As an unrealistic dreamer by Murakami Haruki (4/4) International Catalunya Prize speech at 2011-06-11

Here is a complete English translation of Murakami Haruki's International Catalunya Prize speech at 2011-06-11, part 4/4.  This is not an official translation. Please tell me if you believe there are any legal issues in my distribution of a translation, though I believe this is one of the stories that we all can share.

Here is also related German article from Asienspiegel

As I mentioned before, we are living in the ephemeral, always changing ``mujo'' world. In front of nature, we are powerless. Recognition of such transience is one of the fundamental ideas of Japanese culture. But at the same time, even if we are in such a fragile and dangerous world, we must have the silent determination to live vividly. We should be invested with this kind of positive spirit.

I am deeply proud that the Catalunyan people appreciate my work and have honored me with this prize. We live far away from each other and we speak different languages. Even our cultural foundations are different. But we still have similar problems and we have similar reasons for happiness and sadness -- we are both citizens of the world. That's why many of the stories of Japanese writers are translated into Catalan and people can read them. I am so happy that we can share the same stories with you. Dreaming is one of the jobs of a writer. But the more important job of a writer is to share these dream with other people. One cannot be a writer without feeling the need to share.

I know that the Catalunyan people have had a lot of hardship in their long history. There have been some harsh times, but you were strong and survived, protecting your own language and culture. We should have a lot of things to share.

If we become ``unrealistic dreamers,'' both in Japan and here in Catalunya, and if we establish a common idea of our values, how great it would be. This would be our starting point for the rebirth of humanity, a starting point after experiencing many natural disasters and passing through times of horrible terrorism. We should not fear having a dream.  We should not fear having a vision of the ideal. And we should not allow ourselves to be caught by the dogs of disaster named ``Efficiency'' and ``Convenience''. We will be ``unrealistic dreamers,'' striding forward, strong and confident.

This is the end of my speech, though I would also like to say that I will donate the full prize amount to the victims of the earthquake and of the accidents of the atomic reactors. I thank the people of Catalunya and the Generalitat de Catalunya who gave me these opportunities. And also, as a Japanese person, I express deep condolences to the recent earthquake victims of Lorca.

Supplement by the translator

Japanese transcripts of Murakami's speech can be found on the Web, mainly from the newspaper companies. However, there are some differences between Murakami's actual speech and these newspaper transcripts. (Perhaps the newspapers used an earlier manuscript of the speech.) This translation is based on the video of the speech on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL-W7tX1Z-Y and related videos).


Thanks to Andy K. for working with me on this translation.

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