Translation Works
The 4th Selected Works
TITLE
The Story of the Eight Dog Warriors
(Hakkenden)
AUTHOR
Translator
FRENCH / Jacques Lalloz published
Originally Published by:
Asahi Shimbun Publications (1983)
KEY POINTS
  • This masterpiece full-length novel is a modern interpretation of a famous Edo-period romantic novel
SYNOPSIS
Eight dog-warriors, driven by a strange shared bond, battle to create utopia
 
"Written three years before the world's pioneering romantic novel, The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas." The Eight Dog Chronicles (Nanso Satomi Hakkenden), written in the second half of the Edo period by Takizawa Bakin over a period of 28 years, is a romantic novel in which eight dog-warriors who possess curious beads fight battles that faithfully follow the doctrines of regimentation and bushido.
Lord Yoshizane Satomi of the Awa province is forced to give the hand of his daughter, Princess Fuse, in marriage to a dog named Yatsufusa after the dog saves the province in a battle. The princess, a dutiful wife, tries her best to be a comfort to her dog husband, who happens to be haunted by evil spirits. Later, certain events lead to the death of the princess, but as she dies, she gives birth to eight beads. Years later, eight dog-warriors, each possessing a bead, appear on earth and, driven by their shared bond, they consolidate the Satomi clan and try to create a utopian world.
The Story of the Eight Dog Warriors is an interpretative resurrection of the Nanso Satomi Hakkenden by one of the best-known entertainment fiction writers of postwar Japan, an author deeply familiar with classical romantic literature.
In this version of the Hakkenden, author Futaro Yamada skillfully juxtaposes the imaginary world of the eight dog-warriors and the real world in which the original author Takizawa Bakin lived and wrote while battling poverty and illness. Yamada also somehow manages to make the story relevant to the modern world by bringing his own unique perspective to the work.
It is strange to think that Bakin, a commoner who lived a frugal life with his wife and children, was able to write a work of such unimaginable drama in that day and age, three years before Alexandre Dumas. The present work, a homage to a "great commoner" who produced a bizarre novel, was published in 1983, and is a masterpiece born of the combined genius of two romantic novelists, one from the Edo period and the other from post-war Japan.
 
GENRE: Period fiction
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1st JLPP International Translation CompetitionTo the PublishersFRANKFURT BOOK FAIR 2010