Register :: Log in :: Profile   


Who are samurai fiction fans*

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Samurai Archives Citadel Forum Index // Japanese Literature Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Owarikenshi
Sandal Bearer
Sandal Bearer
Veteran Member
2010 Benefactor
2010 Benefactor



Joined: 19 Apr 2009
Posts: 256

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:26 pm    Post subject: Who are samurai fiction fans* Reply with quote
*and what do they want?

A recent conversation made me want to do a bit of an informal survey--I'd be delighted if as many people here as possible would answer the following questions:

(1) In your opinion, who are the main consumers of historical fiction about Feudal Japan? Knowing that not everyone's a reader, I'm including jidaigeki film, anime, and manga as well as books here. Looking for an overall picture of the demographic.

Think about who you enjoy this stuff with, talk about it with, share it with, who you see reading it on the train or plane, whether in the USA, Japan, or Europe.

(2) What makes or breaks a story for you? What do you most enjoy? Strong action, tight plotting, historical realism, characters you can identify with, internal consistency . . .What compels you to keep on reading or watching?

Everyone's taste is different, so I'm looking for a lot of input here.

Hoping to invite some hot debate!

Owarikenshi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
shin no sen
Izumi no Kami
Izumi no Kami
Veteran Member
Multi-Year Benefactor
Multi-Year Benefactor



Joined: 25 Nov 2006
Posts: 1056

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
1) Historical accuracy- nothing wrecks a good story as much as improbabilities, even though we are talking fiction, I abhor magic demons flying through the air shooting fireballs. Even small inconsistencies detract from the overall effect.
2)A good well thought out plot and thus tight.
3)Action again historically accurate and the more the better.
John
_________________
知恵は時間及びエネルギーである
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
kitsuno
Forum Shogun
Forum Shogun



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 9481
Location: Honolulu, HI

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Who are samurai fiction fans* Reply with quote
Owarikenshi wrote:
*and what do they want?

A recent conversation made me want to do a bit of an informal survey--I'd be delighted if as many people here as possible would answer the following questions:

(1) In your opinion, who are the main consumers of historical fiction about Feudal Japan? Knowing that not everyone's a reader, I'm including jidaigeki film, anime, and manga as well as books here. Looking for an overall picture of the demographic.

Think about who you enjoy this stuff with, talk about it with, share it with, who you see reading it on the train or plane, whether in the USA, Japan, or Europe.

(2) What makes or breaks a story for you? What do you most enjoy? Strong action, tight plotting, historical realism, characters you can identify with, internal consistency . . .What compels you to keep on reading or watching?

Everyone's taste is different, so I'm looking for a lot of input here.

Hoping to invite some hot debate!

Owarikenshi


#1 depends on the type of fiction - historical fantasy probably has a wider audience than straight historical fiction, but as for consumers, I don't really know what the demographic would be - probably people interested in Japanese history.

#2 good writing, and no blatant inaccuracies if it is trying to be straight historical fiction. Mainly good writing.
_________________
Shop Amazon.com, support the Samurai Archives: http://amzn.to/wnDX2j

Subcribe to Blog FeedS-A Podcast homepage


Last edited by kitsuno on Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:55 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Tatsunoshi
Miko no Kami
Miko no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei
Multi-Year Benefactor
Multi-Year Benefactor



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 4923
Location: 京都日本 Cincinnati, OH

PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
1) I don’t think there really is one group-I loosely have them organized into five. Of course, these are sweeping generalities and there’s a lot of overlap (for example, I’m in group C and E and even A to a degree):

