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Translations

Below you will find samples of my literary translations from Japanese into English. The documents linked below are four short stories from late in the career of one of my favorite Japanese twentieth-century writers, Nagai Kafu. Kafu is best known to English language readers for prewar work such A Strange Tale from East of the River and other fiction depicting the demimonde of his beloved Tokyo. These four pieces, however, which to my knowledge have never appeared in English, were written after his self-imposed silence during World War II, in 1946 or 1947, and depict conditions in the immediate aftermath of the surrender.

During the early 1940s Kafu had refused to publish any writing in order to protest the military regime (since any such writing would have been subject to censorship, and most likely would have had to conform to their norms of what was useful, if it were not indeed out-and-out propaganda asked for by the authorities). He and Tanizaki Jun'ichiro were among the very few Japanese literary figures of any note to maintain so uncompromising a stance. After the war, however, he published a number of these short pieces, both fiction and essays. The four translated here appeared in more than one place, but these versions are taken from a 1950 collection titled Souvenirs from Katsushika. (Katsushika is a working-class neighborhood, then semi-rural, in the far eastern reaches of Tokyo.) I have supplied a few introductory notes to each story.

By the way, these translations, made as exercises during my M.A. studies, are unpublished. If any publishers out there want to publish any or all of them, by all means contact me. 
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Richard Cleaver,
Sep 2, 2009, 1:51 PM
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Richard Cleaver,
Sep 2, 2009, 1:51 PM
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Shoes.doc
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Richard Cleaver,
Sep 2, 2009, 1:51 PM
ĉ
Richard Cleaver,
Sep 2, 2009, 1:51 PM
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