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Translating now - Kuroda Josui by Yoshikawa Eiji The Daily Translation The Mysterious Ball Shiki's Painting Crackling Mountain Hanasaka Jijii Hinomaru Hatanosuke How to Cook an Ebook



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The Mysterious Ball by Kiyohara Hitoshi The Golden Virgin (Zenigata Mysteries) by Kodo Nomura Ango's Detective Casebook No. 2 by Ango Sakaguchi Ango's Detective Casebook No. 1 by Ango Sakaguchi The Emperor's Clothes +3 by Shelley Marshall The Beautiful Dog by Hayashi Fumiko Pandora's Box by Dazai Osamu goodbye thumbnail The Kanji Starter Pack by Shelley Marshall and Goto Asataro The Undersea Warship: A Fantastic Tale of Island Adventure by Oshikawa Shunro Terror by Tanizaki Junichiro
Latest Release
Ebook cover of Home to Tsugaru by Osamu Dazai

Click for an excerpt from Home to Tsugaru and another anecdote.

Going Back to the Home I Love and Hate

In 1944, Osamu Dazai returned to Tsugaru where he was born and raised to see the people and places that made him and to find the Tsugaru native to model his life on.

For pictures and maps related to this book, look at the photo album Tsugaru by Dazai Osamu. A ton of pictures of his family are found on this Japanese blog (scroll to the bottom and click left << for the next entry). The first page shows his home, parents, and his aunt (mother's younger sister).

$2.99 for ebookBuy Home to Tsugaru at Amazon

Book cover of The Golden Virgin

Click image for chapter one.

These are the first ten stories about the police detective Zenigata Heiji of Edo, now Tokyo. In the first story, Heiji witnesses the kidnapping of Shizu, the young lady who ignites love in him, and must rescue her from a satanic cult. In the last story, he must save the same woman, now his bride, when she is kidnapped on their wedding day. In the other tales, he confronts the challenges of other kidnappings, robberies, and, of course, murders.

Buy The Golden Virgin at Amazon

Book cover of Ango's Detective Casebook No. 1 by Ango Sakaguchi

Click image to download PDF of chapter one.

Ango's Detective Casebook No. 1

Meiji Era, Japan -- Toranosuke, the owner of a dojo for swordfighting, is also an amateur detective. He brings murder cases too baffling for the police to The Great Detective, Yuki Shinjuro, a handsome and brilliant man who has traveled to the West. Tora recruits the genius Katsu Kaishu to unravel the mystery in his attempt to outwit Shinjuro. After his investigation, Shinjuro unveils the murderer at the scene of the crime. In the final scene, Kaishu consoles himself for being wrong as usual, and Tora never loses faith in him.

Two old Japanese tales are mentioned in passing in this book. One is Crackling Mountain (かちかち山: Kachi-Kachi Yama) in The Mystery of the Demon Religion, and the other is Hanasaka Jijii (花咲かじじい) in The Secret of the Clock Tower. Read Crackling Mountain or Hanasaka Jijii now.

Buy Ango's Detective Casebook No. 1 at Amazon

Book cover of Ango's Detective Casebook No. 2 by Ango Sakaguchi

Click image to download PDF of chapter one.

Ango's Detective Casebook No. 2

This casebook completes the classic murder mysteries solved by the Gentleman Detective, Yuki Shinjuro, with a bit of assistance from Toranosuke, Hananoya, and Officer Furuta.

Buy Ango's Detective Casebook No. 2 at Amazon

Paperback cover - Ango's Detective Casebook No. 2 by Ango Sakaguchi
Book cover of Bored Vassal

Click image to download PDF of chapter one.

A samurai warrior is cursed to live in a time of peace. Saotome Mondonosuke is a samurai plagued by boredom. He is not a ronin, but a direct vassal with wealth, a license to kill, and a frightening but captivating scar.

This book contains all eleven stories in the series 旗本退屈男 (Hatamoto Taikutsu Otoko) by 佐々木味津三 (Sasaki Mitsuzo), serialized in the monthly literary magazine 文芸倶楽部 (Bungei Kurabu) beginning April 1929. These stories formed the basis of the popular Japanese movie series of the same name [The Idle Vassal in English].

Buy The Bored Vassal at Amazon

Book cover of The Story of a Pet Dog by Osamu Dazai

Click image to download a PDF sample.

Is a dog man's best friend? This short story presents one man's struggle with that question.

FREE everywhere but Amazon, please tell them.

Book cover of Pandora's Box by Dazai Osamu or Osamu Dazai
Click image for sample PDF.

Buy Pandora's Box at Amazon

Book cover of Goodbye by Dazai Osamu or Osamu Dazai
Click image for sample PDF.