A) Fans of exotic Japan: These are generally the manga and anime fans who like the stuff because it’s ‘kewl’, ‘different’, and the popular ‘flavor of the day’. When something else becomes hot, they’ll move on. Anything goes for them, the wilder and more fantastic the better. They don’t really know a lot about Japan and don’t have a serious interest in Japanese history, although many of them go on to develop one and end up in group E.
B) Modern Sammyrai-usually martial artists (real or imagined) and people who eat up traditional chanbara films (but DON’T like historical dramas or documentaries). They’re really not that interested in Japan or real Japanese history either, and are more infatuated with the image of the ‘lone noble swordsman who walks the august path of Bushido in a dishonorable world’. Many of them see themselves in this light and like to think of themselves in the role of a noble avenger, righting wrongs and fighting the good fight (which usually only gets as far as spouting off on internet message boards). They’re by far the most narrow minded and loud mouthed of the four groups, incapable of accepting anything that doesn’t fit in with their preconceptions of how noble the samurai were, especially those precious noble ronin. They accept chanbara films as actual history, resulting in much unintentional hilarity. For example, I read a review of the ‘Abarenbo Shogun’ TV series recently that blasted it because “how dare they portray the Shogun as a noble avenger, when everyone knows they were evil, rotten dictators who did nothing but prey on the people”. Obviously, this group likes the stories that emphasize the role of the sterling individual/master swordsman in a corrupt world.
C) Gamers, especially miniatures gamers-they’re usually more interested in warfare overall and Japanese warfare is just another sideline. They like to have everything strongly defined and classified into neat uniform categories and sometimes have trouble with the abstract principles of Japanese history. They comprise the bulk of Turnbull’s readership and are genuinely shocked when they find out how much he sucks. Sometimes they go on to become members of group 4, but generally are happy to just stick with the military aspects of Japanese history.
D) Collectors-whether it’s swords, armor, or woodblock prints, they bring an enormous amount of specialized knowledge about their niche to the table. They usually don’t have much interest in Japanese history outside of what they collect, however, again with some notable exceptions. Their fiction tastes run the gamut from hating all of it to embracing the whole.
E) The people with a serious interest in Japanese history-many of the members of the SA. They’ve developed a keen interest in Japanese history and culture, take the trouble to learn to speak and write Japanese, and devote a good portion of their free time to its study. Most of them prefer historical dramas to chanbara and enjoy well written, more or less accurate, non-lurid historical fiction to stories that glorify the samurai ethic. There’s a lot of overlap with groups A and C, but not so much with B.
There’s a sixth category-collegiate scholars-but they tend not to enjoy fiction quite so much as they tend to obsess over its inaccuracies, especially those who jealously covet their ‘five acres of land’ (there are notable exceptions like Henry Smith and Karl Friday).

2) For me, it’s all about whether a story is entertaining, accuracy (and to a lesser extent style) be damned. If you can justify mystical demons, hordes of ninja, warrior shrine maidens, Xena, zombies, the Death Coaster, or Brick McBurly-well then, bring ‘em on, I say. Some of the stories in the SA Fiction contest that have been my favorites come off looking like they were written by imaginative fifth graders-and some of the ones that have been the best from a technical writing standpoint have been my least favorite entries. My viewpoint is that while most anyone can over time learn to write well, you can’t teach them to acquire an imagination. The best fiction, of course, combines both.
HOWEVER-that all goes out the window if it's HISTORICAL fiction, meaning that historical personages play a major part in things (as opposed to just using them as background or cameo figures). Then things should be well grounded in historical fact. Even stuff like 'Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer' gets the dates, people, occurrences, etc, right and then works the fantastic elements in between the unwritten lines of history. That's why the Sano Ichiro series is little more than mildly entertaining crap that could be transported to any time or place-it really doesn't have a flavor of Japanese history to it because the author has only done the most basic research and has increasingly played fast and loose with history.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Owarikenshi
Sandal Bearer
Sandal Bearer
Veteran Member
2010 Benefactor
2010 Benefactor



Joined: 19 Apr 2009
Posts: 256

PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
This is precisely the kind of detailed reply I had hoped for; many thanks!

You have confirmed a great deal of what I've been thinking myself.

Extra points for "those precious noble ronin!" You are too funny

By the way, I'm glad you brought up "Abarenbo Shogun." There's a perfect example of what I see as the Japanese audience's greater willingness to suspend historical accuracy all over the place in the name of fun storytelling. Do they take their own history less "seriously" than we do? I'm not talking about the collegiate scholars here, but the mainstream consumer of stuff like "The Yagyu Clan Conspiracy," Eiji Yoshikawa's Musashi or the recent "Shinsengumi" taiga; this seems to be a perenially popular genre, the entertaining remix of historical figures and fictitious personalities and events.

Opinions invited as to whether in fact foreign audiences demand more "historical correctness" than do the Japanese themselves!

Owarikenshi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
kitsuno
Forum Shogun
Forum Shogun



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 9481
Location: Honolulu, HI

PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Owarikenshi wrote:


Opinions invited as to whether in fact foreign audiences demand more "historical correctness" than do the Japanese themselves!

