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The Rwandan genocide through Literature. Lecture by Véronique Tadjo on her visit to Japan

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

 The Japanese translation of The Shadow of Imana, a masterpiece by Véronique Tadjo, one of the leading writers of African literature, was published in 2019 by édition F (translated by Haruse Murata). This is a literary work written in French that addresses the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. We are pleased to host Ms. Tadjo's first lecture in Japan and ask her about this work and her thoughts behind it. How can we look at the widespread destruction of humanity by man, and how can we look at it in relation to ourselves? What can literature do in such a situation? We will confront these core questions together with the writer.

 As commentators, we welcome Mr. Moriyuki Hoshino, who specializes in French-speaking literature, and Mr. Masahiko Nishi, who has been exploring the memory of genocide from various perspectives in his literary research that transcends language borders.

Date: Thursday, March 2, 2023, 14:00-16:30 (Entrance from 13:30)

Location: Hall, Bldg. 18, Komaba I Campus, The University of Tokyo

Format: Hybrid format (face-to-face and online)

ZoomID will be provided after pre-registration.

Program (tentative)

Moderator: Yuichi Sekiya (Professor, University of Tokyo)

Welcome Address: Prof. Takumi Moriyama (Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo)

Introduction of Guests of Honor and Congratulatory Telegrams

Introduction of the main purpose of the symposium

Lecture by Prof. Véronique Tadjo (Consecutive interpretation scheduled)

Break (10 minutes)

Commentator Ⅰ Mr. Moriyuki Hoshino (Professor, University of Tokyo)

Commentator II Mr. Masahiko Nishi (Professor Emeritus, Ritsumeikan University)

Dialogue with the floor

End (scheduled around 17:00)

Link to pre-registration form:

Please pre-register if you plan to attend.

Brief biography of Véronique Tadjo

Born in Paris in 1955 to an Ivorian father and French mother. She grew up in Abidjan. She studied black American literature in France and the U.S. In 1983, her first book of poetry, Red Earth / Laterite (1984), won the ACCT Prize for excellence in French-speaking literature, and in 1998 and 1999, she participated in the literary project "Rwanda: writing as a duty to memory" to write about the Rwandan Genocide, which resulted in The Shadow of Imana (2000). In 2005, she won Grand prix littéraire d'Afrique noire for Queen Pokou (2004), a reinterpretation of an Ivory Coast legend; in 2021, her English translation of En compagnie des hommes (2017), about the spread of Ebola in West Africa, won the LA Times Fiction Award. She is also the author of numerous children's books, including the picture book Mamy Wata and the Monster (1993), which won the 1993 UNICEF Prize, and was listed in the "100 Best African Books of the 20th Century" in 2002, published at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair In 2021, the French In 2021, she was awarded the Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture for her writing.

Her other Japanese translation is the picture book Ayanda (translated by Haruse Murata, Futohsha, 2018).

Organized by Indian Ocean World Studies Project, The University of Tokyo (TINDOWS)

Co-organized by Research Center for Sustainable Development, Institute for Advanced Global Studies, The University of Tokyo

For inquiries, please contact 

Indian Ocean World Studies Project, The University of Tokyo (TINDOWS)

4th floor, Building 14, Komaba I Campus, The University of Tokyo, 3-8-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8902, Japan

Phone: 03-5454-6237

E-mail address: tindowsoffice[at]

Please use the "Contact Us" form on the official project website (


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