[Click here to jump right to the book’s page on Amazon]
In July of this year, Arigatai Books released “Gensen: Selected Stories in Modern Japanese Literature (Volume 1)”, our first try at publishing a set of stories with a variety of authors instead of a single one. I’ve been pleased with the community response, so I decided to release a second volume, keeping the focus on engaging and enjoyable stories by Japanese authors (by the way, “gensen” [厳選] means “carefully selected”). I am sticking to 20th century writers for now, but in future volumes I hope to branch out to the 21th century.
This volume includes a story by Mimei Ogawa (小川未明), an author famous for his fairy tales––which I’ve translated and published quite a few of––as well as a work by Haruo Satō (佐藤春夫), an author said to be an influence for Osamu Dazai (most known for his classic novel “No Longer Human”). Also included is a piece by Nogitarō Yamamoto (山本禾太郎), an author who doesn’t seem to have been published in English before.
My favorite story of this collection is “Acala the Immovable” (by Sotō Tachibana, 橘外男), an atmospheric piece about a couple that travels to the distant snowy harbor town of Rumoi, Hokkaido to get away from it all––only to witness a terrible accident of the likes they will never forget. It’s written somewhat like a travelog with a sense of realism that hints that real-world events were used for inspiration.
Much thanks to Kaimai Mizuhiro (開米瑞浩) for helping double check some of the meanings of the more difficult passages. Also thanks to Jim “Quotes” Miles (of Annotranslate) for help proofreading the stories.
As with the first volume, I’ve included both English-only and parallel Japanese/English versions of each story so you can use these stories for Japanese reading practice. I’ve also included mini-biographies for each author to give a bit of additional context.