Owarikenshi


I think that's just history nerds in general or overly pretentious academics or pretentious academic wannabees. If a person is writing historical fiction, it's got "history" right in the title, so you have to at least acknowledge the real history. On the other hand, if you are doing historical fantasy, like "Pandora" by Anne Rice or "Across the Nightingale Floor" by Lian Hearn - both are sort of based on historical events or cultures, but vampires in ancient rome or magic ninjas in a country based on Japan should signal the readers to step back a bit on historical accuracy - regardless, with the two examples, the writing is so good, any possible historical inaccuracies or inadequacies (and none stood out to me) are completely moot, or can be chalked up to the fantasy.

Clavell's "Shogun" aside, when on the other hand you write what is claimed to be historical fiction with a real historical figure as the main character, if you are misusing foreign words, or putting in anachronistic items in the hands of characters, or having characters act completely out of character for people of that time, then you lose, shame on you. You don't need to be a pretentious wannabee to be justifiably annoyed by that. I give "Shogun" as pass just because the end product was so well done I can overlook the goofy stuff. It's not every day that I read 1200 pages in 5 days.
_________________
Shop Amazon.com, support the Samurai Archives: http://amzn.to/wnDX2j

Subcribe to Blog FeedS-A Podcast homepage
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Owarikenshi
Sandal Bearer
Sandal Bearer
Veteran Member
2010 Benefactor
2010 Benefactor



Joined: 19 Apr 2009
Posts: 256

PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I know that I always cut Clavell a lot of slack for having basically been the first, and also the fact that Japan not seen through a heavily WWII-tinted lens was still difficult to write at that time. Also, a great many books written in the seventies for a mostly-male audience tend to be heavy on scenery-chewing and "Brick McBurly" voyeurism (think Lustbader, Trevanian) that seems a bit dated today. I think both the product and the public were in many ways less sophisticated.

True, there's tons in Shogun that makes us cringe NOW, but how 'bout the first time you read it (or watched the series) when it came out? The miniseries was just HUGE at the time, I think it was only preceded by "Roots," and you could have dynamited the house and my boyfriend and I wouldn't have noticed, we were so spellbound! Even today I think we all keep it on our shelves because the story was just so damn good.

That said, it also makes a great "how NOT to do it!" manual for writing historical fiction set in Japan . . .

As for the "Sano Ichiro" mysteries, they don't really pretend to be anything other than a standard whodunit with an exotic stage-set. I think what says it all is an early reviewer who likened Sano to "Sam Spade in a kimono." The series got way tired, and increasingly unbelieveable, after the fifth book or so, but was fun for an undemanding reader. You don't want it found in your pocket if you get hit by a taxicab, but . . . Wink

Then there is Dale Furutani's trilogy, which is becoming difficult to find. Not the most original stuff in the world, but written with such warmth and heart you can happily forgive a few details, and he gives us a believeable "noble ronin" we care about.

One place writers completely lose it with me is when they cast women in roles wildly outside of what was even remotely culturally possible in historical context; Rowland's "Reiko," or Robson's "Cat" in The Tokaido Road simply cause suspension of disbelief to evaporate if you know anything about the culture whatsoever, and in the bin it goes. Dragonball-hurling ninjers are more believeable than that!
But in fantasy it can work--Fumi Yoshinaga's gender-reversed Edo in her "Ooku: The Inner Chambers" manga is a masterpiece, and I'll buy the first DVD of the movie anybody out there wants to burn! Naughty naughty

A great example of something done quite well,in the "Abarenbo Shogun" vein but again much more sophisticated, is the recent Jp. TV series "Jin," which successfully juxtaposes SF elements with a solid Bakumatsu basis, and has some fun with cameos by historical figures. I love it that they play Sakamoto Ryoma for laughs, poking a bit of fun at the Kool-Aid gulpers I think!


