Translation Works
The 5th Selected Works
Pushing Back the Soul and Other Stories
TITLE
Pushing Back the Soul and Other Stories
(Mabuigumi)
AUTHOR
Translator
FRENCH / Véronique Perrin & Myriam Dartois & Corinne Quentin
Originally Published by:
Asahi Shimbunsha (1999)(hc)
(2002)(pb)
KEY POINTS
  • Six fantastic short stories about the memories and grief of the Battle of Okinawa portrayed by the keen sense of the author.
  • Recalling the scenes of Okinawa, where the past and the present intersect with each other.
SYNOPSIS
In 1945 when the Pacific War was near its end, a huge number of civilians lost their lives due to the fierce ground battles fought between the troops of the United States landed on the Okinawan Islands and those of Japan. Kotaro lost his parents in the war when he was still an unweaned baby and was raised by his grandmother. One day, now over fifty years old, he lost Mabui, his spirit. An âman, a land hermit crab, got into the mouth of the unconscious Kotaro, and his spirit that had left his body was drifting in the air and gazing at the sea. Uta, who had lost her husband in the war, always treated Kotaro with affection as if he were her own child. She talked to Kotaro's mabui and told it to come back to his body, while looking back on the memories of war. "Come back," called out the woman to the spirit. Would her prayer be granted or not? ("Mabuigumi" (Pushing Back the Soul))The spiritual and mental world of both people and living creatures that are deeply rooted in Okinawa is portrayed by the keen sense of the author using Uchinâguchi, the Okinawan dialect, in the short stories collected in this book. For example, "Akai Yashi no Ha (Red Palm Leaves)" is a story about an Okinawan boy who saw slugfests between American soldiers.
Medoruma's short stories give a very good picture of reality mingled with an unreal and fantastic atmosphere as if the reality were in a different dimension. As a result, his works call up the sad "memory of the soul" about the war fought on the Okinawan Islands where countless lives of private citizens were lost, and this is conveyed to the readers very well. This collection contains six short stories on the theme of "war and Okinawa" including the title work "Mabuigumi" for which he received the Kawabata Yasunari Prize, presented annually to the year's most accomplished work of short fiction.
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1st JLPP International Translation CompetitionTo the PublishersFRANKFURT BOOK FAIR 2010