Japanese Literature Audio Narration: “The Foundary” by Kyusaku Yumeno

By | February 13, 2022

When writing or doing translation, reading aloud is a great way to check for naturalness, and also helps finding mistakes you might otherwise miss if just reading it in your head. I’ve found audio narration to be very enjoyable and a good way to get extra satisfaction out of a translation project––although if I don’t shut off my perfectionist side it can involve many tedious re-recordings.

When doing the translation for “The Foundary” (工場), the first story of my book “Kaimu: A Collection of Disturbing Dreams” (containing translations of works by the classic author Kyusaku Yumeno (夢野久作)), I thought it would be a great work to do an audio narration of. Lately I was looking for a project involving Japanese literature that would get me away from a computer, so I decided to make an audio narration of the entire story. I was able to get a reasonable-quality recording after only a few tries (with very minimal editing), and I decided to use my piano improvisation skills to make the background music. (The factory picture for the thumbnail was used from Canva.)

“The Foundary” is a short story that revolves around…well, a factory, and (like most of the other pieces in that collection) is more about atmosphere and vivid description than story or characters. The personification of the factory really makes it the main character of this piece.

If you enjoy this reading, you can find the e-book for the entire collection here, available in bilingual Engilsh/Japanese, which is part of a series you can find here. Also, please consider checking out another audio narration I did of fairy tale author Mimei Ogawa (小川未明). I even did an experimental bilingual reading of another of this author’s works here. (You also can find a professionally narrated and produced audiobook of my Mimei Ogawa translations here.)

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