Owarikenshi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Tornadoes28
Oki no Kami
Oki no Kami
Veteran Member
2009 Benefactor
2009 Benefactor



Joined: 31 Dec 2008
Posts: 1420
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
If it is historical fiction then it should be damn close to historically accurate. Don't blatantly change the actual events. From Tatsunoshi's list, I think I fit in group E and also to a certain degree in group A. I love historical dramas but I also enjoy some good chanbara flicks. I actually know very little about anime so I don't fit in that category but I am a big fan of jidaigeki.
_________________
http://twitter.com/28loki

Google+
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
shin no sen
Izumi no Kami
Izumi no Kami
Veteran Member
Multi-Year Benefactor
Multi-Year Benefactor



Joined: 25 Nov 2006
Posts: 1056

PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Geez Kitsuno, "...history nerds in general or overly pretentious academics or pretentious academic wannabees."; I was hoping for more holes than that to fit the peg in. Happy-go-lucky film buffs with OCD, perhaps? The imaginatively challenged? Razz John
_________________
知恵は時間及びエネルギーである
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Bethetsu
Oki no Kami
Oki no Kami
Veteran Member



Joined: 14 May 2006
Posts: 1376
Location: Center of Musashi

PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
One of the most boring books I have read is Yoshikawa's Taiko. In fact, I did not even read it all, and the English translation is a greatly abridged verion. I am interested in the period, I did not notice any particular historical problems, and I have read several other of his books. I finally decided what made this boring was the fact that we were given no reason to care about about Hideyoshi--we were not given insight into his feelings or motivations, or at least not that I remember. I felt sorry for the translator having such boring work to do.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
kitsuno
Forum Shogun
Forum Shogun



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 9481
Location: Honolulu, HI

PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
shin no sen wrote:
Geez Kitsuno, "...history nerds in general or overly pretentious academics or pretentious academic wannabees."; I was hoping for more holes than that to fit the peg in. Happy-go-lucky film buffs with OCD, perhaps? The imaginatively challenged? Razz John


I dunno, historical inaccuracies don't bother me terribly when the writing is good.

As for the Sano Ichiro series, I tried to read the first book, but I could only get a few pages in, I didn't find it interesting in the least.
_________________
Shop Amazon.com, support the Samurai Archives: http://amzn.to/wnDX2j

Subcribe to Blog FeedS-A Podcast homepage
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Owarikenshi
Sandal Bearer
Sandal Bearer
Veteran Member
2010 Benefactor
2010 Benefactor



Joined: 19 Apr 2009
Posts: 256

PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
To complete my "Estimate of the Situation" of the marketplace for "Samurai Lit," I just plugged "Samurai Fiction Books" into Amazon.com (US) and furthered my education. All I can say is our SA board is a rarefied environment indeed; I'd go so far as to declare "our" tastes truly "above the clouds" in relation to what's actually out there.

What's out there for the first 10 pages of amazon listings is a pile of Unko and that's putting it kindly. 85% of it is kids' books and the listings could easily convice you that the average reader interested in old Japan is around age 10, couldn't find the place on a map, and believes uncritically that if he (or increasingly, she) picks up a sword he can fly. Lurid covers, outlandishly fantastic plots, dumbed-down language and wild mis-portrayals of anything and everything that could remotely be termed "historic."

I think if I had to pick a representative title that says it all, it would have to be Ronin Hood of the 47 Samurai. I am not making that up!

Trawl, nay, dredge even deeper, you can find what I'll call "Haramaki Rippers" in either the Hentai or Harlequin Romance vein, "Samurai as Literary Allegory" for those who'd enjoy 400 unrelated pages of some Westerner's childrearing issues, and finally a (very) few translations from Jp. of extremely spotty quality.

Appallingly, what doesn't come up are nearly all the books people on these boards have mentioned liking! The crime of that is that lacking a specific title or author, a newbie seeing this will assume the offerings begin and end with this compost.

It would seem the "Samurai Fiction" field's wide open, folks! And you know what, we're the people who should be writing, because at least anyone hanging around on this board has the tenth part of a clue. So, all you winners of the SA Fiction contest, how 'bout giving it a go? Wink

Owarikenshi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Date Onigiri
Peasant
Peasant
Veteran Member



Joined: 22 Dec 2008
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I think this thread sums everything up, Owarikenshi.
http://forums.samurai-archives.com/viewtopic.php?t=3186&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=75

There's some brutal stuff in there. For what it's worth, I don't bother to read samurai fiction written by non-Japanese all that much. I've been disappointed too many times. I like realism and readability. Heck, even great stories written by Japanese with great realism that have been translated into English can be ruined by a lousy translation. I think Bethetsu mentioned "Taiko" here on the SA as one example.

