Archive for the ‘Publishers’ Category

Publishers Weekly Features Poet Misuzu Kaneko

By Deborah Iwabuchi, Maebashi, Japan

Are You an Echo: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko has been featured by Publishers WeeklyIf you are still trying to decide whether to reserve a copy of this picture book from Chin Music Press, due out in late September, be sure to read this in-depth introduction and have a look at a few of the beautiful illustrations. Poetry by Misuzu Kaneko, text and translation by David Jacobson, Sally Ito, and Michiko Tsuboi. Illustrations by Toshikado Hajiri.

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Japanese Children’s Literature “Dream Team” to Speak in Singapore

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

Pinch me! I cannot believe that next month, I’ll be at the National Library in Singapore for Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2016, rubbing shoulders with . . . AFCC 2016 Speaker Highlights

 

These are just a few speakers set to appear in the Japan: Country of Focus track at this year’s AFCC. A full list of Japan presenters is here. This dream team includes:

Akiko Beppu, editor. Ms. Beppu nurtured the Moribito fantasy novels by Nahoko Uehashi, which became bestsellers and the basis of manga, anime, radio and TV versions (the TV dramatization is airing in Japan over three years). In a show of confidence and initiative, Ms. Beppu commissioned a full English translation of the first Moribito novel. This move helped overseas publishers read the novel in its entirety and appreciate its true quality. Result? Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit and Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness were published in English and other languages, won a Mildred L. Batchelder Award and Batchelder Honor, and paved the way for Uehashi to win the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing—a biennial award also dubbed the Nobel Prize for children’s literature.

Cathy Hirano, translator. Originally from Canada, Hirano has spent her adult life in Japan and become a leading translator of children’s and YA books from Japanese to English. She translated the middle grade realistic novel The Friends by Kazumi Yumoto, which won a Batchelder Award and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction. She translated Moribito and Moribito II, leading to Uehashi’s Andersen Award, a Batchelder, and a Batchelder Honor—becoming one of few translators to produce multiple Batchelder winners in different genres. Her first translation of the fantasy novel Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara won so many fans that when it fell out of print in the U.S., it became a collector’s item and got republished, with a sequel. She is translator of Hanna’s Night by beloved printmaker-illustrator Komako Sakai.

fuji-2_320_320Kazuo Iwamuraauthor-illustrator, created the long-selling Family of Fourteen picture book series. This series—partially translated into English for the Japan market by the amazing Arthur Binard, and order-able from anywhere—portrays a clan of fourteen mice who bathe, sleep, cook, sing and play in ways quintessentially Japanese. It’s impossible to watch them savor their homemade bento lunches, doze off in their snug communal sleeping area, or view the full moon (from a special platform in a tree) without admiring Japan’s best traditions around family, nature and childhood. Mr. Iwamura’s books will make you want to move to Japan.

Kyoko Sakai, editor, shepherded the Family of Fourteen books and many works of kamishibai, for which her company Doshinsha is known worldwide. Yumiko Sakuma, translator, has brought famous children’s titles into Japanese, including the Rowan of Rin series from Australia and the book Of Thee I Sing by U.S. President Barack Obama. Dr. Miki Yamamoto, manga artist, has created stunning works such as How Are You? and Sunny Sunny Ann, and the wordless picture book Ribbon Around a Bomb. Satoko Yamano, singer,  is well-known for performing children’s songs in Japan, as is Toshihiko Shinzawa, singer. 

Naomi Kojima, illustrator, created the classic picture book Singing Shijimi Clams. Chihiro Iwasaki (1918-1974), artist, illustrated the novel Totto-chan: Little Girl at the Window, which is one of the world’s most-translated children’s titles. Iwasaki will be discussed by staff of the acclaimed Chihiro Art Museum, located in Tokyo and in Azumino, Nagano Prefecture.

Holly Thompson, Mariko Nagai, and Trevor Kew, authors who write from and about Japan in English, will speak about their vocation of writing between cultures.

Staff of the extensive International Library of Children’s Literature, part of Japan’s National Diet Library, will speak—as will representatives of Bookstart Japan, which provides picture books for newborn babies in more than half of the cities and towns in Japan.

I get to speak too, and I am quaking in my boots.

These folks have created a treasury of Japan children’s content, and helped to build the publishing world and literate society that support it. If you can be in Singapore on May 25-29, 2016, come hear this incredible dream team. Such a line-up of speakers is rare to see even in Japan!

