Japanese Literature Book Release: “Gensen: Selected Stories in Modern Japanese Literature (Volume 1)”

By | July 11, 2022

(Jump right to the book’s Amazon page here)

In the last few years I’ve put out a few books containing my translations of Japanese authors whom I felt deserved more exposure to the West, and in a few cases the authors had not been translated much into English yet. I’m happy with what I have achieved so far, but it occurred to me that all of my Japanese literature books so far focus on only a single author. This is good for readers who like to dig deep on a single author, but for those looking to more freely explore what Japanese literature has to offer perhaps anthologies with stories by an assortment of authors are more appropriate.

That’s why I’ve been spending the last few months searching for interesting stories by Japanese authors to form Volume 1 of  “Gensen: Selected Stories in Modern Japanese Literature”. The word “gensen” (厳選) means “carefully selected”, which I felt was a fitting title for this series of anthologies.

I’ve ended up with five stories across a few genres, including those from authors I have worked with before (like Juza Unno, the founding father of Japanese SF) as well as those that have not been translated much into English yet (like Muro Saisei). I have also included mini-biographies before each story to give you a little information about each respective author.

In keeping with my themes of both introducing Japanese literature to a wider audience as well as helping others learn Japanese, I have decided to publish these stories in both English as well as parallel Japanese/English formats. Though I plan to showcase a variety of genres and difficult levels throughout this series, in this first volume the stories are relatively easy, especially the two fairy tales (one being by Kyusaku Yumeno of Dogra Magra and The Spirit Drum).

As usual, thanks to Kaimai Mizuhiro (開米瑞浩) for helping confirm some of the meanings of the tricker passages. Also thanks to Jim Miles (of Annotranslate) for help proofreading the stories.

The book is available now on Amazon here.

By the way, frequent readers of this blog may have heard the name “Gensen” before, and in fact it is the same name of a series (with a similar theme) I recently started on Amazon Vella––a new platform for publishing serialized content––that you can find here. The reason I have made a traditional ebook version of Gensen is due to the various drawbacks with Vella. For example, Vella is currently only available in the U.S., and it seems the licensing does not permit publishing stores in parallel Japanese/English. Furthermore, there are restrictions around publishing Vella content on other platforms, which is why the stories I have published in this new ebook are totally different than those I published on Vella. (In the future I may be able to publish the Vella stories in ebook format, however.)

It so happens that the two first stories I have published on Vella are dark suspenseful stories, though for the longer term I hope to include a variety of genres on both Vella as well as my ebook-version of Gensen.

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