Banned Books Week and blocking the ‘Exchange of Souls’

In honor of Banned Books Week, I point you to this essay by Haruki Murakami (translated to English by RocketNews24.)

This essay is a response to the controversy surrounding the Senkaku Islands and rising tension between Taiwan, China, and Japan.  It’s about how we set boundaries and the way we draw lines and borders.  Murakami compares the anger swelling from territory disputes to getting drunk on cheap liquor. He warns us of the resulting hangover. 

While not the focus of the essay, it is worth noting that, in protest of Japan, some Chinese booksellers have removed books by Japanese authors (including Murakami) as well as books about Japan from their shelves.

Murakami’s final words, his plea, are powerful.  I urge you to read the essay in it’s entirety.

But we should not block the exchange of souls that is cultural communication. We should not destroy the paths that so many have given so much to establish. So from now on, however we may be wounded, we must seek to maintain this path and to continue to leave it open.

I love the idea that sharing books is an exchange of souls.  I don’t like building walls.


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