As for realism, it can only be conveyed, in my opinion, by those who truly know Japan and its history. Realism unfortunately is not something that can be poured out of a can or bottle and it can't be garnered from reading books or watching samurai movies. Realism can only come from experiencing something first hand. For example, I could write about Ryōan-ji in Kyoto based on what I've seen on TV or read in books, but it wouldn't be the same as actually spending a lot of time there and then writing about. The experience of being there, and feeling the wood, capturing how it feels like when the sunlight hits you as you sit on the veranda looking at the rock garden definitely gives a deeper and more fulfilling sense of realism.

Too many people try to write samurai fiction based on what they see in movies, or come to Japan on a two week vacation, take bus tours, and try to shoe-horn the images of Japan they have from movies into what they actually see when visiting here and then try to make it work in a book or short story. Many of these aspiring writers (published or not) are shocked when some people at the SA or others like me or reviewers on Amazon heavily criticize their work. I've pissed off many a foreigner whom I have met here in Sendai coming to write the great English-language novel on Date Masamune based on the image they have of him from movies and games.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Owarikenshi
Sandal Bearer
Sandal Bearer
Veteran Member
2010 Benefactor
2010 Benefactor



Joined: 19 Apr 2009
Posts: 256

PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
You have expressed most clearly an opinion I've also heard from others. So let's table for a moment the issue of "Japanese" lit written by Westerners for same; most of you who've lived over there long-term have acquired the language--which means you have access to everything written by Japanese for Japanese audiences. So which Japanese writers in the historical genre do you like best? Which would you most like to see translated? Agreed that poor translation can really hamstring a story, can you provide an example of a really good one?

FWIW, I enjoyed the English version of Taiko very much; took me most of a summer to read, but then I like having a "big" book to keep coming back to. Musashi, OTOH, by the same author, irritated the daylights out of me, primarily because he wasted so much time on irrelevant or truly irritating characters and outlandisly unbelieveable situations.

Owarikenshi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
nagaeyari
Asuka no Kami
Asuka no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei



Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 2354
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ikenami Shoutarou, Shiba Ryoutarou, and the doyens aside, a brief list of worthy fiction/authors (no time now to expound on my reasons):

Ryuu Keiichirou _Ichimu An Fuuryuuki_ (1989)
*Very attractive main character. Keyword: Principles.

Yamamoto Ichiriki _Akane Zora_ (2004)
*You can smell the city.

Nishimura Kyoutarou _Mumyouken Hashiru_ (2005)
*This is his only historical (full-length) piece, but it is an adventure! A bit too coincidental for my tastes, but amazing imagery. Looking back, I rather liked this one...

Kitakata Kenzou _Akutou no Sue_ (1995)
*Great wordsmith.

Kaitou Ryuuichirou _Shinken_ (2003)
*Similar in feel to Musashi, but the sword philosophy makes this one a slower read.

Iwai Miyoji _Shikaoumaru Tobu_ (2010)
*The tale (and very enjoyable one at that) of an arquebus assassin.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Obenjo Kusanosuke
Kii no Kami
Kii no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei
2009 Benefactor
2009 Benefactor



Joined: 16 Dec 2006
Posts: 4554
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I think the rice ball hit the nail on the head. Nags gave a good list of Japanese authors, but Owarikenshi, it isn't just a matter of being here and being able to read the language. It's an issue of being able to sniff out the good from the bad when it comes to Western written jidai geki literature. When a reader knows the culture, the landscape and the topic better than somebody who has published about it, the author gets in trouble with that reader from the get-go. These things transcend knowing the Japanese language, and this is why I also tend to very much shy away from jidai geki literature written by non-Japanese.

And Terry's translation of Yoshikawa's Musashi is, in my humble opinion, BRILLIANT. I think many who translate professionally and also dabble in translating literature would agree. On the other hand, I have to agree with Bethetsu. Although I have read Taiko from cover to cover two times, it is just a dry and terrible read. Part of the blame can be pinned on Yoshikawa, but the translator deserves some of the blame as well.

Another great example of an excellent translation is Lady Graciaby Miura Ayako. Susan Tsumura did a great job with the translation. It's a great read-- if you can get your hands on it.

As for another example of a bad translation, I hate to say it, but Ian MacDonald bungled Okamoto Kido's The Curious Casebook of Inspector Hanshichi: Detective Stories of Old Edo. Dull and boring. MacDonald, again this is just my opinion, failed to keep me interested in what should have been a fun book, and also failed to convey a feeling of what the landscape of Old Edo was like.

