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O-umajirushi Translation Project

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Takayama Shigetomo
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Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 10
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:47 am    Post subject: O-umajirushi Translation Project Reply with quote
As some of you may already know, Kickstarter is a website that provides a venue for people to get financing for projects they're working on. One project that caught my attention is from Xavid Pretzer. His goal is to translate the O-umajirushi, a 17th century color compendium of Japanese crests and heraldry. I wonder if anyone here has heard of him or knew any of his previous works (or maybe Xavid is a member here!).

You can check his project here:

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Condottiero Magno
Rice Farmer
Rice Farmer
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Joined: 27 Oct 2012
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Xavid Pretzer's credentials:
I minored in Applied International Studies with a focus on Japan, and I've studied and taught classes on Japanese heraldry with the Society for Creative Anachronism. I have also lived and worked in Japan and have experience translating classical Japanese poetry.

Twenty-five Dollars for a paperback and $50 for the hardcover, along with shipping included for USers, isn't a bad deal.

I will produce an annotated English translation of O-umajirushi. The core of this book will be full color reproductions of all 205 pages of the original source, courtesy of the National Diet Library of Japan. I will translate all of the names, captions, and other text in the source. Pages will be presented in right-to-left order, reflecting the order in the original scrolls.

But there's more needed to understand O-umajirushi than the raw images and translations alone. Japanese heraldry at the time had many kinds of banners and other devices with distinct uses and purposes, and the entries in O-umajirushi assumed the reader would have some familiarity with these concepts. As a result, the author did not go into detail about them. Also, the samurai are listed with only family name and title, making it difficult to identify which individual is being referred to and to understand the relationships between them. Thus, in addition to a literal translation of the captions, annotations are necessary to fully understand the work. In addition to explaining the captions and the individuals involved, I will also add context from other works about the various crests and motifs. Many crests and other devices derive from traditional legends, and telling some of these stories will help make O-umajirushi come alive.

Beyond these annotations, I'll also include an introduction giving history and context, a glossary, a comprehensive index, and a bibliography referred to by in-text citations. The intent is to make a book that's clear and accessible for someone unfamiliar with the subject matter, but detailed and engaging enough for an enthusiast.

We've currently reached two "stretch goals". The first is to add a section on mon origin stories and legends. The second is to include images from Japanese battle scrolls and other sources showing historical Japanese heraldry. If the project hits $7500, I'll add a section discussing ways that crests were used beyond banners.
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