With translations across every genre from mysteries to literary classics to horror to feminist works, Japanese storytelling has earned a starring role on the international stage of literature. The often unsung heroes behind the overseas hits are the translators. The Japan Times will highlight one working translator a month, exploring this literary pursuit.

Jay Rubin, 78, who is a professor emeritus of Japanese literature at Harvard University, took his first steps in translating with “Sanshiro” by Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) as a young graduate student. As a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago in the late ’60s, Rubin studied under the scholar and translator Edwin McClellan, who is perhaps best known for his translation of Soseki’s “Kokoro.”

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