In recent years I’ve been putting more effort into translation, but I still try to spend a good portion of my time helping create content to help others learn Japanese. My series “Classic Japanese Fairy Tales”, which contains translations of works from Mimei Ogawa (小川未明)––often referred to as the father of modern Japanese children’s literature––is one of my favorite projects since it lets me combine these two goals.
That’s why I’m very happy to announce the fourth installment of this series, containing a set of stories listed (like the other volumes) in both English-only and parallel Japanese/English formats.
The highlight of this volume is “The Rose and the Shrine Maiden” (薔薇と巫女), one of Ogawa’s more well-known works that is a bit darker than many of the works in the first three volumes, and perhaps a bit more targeted at adults. However, several of the other stories in this book are still in Ogawa’s more traditional style.
In this volume I have also included an essay by Ogawa himself, titled “The Poetic Value of Children’s Stories”, where he talks about reincarnation, the connection between humanity and nature, and what he expects from children’s stories. This gives some important context to understanding this author’s works. On a personal note, it was a lot of fun (yet challenging) to do a fiction translation like this, and it reminded me of back when I did some work for Gengo.
For those interested in practicing Japanese reading, I should mention that some of these stories (especially the essay and “The Rose and the Shrine Maiden” story) are a bit more difficult than the stories I chose for the first three volumes, but some of the others are written at an easier reading level.
I’d like to thank Kaimai Mizuhiro (開米瑞浩) for helping confirm some of the meanings of the tricker passages (the least I can do is mention his interesting technical books). Also, I’d like to thank Yeti of Shosetsu Ninja and Jim Miles (of Annotranslate) for help with proofreading the stories.
Finally, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Let’s make 2021 the best year yet!