "the imperial family". But love still doesn't die. " 19


Kaoru's loneliness and the futility of his spiritual quest are related to the main motif of the entire book - the curse of Iturup. The curse supposedly imposed on the island is also reflected in the fate of all the characters in the book - Nina, a former Japanese language student at Khabarovsk University, her strange mother Maria, her brother Kosta, and, of course, Kaoru himself. Moreover, the motif of the curse of the island evokes analogies with one of the plots of Chekhov's "Sakhalin Island".

At the very beginning of Shimada's book, the following story is told: "The doctor of the prison hospital, where Chekhov was staying, told him a legend. When the Russians came to Sakhalin and began to exterminate the Gilyak people, the Gilyak shaman cursed the island so that it would never be of any use to anyone. Probably, incurable melancholy and boredom are indispensable companions of life on the cursed island. But what good is this: methodically depressing every traveler who passes through customs, and then using it as a cure for boredom? I wanted to say what I thought, but I didn't even sigh. " 20

A little later, the story of the curse of Sakhalin by the Gilyak shaman is repeated in relation to Iturup itself, a trip to which is the limit of Kaoru's dreams, located in one of the Sakhalin ports: "Iturup is punctured. Cursed? The same story that the prison hospital doctor told Chekhov? I asked her why she thought so, and Nina said:

"I know, because I was born on Iturup. I lived there for eighteen years... " 21.

Recall that Chekhov also repeatedly heard during his trip to Sakhalin about the" curse " of the island land:

"...Not true. Your Sakhalin doesn't give you anything. Cursed land.

At dinner, the following legend was told: when the Russians occupied the island and then began to offend the Gilyaks, the Gilyak shaman cursed Sakhalin and predicted that it would not make any sense.

"And so it turned out." 22

Chekhov, in fact, repeatedly draws the reader's attention to the" curse " of the Sakhalin land: for example, in one case, when a writer asks a settler why a rooster is on a leash in the owner's yard, he receives an ironic answer:

"We have everything on a chain on Sakhalin. < ... > The land is just like that." 23

The motif of the curse also develops the theme of harsh, punishing nature. However, in the monotony of dark images of merciless Far Eastern nature, as in Chekhov's "Sakhalin Island", Simada also has lyrical landscapes with a positive orientation: "Usually heavy clouds hung over the Sea of Okhotsk, but today - a rare case-it reflected the stars and the moon. However, they looked like on a TV screen with a bad antenna. Although the sky was clear, the wind did not stop for a second, and the stars and moon were constantly swaying. " 24


It is noteworthy that Shimada's artistic interpretation of the curse of Iturup is partly supported by his own impressions of life on the island. In 1992, the writer visited Iturup and exactly 11 years after that completed the trilogy "Canon that sounds forever" (the general idea of the whole book originated with the author in 1997, and the first part was published only in 2000). Therefore, the island depicted in "Love on Iturup" with its natural flavor, strong the fate of the Kuril residents themselves is by no means a figment of the writer's imagination.

Shimada's memories of Iturup extend beyond the third part of the Canon That Sounds Forever trilogy. In an interview with the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, he says about Iturup: "The island farthest from Moscow, where military families and fishermen live, bears and pink salmon, has not changed much since Chekhov visited Sakhalin. I lived in an apartment with local residents, and I am still grateful to them..."25 It is interesting that even in the interview Simada correlates his idea of Iturup with Chekhov's travel notes about Sakhalin.

Completing the description of a number of details of Shimada's book "Iturup Island", mainly devoted to one of the islands of the Kuril Ridge, we note that in the earlier works of the writer there are place names related to modern Russia (in particular, to the Sakhalin Region) and in general to the countries of the Asia-Pacific region. In Shimada's metaphysically complex novel Floating Woman, Sinking Man (1996), the political discussions of the main characters repeatedly feature images of Russia, China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. At the same time, the "Russian" theme of this novel becomes the leading one. So, some of the heroes of this work not only have Russian names (in particular, Tatiana), but also understand the Russian language. And at the very end of the book, the casino hostages lose their freedom at Russian roulette.

The characters ' wild fantasies often include images of Russian lands and cities (Siberia, the Far East, the Kuril Islands, Vladivostok, and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk). For example, one of the characters in the book plans the following three-week journey through the eastern waters of the Eurasian continent: "... then set a course for the Vla-

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divostok. Then, after bypassing Otara, go around Sakhalin, Iturup, Kunashir, go to Nemuro and return to the port of Tokyo"26. The islands of the Sakhalin Region are also named in other episodes of Shimada's book.

In another fragment of the novel "The Floating Woman, the Drowning Man" there is a mention of the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, which simultaneously with other geographical places (a megalopolis or a small island) can be involved in a single information space: "By connecting to an electronic information network that covers the whole world, you find yourself simultaneously in Shanghai, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, on the island of Uotsuri or in Tokyo"27.

Thus, Murakami and Shimada's books, on the one hand, contain certain projections from Chekhov's "Sakhalin Island", and on the other hand, they expand the space of Far Eastern and "Russian" issues in literary texts that are interesting to both Japanese and domestic readers.

Murakami H., Yoshimoto Y., Tsuzuki K. 1 Tokyo Dried Cuttlefish Club. Lost on Earth. Tokyo, 2004.

2 "Preface" to the novel "Wonderland without Brakes and the End of the World" was written especially for the Russian reader in 2002.

Murakami Haruki. 3 Wonderland without Brakes and the End of the World: A Novel. Moscow, 2003.

Murakami Haruki. 4 Kafka on the beach / Translated from yap. I. and S. Logachevykh, Moscow, 2004.

5 See the dialogue of the characters in the book: Murakami Haruki. Kafka on the beach ... p. 394.

Murakami Haruki. 6 Preface to the Russian edition / / Murakami Haruki. Wonderland without brakes ...p. 269.

7 Ibid., p. 270.

Murakami H., Yoshimoto Yu., Tsuzuki K. 8 Edict. op. p. 270.

9 Ibid., p. 271.

10 Ibid., p. 268.

Murakami H., Yoshimoto Yu., Tsuzuki K. 11 Edict. op. p. 269. Here and further on, all translations from Japanese are made by Antonina Akimova.

12 Ibid., p. 269.

13 Ibid., p. 269.

14 Ibid., p. 270.

Shimada Masahiko. 15 Teoriya katastrof [Theory of catastrophes] // The theory of catastrophes. Sovremennaya yaponskaya proza [Modern Japanese prose].

Shimada Masahiko. 16 Lyubov na Iturupe: Roman [Love on Iturup: A Novel] / Translated from yap. by E. Tarasova. M., Inostrank, 2006. p. 17.

17 Ibid., p. 19.

18 Ibid., p. 15.

19 Ibid., p. 220.

20 Ibid., pp. 15-16.

21 Ibid., p. 20.

22 Sakhalin Island, Moscow, Sovetskaya Rossiya Publ., 1984, p . 44.

23 Ibid., p. 56.

Shimada Masahiko. 24 Love on Iturup... p. 27.

Kopylova Vera. 25 Shaman reads Bulgakov / / Moskovsky Komsomolets, 12.10.2006 (N 231). P. 7.

Shimada Masahiko. 26 Floating woman, sinking man: A novel / Translated from the Russian by D. Ragozin, Moscow, 2005, p. 62.

27 Ibid., p. 231.


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