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Questions tagged [japanese-language]

Questions about works of literature that were originally written in the Japanese language, regardless of whether they were written or published in Japan or elsewhere.

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2 votes
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In Ryonosuke's story "Cogwheels" (sometimes translated as "Spinning Gears") what does the yellow plaster signify?

Partway through the story, the protagonist is speaking with a friend. And he stops mid sentence: I broke off mid-sentence, as I studied the reflection of his back in the mirror. There was a yellow ...
blueberryfields's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
140 views

Was Akutagawa's Shōgun ("The General") ever censored in Japan? If so, how?

I know books which criticize the military were censored in Japan during the interwar period. I'm wondering if this specific story was censored, and if so, roughly when/for how long? Also, what did the ...
blueberryfields's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
157 views

What is the story behind the hierogram on the Isle of Thorns in A Game of You?

Like it says on the tin: What's going on with the stone and Japanese text here in Sandman No. 36?
lly's user avatar
  • 385
4 votes
1 answer
48 views

What form of Formality does Kikuji originally use when talking about Chikako Kurimoto in chapter two?

I am reading Thousand Cranes (千羽鶴, Senbazuru) by Yasunari Kawabata at the moment after finding the slim booklet in my late grandfather's library. In chapter two, in english titled The Grove in the ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 315
10 votes
2 answers
182 views

How are the Chekov passages handled in the translation of 1Q84?

I'm curious about the Chekov passages which Tengo reads aloud to Fuka-Eri. Presumably they are in Japanese in the original. Were they copied from an existing Japanese translation of Chekov? In the ...
tgdavies's user avatar
  • 336
1 vote
0 answers
122 views

Full English translation of Eiji Yoshikawa's novel Musashi

Is there a full English translation of the novel Musashi (『宮本武蔵』) by Eiji Yoshikawa? The one usually available from Charles Terry is abridged.
D3merzel's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
260 views

How did Indian literature influence Japanese literature?

The Wikipedia article on Japanese literature opens with the following sentences about the influence of other cultures and bodies of literature on the (nascent?) Japanese literature: Early works of ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
798 views

Did Sara and Tsukuru finally get together?

Haruki Murakami's novel "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage" follows the life of Tsukuru Tazaki and his relationships and bonds with people he meets in his life - the group ...
CinCout's user avatar
  • 994
5 votes
1 answer
123 views

Life of Clara A. Walsh

I am looking for any biographical information concerning Clara A. Walsh. She wrote "The Master-Singers of Japan," a selection of classical Japanese poetry translated into English. It was ...
Richard Stanley's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
297 views

Who translated the Baccano! series into English?

I am researching the light novel series Baccano! authored by 成田良悟 (Narita Ryōgo). I haven't been able to find out who the translator(s) is/are. Especially for Vol. 5 (light novel): 2001 The Children ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
83 views

What is the meaning of Akutagawa's reference to a centaur?

The following is an excerpt of Ryūnosuke Akutagawa's novel The life of a fool: He read a book by Anatole France, his head propped up by a pillow of skepticism exuding a rosy fragrance; the presence ...
S. N.'s user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
37 views

I'm looking for a certain haiku about kusarigama in Japanese

The haiku I'm looking for is probably of an anonymous author. I got a hint on a Japanese message board that it's maybe Musashi's one and I should find it in Eiji Yoshikawa's famous novel, but it's not ...
Simpleton Jack's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
607 views

Source of the Japanese story Joseph Campbell tells of a samurai spat upon in The Power of Myth

I'm searching for the source of the Japanese story of a samurai spat upon which Joseph Campbell relates in The Power of Myth. (Oddly, the book has no citation on this). . . . there is a story . . . ...
Vincent Noto's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
92 views

How do the lyrics of "上を向いて歩こう" relate to its English title "Sukiyaki"?

The English title of the Japanese song 上を向いて歩こう is a head scratcher. The lyrics: 上を向いて歩こう 涙がこぼれないように 思い出す 春の日 一人ぽっちの夜 上を向いて歩こう にじんだ星をかぞえて 思い出す 夏の日 一人ぽっちの夜 幸せは 雲の上に 幸せは 空の上に 上を向いて歩こう 涙がこぼれないように 泣きながら ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
  • 1,396
1 vote
0 answers
123 views

Need help in appreciating the significance of The Tale of Genji

While spending one complete year each on the study of Japanese and Chinese literature (in translation), it was a pleasure to experience the cultural differences among the Western body of writings and ...
Charles M Saunders's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
155 views

Freudian/psychoanalytical interpretation of the triangular relationship in Toradora!

The central theme in the Japanese light novel/manga Toradora! (とらドラ!) around which the entire story unfolds is the love triangle between the male protagonist Takasu Ryuji and his two girl friends, ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
  • 1,396
4 votes
0 answers
120 views

Where did the idea of mono no aware come from?