Buy Goodbye at Amazon

Dazai Osamu's major works were dark, but he also wrote humorous and uplifting stories. These books are two of his lighthearted tales. Pandora's Box details the experiences of a twenty-year-old youth in a quirky sanatorium in post-war Japan.

Breaking up may be hard to do, but it can be funny. Goodbye was his unfinished last work about a man's machinations to break up with his dozen or so lovers. Before completing this work, he committed suicide with his lover; the two are pictured on the cover.

Book cover of Pandora's Box (with Goodbye) paperback

Get paperback at Amazon

Photo of Dazai Osamu

Autumn 1947

Dazai Osamu (1909-1948) was a major 20th-century Japanese author of fiction. His most popular novels were The Setting Sun and No Longer Human.

The online DAZAI Museum gives a nice overview of his life, family, literary works, and places associated with him and his works.

Dazai Osamu also makes an appearance as a character in the Japanese manga series, and later anime series, Bungo Stray Dogs (文豪ストレイドッグス).

Seven-year-old Dazai Osamu (second from left)

Dazai Osamu or Osamu Dazai as a 7-year-old child
Click image to enlarge.

Handwritten Manuscript of Goodbye

Handwritten Manuscript of Goodbye by Dazai Osamu or Osamu Dazai
Click image to enlarge.
Source of Dazai photos: Dazai Osamu, Dazai Osamu, Bunchosha, Tokyo, 1948.
Book cover of The Kanji Starter Pack by Shelley Marshall, Asataro Goto

Click image for a screenshot.

Learn all 80 kanji learned by first graders in Japan and 100 of the kanji learned by second graders. The stroke order to write each kanji and its Chinese and Japanese pronunciations are presented. You can learn fewer than 200 kanji and nearly 2,000 kanji-compound words containing them!

But The Kanji Starter Pack at Amazon

Click to download practice sheets (PDF): one for 50 kanji characters and the other for 160 characters.

Click to download a kanji chart of all the kanji Japanese students are supposed to learn in grades 1 to 6.

Kanji Flashcards

Click for Hiragana Refresher

The Emperor's New Clothes + 3 by Shelley Marshall (Editor)

Click image for a screenshot.

This book has four stories. Each Japanese sentence comes with a glossary and the English sentence. The full Japanese and English text of the stories is included.

Buy The Emperor's New Clothes +3 at Amazon

Book cover of Terror by Junichiro Tanizaki

Click image for an PDF sample.

What are the odds? The train isn't going to crash. I'm not going to die. An imagined terror is often far worse than reality. In this story, a man must face his terror of a simple train ride.

Buy Terror at Amazon

Book cover of The Beautiful Dog by Hayashi Fumiko

Click image for an PDF sample.

A pet dog once had a wonderful home on the scenic Lake Nojiri in Japan. His best friend and master left one day, but his unconditional love for his master never died.

Buy The Beautiful Dog at Amazon

Photo of Hayashi Fumiko

Hayashi Fumiko circa 1940

Book cover of The Adventure Begins: Hinomaru Hatanosuke by Nakajima Kikuo

Before Astro Boy, the hero of the children of Japan was Hinomaru Hatanosuke, a samurai teenager, created by Nakajima Kikuo, a teacher and a manga artist. This series ran as a serial from January 1935 to September 1941 in the boys' magazine Shonen Club (少年倶楽部).

Grab The Adventure Begins now. It's free!
Grab Friend or Foe. It's free!
Grab The Journey Home. It's free!

The journey begins in The Adventure Begins: Hinomaru Hatanosuke, continues in Friend or Foe: Hinomaru Hatanosuke, and ends in The Journey Home: Hinomaru Hatanosuke.

Here is the original manga 日の丸旗之助.

The result of an evening spent with iMovie

Click image for free PDF of a few chapters.

Photo of Oshikawa Shunro with signature

Oshikawa Shunro

Oshikawa Shunro is credited as one of the fathers of science fiction in Japan. The Undersea Warship series was his popular series of six adventure novels. This novel, written while he was a student, was the first in that series.

Get the entire exciting tale from Amazon and Smashwords Thanks.

Book cover of Night on the Milky Way Railroad by Miyazawa Kenji

Click image for free PDF of a few chapters.

Despite the early death of Miyazawa Kenji and only an unfinished manuscript left behind, Night on the Milky Way Railroad has become a children's classic in Japan. A boy, Giovanni, has few friends at school, a sick mother, and a father working far from home. One festival night, he is swept onto a train traveling the Milky Way and into a fantastic world.

Buy Night on the Milky Way Railroad at Amazon

Book cover of Whitey by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

Click image to download the story.

Whitey, a happy dog, witnessed misfortune and it changed his life. He was driven from his home. Will he ever go home again?

