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cormacmacart



Joined: 08 Mar 2012
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:16 pm Reply with quote
Onmyoji (yin yang diviners) have been a very popular topic in Japanese media for a while, especially in manga and anime. Popular series such as TOKYO BABYLON, X, NURA: RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN, SHONEN ONMYOUJI, etc are also notable for featuring onmyoji in primary roles. But many anime and manga fans don't know is that the first novel which started this "boom" of interest in onmyoji was an acclaimed bestseller from the 1980's entitled TEITO MONOGATARI. TEITO MONOGATARI is a historical fantasy epic set in prewar Japan and revolves around Yasunori Kato, a master onmyoji who is also a demon that wants to cripple the Japanese Empire. Eventually he runs afoul of the Tsuchimikado Family, the official descendants of Abe no Seimei (greatest onmyoji in history, for those who don't know), leading to a magical conflict spanning 90 years of Tokyo's history. It is also a meticulously researched historical fiction featuring many figures from Japanese history in primary and supporting roles, including:

*writers Kōda Rohan, Mori Ōgai (doctor and author of Gan/The Wild Geese), Kyōka Izumi, and even the legendary Yukio Mishima
*author and physicist Torahiko Terada
*biologist Makoto Nishimura, creator of Japan's first working robot, Gakutensoku
*Shibusawa Eiichi, "father of Japanese capitalism," who practically invented Japan's modern banking system
*Masatoshi Ōkōchi, third director of the RIKEN (Institue of Physical and Chemical Research), who expanded scientific advances for commercial ends
*Noritsugu Hayakawa, founder of the Tokyo Underground Railway and subsequent father of the modern day Japanese subway system
*author and philosopher Ikki Kita, who writings led to the 1936 attempted takeover of the Japanese government
*Kanji Ishiwara, noted general and proponent of the pan-asianist movement
*Gen'yoshi Kadokawa, founder of the Kadokawa Shoten publishing company and even his son (!!) Haruki Kadokawa
*Karl Haushofer, who writings indirectly influenced Adolf Hitler's expansionist strategies. He was also featured in FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST.

This novel has sold over 3.5 million copies in Japan alone, won the 1987 Nihon SF Taisho Prize for Best Japanese Fantasy/Sci-Fi Story, and is considered a groundbreaking work in Japanese occult literature. For example, it is believed CLAMP took inspiration from it to create both TOKYO BABYLON and X. The Subaru/Seishiro conflict in the aforementioned series is very reminiscent of the war between the good and evil onmyoji at the beginning of TEITO MONOGATARI. Also, the title "TOKYO BABYLON" is just a reversal of "BABYLON TOKYO", which was the English title of the manga adaptation of TEITO MONOGATARI.

The SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI: DEVIL SUMMONER series has many homages to this work in its plot and setting, including the design of the protagonist Raidou Kuzunoha (who resembles Kato).

It's also believed that Baku Yumemakura was inspired by the success of this novel to create his monumentally popular and influential ONMYOJI series (made into two live action films of the same name), which were released a few years after TEITO.

You may have run into the plot of TEITO MONOGATARI before in the form of the anime DOOMED MEGALOPOLIS. However that anime is a highly stylized (not to mention nastier), compressed and incomplete version of the story and cannot be used as an accurate representation of the novel. The whole story in its unedited, unstylized form, has yet to be told to an English audience.

We have already contacted the author, but he is convinced there is no interest in his work in the English speaking world as it is too "Japanese-centric". We would like to prove to him otherwise. If you would like to see TEITO MONOGATARI translated, please visit this Facebook page and show your support, specifically clicking the "Like" button:
http://www.facebook.com/​pages/​Translate-​TEITO-​MONOGATARI-​into-​English/​122760147810664

I really hope you will consider this. Had it not been for this novel, it's unlikely that the aforementioned franchises would even exist!
We also hope to use this a springboard to get more popular onmyoji literature translated such as Baku Yumemakura's ONMYOJI novels and Natsuhiko Kyogoku's KYOGOKUDO novels as we'll have finally have an audience.


Last edited by cormacmacart on Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:16 pm; edited 2 times in total
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clockwork42



Joined: 09 Sep 2012
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:21 pm Reply with quote
Teito Monogatari is indeed a very important cultural property of Japan, especially in the history of the Japanese Onmyodo ("The Way of Yin and Yang") tradition. It seems that Teito Monogatari was written as a history of 20th century Japan, but through the lens of magic, the occult, and Onmyodo itself. It thus served as a great reintroduction of these elements to the literary realm.