Illustration © Naomi Kojima

Upper right: Logo for AFCC 2016 Japan: Country of Focus. Above: Illustration from Singing Shijimi Clams © Naomi Kojima

Andersen Award Sparks Interest in Nahoko Uehashi’s Moribito Series

Nahoko Uehashi (Goodreads)By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

Author Nahoko Uehashi has smiled out from many a feature article, sales display, and book obi (advertising “sash”) in Japan since receiving the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing—a biennial award sometimes dubbed the Nobel Prize for children’s literature.

This past New Year’s Eve in Kamakura, I watched Uehashi help judge the TV special Kohaku uta gassen (Red and White Singing Contest)a celebrity sing-off as famous in Japan as New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in the U.S. Uehashi judged alongside figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu and other stars. Already a bestselling author, Uehashi is now a household name.

Her acclaimed Moribito novels have been adapted for radio, manga, and anime, and the first novel will become a four-part TV drama aired beginning this March in Japan. Overseas, rights to the full book series have sold in China, with rights to individual books sold in Brazil, France, Italy, Spain, Indonesia, Taiwan, the U.S., and Vietnam. In the U.S., the first two Moribito novels—translated by Cathy Hirano as Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit and Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness—have won the Mildred L. Batchelder Award and a Batchelder Honor for publisher Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc.

Haruka Ayase as Balsa (NHK)

Above: Haruka Ayase stars as Balsa in the upcoming NHK TV dramatization of Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit. 

Many readers of English long to see more translations of books in the Moribito series—as shown in comments to the 2014 post on our blog announcing Uehashi’s Andersen Award. Since 2014, this post has ranked among our blog’s top-three most viewed.

Have you treated yourself to a reading of Moribito and Moribito II? If not, both books are worth adding to your 2016 reading list. Happy reading, and Happy New Year!

Moribito I and Moribito II (Goodreads)

Above: Click to read more about Nahoko Uehashi and the Moribito series at Goodreads.

 

 

Publishing with Translators in Mind: Bento Books

bb_logo_full_largeBy Wendy Uchimura, Yokohama

An in-depth interview with the three founders of Bento Books, a publishing company that focuses on Japanese contemporary fiction, is now up on the SWET website.

Bento Books: A Translator-Driven Publisher

Alexander O. Smith, Tony Gonzalez, and Joseph Reeder talk about how they set up their company, spurred by dissatisfaction at the issues translators face in the publishing process, as well as the company’s acitivites in the market and its vision.

Titles available from Bento Books include the Math Girls and Math Girls Talk About… series, Cage on the Sea, and Avatar Tuner, Vol. 1. Click here for an interview on this blog with Gonzalez, the translator of Math Girls.

Museyon Releases Picture Books from Japan

Gon, The Little FoxNew York-based publisher Museyon has released several picture books translated from Japanese. These include Timothy and Sarah: The Homemade Cake Contest by Midori Basho and Gon, The Little Fox by Niimi Nankichi, illustrated by Genjiro Mita, both translated by Mariko Shii Gharbi and edited by Richard Stull. The publisher is Akira Chiba.
For an interview with Chiba and Gharbi, see Misa Dikengil Lindberg’s June 2015 post on the SCBWI Japan main blog:

SCBWI LA 2014: A Translator’s View

SCBWI Summer Conference 2014

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

Last month I attended the 2014 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles, thanks to a generous Tribute Fund Scholarship. I soaked up info from keynote speeches, panel discussions, break-out sessions, intensives, a manuscript critique, and socials, and talked up translation and the SCBWI Japan Translation Group.

Theme Building, Los Angeles International Airport

Theme Building, Los Angeles International Airport

Children’s Book People Everywhere!

This conference was a meet-up of 1,235 children’s book people at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Los Angeles.

The first person I met was my roommate, illustrator and fellow Tribute Fund recipient Marsha Riti of Austin, Texas. This piece of hers shows how excited I felt!

"Feisty Tricycle" by Marsha Riti

“Feisty Tricycle” by Marsha Riti

I soon also met up with friends whom I see too rarely in Asia, beginning with SCBWI Japan Regional Advisor Holly Thompson.

Avery Fischer Udagawa, SCBWI Japan Regional Advisor Holly Thompson, Writer Li-Hsin Tu, Illustrator Kazumi Wilds

Translator Avery Fischer Udagawa, writer Holly Thompson, writer Li-Hsin Tu, illustrator Kazumi Wilds

One of many delights of SCBWI LA was the International Social for members of all non-US regions worldwide. Special thanks to International Regional Advisor Chairperson Kathleen Ahrens of Hong Kong, Assistant International Advisor Angela Cerrito of Germany, and International Awards and Publications Coordinator Christopher Cheng of Australia. It was a bonus delight to connect with Kenneth Quek of Singapore, Director of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content!

