Tony Takitani

Essay by addy19College, UndergraduateA, April 2013

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Tony Takitani

Japanese writer and translator Haruki Murakami, is known to be one of the most commonly read non-English writers in the world. His unique style of writing is humorous and surreal, concentrating on themes of alienation and loneliness. His works portray Japanese culture to the extent in which readers can deepen their understanding of Japan (Edelstein, 2008). Murakami's short story "Tony Takitani" is no exception. Director Jun Ichikawa's film adaptation of this short story captures Murakami's unique writing, and gives life to the complex characters Murakami created. Murakami's peculiar narrating technique is also expanded in Ichikawa's adaptation and through it so is the story's theme.

The narrative style originally employed by Murakami is expanded in Ichikawa's film adaptation. Murakami used an external narrator to tell Tony Takitani's story; a "Vision from Behind" style of narration in which the narrator is a persona different from the characters in the story and is able to present all the characters and events in the story from a different perspective.

The narrator is also able to articulate the internal life of the characters in the story, as well as make comments and judgments on the characters and events in the story. In addition, Murakami's narrator was able to do what cannot be done in real life; entering another person's mind and reading their thoughts, also known as psycho-narration: the narrator's ability to report what a character is thinking and feeling. Ichikawa followed these narration styles and was able to expand it by intermingling narrations with characters dialogue (Hartzog, 2010). Throughout the film, the way in which Shozaburo, Tony, Eiko, and Hisako are able to finish off the narrator's line orally with their own lines, knocks off the fourth wall and allows the audience to remain attached to the events on screen. This...