As was said previously, there are NUMEROUS novels, manga, films, and anime that followed Teito Monogatari's lead and took off. Some of the ones that I can remember just off the top of my head are the following:
-- Onmyoji (manga/novels/films) by Yumemakura Baku
-- Tokyo Babylon (manga/anime) by Clamp
-- X (manga/anime) by Clamp
-- The Kyogokudo series (novels/anime) by Kyogoku Natsuhiko
-- Shonen Onmyoji (manga/anime/light novels) by Yuki Mitsuru
-- Onmyo Taisenki (manga/anime) by Tomizawa Yoshihiko
-- Steel Angel Kurumi (manga/anime) by Kaishaku
-- Magical Shopping District Abenobashi (manga/anime) by Gainax
-- Nurarihyon no Mago (manga/anime) by Shiibashi Hiroshi
-- Shaman King (manga/anime) by Takei Hiroyuki
-- Harukanaru Toki no Naka de (manga/anime/games) by Ruby Party
-- Negima (manga/anime) by Akamatsu Ken
-- Ask Dr. Rin! (manga/anime) by Arai Kiyoko
-- Rental Magica (light novels/anime) by Sanda Makoto
......and probably MANY more.

The point being that Teito Monogatari is indirectly responsible for inspiring all of the above series, whether directly or indirectly. Thus, it is a very important cultural phenomenon and should be translated into English eventually.

If you are interested in Teito Monogatari, please show your support by joining the facebook group mentioned above (http://www.facebook.com/​pages/​Translate-​TEITO-​MONOGATARI-​into-​English/​122760147810664) and clicking the Like button. If there is enough interest, perhaps Mr. Aramata will be more inclined to sell the translation rights for his magnum opus.

-- C42
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hyojodoji



Joined: 08 Jan 2010
Posts: 433

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:43 pm Reply with quote
I had read Teito Monogatari in the original, and recently I happened to re-read essays on the supernatural by Kōda Rohan.
Kōda Rohan wrote:
 奈良朝から平安朝、平安朝と來ては實に外美內醜の世であつたから、魔法くさいことの行はれるには最も適した時代であつた。源氏物語は如何にまじなひが一般的であつたかを語つて居り、法力が尊いものであるかを語つてゐる。此時代の人〻は大槪現世祈禱を事とする墮落僧の言を無批判に頂戴し、將門が亂を起しても護摩を焚いて祈り伏せるつもりで居た位であるし、感情の絃は蜘蛛の絲ほどに細くなつてゐたので、あらゆる妄信にへばりついて、そして虛禮と文飾と淫亂とに辛くも活きて居たのである。生靈、死靈、のろひ、陰陽師の術、巫覡の言、方位、祈禱、物の怪、轉生、邪魅、因果、怪異、動物の超常力、何でも彼でも低頭して之を信じ、之を畏れ、或は此に賴り、或は此を利用してゐたのである。源氏以外の文學及び又更に下つての今昔、宇治、著聞集等の雜書に就いて窺つたら、如何に此時代が、魔法ではなくとも少くとも魔法くさいことを信受してゐたかが知られる。今一〻例を擧げてゐることも出來ないが、大槪日本人の妄信は此時代に醞釀し出されて近時にまで及んでゐるのである。

Shinoda Hajime wrote:
幸田露伴は、生活においても、また、文学においても、孔孟の教え、すなわち、儒学を基本に、みずからを律し、生涯、その究明と実践に努めていた。

It is interesting that Aramata Hiroshi chose him as a principal character of Teito Monogatari.
 
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cormacmacart



Joined: 08 Mar 2012
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:53 pm Reply with quote
hyojodoji wrote:
I had read Teito Monogatari in the original, and recently I happened to re-read essays on the supernatural by Kōda Rohan.
It is interesting that Aramata Hiroshi chose him as a principal character of Teito Monogatari.


Thank you for commenting! It is always good to find someone else who has read it and can speak English as well.

Regarding Rohan, I agree! It's an interesting situation. I also assumed that Aramata gave him this role of a primary character partly due to his involvement with the supernatural during his literary career. But it might have been partly his historical character that fascinated Aramata too. Iirc Rohan was very learned in several different areas of study and was also physically active (a practiced swordsman). Although I'm sure there are many other authors Aramata could have used, Rohan just seemed like a natural fit as a primary hero in a story about the supernatural.

