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NAGOYA — Japan has long been a favored destination, and a favorite subject, for Western scribes. In the 19th century, Laficadio Hearn and Isabella Bird penned books that were widely read in Europe and the United States. In the 20th century, novelists like James Michener and beat poet Gary Snyder were heavily inspired by Japan. Modern writers like Pico Iyer have used Japanese culture as the theme or background for their novels.

The Japan Writers’ Conference, which opened at Nanzan University in Nagoya on Saturday, makes no promises that participants will reach the kind of public recognition enjoyed by the above names.

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