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Two of the most successful Japanese novels of the past few years that have been translated into English are Hiromi Kawakami’s “The Briefcase” and Fuminori Nakamura’s “Last Winter, We Parted.” Both were translated by Allison Markin Powell, a literary translator and editor based in New York.

Her distinguished career includes translating Osamu Dazai’s “Schoolgirl,” so it’s somewhat surprising to learn that Japanese is her third language.

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