Oodles of Opportunities

I met few translators in LA. 😦 On the upside, I found many chances to study craft and ask how to publish more translations. To quote my bit of SCBWI Japan’s blog coverage, I valued . . .

Chances to improve my work: I took part in a one-on-one manuscript critique with SCBWI President Stephen Mooser, who has authored more than 60 children’s books. He reviewed the first ten pages of my middle grade novel translation as writing in English, providing feedback on how I could improve my language. I also took a half-day intensive on novel revision with Linda Sue Park, a Newbery Award-winning author. From her I learned several ways to make a completed draft “strange” to myself, in order to spot where to streamline the language. Every segment of her intensive applied both to writing and to translation.

Opportunities to ask editors how they acquire translations: I attended break-out sessions by Alessandra Balzer, co-publisher of Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books; Mary Lee Donovan, editorial director at Candlewick Press; Dinah Stevenson, publisher of Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; and Julie Strauss-Gabel of Dutton Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group. Each of these editors fielded a question about how/whether she considers works in translation and how these might be submitted. So did Arthur Levine of Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., and Andrea Welch, senior editor at Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Andrea’s half-day intensive on picture books exposed me to numerous new ideas, and again applied 100 percent to translations.

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Discovery while jet lagged: Source text + bobby pin + laptop = setup to prevent over-editing a first draft

 

Time to network with members of the We Need Diverse Books Campaign: The We Need Diverse Books campaign took the US children’s lit world by storm in May, showing the need for main characters of color and of diverse cultural backgrounds (among many kinds of diversity). Since translations are a source of diversity, I was thrilled to talk with authors Lamar Giles and Meg Medina, leaders in the We Need Diverse Books initiative. I also hung out at a We Need Diverse Books lunchtime chat and heard a panel by Lamar Giles, Meg Medina, Linda Sue Park, authors Sharon Flake and Suzanne Morgan Williams, and agent Adriana Dominguez. Their discussion galvanized me to bring more books from overseas to young readers. Kids deserve to explore stories from their whole world!

I got mine!

I got my button!

US Children’s Publishing in Microcosm

SCBWI LA was my best glimpse to date of the US children’s publishing world. This was partly due to “state of the industry” keynotes that detailed trends in the US market—noting, for example, that picture books are aiming younger as chapter books take off, or that contemporary realistic YA fiction still has a place, or that literary MG novels are in demand. (Hooray!)

I heard these updates and more in presentations by Justin Chanda, vice president and publisher of three Simon & Schuster children’s imprints, and Deborah Halverson, editor of SCBWI’s detailed and ever-evolving Market Survey. While neither of these speakers mentioned translations, both spoke to the need for diverse books and provided big-picture info useful to translators.

I also got an overview by looking around in the socials and sessions at this large conference, and seeing how many US authors there are. This conference was larger than one small town I lived in as a child! I learned that lots of people are creating content for US readers in English. Their work for the highly competitive US market sets the standard for translations from overseas, as well.

Conference-goers in costume to celebrate Tomie dePaola's 80th birthday

Conference-goers in costume to celebrate Tomie dePaola’s 80th birthday

We love Strega Nona!

We love Strega Nona!

Finally, insofar as SCBWI itself represents US children’s publishing, I found reasons to take heart: SCBWI has established a new Translator category for members! In addition, an Advisory Board meeting after SCBWI LA included a discussion of initiatives to support translation. I see these as encouraging signs.

Meanwhile, stocked with info from LA plus the fuel of renewed and new friendships, I am ready to return to work!

P.S. When I got home, my daughters pored over picture books I had bought in LA and claimed illustrators’ postcards to use for crafts. It was a treat to watch creators’ efforts feed hours of play!

 

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Six-year-old’s expansion on postcard by Ryan Jackson

 

For even more info on the 2014 SCBWI Summer Conference, click here for the official  blog coverage and recaps.

An Interview with Yoshio Kobayashi of Shueisha English Edition

By Wendy Uchimura, Yokohama

Shueisha English EditionYoshio KobayashiYoshio Kobayashi is a translator and editor associated with Shueisha Creative. He attended SCBWI Japan’s Translation Day 2012 in Yokohama and put a call out for translators of adult and young adult novels from Japan. That became the Shueisha English Edition project. There are a wide range of popular works being released, the most recent of which are Yoshinori Shimizu’s Labyrinth (translated by Deborah Iwabuchi), Novala Takemoto’s Emily (translated by Misa Dikengil Lindberg), and Manabu Makime’s The Great Shu Ra Ra Boom! (translated by Wendy Uchimura).