Anyone who's wondering what we're talking about...as mentioned above, Kōda Rohan is a classic writer from the Meiji Era. He is probably the most active hero at the beginning of Teito Monogatari. Some of his works that have been translated into English:
http://www.amazon.com/​Pagoda-​Skull-​Samurai-​Tuttle-​Classics/​dp/​080483332X
A collection of two of his novellas (including "Five Storied Pagoda", arguably his most famous work) and a short story.
http://www.amazon.com/​Tales-​Old-​Edo-​Kaiki-​Uncanny/​dp/​4902075083/​ref=​sr_1_1?​s=​books&​ie=​UTF8&​qid=​1347644439&​sr=​1-​1&​keywords=​kaiki
One of his supernatural short stories is translated in this collection.
http://www.amazon.com/​Rohan-​World-​Authors-​Chieko-​Mulhern/​dp/​0805762728/​ref=​sr_1_1?​ie=​UTF8&​qid=​1347644646&​sr=​8-​1&​keywords=​koda+​rohan
His English biography.
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hyojodoji



Joined: 08 Jan 2010
Posts: 433

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:54 am Reply with quote
cormacmacart wrote:
Thank you for commenting!

It's a pleasure.
 
 
cormacmacart wrote:
I also assumed that Aramata gave him this role of a primary character partly due to his involvement with the supernatural during his literary career. But it might have been partly his historical character that fascinated Aramata too.

Anothe factor which can be taken into account about Mr Aramata's having chosen Rohan as a principal character is that Rohan also wrote a book and articles on (Edo/)Tokyo, which is the 'capital' of Teito Monogatari.
Kōda Rohan wrote:
 上野の春の花の賑ひ、王子の秋の紅葉の盛り、陸の東京のおもしろさは說く人多き習ひなれば、今さらおのれは言はでもあらなん。たゞ水の東京に至つては、知るもの言はず、言ふもの知らず、江戶の往時より近き頃まで何人もこれを說かぬに似たれば、いで我試みに之を語らん。さは云へ東京は其地勢河を帶にして海を枕せる都なれば、潮のさしひきするところ、船の上り下りするところ、一ト條二タ條のことならずして極めて廣大繁多なれば、詳しく記し盡さんことは一人の力一枝の筆もて一朝一夕に能くし難し。草より出でゝ草に入るとは武藏野の往時の月を云ひけん、今は八百八町に家〻立ちつゞきて四里四方に門〻相望めば、東京の月は眞に家の棟より出でゝ家の棟に入るとも云ふべけれど、また水の東京のいと大なるを思へば、水より出で水に入るとも云ひつべし。東は三枚洲の澪標遙に霞むかたより、滿潮の潮に乘りてさし上る月の、西は芝高輪白金の森影淡きあたりに落つるを見ては、誰かは大なるかな水の東京やと叫び呼ばざらん。されば今我が草卒に筆を執つて、斯の如く大なる水の東京の、上は荒川より下は海に至る迄を記し盡さんとするに當りては、如何で脫漏錯誤の無きを必するを得ん。たゞ大南風に渡船のぐらつくをも怖るゝ如き船嫌ひの人〻の、更に水の東京の景色も風情も實利も知らで過ごせるものに、聊か此の大都の水上の一般を示さんとするに過ぎねば、もとより水上に詳しき人〻のためにするにはあらず。看るもの徒に其の備はらざるを責むるなかれ。

 
 
cormacmacart wrote:
Iirc Rohan was very learned in several different areas of study...

Yes, Rohan was very erudite on various literary and scholarly things, and his essays on those things are always fascinating.
Kōda Rohan wrote:
 餠の名と實とは、およそ前に說けるが如し。而して言語文字の展開變化して窮まり無く、幻遷假現して已まざるや、宋以後に至つては、餠は茶のことを言ふにも至れり。我邦の俗、茶に餠菓子といふ諺はあれど、餠卽ち茶なるに至つては、人をして一噱を發せしむるに足る。蘇東坡の潘谷に贈る詩の句、琅玕翠餠敲玄笏は猶ほ茶をいふにあらずと强解もすべけれど、同人の寄茶詩の建溪新餠截雲腴の句に至つては、新餠の二字明らかに新しき茶を云へるにて、建溪は我が宇治の如くに產茶の名處なればなり。鳳餠も亦是れ茶をいふ。茶論に、本朝の興る、歲ごとに建溪の貢を修めしむ、龍團鳳餠、名は天下に冠たり、とあるも鳳餠の茶なることを示して餘有り。



cormacmacart wrote:
...and was also physically active (a practiced swordsman).

