Conjure in your mind an image of a “literary translator” and you’ll perhaps think of a university academic with a treasured translation project on the side or otherwise a professional translator eking out their living translating novels at the behest of publishers.

What you probably would not expect is a besuited corporate lawyer who, after arranging international property and finance deals, opens his desk drawer at home, pulls out a classic of Japanese literature and carries on translating it from where he last left off.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.