Takako, known for her unpublished ‘Chemmeen’ translation, dies in Kochi

Takako Thomas Mulloor, who translated the Malayalam classic novel Chemmeen into Japanese, died at the age of 81. Photo: Special arrangement

Kochi: Takako Thomas Mulloor, who translated the Malayalam classic novel Chemmeen into Japanese, died here on Friday. She was 81.

Takako, who spent 56 years in Kerala following her marriage with Thomas Mulloor, died at her home in Koonammavu, in the suburbs of the city, at 11 in the morning. 

Takako met Thomas Mulloor, who was an officer of the Shipping Corporation of India, in the 1960s in her homeland Kobe, Japan, as a local guide. The couple got married in 1967. 

Of the five and a half decades she lived in Kerala, Takako managed to find a space of her own in the state's cultural arena as a translator, teacher and social worker. She learned Malayalam from Sister Hilary of St Joseph's Convent, Koonammavu.

Her admiration for Malayalam literary legend Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai began after her husband gifted her the English translation of Thakazhi's celebrated novel Chemmen. Takako also got permission from Thakazhi to translate Chemmen into Japanese. Though the translation was finished way back in 1976, she could not publish it as a book.

Later, she tried to translate Thakazhi's Kayar. However, a head injury suffered in a bus accident confined her mostly to bed, forcing her to abandon the project. 

Takako taught Japanese at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) for 10 years and was also engaged in social work with the Rajagiri College of Social Sciences, Kalamassery.

She served as the liaison officer of the Japanese Consulate and translator for Japanese diplomats visiting India. She has also done translations for the Japan Broadcasting Corporation which co-produced Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Kathapurushan.

Takako is survived by children Mary Carel, Lucy Christina and Antony Joseph and children-in-law Damien, Justin and Anila. 

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