I have heard that Rohan practiced kendō with his disciples at his house in Terajima.
 
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cormacmacart



Joined: 08 Mar 2012
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:14 am Reply with quote
hyojodoji wrote:

Anothe factor which can be taken into account about Mr Aramata's having chosen Rohan as a principal character is that Rohan also wrote a book and articles on (Edo/)Tokyo, which is the 'capital' of Teito Monogatari.


I forgot about that, but you're right! This is even directly referenced in the cinematic adaptations of ''Teito Monogatari''. In the live action version, Noritsugu Hayakawa is talking to him at the festival and mentioning some of the books he's written on Tokyo. And in the anime (Doomed Megalopolis), the ending narration is supposedly a direct quote pulled from his writings on Tokyo.

Thank you for the quote. I wish I could translate it for the other readers here, but unfortunately I must admit my Japanese is still not terribly advanced. Sad I read Rohan's English biography a year ago though, so maybe some of his writings on Tokyo are translated in there. I can check through and transcribe any I find.

Quote:
Yes, Rohan was very erudite on various literary and scholarly things, and his essays on those things are always fascinating.


Kind of like Aramata-san himself. Smile Maybe Aramata identified or idolized him more than the other authors.

Quote:
I have heard that Rohan practiced kendō with his disciples at his house in Terajima.


Ah, that might be it. I also remember though that his daughter, Aya Koda, also had memories of him training by himself with a short sword. I will have to find the quote by her.

It is great to find someone who is knowledgeable about the subject matter. Question: Since you've read Teito Monogatari, I must ask: Does Kyōka Izumi have a larger role in the novel than in the movie versions? His cameo in the live action film version was one of my favorite scenes in the movie, but I understand the movie versions are very compressed. For example, I know there are a lot more scenes in the book with Ogai Mori that don't make it into the film and anime. Do you remember if there are any more scenes with Kyōka Izumi? I assume there must be.
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hyojodoji



Joined: 08 Jan 2010
Posts: 433

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:38 am Reply with quote
cormacmacart wrote:
Question: Since you've read Teito Monogatari, I must ask: Does Kyōka Izumi have a larger role in the novel than in the movie versions?

I dug up Teito Monogatari and riffled through the pages.
It seems that Izumi Kyōka appeared in the scenes where:

・ He said to Tatsumiya Keiko that she had the Power of the Kannon at Kagura-zaka.
・ Later, near to Iidabashi, he helped Tatsumiya Keiko, who was injured due to her having fought against supernatural monsters.


Mr Aramata said essays by Rohan were a must-read for readers of Teito Monogatari. So, if an English edition of Teito Monogatari is published, probably also those works by Rohan will be needed to be translated into English.
It will be tough work for the translator, though.
Kōda Rohan wrote:
 流布本太平記卷三十六、細川相模守淸氏叛逆の事を記した段に、「外法成就の志一上人鎌倉より上つて」云〻とある。神田本同書には、「此志一上人はもとより邪天道法成就の人なる上、近頃鎌倉にて諸人奇特の思をなし、歸依淺からざる上、畠山入道諸事深く信仰賴入りて、關東にても不思議ども現じける人なり」とある。淸氏は此の志一を賴んで、吒祇尼天に足利義詮を祈殺さうとの願狀を奉つたのである。さすれば「邪天道法成就」といふのは、吒祇尼天を祈る道法成就といふことで、志一といふ僧は其法で「ふしぎども現じける」ものである。これで當時外法と呼んだものは吒祇尼天法であることが知れる。蓋し外法は平安朝頃から出て來たらしい。



cormacmacart wrote:
...his daughter, Aya Koda....

Speaking of Kōda Aya, Nagareru by Kōda Aya was made into a film, which was directed by Naruse Mikio.
 
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ridiculus



Joined: 16 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:17 pm Reply with quote
I am well aware of the importance of Teito monogatari and Hiroshi Aramata, and have been interested in them since I discovered that he was one of the members of Sekai Youkai Kyoukai (The World Yokai Organization), along with Shigeru Mizuki and Natsuhiko Kyougoku, both of whom I respect very much.

Surely I would like to see it in English, although I plan to read it in the original language someday, when my knowledge of kanji is up to the task.
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hyojodoji



Joined: 08 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:00 pm Reply with quote
cormacmacart wrote:
Does Kyōka Izumi have a larger role in the novel than in the movie versions?

