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Help us get the first onmyoji novel translated!


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hyojodoji



Joined: 08 Jan 2010
Posts: 434

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:04 am Reply with quote
cormacmacart wrote:
This character!
http://imageshack.us/​a/​img268/​9720/​mysterycharacter.​jpg

Yes, probably he is Mugen Mamiya.


cormacmacart wrote:
Shiba Ryōtarō though...didn't he write mainly historical fiction?

Yes, he wrote mainly historical fiction. But his Saka no Ue no Kumo is so famous and good that people who write novels (including fantasy/science fiction) which are set in the Meiji period and feature real-life persons cannot disregard it.


cormacmacart wrote:
which visual adaptation of Teito Monogatari would you recommend to someone unfamiliar with the novel?

I have not watched the live-action film Teito Monogatari.
In view of anime and manga's becoming popular also in non-Japanese countries, I think both the anime version and the Fujiwara Kamui version are not bad as an introduction to/abridged version of Teito Monogatari.


cormacmacart wrote:
(the debate was actually called the "trash debate" iirc).

Maybe you are referring to the Trash SF Debate.
 
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cormacmacart



Joined: 08 Mar 2012
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:55 pm Reply with quote
hyojodoji wrote:

Yes, he wrote mainly historical fiction. But his Saka no Ue no Kumo is so famous and good that people who write novels (including fantasy/science fiction) which are set in the Meiji period and feature real-life persons cannot disregard it.


So that was the book that became a standard regarding historical fiction set in the Meiji Era? It must be similar to the success and legacy of E.A. Doctorow's Ragtime in America then.

Funny...I can't help but notice it finished being published only a year before Musubi no Yama Hiroku was published.

Quote:
I have not watched the live-action film Teito Monogatari.
In view of anime and manga's becoming popular also in non-Japanese countries, I think both the anime version and the Fujiwara Kamui version are not bad as an introduction to/abridged version of Teito Monogatari.


That's interesting, because as I understand it, the Akio Jissoji version is the most popular adaptation of the novel in Japan. It grossed the most amount of money at the box office and was also critically acclaimed.

I would go with the Fujiwara Kamui version because of it's accuracy. It's a shame it hasn't been translated into English yet.

The anime version I am always very hesitant to recommend to Westerners because of the added racy content (the phallus shaped fukuchumushi, the rape subplot, provocative nightmare scenes, etc.) A lot of English speakers who watch it get offended very quickly.

Quote:

Maybe you are referring to the Trash SF Debate.


You're familiar with it! Please...what can you tell about it? What kind of works were they criticizing in the article? All I know about it is from this book:

http://books.google.com/​books?​id=​Xb5SpfOG9xgC&​pg=​PT24&​lpg=​PT23&​ots=​r52_AuYWOx&​dq=​japanese+​sf,​+​a+​Decade+​of+​Trash
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hyojodoji



Joined: 08 Jan 2010
Posts: 434

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:10 am Reply with quote
cormacmacart wrote:
I would go with the Fujiwara Kamui version because of it's accuracy. It's a shame it hasn't been translated into English yet.

The anime version I am always very hesitant to recommend to Westerners because of the added racy content (the phallus shaped fukuchumushi, the rape subplot, provocative nightmare scenes, etc.) A lot of English speakers who watch it get offended very quickly.

OK, if you talk with a Victorian gentleman/lady about an abridged version of Teito Monogatari, it may be better to recommend the manga, rather than the anime, to him/her.


cormacmacart wrote:
You're familiar with it! Please...what can you tell about it?

In 1997, a book-review magazine carried a talk between Kagami Akira (SF writer and translator) and Takahashi Ryōhei (SF critic) titled 'All science fiction works in recent 10 years are trash!'. Some writers, including Noah Adusa, brought forth counterarguments to them.
 
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charmian



Joined: 06 Nov 2012
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:20 pm Reply with quote
Good luck on the project, but having read the first book of the series, I don't think it is a good candidate for translation unless you combine the first and second books into one volume, and I also think Aramata has a good point. A company is not going to translate a book because it is an important cultural phenomenon. They're going to do it because it'll sell. A scholar might translate something because it is important culturally, however.

