Japanese literature release: “Lulu & Mimi” by Kyusaku Yumeno

By | November 15, 2021

(Jump right to the book’s Amazon page)

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.

I want to give many thanks to all those who helped with this project, in particular Jim Miles (of Annotranslate), and Kaimai Mizuhiro (his web site is here, and books are here).

You can find Lulu & Mimi on Amazon here, or see the entire three-book series (the first book is The Spirit Drum, a novella about the effect of a cursed drum across several generations).

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