Tatsumiya Keiko also bought books by Kyōka, including Uta Andon, at a bookshop in Kōjimachi.
And according to a letter by Tatsumiya Keiko to Kyōka, he asked after injured Keiko at her house and gave her an incense burner.
 
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cormacmacart



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:25 pm Reply with quote
ridiculus wrote:
I am well aware of the importance of Teito monogatari and Hiroshi Aramata, and have been interested in them since I discovered that he was one of the members of Sekai Youkai Kyoukai (The World Yokai Organization), along with Shigeru Mizuki and Natsuhiko Kyougoku, both of whom I respect very much.

Surely I would like to see it in English, although I plan to read it in the original language someday, when my knowledge of kanji is up to the task.


That is great to hear. I've really been perplexed with how little known Teito Monogatari is in the West. If any work can lay claim to being the father (or "grandfather") of an entire genre, then that work should automatically be noted in relation to that genre. But Teito Monogatari has not gotten this credit in the English speaking world until relatively recently. Onmyoji are quite well known in anime/manga/video game works hugely popular in the West, so why hasn't anybody taken the time to research their history in modern Japanese fiction?

I'm guessing it's because Japanese literature is simply not something that has a concentrated fanabase in the West. So important facts like these will automatically slip by the noses of English enthusiasts. Even those who do did research would face translation barriers (I can testify to that).

Although the onmyoji "genre" has grown exponentially since Teito, I still think the work has many unique merits, such as being a meticuloulsy researched retelling of modern Japanese history (as opposed yet another retelling of ancient or mythical history). Of course Aramata himself, who has been a major contributor to these "supernatural folklore revival groups" in Japan (such as The World Yokai Organization you mention) basically owes his entire career and status to the success of the work. For these reasons and its classic status, I really think it should be translated eventually so English speakers can appreciate it in its entirety.

Quote:
Mr Aramata said essays by Rohan were a must-read for readers of Teito Monogatari. So, if an English edition of Teito Monogatari is published, probably also those works by Rohan will be needed to be translated into English.


Oh that would be wonderful! It would be a great boon for English speakers wanting to learn more about Japanese supernatural culture. Only problem is it might not be practical at off-hand since the publishers would also have to work with whoever owns Rohan's works to get it published, Still ideally, I would love Teito Monogatari to attract enough attention to be the beginning of a resurgence of English interest in the historical characters featured in its story (but I know that'll be VERY unlikely).

Quote:
It will be tough work for the translator, though.


Indeed! Chieko Mulhern in her introduction to Pagoda, Skull and Samurai (the story collection I linked to earlier) notes that although she tried to imitate Rohan's complex prose to the best of her ability, her final translation is ultimately much, much simpler than Rohan's original works. Rohan's style is beautiful to read though if you can understand it. As always, a translation simply cannot capture the lyrical essence of such a learned person.

Before I run in danger of getting shut down due to speaking about non-anime/manga topics, let me post a picture of Koda Rohan from the from the animated Teito Monogatari contrasted with his historical image:


Quote:
It seems that Izumi Kyōka appeared in the scenes where:

・ He said to Tatsumiya Keiko that she had the Power of the Kannon at Kagura-zaka.
・ Later, near to Iidabashi, he helped Tatsumiya Keiko, who was injured due to her having fought against supernatural monsters.
*Tatsumiya Keiko also bought books by Kyōka, including Uta Andon, at a bookshop in Kōjimachi.
And according to a letter by Tatsumiya Keiko to Kyōka, he asked after injured Keiko at her house and gave her an incense burner.


Thank you very much! It's interesting how Aramata portrays him as this saint-like figure who offers assistance to the heroine when she is in peril or lost. Still given Izumi Kyōka's great status in the world of Japanese gothic/supernatural literature though, I do wonder why he doesn't have a bigger role like Rohan. Still it's great to see he has a bigger role in the book than his one encounter with Keiko in the film would suggest.

And here's Izumi Kyōka from the aforementioned anime:
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cormacmacart



Joined: 08 Mar 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:24 am Reply with quote
On second thought, I think Kamui Fujiwara's depiction of Rohan from the manga Teito Monogatari looks much closer to his historical counterpart:



hyojodoji wrote:
Speaking of Kōda Aya, Nagareru by Kōda Aya was made into a film, which was directed by Naruse Mikio.


Ah excellent! Yes, Aya became a very successful writer herself. I wasn't aware though that there had been films made of her works too. That is very interesting!

