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The literary arts are mainly solitary activities. Wordsmiths are, however, social animals and — the odd Pynchon aside — seek out the company of the rest of the species.

This is one of the motivating factors behind the formation of a new collective, Strong Women, Soft Power, which launched its first Tokyo event on Nov. 18 with a symposium exploring “best practice” for Japanese-to-English translators. Allison Markin Powell, Lucy North and Ginny Tapley Takemori — responsible for some of the best translations of Japanese literature in recent years — have banded together with the aim of creating a network of support and strength for each other, and for other literary translators working within the Japanese arena.

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