Translation Works
The 3rd Selected Works
TITLE
Laughing Wolf
(Warai okami)
AUTHOR
Translator
ENGLISH / Dennis Washburn published
RUSSIAN / Alexander Dolin published
Originally Published by:
Shinchosha (2000)
KEY POINTS
  • A work set in post-war Japan with its own view of the world, like that of Kipling's "The Jungle Book"
SYNOPSIS
Whenever I woke, Mitsuo was always by my side
 
For as long as he can remember, Mitsuo and his father have been homeless and living in Tokyo's Zoshigaya cemetery. He has no memory of his mother at all. One day, he finds the dead bodies of two men and a woman in the cemetery. He reports the bodies to the police and explains that he has seen what happened in the house of one of the men. Five years later, 17-year-old Mitsuo goes to meet Yukiko, the 12-year-old daughter of one of the dead men.
Mitsuo, who had become alone in the world when his father died of an illness soon after the incident, awaits Yukiko near her school and takes her on a trip. In Tokyo's Ueno district, they exchange Yukiko's school uniform and knapsack for old clothing and board a train headed for northeast Japan.
They train trip is very difficult as the two encounter several problems - they get drenched from head to toe in the rain, Yukiko gets diarrhea, and Mitsuo comes down with a fever. Realizing that it would become increasingly cold as they headed north, they decide to travel south this time. Eventually, the act of taking one train after another becomes their goal in itself, and they switch from one train to another not bothering to check where they are headed. In this way, they continue traveling.
They dream of spending their whole lives together in this way. Soon, however, Yukiko is taken into custody by the police, and Mitsuo is arrested on suspicion that he has abducted Yukiko. Separated from each other, they once again become lonely.
As the police lead him away, Mitsuo's eyes flash with a blue light, like that of a wolf. That is the last that Yukiko ever sees of him.
 
GENRE: Literary fiction
 
AWARDS: 28th Osaragi Jiro Prize
(Given for outstanding prose works)
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2018 International Translation Forum on Contemporary Japanese LiteratureJLPP Translation Workshop 2018