Speaking of which, this is the translated quote from Aya Koda describing her father's swordsmanship practice that I kept referring to earlier:

"With the moon on his back, he was swinging a sword, his white undergarment exposed down to the sash. Flying downward, the white blade glistened and elongated as if to slice the earth. Swung up, it looked short, contracting like a snake. Behind the wall, watching the moonlight and the shadow and the blade and my father, I stood transfixed."--Aya Koda

Though short, I thought it was an evocative description. It alone exudes the image of the disciplined swordsman that Aramata builds upon in his novel.

BTW, have you ever read Musubi no Yama Hiroku (産霊山秘録) by Ryo Hanmura? It is widely considered a masterpiece of Japanese fantasy literature. Looking at the description, I can't help but wonder if it was a direct influence for works like Teito Monogatari...
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hyojodoji



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:32 am Reply with quote
http://imageshack.us/​a/​img838/​2421/​153mnb.​jpg
The Chinese edition?
I have read Fujiwara Kamui's Teito Monogatari manga in the original, and an interesting thing about the Dragon Comics edition of Teito Monogatari is that the appendix was printed in formal kanji and it gives the text a historical feel.

cormacmacart wrote:
OnSpeaking of which, this is the translated quote from Aya Koda describing her father's swordsmanship practice that I kept referring to earlier:

"With the moon on his back, he was swinging a sword, his white undergarment exposed down to the sash. Flying downward, the white blade glistened and elongated as if to slice the earth. Swung up, it looked short, contracting like a snake. Behind the wall, watching the moonlight and the shadow and the blade and my father, I stood transfixed."--Aya Koda

Though short, I thought it was an evocative description. It alone exudes the image of the disciplined swordsman that Aramata builds upon in his novel.

That is from the 'Katana (Sword)' chapter of Kōda Aya's Misokkasu.
Kōda Aya wrote:
月を背にし著流しの肩を脫ぎ、白い肌襦袢で刀を振つてゐた。振り下したとき白い刃物はさあつと光つて伸び、地を削ぐやうだつた。振りあげるとき刃は一瞬に蛇腹のごとく短く縮まつて見えた。戶袋の壁に身を潛め、月光と影と刃と父を見つめて、私は動けなかつた。


cormacmacart wrote:
BTW, have you ever read Musubi no Yama Hiroku (産霊山秘録) by Ryo Hanmura? It is widely considered a masterpiece of Japanese fantasy literature. Looking at the description, I can't help but wonder if it was a direct influence for works like Teito Monogatari...

I have read Musubi no Yama Hiroku, which received an Izumi Kyōka Prize for Literature.
I don't know whether it directly affected Teito Monogatari, but its 'history + fantasy/science fiction' story-making might have influenced Teito Monogatari.
Hanmura Ryō also wrote Ishi no Ketsumyaku, and it, too, is pretty good. Fukushima Masami, the 1st editor-in-chief of SF Magazine, included it in '100 Best Science Fiction', when he made the list in 1976.
 
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cormacmacart



Joined: 08 Mar 2012
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:09 pm Reply with quote
hyojodoji wrote:
http://imageshack.us/​a/​img838/​2421/​153mnb.​jpg
The Chinese edition?


I was actually referring to just the illustration. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find the original Japanese edition here in America. I'm guessing if I raid a few more Japanese bookstores, it may turn up though.

I was able to find the original Japanese version of the Yohsuke Takahashi manga (which covers books 5+6 of Teito Monogatari). Have you read this one also?



Quote:
I have read Fujiwara Kamui's Teito Monogatari manga in the original, and an interesting thing about the Dragon Comics edition of Teito Monogatari is that the appendix was printed in formal kanji and it gives the text a historical feel.


That's a good idea. I like that. I will have to find the Japanese version one of these days.

From what I understand, the manga adaptations are more faithful to the original novel than either the films or the anime.

Quote:
That is from the 'Katana (Sword)' chapter of Kōda Aya's Misokkasu.


Thank you! It's good to have the original quote and a professional English translation side by side.

Misokkasu is one of Koda Aya's memoirs as I understand it.

http://books.google.com/​books?​id=​z97-​-​qTNgIwC&​pg=​PA205&​lpg=​PA205&​dq=​misokkasu+​aya+​koda&​source=​bl&​ots=​qVijvApMPg&​sig=​d5XTMF-​PLqH6GEVcpE7GH848wFE​&​hl=​en&​sa=​X&​ei=​fO5xULrYEoHI9QTj6oH4​Bw&​ved=​0CCgQ6AEwAw#​v=​onepage&​q=​misokkasu&​f=​false

I think it's primarily focused on the relationship between her and her father.

