Giorgio Amitrano, 55, the new director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Tokyo, is an eminent Italian scholar of Japanese literature who has translated a number of popular Japanese works, including Banana Yoshimoto’s “Kitchen.”

” ‘Kitchen’ became a best-selling book in Italy, selling around 300,000 copies,” said Amitrano, who inspired a boom in Yoshimoto’s works in his country with his translation in the early 1990s.

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