Thursday, November 26, 2009

Aozora Bunko Translation Project: The Ken'yūsha Writers

This just in from Burt "JLANDER" Haliscaster:
Mabel is right, this will be a huge project and we need to strategize. But I think it would be a mistake to limit ourselves to criticism. I say we break up into several groups: Mabel can be in charge of criticism, and I'll oversee the translations of the Ken'yūsha writers. Here's the first batch of stories (and one essay) we should translate:

1. Yamada Bimy
ō, Musashino (1887)
2. Ozaki Kōyō, Kenyūsha no enkaku (1901)
3. Iwaya Sazanami, Koganemaru (1891)
4. Hirotsu Ryūrō, Imado shinjū (1896)
5. Izumi Kyōka, Giketsu kyōketsu (1894)
6. Miyazawa Kenji, Yamaotoko no shigatsu (first published in 1924)
7. Hori Tatsuo, Arano (first published in 1977)
8. Oguri F
ūyō, Arakawa nyōbō (1905)
9. Yanagawa Shunyō, Seidōki (1909)

-Burt "JLANDER" Haliscaster


Salvo said...

What's a Ken'yusha?

Sally Suzuki said...

A Ken'yusha is . . .
"The year 1885 also saw the establishment of a literary coterie called the Ken’yusha or ‘Friends of the Inkstone’, whose number included Ozaki Koyo (1867-1903) and Yamada Bimyo (1868-1910). The Ken’yusha styled themselves as dilettantes, scorning the ideals of earlier political novelists. Despite their avowed superficiality, the Kenyusha members furthered linguistic experimentation, seen in Koyo’s Ninin bikuni iro zange (Two Nuns’ Confessions of Love, 1889). Koyo maintained that style was the most important element in literature, writing in a complex and classical language but with sharply-truncated sentences, often ending with nouns after the fashion of his beloved French authors. Yamada Bimyo is most notable for his efforts at expressing himself in modern, colloquial Japanese, and is seen as the spearhead of the genbun itchi movement, aiming for ‘unity of speech and writing’. This style is clear in Fukin shirabe no hitofushi (A Melody Played on the Organ, 1887), while an essay of 1888 attempted to formulate rules for a new grammar. Despite Bimyo’s efforts, Koyo achieved the more lasting fame, dominating the 1890s but for the talents of Koda Rohan (1867-1947). The different styles of these two writers - the first experimental and European-influenced, the second idealistic and Chinese-influenced - appealed to different sections of the reading public, but both were extremely popular. It is perhaps indicative of the genre-based approach to studies of modern Japanese literature that Koyo who founded the Ken’yusha group, is better known today than the individualistic Rohan. Even so, Koda Rohan should be remembered if only for the fact that his staunchly anti-realistic stance is rare for a literature dominated by realism, autobiography and naturalism, from Meiji to the present day." (