Quote:
I have read Musubi no Yama Hiroku, which received an Izumi Kyōka Prize for Literature.
I don't know whether it directly affected Teito Monogatari, but its 'history + fantasy/science fiction' story-making might have influenced Teito Monogatari.


It's just that Teito Monogatari began being written only 10 years after Musubi no Yama Hiroku and the concepts are very similar. One major difference is that Musubi no Yama Hiroku starts in the Warring States period...but it ends in the mid 20th century (iirc). Teito Monogatari starts in early 20th century, but it ends at the end of the century. But if you were to combine the prequels (Teito Gendan and Shin Teito Monogatari) with the main novel, it would start near the end of the Edo era, meaning that it rebuilds almost 200 years of history (like Musubi rebuilds 400 years).

From what I understand...what Musubi no Yama Hiroku and Teito Monogatari both brought to modern Japanese fantasy/science fiction literature was meticulously researched settings based on modern Japanese history. Japan had has many historical fantasy novels prior (such as the works of Futaro Yamada, like Makai Tensho), but they were usually set in ancient, pre-industrialized Japan. Very few of these fantasy stories were set in eras like the Meiji Restoration or early Showa Period. Musubi no Yama Hiroku and Teito Monogatari broke the mold. They were both post-war fantasy epics with detailed recreations of modern early 20th century history as the setting (although I should mention that Musubi doesn't to mid-20th century until later on in the novel) and their popularity helped revive interest in these eras in popular culture. That is part of the reason they are significant in the history of Japanese fantasy literature.

Does that sound right or appropriate?

There's one other thing I'm confused about too...Musubi no Yama Hiroku is considered one of the greatest Japanese science fiction/fantasy novels of all time, but Teito Monogatari has had more visual adaptations and seems to be more known in pop culture. Why is this?

Quote:
Hanmura Ryō also wrote Ishi no Ketsumyaku, and it, too, is pretty good. Fukushima Masami, the 1st editor-in-chief of SF Magazine, included it in '100 Best Science Fiction', when he made the list in 1976.


Ah, that's the one about the "immortals"!

http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/​entry/​hanmura_ryo

Indeed, that sounds like another classic novel that should be translated too. I'll recommend it to our publisher. Smile
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hyojodoji



Joined: 08 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:10 am Reply with quote
cormacmacart wrote:
Have you read this one also?

I have read the Takahashi Yōsuke version, too. Since Takahashi writes and illustrates horror/fantasy/mystery manga, a character from a fantasy-mystery manga by him set in the early 20th century made a guest appearance in the Teito Monogatari manga


cormacmacart wrote:
Does that sound right or appropriate?

Sakaguchi Ango and Yamada Fūtarō wrote works set in the Meiji period. Shiba Ryōtarō has been very popular in Japan. In 1965 Hirose Tadashi wrote an SF novel set in the 1930s.
If you write an outline of a genealogical table of that genre, it might be better to take other factors into account.


cormacmacart wrote:
There's one other thing I'm confused about too...Musubi no Yama Hiroku is considered one of the greatest Japanese science fiction/fantasy novels of all time, but Teito Monogatari has had more visual adaptations and seems to be more known in pop culture. Why is this?

What I can think of right now is:
1. Accessibility. I wouldn't say Musubi no Yama Hiroku is high-cultural, but Teito Monogatari is far more accessible, probably accessible even to lower-middlebrow younger readers.
So, Teito Monogatari sold well.

2. 'How popular fantasy/science fiction was in Japan in 19XX.' As Tsutsui Yasutaka, too, occasionally said, very roughly speaking, fantasy and science fiction were special genres mainly for buffs and not necessarily very popular among other people in the olden days. At least not popular enough to be eagerly jumped at by many mainstream executives of publishing industry and entertainment industries.
So, Fukushima Masami had to write a primer in science fiction to educate mainstream readers even in the 70s.
In a funny scene in A Spaceship Lit by the Lemon-like Moon by Noda Masahiro, the Customs were infuriated at imported Weird Tales.

And, well, a person who is a buff of genre X thinking 'This is a great work' is one thing. Whether executives of entertainment/publishing industries and mainstream people think so is another.
 