To be honest, I found the relative lack of story advancement and the amount of historical infodumping in the first book to be fairly bothersome.

Personally, I feel Yumemakura's or Kyogoku's works would be much better candidates for translation.
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cormacmacart



Joined: 08 Mar 2012
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:18 pm Reply with quote
charmian wrote:
Good luck on the project, but having read the first book of the series, I don't think it is a good candidate for translation unless you combine the first and second books into one volume, and I also think Aramata has a good point. A company is not going to translate a book because it is an important cultural phenomenon. They're going to do it because it'll sell. A scholar might translate something because it is important culturally, however.

To be honest, I found the relative lack of story advancement and the amount of historical infodumping in the first book to be fairly bothersome.


Thank you for your insight. Yes, we are quite aware of the heavy "infodumping" (especially in the first book) and how that might turn off several English readers. This can be a major issue. There was a notable amount of negative sentiment against the English version of SUMMER OF UBUME because of Kyogokudo's long explanatory scenes.

I have been talking to one of the potential translators about "trimming down" some of the excess Morris-the-Explainer stuff. Certainly we can't get rid of all the exposition, but we were hoping to cut down on stuff not really essential to the plot (do we really need detailed explanations about the nature of an atom??). If the translation does get green lighted (which probably won't be for a long while), we can more seriously discuss this with the translators and Aramata.

Regarding your suggestion to translate the first two volumes instead of just the first one...this was actually already suggested by the publisher. The latest Japanese publication is already made up of 6 two-in-one volumes anyways.

Quote:
Personally, I feel Yumemakura's or Kyogoku's works would be much better candidates for translation.


Well, Vertical already said they are willing to translate and publish more of Kyogoku's works so long as they're not the rest of the KYOGOKUDO novels (due to the extremely high costs of the translation):
animenewsnetwork.com/bbs/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=137348
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hyojodoji



Joined: 08 Jan 2010
Posts: 434

PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:35 am Reply with quote
cormacmacart wrote:
...do we really need detailed explanations about the nature of an atom??

I can understand some people want the story advancement to be fast-paced, but also the 'atom' scene may have some significance.

1. Since Professor Nagaoka's Saturnian model of the atom is famous, it is interesting to time-travel to Meiji 40 and witness the Nagaoka Hantarō lecturing on it at the College of Science of Tokyo Imperial University, at least for persons who are knowledgeable about things in the Meiji period.

2. The 'modern Western science' scene makes an interesting contrast to the Oriental supernatural, which plays a significant part in the novel.

And pedantry is an important factor in Teito Monogatari in the first place.
 
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cormacmacart



Joined: 08 Mar 2012
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:48 am Reply with quote
hyojodoji wrote:
I can understand some people want the story advancement to be fast-paced, but also the 'atom' scene may have some significance.

1. Since Professor Nagaoka's Saturnian model of the atom is famous, it is interesting to time-travel to Meiji 40 and witness the Nagaoka Hantarō lecturing on it at the College of Science of Tokyo Imperial University, at least for persons who are knowledgeable about things in the Meiji period.

2. The 'modern Western science' scene makes an interesting contrast to the Oriental supernatural, which plays a significant part in the novel.

And pedantry is an important factor in Teito Monogatari in the first place.


Thank you! Personally, the only reason I knew about that scene was because it was quickly noted in a rough outline of the novel, but I had no idea about its thematic, historical or cultural relevance (literally all the outline noted was that there was a "long discussion of the nature of the atom").

See...this is why if the group ever makes a decision to do any "trimming", it needs to be seriously discussed, if not with Aramata, then with a person (probably another scholar) very familiar with the novel and its contents.

Another strategy I was thinking of was maybe relegating the longer expository scenes to a different section of the book, like an appendix or something. This way, we can keep all the content, but also satisfy those who want a faster read-through.

ANOTHER strategy I was thinking of was maybe just adding in brief concise footnotes at the bottom of the page which will briefly summarize the scene, its historical/cultural relevance, and whether it will have major significance on the rest of the story or not. Then impatient readers can skip ahead if they want to.

