Translation Works
The 2nd Selected Works
Realm of the Dead
TITLE
Realm of the Dead
(Meido/Ryojun nyujoshiki)
AUTHOR
Translator
GERMAN / Lisette Gebhardt
Originally Published by:
Obunsha (1981) (pb)
KEY POINTS
  • A collection of short-stories said to be masterpieces of visionary dreams and brilliant contributions to Japan's Showa era literature
SYNOPSIS
Fanciful panoramas of the mind - short stories that portray the fundamental loneliness and insecurity of the human heart
 
I am walking along the embankment toward the harbor when a pasty-faced woman wearing purple hakama (traditional Japanese culottes) approaches me from the other direction. She faces me and makes a polite bow. I bow back to her though unable to remember who she is. Then she says, "Let's go together," and starts walking alongside me.
Though thinking this woman, who acts as though she has come to meet me, strange, I walk along with her. Several large fireworks rockets rise up in the sky over the bay and beautiful colored balls of fire leave trails of light behind them as they fall into the water. I have a feeling of déjà vu, but the woman hurries me, saying it will be a problem if we get there too late at night.
Walking along with the woman, I experience an increasingly oppressive feeling of suffocation and want to go back, but… ("Fireworks," the Realm of the Dead collection)
As a child, I had heard about a wretched monster called kudan with a bovine body and a human face, but it never occurred to me that I might become one. I am standing idly in a wide field with not even a shadow, and I do not know why I have been placed there or what I should do.
Crowds of people come pushing toward me. It is said that kudan die three days after their birth, but during that brief period they are able to predict good and bad things to come in the language of humans. Surrounded by a fearful swarm of people waiting to hear my predictions, I am at a loss because I have nothing to tell them. ("Kudan" the Realm of the Dead collection)
 
GENRE: Literary Fiction
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2018 International Translation Forum on Contemporary Japanese LiteratureJLPP Translation Workshop 2018