Just last month I released a book of short stories by Kyusaku Yumeno (夢野久作), a classic Japanese author who is best known for his rather unusual novel Dogra Magra. In fact, Kyusaku Yumeno actually appeared as a minor character in the anime Bungo Stray Dogs, where he showcased his (fictional) mysterious powers.
While I was finishing up the work to get that book of short stories published I discovered Lulu & Mimi, a dark fairy tale of Yumeno’s about a pair of siblings and a mysterious lake of legend. While I had come across a few of Yumeno’s short stories before, they were either too short and/or frankly just not that interesting to me. But when I read Lulu & Mimi, I immediately knew that I wanted to translate and publish it.
I’ve already published a few books by Mimei Ogawa (a classic author known for his fairy tales), and though Lulu & Mimi is clearly written as a fairy tale, the writing style is a bit different from Ogawa’s works. And whereas Many of Ogawa’s works have a moral lesson, the interpretation of Lulu & Mimi is much less straightforward (it may actually be based on actual historical legend(s)).
I decided to also include “The Egg”, a story by Yumeno with a more modern setting that revolves on an unusual gift between lovers. This is a fairly short piece, but I enjoyed the literary style and also the theme of romantic love in the modern age, which it clearly tries to make a statement about.
As with the second volume, I’ve included both English-only and parallel Japanese/English versions for Japanese learners, and I’ve also kept the furigana reading hints that were present in the original text. Lulu & Mimi has much simpler Japanese than the other stories I have translated by this author, so I would suggest it to those who want to try reading his works in Japanese.