Piggybacking on this question, I am still curious about the mono no aware (物の哀れ) reading of The Tale of Genji. According to Wikipedia: Norinaga's most important works include the Kojiki-den (...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
  • 1,396
2 votes
0 answers
35 views

What is the nature of the differences between the Kawachi-bon and the Aobyoshi-bon lines of the Tale of Genji manuscripts?

The original manuscripts of The Tale of Genji no longer exist. Royall Tyler writes in the introduction to his translation (Penguin 2003, page xviiii) that by the 13th century, the manuscripts of the ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
141 views

Buddhist interpretation of The Tale of Genji

The search for literary sources has been inspired largely by the difficulty scholars have experienced in imagining that a work of the magnitude of The Tale of Genji could have been created without ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
  • 1,396
4 votes
0 answers
56 views

What exactly does Murasaki Shikibu say about The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter?

Donald Keene comments: [Murasaki Shikibu] dismissed as old-fashioned the kind of unreality present in The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter—the birth of a little girl inside a stalk of bamboo, or Kaguyahime’...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
  • 1,396
6 votes
0 answers
96 views

Why did Waley choose to transcribe the titles of some chapters as opposed to translating them in The Tale of Genji?

Arthur Waley seems to be a champion, practitioner, and repeat offender of domesticating translation. This Q&A tells us his translation of Journey to the West significantly abridges the original ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
  • 1,396
2 votes
0 answers
148 views

Where in the Tale of Genji does it say Genji's affair offends Amaterasu?

From Doris Bargen, The Search for Things Past in the Genji monogatari: The beginning of the Genji, as established by literary tradition, is indeed deceptively matter-of-fact about events of grave ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
  • 1,396
2 votes
0 answers
50 views

What manuscript or manuscripts was the first printed edition of the Tale of Genji based on?

The original manuscript of the 11th-century Japanese novel The Tale of Genji has been lost. According to the Wikipedia article Textual tradition of The Tale of Genji, "the number of manuscript ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 45.1k
5 votes
1 answer
3k views

Which English translation of The Tale of Genji is the most accurate yet readable?

The Tale of Genji was originally written in an archaic form of Japanese, and has been translated both into modern Japanese and into English multiple times. Wikipedia says "The first English ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.6k
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

"That’s because you’ve already made your wish." What does it mean?

Haruki Murakami's short story "Birthday Girl", available to read online, is about a girl working part-time as a waiter who gets to make a special wish on her twentieth birthday. In the frame story, ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.6k
4 votes
0 answers
196 views

How many "Little People" are in the story-in-the-story in 1Q84?

In Haruki Murakami's novel 1Q84, there is a novella, Air Chrysalis, that plays an important role. It describes some apparently supernatural beings called "the Little People". When the "Little People"...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
379 views

Who is the second narrator character in Haruki Murakami's "Birthday Girl"?

Haruki Murakami's short story "Birthday Girl", available to read online, is about a girl working part-time as a waiter who gets to make a special wish on her twentieth birthday. Much of it is written ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.6k
5 votes
0 answers
388 views

What was her wish in Haruki Murakami's "Birthday Girl"?

Haruki Murakami's short story "Birthday Girl", available to read online, is about a girl working part-time as a waiter who gets to make a special wish on her twentieth birthday. The first-person ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.6k
6 votes
0 answers
59 views

Trying to locate source of a story about Japanese storyteller's apprentice who is mistaken for a master

I'm trying to locate the source of a story I remember, for an essay I'm writing. Not sure if the story is fact, fiction, or legend. It concerns an apprentice to a master storyteller in Japan (Rakugo I ...
Simon K's user avatar
  • 223
5 votes
2 answers
699 views

Does 'In a Grove' assume that dead people don't lie?

'In a Grove' is one of Ryūnosuke Akutagawa's best-known short stories, partly due to Kurosawa's film Rashomon. In this short story, we get several accounts of the death of samurai Kanazawa no Takehiro....
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 45.1k
2 votes
1 answer
181 views

Which book is the maxim 大道無門 from?

From which book is the maxim 大道無門 Zen kōan だいどうむもん "Daidō mumon" "to achieve great understanding there is no single but thousands of ways".
Oni's user avatar
  • 137
8 votes
1 answer
269 views

Where can I find details on the original manuscripts for the Miyamoto Musashi texts?

I'm doing a "reliability of the text" study and want to review the reliability of the texts that have been used to substantiate the Miyamoto Musashi texts The Book of the Five Rings and The Path of ...
Benjamin's user avatar
  • 183
7 votes
3 answers
186 views

What Kanji startles Otoko so much?

