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3rd October 1999

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Telling the Japanese about Sinhala literature

Tadashi Noguchi, a well-known scholar in Sinhala language and literature in Japan received an award from the Lanka Lekhaka Sanvidhanaya (Writers' Association of Sri Lanka), for his valuable service towards popularising Sinhala language and literature among the Japanese.

The awards ceremony was held at the Mahaweli Centre Auditorium on September 8. Sri Lankan writers, critics, academics from the universities, and several Japanese scholars were among the participants. Professor Ariya Rajakaruna, whose many contributions have added to the Sinhala translations of Japanese literary works, chaired the meeting.

Mr. Noguchi whose interest in Sinhala language and literature began at the age of eight, had to wait for many years to fulfil his dream. He was able to visit Sri Lanka in 1964 and join the University of Peradeniya as a foreign student. He was fortunate to begin his studies in Sinhala language and literature under personalities such as Professor D. E. Hettiarachchi, Professor Ediriweera Sarachchandra, and other academics . He wrote his first original novel in Sinhala, 'Anithya Jeevithayak' while at the university.

Mr. Noguchi then translated a novel, Kokoro, by a well-known Japanese writer, Natsume Soseki, into Sinhala. The second edition of Kokoro, by S. Godage Publishers, was launched at this awards ceremony.

Mr. Noguchi translated two more novels, 'Malagiya Etto' and 'Malavunge Avurudu Da' by Sarachchandra into Japanese with the title, Nakihito.

He has also made it easy for Japanese students to study Sinhala by publishing two big volumes of Japanese - Sinhala and Sinhala-Japanese dictionaries. A well-known Japanese publishing company, Daigakushurin has undertaken the task of the publication of these dictionaries.

Mr. Noguchi delivered the guest lecture at the ceremony on Japanese novels with an emphasis on Natsume Soseki and his novels. Professor Ariya Rajakaruna, speaking from the Chair, said the Sinhala novel has still not been able to progress from what it was in the 19th century.

Professor Kusuma Karunaratne, thanking Mr. Noguchi for his support in creating an awareness among the Japanese people, about Sinhala literature and also making the Sinhala reader understand Japanese literature, commended this Japanese scholar for his efforts. Professor Karunaratne also mentioned that for Noguchi Sri Lanka is not a foreign country but a second home .

Tilak does it again with Sri Yahana

Tilak Balasuriya was awarded the prize for the best translation of Sinhala prose into English at the State Literary Award Festival, held at the B.M.I.C.H. on September 23.

The ceremony was presided over by the Minister of Buddha Sasana and of Cultural and Religious Affairs, Lakshman Jayakody.

Tilak has won this award consecutively for three years prior to this.

His contribution this year was the translation of the Sinhala novel 'Siri Yahana' by well known author Kulasena Fonseka, titled 'The Ways of the World'.

Translations of K. Jayatilleke's 'Punchirala,' 'Vortez 1: An Anthology of Sinhala Short Stories in English' and K. Jayatilleke's 'The Death of Punchirala', are some of his prize winning productions.

Through his work he aims to highlight talented Sinhala writers and their works. His simple English prose style absorbs the essence of the original Sinhala version.

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