Posts Tagged ‘Hideko Ogawa’

Japan Kidlit for Women in Translation Month

August is Women in Translation Month! Here are Japan kidlit titles (picture book through Young Adult) by #womenintranslation that have appeared on this blog so far. Click to read more!

The Nurse and the Baker by Mika Ichii, translated by Hart Larrabee

Little Keys and the Red Piano by Hideko Ogawa, translated by Kazuko Enda and Deborah Iwabuchi

The Bear and the Wildcat by Kazumi Yumoto, illustrated by Komako Sakai, translated by Cathy Hirano

Are You An Echo? The Lost of Poems of Misuzu Kaneko by David Jacobson, illustrated by Toshikado Hajiri, translated by Sally Ito and Michiko Tsuboi

Totto-chan by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, translated by Dorothy Britton

The Secret of the Blue Glass by Tomiko Inui, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori

Brave Story written by Miyuki Miyabe, translated by Alexander O. Smith


TOMO with stories by Naoko Awa, Yukie Chiri, Megumi Fujino, Sachiko Kashiwaba, Arie Nashiya, Yuko Katakawa, and Fumio Takano; translated by Toshiya Kamei, Deborah Davidson, Lynne E. Riggs, Avery Fischer Udagawa, Juliet Winters Carpenter, Deborah Iwabuchi, and Hart Larrabee

Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara, translated by Cathy Hirano

Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince by Noriko Ogiwara, translated by Cathy Hirano

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi, translated by Cathy Hirano

Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness by Nahoko Uehashi, translated by Cathy Hirano

A True Novel by Minae Mizumura, translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter

Confessions by Kanae Minato, translated by Stephen Snyder


Essay Asks, “What Exactly Is Translation?”

Nihon jido bungaku (Japanese Children's Literature)

The Sept-Oct 2011 issue of Nihon jido bungaku (Japanese Children’s Literature)

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

When Deborah Iwabuchi and Kazuko Enda translated the ebook Little Keys and the Red Piano by Hideko Ogawa—described on this blog here—they and Ogawa read an essay by Yumiko Sakuma in the journal Nihon jido bungaku (Japanese Children’s Literature), “What Exactly Is Translation?”

In the essay, Sakuma describes her career as a translator of children’s books from English into Japanese. (Her oeuvre includes Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda, Hitler’s Daughter by Jackie French, and titles by Uri Shulevitz, plus U.S. president Barack Obama’s picture book Of Thee I Sing.)

Sakuma explains and shows how a translation for children goes far beyond a literal rendering, and may involve changes—even to characters’ names—to accommodate readers’ needs and backgrounds.

Thanks to Sakuma’s essay, Iwabuchi writes, the author of Little Keys and the Red Piano showed “enormous empathy for her translators” and considered every question they raised with her. Iwabuchi found Sakuma’s article so helpful that she has translated it into English in full. It now appears on the SWET website.

“Pianyan, Little Keys, and Yumiko Sakuma” by Deborah Iwabuchi

If you are a publisher working with a children’s translation, an author being translated, or a translator explaining your art, treat yourself to this essay. It puts words to how translation involves so much more than conversion of language.

Little Keys and the Red Piano—Translation for Ebook (Part 1)

By Deborah Iwabuchi, Maebashi, Japan

I recently co-translated a title, Little Keys and the Red Piano, for ebook (Amazon Digital Services, Inc., May 2013). I will be blogging about the experience here in a series of three posts.

First, here is the ebook!

スクリーンショット 2013-06-03 13.22.47Little Keys and the Red Piano

By Hideko Ogawa

Translated by Deborah Iwabuchi and Kazuko Enda

To give a quick summary, Little Keys is a piano-playing kitten who moves from a comfy home on the Japan Sea to Tokyo, where she plans to become an authentic stray in the big city. Little Keys and the Red Piano is the enchanting story of how she does it.

Rather than going more into the story, I’d like to write today about translating the book. It turned out nicely, but there were some ups and downs that I’d like to have on record for you, my fellow translators, so you’ll have some background when you get a similar opportunity.

My colleague and long-time writing partner, Kazuko Enda, and I were asked by a publishing company just getting into ebooks to translate a children’s book for them. They were publishing an ebook of the original version in Japanese and the author was eager to have it done in English too. It would be the first English book—either digital or in print—that they had ever done. The proposal was that we would translate it for free and then rake in the royalties. While that seemed highly unlikely we were both charmed by the book and even more so by Hideko Ogawa, the author.

Part 1: Meeting the Author

Ms. Ogawa, a woman in her seventies, was active and sharp, passionate about her work, and determined to see it translated into English. Ms. Ogawa wrote Pianyan (Piano + nyan, or “meow”) to describe her own move from her hometown of Itogawa in Niigata to Tokyo. It was originally published by Kodansha in 1994. When we met her, she told us that it had been well-received and dramatized by small acting groups throughout the country—it was a story that resonated with adults who had struggled with homesickness layered on the excitement of life in the city.

写真[6]The three of us decided to meet in Tokyo, and Ms. Ogawa came equipped with the September-October 2011 issue of the journal Nihon Jido Bungaku (Japan Children’s Literature) with a special feature on children’s books in translation, which answered many of the questions we had, especially about how much we could revise a book to make it a more enjoyable read for an English speaking audience.  (An article by translator Yumiko Sakuma—which I eventually hope to translate for this blog—was especially good.) Ms. Ogawa, an editor of the journal, was prepared to accept our proposed revisions in order to make good work of the translation. Not only that, but she was busy taking photographs to illustrate the ebook version, promising a colorful final product that would give readers a good look at Tokyo. She eventually provided maps of Japan and of Shibuya in Tokyo, where much of the book takes place, and accepted links for interested readers to find out more. Little Keys and the Red Piano is now available on Kindle books due in great part to the author’s enthusiasm and unfailing cooperation.

Check back next week for Part 2 of this series.