Translation Works
The 2nd Selected Works
Human Relics Museum
(Jinkotsu tenjikan)
FRENCH / Patrick Honnoré published
Originally Published by:
Bungeishunju (2002)
  • A human comedy portrayed by Eiki Matayoshi, post-war Okinawa's leading literary prodigy
Are the bones those of a Ryukyu goddess, or of a Japanese pirate princess…
"Bones of 12th Century Young Woman Unearthed from Ruins of Maeshiro Fortress in Okinawa"—Meitetsu is on the point of throwing a year-old newspaper away when this title of an article catches his attention.
Thinking that, while the discovery of human bones is not particularly rare, the unearthing of a young woman's bones at such a site seems to be a first, Meitetsu heads to the town hall of G village, the site of the fortress, and asks the female leader of the excavation team, Kotono, to let him examine the bones. The bones are those of an unmarried woman estimated to have died at the age of 26, and there is a possibility that she was sacrificed to the gods. His interest in the bones intensifying, Meitetsu arranges to become a temporary member of the excavation team.
While Kotono propounds the theory that the bones are those of a Japanese pirate's daughter, the local people believe the bones are those of an ancestor of theirs, a Ryukyu noblewoman. Invited to an informal social gathering of locals, Meitetsu hobnobs and exchanges toasts while becoming increasingly inclined to accept the "Ryukyu Goddess" theory. After falling in love with Sayako—a local guest house owner's daughter who has returned home after a divorce—he lays plans to realize her dream of creating a local exhibition hall and displaying the bones there while presenting them as those of a goddess. Aiming to realize the dream of his beloved, Meitetsu quits his government job and invests his assets. What will be his fate…?
Set in modern Okinawa, this human comedy is replete with satire and humor.
GENRE: Popular fiction
2018 International Translation Forum on Contemporary Japanese LiteratureJLPP Translation Workshop 2018