It is a problem though. I'm sure it's very rewarding to read through all these scenes and understand them (just like Kyogokudo's expository scenes in Kyogoku's respective books), but the truth is many readers (especially popular fiction readers) unfortunately just aren't that patient. On the other hand, I certainly don't want the novel to be edited to the point where it's impact becomes warped. I still remember all the negative reactions to the cinematic versions of TEITO MONOGATARI by English viewers who couldn't understand the story and dismissed it as nonsense, a direct consequence of the story being heavily abridged, stylized and delivered without guidance. Do NOT want that to happen with the English version of the original novel.
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vanfanel



Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 661

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:26 am Reply with quote
I just came across this thread, and must say it's been very interesting reading. I've had these books in my backlog for ages (I went through a phase where I was hunting used bookstores for anything that had won the Nihon SF Taisho), but have only read the author's foreword so far.

>The anime version I am always very hesitant to recommend to
> Westerners because of the added racy content...A lot of
> English speakers who watch it get offended very quickly.

I'm glad to hear this because I'm one of these, actually, and seeing the anime did knock these books down several notches in my backlog. If the books are less nasty -- as you've said they are -- that does make them more attractive to me.

Most daunting now, though, is learning about all the references in them. I almost hate to start reading without a better knowledge of these people who are referenced in it are first.
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cormacmacart



Joined: 08 Mar 2012
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:26 pm Reply with quote
vanfanel wrote:
I just came across this thread, and must say it's been very interesting reading. I've had these books in my backlog for ages (I went through a phase where I was hunting used bookstores for anything that had won the Nihon SF Taisho), but have only read the author's foreword so far.

>The anime version I am always very hesitant to recommend to
> Westerners because of the added racy content...A lot of
> English speakers who watch it get offended very quickly.

I'm glad to hear this because I'm one of these, actually, and seeing the anime did knock these books down several notches in my backlog. If the books are less nasty -- as you've said they are -- that does make them more attractive to me.


Oh yeah...this is what I've been constantly trying to convey to English speakers who have seen the anime version and nothing else. You've got to remember though the context under which the anime was released; in the late 80's and early 90's lots of nasty, violent "adult" shows like NINJA SCROLL, WICKED CITY and (Gasp) LEGEND OF THE OVERFIEND were dominating the market. The creators felt they had to pump the anime up or else it wouldn't be able to survive. Although the novel certainly has its fair share of dark stuff, the anime just takes those elements and turns them up a notch (if not several). From what I understand, the racy content in the original novel is really no worse than Yumemakura's ONMYOJI series (the literary series, not the movies). In fact, after reading more about both series, I'm beginning to suspect that TEITO MONOGATARI might actually be cleaner overall because of the extremely heavy amount of "infodumping" which permeates each volume.

Of course, those who have read the novel can feel free to correct me on this.

If TEITO MONOGATARI was adapted as an anime today, I trust it would be rather different. I would really like a TV series in the style of the MORYO NO HAKO anime adaptation.

Quote:
Most daunting now, though, is learning about all the references in them. I almost hate to start reading without a better knowledge of these people who are referenced in it are first.


Well...have Google primed and ready is what I suggest. I tried to list as many of the historical characters as possible in the Wiki page, so you can start there too:
http://en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Teito_Monogatari
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hyojodoji



Joined: 08 Jan 2010
Posts: 434

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:58 pm Reply with quote
cormacmacart wrote:
I tried to list as many of the historical characters as possible in the Wiki page, so you can start there too:
http://en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Teito_Monogatari

執筆乙です。 Thank you for taking trouble to write/revise the Wikipedia articles.
Are you going to also write English Wikipedia articles about Nishimura Makoto, Ōkōchi Masatoshi, Hayakawa Noritsugu and Kon Wajirō?
 
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cormacmacart



Joined: 08 Mar 2012
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:46 pm Reply with quote
hyojodoji wrote:

執筆乙です。 Thank you for taking trouble to write/revise the Wikipedia articles.
Are you going to also write English Wikipedia articles about Nishimura Makoto, Ōkōchi Masatoshi, Hayakawa Noritsugu and Kon Wajirō?
 


Yes, I plan to in the near future.
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