As I was fighting through the first page of Chapter 7 of Beauty and Sadness (see Dramatis Personae of Beauty and Sadness), I stumbled upon a sentence that is hard to understand. Since I read it in ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 315
-3 votes
2 answers
106 views

Dramatis Personae of Beauty and Sadness

Beauty and Sadness (美しさと哀しみと Utsukushisa to kanashimi to) clearly isn't an easy read. I had started it some 5 years ago, read till the middle and abandoned it. Now, I picked it up again and found a ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 315
4 votes
1 answer
781 views

Is there a translation of the 雑兵物語 (zohyo monogatari)?

When I was taking a few notes about Ashigaru, Japanese foot soldiers of the jigoku-era, I found that most contemporary illustrations on this page stem from one and the same book by Utagawa Kuniyoshi. ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 315
3 votes
1 answer
127 views

pre-Meji Japanese book/essay about Strategy

Years ago I had a book in my fingers that was somewhat similar to the Art of War by Sun Tsu, but it was from Japan, and focussed in part on specific combat situations and what to do then. So maybe it ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 315
4 votes
1 answer
141 views

At the start of 6th Spice and Wolf light novel, what's up with the discrepancy between "like" and "love"?

Note: I'd like to request no spoilers beyond the start of the 6th novel. At the very end of the 4th S&W novel, Lawrence says "I like you". And yet Lawrence embraced Holo. And then— &...
J.Todd's user avatar
  • 141
5 votes
0 answers
87 views

A break in the 5-7-5-7-7 meter?

So I was reading about Waka poetry and then about the tanka meter, when I came across several poems by Ono no Komachi and Narihira. The ついにゆく poem from Narihira has 8 syllables rather than 7 in the ...
Horus's user avatar
  • 171
2 votes
1 answer
126 views

What is the meaning of O-san having a blank face?

When the cat gets his teeth stuck in a rice cake, we see that eventually O-san has to help him: O-san looks at the mistress as if to say, “Why not make him go on dancing?” The mistress would gladly ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 25k
4 votes
1 answer
118 views

How did the cat become well known?

In the second chapter of I Am a Cat, we see this: SINCE New Year’s Day I have acquired a certain modest celebrity: so that, though only a cat, I am feeling quietly proud of myself. Which is not ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 25k
1 vote
0 answers
97 views

What is happening in the scene with Coldmoon and the geisha?

In chapter two of I Am a Cat, we see this scene:  As we turned at Hotan’s corner another geisha appeared. She was slim, well-shaped and her shoulders were most beautifully sloped. The way she wore ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 25k
5 votes
0 answers
85 views

What does the teacher's clothing choice say about him?

In chapter 2 of I Am a Cat we see this chunk of text: He continues to wear his black cotton crested surcoat and, thereunder, a quilted kimono of hand-woven silk which, supposedly a keep-sake of his ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 25k
3 votes
1 answer
79 views

Why does the cat call the children 'dear little things' if they treat the cat badly?

The cat in I Am a Cat calls the children 'dear little things': The children, dear little things, now trot off, day after day, to kindergarten: but on their return, they sing songs, bounce balls and ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 25k
12 votes
2 answers
374 views

Does this passage in "I Am a Cat" reference a real Western novel?

In Chapter 2 of the 1906 story, I Am a Cat, (full text of this and preceding chapters available here), the cat makes reference to a particular "western novel" in order to draw an analogy ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.6k
5 votes
2 answers
135 views

Why should a teacher's cat care less about human robbery?

I started reading Natsume Sōseki's I Am a Cat a week or two ago in preparation for this month's topic challenge, and I came across the following paragraph towards the end of the first chapter (whose ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.6k
10 votes
3 answers
281 views

Do traditional Japanese haikus always describe a moment?

I am currently reading The Heart of Haiku by Jane Hirshfield. In it, there are many examples of haikus by Bashō. In them, they always appear to give reference to a time, either explicitly or through ...
Benjamin's user avatar
  • 6,213
12 votes
2 answers
1k views

Does Nausicaä not develop as a character at all?

There will be spoilers regarding characters from the end of the manga here. In Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Kaze no Tani no Naushika) manga, the characters are usually ...
Gallifreyan's user avatar
  • 8,454
5 votes
1 answer
223 views

What is the meaning of this tanka by Saigo Hoshi?

What is the meaning of the following tanka by Saigo Hoshi which I came to read today? Now indeed I know That when we said "remember" and we swore it so, it was in "we will forget" ...
Ayeron's user avatar
  • 51
9 votes
0 answers
289 views

"The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle": English vs. Russian translation?

I recently started reading "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" by Haruki Murakami in English and I'm quite enjoying it. However, I learned that the English version — although well-translated — omits ...
Archagon's user avatar
  • 215
14 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why are manga panels read differently than Japanese text?

Japanese is traditionally read in an up-to-down column, then jumps right-to-left to the next column. But all the manga I've ever seen reverse that order for panel flow, so we go from panel to panel ...
BESW's user avatar
  • 5,012