A good writer or translator needs to help transport the reader back in time to the right location and the right place. As the rice ball mentioned, spending a lot of time at those spots you want to write about, really helps. One aspiring writer from the US that I know (and forgive me if you are reading this!), had his characters in his Bakumatsu story conspiring to overthrow the Bakufu while getting drunk in an izakaya-like drinking establishment in Kyoto. I read the excerpt and felt it was just so wrong. Why? 1) the writer had never been to Kyoto; 2) the writer had never been in a traditional Japanese izakaya-- either in Japan or the US (but saw many in movies!); 3) the writer doesn't drink and never tasted a drop of sake let alone know what it smells like. The description in the excerpt I read had the sake smelling like...vodka; 4) the writer unfortunately didn't know the Bakumatsu period very well. The characters were too much like they were cut from melodramatic "cookie cutters" and the writer failed to grasp the intricacies of the numerous shades of black and white that make up the period. The author was very anti-Bakufu and pro-loyalist to the point it was comical. It was hard telling this aspiring writer the truth, but it had to be done.


Anyway, I think I've said what I wanted, and others have brought up some good points, so it's time for me to disappear again. Good luck, Owarikenshi.
_________________

Heee heee! Shita iro! Shita iro! Here comes his lordship, Baka Tono!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rekishinotabi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
nagaeyari
Asuka no Kami
Asuka no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei



Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 2354
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
And Terry's translation of Yoshikawa's Musashi is, in my humble opinion, BRILLIANT.


Seconded.

I have both the English and Japanese versions, and have enjoyed comparing them side-by-side. Some have criticized Terry's approach to translation (if you find any of his journal articles on translation theory, read them, they are very enjoyable) as being "unfaithful" to the original -- He skips bits he thinks a Western reader would find uninteresting, adds sentences, and rearranges paragraphs.

However, Musashi has garnered major acclaim in the West, just as it did in Japan. He recreated (not only the era, as Obenjo said) the book's reception, as well.

While I believe that historical fiction should be an educational experience for the reader, it cannot feel like a historiographical tome if you are aiming for wide popularity.

That is a difficult line to straddle, but if done well...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
kitsuno
Forum Shogun
Forum Shogun



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 9481
Location: Honolulu, HI

PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
So, from all the posts above:

1. Good, engaging writing style.
2. Knowledge of the topic/culture/location, and the ability to bring it to life and make it engaging and real.

Basically those two go for any fiction in existence, and in retrospect, or apropos to the original question (or, I should say, what became the question), I don't think there is anything different or specific to historical fiction except that there is more of a potential to get the topic/culture/location wrong. Any other problems just result from being a poor or unskilled writer.
_________________
Shop Amazon.com, support the Samurai Archives: http://amzn.to/wnDX2j

Subcribe to Blog FeedS-A Podcast homepage
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Owarikenshi
Sandal Bearer
Sandal Bearer
Veteran Member
2010 Benefactor
2010 Benefactor



Joined: 19 Apr 2009
Posts: 256

PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Anyway, I think I've said what I wanted, and others have brought up some good points, so it's time for me to disappear again. Good luck, Owarikenshi.


Hey, I'm just tryin' to find out where the best of the best are hidin' The Good Stuff . . . since I'm not likely to be able to read the originals lacking 80 years with nowhere to go, I'm pinnin' my hopes on some dude laid off from Microsoft who's designing a World-Altering Algorithm to get even--the "Universal Translator!" Party time!

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed their preferences and well-reasoned arguments here. May the Muse alight gently on the shoulders of those with the necessary credentials . . .

All the Best!

Owarikenshi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Hosokawa Gracia
Ronin
Ronin
Veteran Member



Joined: 30 Nov 2007
Posts: 244
Location: West Coast

PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
This was a lively and resourceful discussion; I enjoyed it!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Owarikenshi
Sandal Bearer
Sandal Bearer
Veteran Member
2010 Benefactor
2010 Benefactor



Joined: 19 Apr 2009
Posts: 256

PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I think this says it all on the craft of writing:

"We work in the dark--we do what we can--we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task." --Henry James


Ganbatte!


Owarikenshi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Samurai Archives Citadel Forum Index // Japanese Literature Forum All times are GMT - 10 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Help the Samurai Archives




alexisRed v1.2 // Theme Created By: Andrew Charron // Samuraized By: Aaron Rister

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group