Professor Tokimasa Sekiguchi receives the Transatlantyk Prize

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We are happy to announce that the most prestigious award for the ambassador of Polish literature abroad was finally received by Professor Sekiguchi, one year after he was revealed as the winner.

 

In June 2021, the Polish Book Institute, a body that grants the Transatlantyk Prize, announced Prof. Tokimasa Sekiguchi as the new laureate. Due to the pandemic, however, the award was received last Friday evening. The Professor came to Krakow on this occasion.

 

The acceptance ceremony of the Transatlantyk Prize was held at the ICE Krakow Congress Centre, and the laudation for the laureate was given by Professor Jacek Purchla. He said, among others:

 

“Translating the work of many of our classics for Japanese readers, representing such a diametrically different culture from ours, making it accessible to audiences with such different sensibilities, culture, history, and religion, and at the same time preserving the artistic value of the translated works is a phenomenon that deserves the highest recognition. Perhaps it is no coincidence that Tokimasa Sekiguchi considers Krakow to be his second home, when he says: «Krakow raised and educated me, not only as a Polish philologist, but also as a citizen. I mean Krakow not as a place, but as a very dense network of people, a collection of intellectuals. I am largely their creation».”

 

Prof. Tokimasa Sekiguchi has been cooperating with the International Cultural Centre for many years. In 2008, he initiated the "Heritage of the Borderlands" series of travelling seminars, organised jointly with the ICC for Japanese researchers of various fields interested in Poland and Central Europe. The seminars are held every two years and cover a variety of Central European borderlands (so far there have been 6 editions: Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, Slovakia-Hungary, Upper and Lower Silesia, Czech Republic-Moravia-Slovakia). In 2019, he gave a lecture at the ICC, during which he shared his reflections on the translation of "The Doll" by Bolesław Prus, and in 41. Issue of HERITO quarterly he published his text on Polish literature and its perception by a foreigner from a remote country.

 

"I am a Japanese importer of Polish culture to Japan, although it is a non-profit job. If someone asks me why I do it if it does not bring any income, I answer that by making Polish culture available to the Japanese audience, I repay a debt of gratitude to Polish friends who raised and educated me, starting from my first stay in Krakow in 1974-1976" said the laureate.

 

 

Prof. Tokimasa Sekiguchi graduated in comparative art and romance studies in Tokyo and was a research fellow at the Jagiellonian University (1974-1976). Professor Sekiguchi worked at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, where he became Professor of Polish Culture in 2001, and an Associate Professor in 2002. He also lectured at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Kumamoto University, Yale University, and the University of Warsaw. In 2000–2004 he was the vice-president of the "Bristol" Association of Polish and Foreign Teachers of Polish Culture and Polish as a Foreign Language.

 

So far, this prestigious distinction has been awarded to such outstanding figures as Anders Bodegård, Albrecht Lempp, Ksenia Starosielska, Biserka Rajčić, Pietro Marchesani, Vlasta Dvořáčková, Yi Lijun, Karol Lesman, Bill Johnston, Laurence Dyèvre, Constantin Geambaşu, Lajos Pálfalvi, Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Hendrik Lindepuu, and Ewa Thompson.

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