Tasting Sakura Season with Sweet Bean Paste

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

Though unable to visit Japan during sakura season this year, I got a taste of it through Sweet Bean Paste, a novel by Durian Sukegawa translated into English by Alison Watts.

This novel features a young man who runs a dorayaki shop, an elderly woman who overturns his process, and a high school girl who connects the two in a poignant way. It offers an unflinching look at the history of leprosy in Japan and forms the basis for the movie Sweet Bean.

A novel for adults that is YA-appropriate, it shows how international fiction does not always follow UK/US age category rules. (At SCBWI Japan Translation Day 2018, we also saw how the adult-marketed novella Ms. Ice Sandwich by Mieko Kawakami, translated by Louise Heal Kawaii, can work as YA or even as middle grade).

Taste something fresh, complex and delicious with Sweet Bean Paste this spring—and share with a teen near you.

Eighth Anniversary of 3.11

The SCBWI Japan Translation Group joins people around the world in remembering victims and survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011. We continue to add news stories about young people’s experience of the disaster to the Children of Tohoku page. Kindly let us know if you spot stories to add. Thanks.

Freeman Book Award for YA/High School Goes to GO

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

The novel Go by Kazuki Kaneshiro, translated by Takami Nieda, has won a Freeman Book Award in the Young Adult/High School category.

The Freeman Book Awards are sponsored by the USA’s National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), the Committee on Teaching about Asia (CTA) of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), and Asia for Educators (AFE) at Columbia University. The awards garland children’s and YA titles “that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of East and Southeast Asia.”

Go is a coming-of-age story about a zainichi (resident) Korean teen boy, born in Japan, who falls in love with a Japanese girl. This seems a forbidden romance given Japan’s history of anti-zainichi discrimination.

The NCTA has a page about Go here, and Publishing Perspectives has an illuminating interview with Nieda here. Nieda spoke by recorded Skype at SCBWI Japan Translation Day 2018.

Go read Go!

Takami Nieda appears on video at SCBWI Japan Translation Day in October 2018.

Inaugural GLLI Translated YA Book Prize Goes to Manga from Japan

By Andrew Wong, Tokyo

The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (GLLI) has just announced the winner of its inaugural Translated YA Book Prize, and it’s a work from Japan! The winner is My Brother’s Husband Vols. 1-2 by Gengoroh Tagame, translated from the Japanese by Anne Ishii, published by Pantheon Graphic Library.

The GLLI accolade adds to a long list of kudos for this manga. An Eisner winner, My Brother’s Husband has also been adapted into a three-part TV matinee drama series that aired on NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, in Spring 2018.

Along with the inaugural prize winner, three honor titles were announced. These works, all novels, were translated from French, Spanish (Equatorial Guinea) and Swedish.

Submissions for the 2020 award are open!

Two Books from Japan Make Inaugural GLLI Translated YA Book Prize Shortlist

By Andrew Wong, Tokyo

Two works from Japan have made the shortlist for the inaugural Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (GLLI) Translated YA Book Prize for 2019.

Ginny Tapley Takemori’s translation of The Secret of the Blue Glass, written by Tomiko Inui, is joined by Anne Ishii’s translation of the first two volumes of My Brother’s Husband, Gengoroh Tagame’s Eisner-clinching four-volume manga series, in the 10-title shortlist.

These two titles happen to share something else in common: families with visitors!

The judges considered books first published in English translation between 2015 and 2018. The full shortlist features translations from Bengali, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and Swedish.

Look out for the winner soon!

“Festival Time” in The Best Asian Short Stories 2018

By Malavika Nataraj, Singapore
 
It’s hard to believe that January 2019 is almost over, but the month wouldn’t be complete without some exciting news to share! Avery Fischer Udagawa’s translation of the short story “Festival Time,” a tale for middle grade readers and up by Yamagata-born author Ippei Mogami, illustrated by Saburo Takada, has been featured in The Best Asian Short Stories of 2018 anthology, published by Kitaab of Singapore.
 
“Festival Time” takes place in young Masashi’s village, where plans for a spring festival are derailed because of seasonal labour migration, as farmers go to cities in search of more lucrative work. In a write-up that appeared in the Japan Times earlier this month, Udagawa said that she appreciated how Mogami told the story through a child’s eyes, and how the author handled the boy’s relationship with both his grandmother, who has dementia, and an elder with “crying palsy.”
 
Read more on “Festival Time” at Words and Pictures, the online magazine of SCBWI British Isles.

SCBWI Work In Progress Grants Open to Translators

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, SCBWI International and Japan Translator Coordinator

Big news! SCBWI has opened the Work-In-Progress grant program to translators. Starting in 2019, SCBWI member translators can follow the instructions here and here to submit to the WIP Translation category. Tell the world!

 

 

This new grant category is the result of efforts by International Regional Advisor Chairperson Kathleen Ahrens and by Board of Advisors Co-Chair Christopher Cheng, as well as SCBWI founders Stephen Mooser and Lin Oliver, in recognition of membership and participation in SCBWI by translators.

Deepest thanks to all!

Note: Translators should apply in the Translation category of the WIP. Submit a translation into English of a text that fits one of the following categories: Picture Book, Chapter Books/Early Readers, Middle Grade, Young Adult Fiction, Nonfiction. As part of your cover page/synopsis, identify the text’s category. In addition, give its genre, original author and language, original publisher and publication date (if published), and rights status (if known). Please also describe why this text needs to be translated into English now. What is its relevance for the market?

Despite the word “completed” here, where it says to send in “The first 10 pages (US letter size) of your completed manuscript,” translators need not have translated the full book on spec. All a translator needs to, or can, submit is 10 pages.

Submissions must follow the guidelines linked above. Submissions will be accepted March 1 – March 31, Midnight PDT 2019.

Much gratitude, and happy translating!