Read now!

Photo of Akutagawa Ryunosuke as a boy

Akutagawa Ryunosuke as a boy

Picture from Shunpuku by Akutagawa Ryunosuke, published by Shunyoudou, 1923.
Book cover of BASEBALL by Masaoka Shiki

Download a sample PDF

Masaoka Shiki was a celebrated haiku poet and an avid baseball fan. This series of newspaper articles helped to introduce the game of baseball to the Japanese people.

Buy Baseball at Amazon

Book cover of Recollections of Vitamin Research by Suzuki Umetaro

Download the PDF

Take your vitamins! Suzuki Umetaro discovered an important one, Vitamin B. He is one of the venerated Three Taros of RIKEN.

Read online!


Coming Next! (ebook and paperback)

I'm translating the historical fiction novel Kuroda Josui by Yoshikawa Eiji, who wrote Musashi, Taiko, and many other historical fiction novels.

Kuroda Josui, known throughout the novel as Kuroda Kanbei, was a chief strategist and trusted adviser to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the second major unifier of the Japan of the Warring States period (戦国時代). This novel covers the first half of his life before he converted to Christianity (for a short time) and changed his name to Josui.

diptych by Utagawa Toyonobu

Left: Kuroda Kanbei (aka Kuroda Yoshitaka aka Kuroda Josui), Right: Hashiba Hideyoshi (aka Toyotomi Hideyoshi)

Expert eyes see the whole board (妙手の眼ハ盤中に普し) by Utagawa Toyonobu (歌川豊宣)

If you know nothing about Japanese history (like me), these Extra Credits animations about the Warring States (Sengoku) period give some context for this book. Although Kuroda Josui does not appear in the animations, two important figures in his life, Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, do: #1 Battle of Okehazama, #2 The Siege of Inabayama Castle, #3 Warrior Monks of Hongan-jo and Hiei, #4 The Death of Oda Nobunaga, #5 How Toyotomi Unified Japan, #6 The Campaign of Sekigahara.

So Many Books, So Little Time

Here are some authors and scenes from books I may translate... someday.

Tanizaki Junichiro circa 1916
Photo of Junichiro Tanizaki
Tanizaki Junichiro circa 1927
Photo of Junichiro Tanizaki
Amakusa Shiro
Amakusa Shiro
Scene from Kikigakisho: A Second Blind Man's Tale
Scene from A Second Blind Man's Tale
Kunikida Doppo and handwritten manuscript
Photo of Kunikida Doppo
Yoshikawa Eiji circa 1935
Photo of Yoshikawa Eiji
Umon Torimono-cho
Sasaki Mitsuzo
This story set in old Edo follows the adventures of a detective called Umon.
Zenigata Heiji Torimono Hikae
Nomura Kodo
Zenigata Heiji is another detective in old Edo. He flicks coins at the bad guys.
Tange Sazen
Hayashi Fubou
Our hero Tange Sazen is a fictional swordsman with one eye and one arm.
Amakusa Bishonenroku
Sasaki Mitsuzo
An imagined record of Amakusa Shiro, leader of the Shimabara Rebellion.
聞書抄: 第二盲目物語
Kikigakisho: Daini Moumoku Monogatari
Tanizaki Junichiro
A continuation of Tanizaki's A Blind Man's Tale.
Gonin Onna
Mayama Seika
The tragic tales of five amorous women. Taruya Osen. Yaoya Oshichi. Onatsu [and Seijuro]. Osan [and Moemon]. Oman [and Gengobee].
Kunikida Doppo
A diary of the the author's stay in Musashi Province.
Kennan Jonan
Yoshikawa Eiji
The title says it all: Sword Trouble, Woman Trouble. This was Yoshikawa Eiji's first novel.

Natsume Soseki Before the Mustache

5 or 6 years old
Photo of Natsume Soseki - five or six years old
11 or 12 years old
Photo of Natsume Soseki - eleven or twelve years old
19 years old
Photo of Natsume Soseki - nineteen years old
24 years old
Photo of Natsume Soseki - twenty-four years old
Click to enlarge.

All photos are from 漱石全集 The Complete Works of Soseki.

Today I will learn Japanese!!

  • Learn how to read and write hiragana using Japanese words you already know.
  • Marugoto Plus will get you off to a great start. It teaches Japanese grammar, the writing systems, and some basic vocabulary. There are recordings of native speakers, animations that show you how to write the characters, and videos for a more lively learning experience.
  • Japanese in Anime & Manga is for lovers of anime and manga on a quest to learn Japanese.
  • This huge PDF (34 megabytes) わたしがしりたいせいかつ漢字 from Higashihiroshima FACE via the Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan is packed with useful kanji for everyday life in Japan.
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