Translation Works
To Japanese
The 2nd Selected Works
The Moon over the Mountain
ENGLISH / Paul McCarthy & Nobuko Ochner published
FRENCH / VĂ©ronique Perrin published
Originally Published by:
Shinchosha (1969) (pb)
  • Masterpieces manifesting the "noble artistry" of a writer who passed away prematurely
  • Works portraying the inner madness of an artist boldly confronting the fundamental anxieties of human existence
Tales of transformation—confessions of pride and doubts regarding artistic talent
Based on a Tang Dynasty legend, "Tiger Man," this is a work that explores the depths of what it means to be human with a special kind of tension.
A government official, Yuan Can, is hurrying along a road where a "man-eating tiger" is known to prowl when he encounters a tiger. Hidden in a thicket, the tiger begins speaking to Yuan Can.
The tiger explains that he is actually an old friend of Yuan Can, Li Zheng. Although he passed the examination to qualify to be a government official, he had chosen to be a poet and had secluded himself with the ambition of creating works comparable to the legendary poets Du Fu and Li Bai. He had failed to make progress toward establishing the reputation he was seeking and his poverty had forced him to return to his post as an official, but he had disliked being a subordinate of his successful colleagues. While traveling on official business, Li Zheng had become insane, and by the time he realized what was going on, he had become transformed into a tiger.
Li Zheng explains that the "cowardly pride" and "arrogant shame" he harbored within him had caused him to end up as a man-eating tiger. Because of his fear of failing in a contest of talents and his lack of the modesty required to beg for teaching, Li Zheng had wasted his talent. Despite having become a tiger, however, his greatest regret was not the family that he had abandoned but his lack of success in establishing fame as a poet, and he wailed and lamented this latter situation. The two parted, and when Yuan Can looked behind him, he saw the tiger bound from the thicket, roar at the moon, and disappear. ("The Moon over the Mountain ")
GENRE: Short story