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cormacmacart



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:45 am Reply with quote
hyojodoji wrote:
I have read the Takahashi Yōsuke version, too. Since Takahashi writes and illustrates horror/fantasy/mystery manga, a character from a fantasy-mystery manga by him set in the early 20th century made a guest appearance in the Teito Monogatari manga


This character!
http://imageshack.us/​a/​img268/​9720/​mysterycharacter.​jpg

Quote:
Sakaguchi Ango and Yamada Fūtarō wrote works set in the Meiji period. Shiba Ryōtarō has been very popular in Japan. In 1965 Hirose Tadashi wrote an SF novel set in the 1930s.
If you write an outline of a genealogical table of that genre, it might be better to take other factors into account.


Ah! This is why I'm so glad to be talking to someone who is familiar with this material! Smile Yes, indeed it would be a good idea to write an outline.

Shiba Ryōtarō though...didn't he write mainly historical fiction? Did he write a historical fantasy novel as well?

Anyways...that makes sense. Maybe there had not been many fantasy "epics" set in those periods before?

Another factor I didn't take into account was that by the time Teito Monogatari came along (1985), there was a new generation of readers who were growing up during Japan's economic boom. Maybe to them, a fantasy work about the Meiji Era seemed more "nostalgic" or "mythical" since they were more distanced from that time period.

That doesn't apply so much to Musubi no Yama Hiroku though (which was published in 1973). However the reason for that might also apply to what you say below.

Quote:
What I can think of right now is:
1. Accessibility. I wouldn't say Musubi no Yama Hiroku is high-cultural, but Teito Monogatari is far more accessible, probably accessible even to lower-middlebrow younger readers.
So, Teito Monogatari sold well.


That makes sense. I went back and consulted some notes from a translator who works in the publishing industry. I had actually asked him about Musubi no Yama Hiroku before, and he told me the novel is VERY HEAVY with historical references, much more so than Teito. He said if the reader does not have an incredibly solid, working understanding of those 400 years of Japanese history the book touches upon prior to reading the book, then he/she will be lost or lose interest very quickly. He also told me for that reason, it will probably never be translated. Sad

This is ironic because so many Westerners who watch the film versions of Teito Monogatari complain the story is "too complicated"; they complain there's too many historical and mythological references that they don't understand. But, as you said, in Japan, Teito Monogatari is considered accessible fiction! It's easier than a work like Musubi no Yama Hiroku.

BTW, another thing I wanted to ask you...as someone who has read the novel, which visual adaptation of Teito Monogatari would you recommend to someone unfamiliar with the novel?

I always thought they all had major problems:

1) The 1988 Akio Jissoji movie is fun and has the right tone, but the plot is too compressed and nearly incomprehensible.
2) The anime (Doomed Megalopolis) has a plot that's easier to follow, but the tone is overwhelmingly dark, grim and serious.
3) The Kamui Fujiwara manga is the most accurate, but it cuts out way too many plot points and characters (Gakutensoku, Shigemaru Kuroda, the underground railroad, etc.)

Basically all of them are very compressed, incomplete and somewhat inaccessible without the novel. Personally I would just encourage people to read the book first. But if you had to choose...which one do you think is the best?

Quote:
2. 'How popular fantasy/science fiction was in Japan in 19XX.' As Tsutsui Yasutaka, too, occasionally said, very roughly speaking, fantasy and science fiction were special genres mainly for buffs and not necessarily very popular among other people in the olden days. At least not popular enough to be eagerly jumped at by many mainstream executives of publishing industry and entertainment industries.
So, Fukushima Masami had to write a primer in science fiction to educate mainstream readers even in the 70s.
In a funny scene in A Spaceship Lit by the Lemon-like Moon by Noda Masahiro, the Customs were infuriated at imported Weird Tales.

And, well, a person who is a buff of genre X thinking 'This is a great work' is one thing. Whether executives of entertainment/publishing industries and mainstream people think so is another.


And that makes sense too. From an elitist or well bred enthusiast's point of view, most of the stuff that appeals to mainstream audiences will seem "dumbed down" compared to the material they digest.

I read that in the mid-90's, there was a big debate in Japan among literature buffs about how the quality of science fiction literature was declining in recent years. Apparently, many people were outraged that the film Gamera 2 won the Nihon SF Taisho Award, and started complaining that the only reason such a thing could happen was that contemporary fantasy/sci-fi literature was becoming "trash" (the debate was actually called the "trash debate" iirc). Maybe this was a result of fantasy/sci-fi literature becoming more mainstream?

PS: I asked my friend in the publishing business about Ishi no Ketsumyaku. He told me though that although the novel is significant, it's way too long and for that reason, he's not going to translate it. Sad
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