Tag Archives: kindai manga
As the result of a recent spike in traffic, despite me not having posted anything in quite some time, I noticed, through the wonders of analytics, that a MOOC which shall remain nameless had identified me as a critic of Frenchy Lunning or, more specifically, as a critic of her conception of “the shōjo,” which I have to cop to, since the evidence for it is as plain as day. This identification also caused me to wonder whether it had anything to do with Professor Lunning putting in an appearance in the comments a full three years after the post to which she was responding had been posted, though, I suppose, it could just have been a coincidence.
In the spirit of translative promiscuity, letting no one way of doing things become an ossified norm, I thought this week I might make use of a selection of translated single page manga from Rakuten’s oeuvre to illustrate an argument in that way that used to be my weekly habit not so long ago.
There is quite a bit to unpack in this week’s offerings, so I’ll leave my commentary for next week. For now, I hope you enjoy the [comic]!
When thinking about how to approach this translation, it occurred to me that I am somewhat blessed in having Rakuten’s own tri- and bi-lingual manga to work from, to see how he works multiple sets of text into his [comics] (often haphazardly), so as to free myself, as he does, from a slavish devotion to sense in order to work from the perspective of effect. The original of this text is, of course, entirely in Japanese, yet its translation by my own hand would not be out of place with any of Rakuten’s bilingual manga.
It became clear that what I needed to do was not replicate Ippei’s text in one of its extant forms nor one purely of my own invention but rather relate to it in a manner analogous to how his own eiga shōsetsu do not quite resemble other contemporaneous examples of the “form.” I had to remember for myself and, more importantly, show how Ippei’s manga represent an aesthetic attitude, not just a visual format, an orientation that has as much to say about how we might approach translation as how we might regard [comic] form.
Pre-war manga, like pre-war modernism, requires us as readers to shed most if not all our presumptions about what Japanese [comics] are, to rethink them from the ground up in a manner than is neither clichéd nor dwells obsessively on well worn tropes, as so much thinking about manga as style does nowadays.
This is the first in my ongoing series of translations of kindai manga from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, beginning with the work of Kitazawa Rakuten. Unless otherwise noted, the originals are taken from the Rakuten zenshū published in 1931 by Atorie-sha, though they originally appeared throughout Rakuten’s earlier periodical work.
Alright, the last of this four part kerfuffle, and I can imagine you, dear reader, breathing a gale force sigh of relief that my month long digression through ancient history is coming to an end. The four parts of this series have delved into the roughly four levels of pre-war manga notoriety: legend, notable, who?, […]
I left off last week somewhere verging on unfamiliar territory, or, if you will, right at the boundary between the known and not-so-known. In many ways, the posts in this series will reflect that movement into ever greater degrees of unknown-y-ness. Our first stop was a well-known but, to my mind, grossly misunderstood artist, Kitazawa […]
It seems every time I sit down to write one of these things I have to apologize for treating a particular topic at short shrift, even when going on about it at great length. This week–rather the next several weeks are no exception. Kindai manga (i.e. manga from 1868, the beginning of the Meiji period, to […]