IN KEEPING WITH THE SPIRIT OF THE AWARD, THE FIRST WAS SHARED
Japanese German philologist Jun Wada and the Arno Schmidt Foundation won the Kakehashi Literature Prize in 2014 for the translation of the story “Seelandschaft with Pocahontas” (Lake Scenery with Pocahontas) and service to the legacy of Arno Schmidt.
Pornography and blasphemy — "Seelandschaft mit Pocahontas" was the scandal of the book world in autumn 1955. The legal complaints were taken seriously and the prospect of a three-year prison sentence loomed. The author of this controversial work, Arno Schmidt (1914 – 1979), was already contemplating exile in Switzerland or the GDR, but he finally decided to simply flee from the Catholic judicial district of Trier to the more liberal one of Darmstadt. He expected to receive greater understanding for his Wortkunst there, and he was justified. The case against him was dismissed in summer 1956.
“This scandal was one of the aspects that interested me most,” said the 28-year-old scholar of German language and literature Jun Wada. It took him more than three years to complete the first-ever translation of this story into Japanese. Except for a number of essays, there had previously been no Japanese translations of works by Arno Schmidt, the eloquent author of modern classics. “The translation of his works into Japanese poses a number of real challenges,” Wada adds. He can hardly take his eyes off the original manuscript of the story, which Bernd Rauschenbach, the director of the Arno Schmidt Foundation, has just placed before him.