In the following e-mail interview, Mr. Kobayashi explains more about Shueisha English Edition and the process of translating a book, and gives advice to those wishing to take up literary translation.

Shueisha English Edition Facebook Cover PhotoThe Shueisha English Edition project focuses on translating and releasing works originally published in Japanese by Shueisha. How did the project come about?

A friend of an author read his novel in English and found it was terribly wrong. The original was a sensuous read, although it was categorized as literature, while the translation was a kind of scholarly literal translation and not a bit erotic. Our top people heard that complaint and so we decided to edit our books ourselves in order to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. Most English translations so far have been edited by people who didn’t read or understand the original works. This means that they are not reliable or totally faithful. We want to correct that.

How did you come to be involved in the project? What approach do you take with the translating and editing of each book?

I’ve translated novels and stories from English for more than thirty years. I’ve also written book reviews of Japanese novels in English, and I frequently discuss SF at World Science Fiction Conventions. I’ve also helped shepherd some stories to be translated into English. I write my blog in English, too. So they asked me to do the job. My experience of book editing was appreciated as well.

Our current style is like this:

Title Examination

We let our readers read titles that Shueisha and we choose, based on the sales figures, movie adaptations, game or comic adaptations or anything with commercial value, award status and other reputations, and our own likings. Then we discuss each title among the Japanese and American editors. If we all agree on the merit of publishing it in the US, we then set the priority. We cannot publish more than a dozen titles a year, so we have to set this. But we do publish eclectic titles from a vast inventory of the Shueisha backlist.

Choice of Translators

This is the tough part. We pay royalties to the translators with minimum advances. When we find the translator for a particular title, we always ask that person to send us a sample chapter. We extensively examine it and suggest to the translator how to improve it. Then we talk about the deadline for submitting the complete draft. Some titles have a hard time finding an appropriate translator.

Examination of the Draft

We check it with the original text in Japanese and point out to the translator errors and misunderstandings. Then our American editor will revise it as a reader-friendly text. But we don’t stop there. We discuss characterization, the author’s intention and literary style, and how we can enhance the joy of reading it with our extra bonus materials like introduction, footnotes, list of characters, maps, etc. We want to serve both the authors and the readers. When the translator delivers a new revised draft, we edit it again with the new insight from our discussion.

Copyediting

All the material is copyedited by an American copyeditor and our three editors. When it’s done, we’ll ask the translators for further corrections and approval. We do represent the authors, and we retain the final say for the translation, but we grant the translators their copyright, which should be the basis of the royalty.

Author’s Help

Sometime we can ask our authors what should be right for a particular part, like title and names. All the materials are authors’ properties. Our authors do care about our titles.

What are some of the challenges you face with a project like this?

Everything has been new. It is very hard to make everybody from translators to our editors, copyeditors, and cover artists understand the heart of each work and the author’s intention. Characterization in Japan is completely different from a US/UK approach. So everything was and still is a big challenge.

A number of works began being released from May 2013. What is the response like so far?

We released them through Sony Reader Store* only, and I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the situation. We are working to improve it. Many people like our Facebook page, but they’ve been unable to buy our books, because Sony stopped selling their Reader devices in the USA. You can read them using PCs or tablet devices with Sony Reader software, but people are waiting for us to expand to other formats.

Are there many YA titles planned to be released? (My translation of The Great Shu Ra Ra Boom! is one.)

What we call light novels can be read as YA, and the Otsuichi books like Black Fairy Tale can be read as YA. And yes, we have some plans.

What advice can you give to translators wishing to develop their literary translation skills?

Read. A lot. At the least, you have to read 500 novels to be confident of your reading ability. I used to read ten novels a month before I decided to be a translator. When I started my career, I had read more than 1,000 novels in English from every genre. I teach translation at a translators’ school and I always tell my students to read. When you have read 500 novels you start to understand an author’s style, what euphemism is and how the author uses metaphor. A lot of translators misunderstand that. You have to read contemporary US/UK novels too, in order to understand the modern usage of English and current trends. Then to translate modern Japanese novels, you need to be able to grasp contemporary vocabulary. I still read about ten titles a month, although now it’s a combined number. I have read ten American novels and five Japanese novels a month for twenty years. So read! And trust the authors. You don’t have to orchestrate the work. Authors write everything that is needed to be described. The rest should be given to the reader’s imagination. Reading is an ability that is developed through reading, so it’s better to help our readers expand that ability. You shouldn’t intervene by explaining too much.

*Editors’ note: The Sony Reader Store, where Shueisha English Edition titles are currently sold, will close on March 20, 2014. A message on the website indicates customers will be transitioned to Kobo.