Posts Tagged ‘Kaisei-sha’

AFCC 2016 (Part 3): Slideshow Afterglow

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

Last month I thoroughly enjoyed Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2016, where Japan was the Country of Focus. While physically present in Singapore’s National Library Building, I spent three days immersed in presentations about Japan. This post contains slides from several.

Early on I spoke about 31 Japanese children’s books available in English translation—from folktales to fantasy, and from picture books to edgy YA. Click for the full slideshow (an 18 MB download).

J Children's Books in E by Avery Fischer Udagawa AFCC 2016

Or here is a PDF list of Japanese children’s books in English translation, recommended for the AFCC 2016 Festival Bookstore (118 KB). We passed many of these around in my session thanks to a generous loan from Denise Tan of Closetful of Books. Thank you, Denise!

One of the leading translators of Japanese children’s books into English is the amazing Cathy Hirano. Her AFCC 2016 talk “On Translation” featured this humorous slide, which is a literal translation of a page from a Japanese picture book.

Yoda slide by Cathy Hirano AFCC 2016

To read how Cathy handled this text in her final draft, watch for Yours Sincerely, Giraffe by Megumi Iwasa, illustrated by Jun Takabatake, due out in August 2016 from Gecko Press.

A picture book you might already have seen from Japan is this one, published by Kaisei-sha.

The Tiny King slide by Akiko Beppu AFCC 2016

The Tiny King appeared in a presentation by editor Akiko Beppu, who spoke of how some illustrators in Japan—including Taro Miura—are making picture books with striking two-page spreads, and working in a style with international appeal.

Yumiko Sakuma, a translator and critic, spoke of Japanese middle grade and YA novels about afterschool activities (bukatsu)—some of which are unusual, such as archery and metalworking. This slide of hers shows two novels by Mito Mahara, published by Kodansha.

Afterschool activity bks slide by Yumiko Sakuma AFCC 2016

Ms. Sakuma presented the history of Japanese children’s literature since World War II as well as recent trends and needs. Her figures showed Japan is publishing as many as 5,000 new children’s titles per year; 4,381 in 2015, of which 16.1 percent were translations from abroad (in the U.S., this figure is around 2 percent).

Miki Yakamoto, a manga artist and assistant professor at Tsukuba University, gave a thorough overview of manga in Japan, explaining that for years major works have begun as serials in manga magazines. This was the case with her own work Sunny Sunny Ann! in the magazine Morning:

Manga magazine slide by Miki Yamamoto AFCC 2016

Ms. Yakamoto pointed out that manga is evolving due to new technology, but right now manga magazines and books make up just under 40 percent of all printed matter published in Japan.

One of my favorite sessions of the conference was Kazuo Iwamura’s; I learned that his Family of Fourteen books, featuring a family of mice in a forest, ring true because Iwamura himself grew up in woods. “The woods were my playground,” he told us.

The Family of Fourteen books AFCC 2016The above set is translated into English by Arthur Binard, published by Doshinsha.

How much children’s literature from Japan and Asia is represented in the English-reading world? I spoke about this in my other solo presentation, “Understanding the Business of Translation.” Click to download (4 MB).Cathy Hirano and Nahoko Uehashi slide by Avery Fischer Udagawa AFCC 2016

My thanks to those who gave permission to use slides above. Any errors herein are mine alone. Much gratitude to the National Book Development Council of Singapore, to Asian Festival of Children’s Content, and to this year’s Japan: Country of Focus team. Kanpai, AFCC!

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AFCC 2016 (Part 2): A Harvest of Knowledge About Japanese Children’s Content

At Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2016 in Singapore, Japan featured as Country of Focus. Offerings included a Japan Booth and Japan-related sessions over three days of the conference.

By Andrew Wong, Tokyo

IMAG2588_1Helping out at the Japan Booth and attending some sessions on the final day of the Country of Focus: Japan program at AFCC 2016 was enough for me to gain a harvest of knowledge on Japanese children’s content. I can only imagine how much more I could have learned from a full three days. Here are some quick impressions from the sidelines.

Right: AFCC Country of Focus poster with illustration by Chihiro Iwasaki. Photo by Andrew Wong.

The Japan Booth treated passersby to a selection of some 200 books. Drawn by the cover illustrations and exhibition panels, the curious stepped in to pick up the books. Some pored over them quietly, taking in the colors and stories in the pictures; others opened up to chat about writers, artists, and their own stories of Japan. Between sessions, Kazuo Iwamura’s and Chihiro Iwasaki’s works would sometimes create overcrowding in part of the booth. Many visitors were ready to take the books home with them after they had taken a look, even though they did not read much Japanese. (Singapore library users will be happy to hear that the books in the booth will soon inaugurate a brand new Japanese-language collection.)

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Books and panel on display at the Japan Booth. Photo by Naomi Kojima.

Naomi Kojima offered a popular hour-long session on Japanese picture books. She almost ran a half-marathon, racing through more than a dozen picture books in a room packed to the wall with eager listeners. Giggles and laughter accompanied her commentaries on Noboru Baba’s Ju-ippiki no neko (Eleven Cats) and Aju Kato’s Jicchorin no aruku michi (The Jicchorins Take a Walk) as everyone joined her in admiring the titles.

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Table covered with books toured by Naomi Kojima in just one hour. Photo by Holly Thompson.

Besides books, multi-talented musicians Toshihiko Shinzawa and Satoko Yamano charmed listeners with songs written for children and adults alike, and they demonstrated how adding music to picture books and vice versa can create new ways to enjoy both media. The International Library of Children’s Literature‘s Chihoko Tanaka captivated children and parents with lively performances of Japanese rhymes and folk tales, while award-winning manga artist Miki Yamamoto helped visitors create their very own folded peek-a-boo cards.

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Miki Yamamoto (upper right) helps visitors create peek-a-boo cards. Photo by Naomi Kojima.

This year’s focus on Japan coincided with the 50th anniversary of Singapore-Japan diplomatic ties, and a new chapter in literary collaboration began with an underwater launch of bilingual books (more on this here) as stingrays looked on in the Sentosa aquarium.

Festival participants got to hear Akiko Beppu, editorial director at Kaisei-sha, liken the work of an editor to that of content producer, linking author and reader and envisioning each book in the store from the start. Doshinsha’s chairperson Kyoko Sakai was on hand to share the techniques and psychology behind kamishibai, a form of storytelling theatre that uses large picture cards in a wooden stage. She made a brief but serious mention of kamishibai’s appeal and its sad history of use in wartime propaganda, and said she wanted the tradition to be used for peace and harmony.

Kamishibai stage (Doshinsha.co.jp)

Kamishibai stage. Image by Doshinsha.

Ms. Sakai’s message drew parallels with Yumiko Sakuma‘s remarks in her closing session: some authors in Japan now are working to bring up topics of war and peace in children’s books, because the country’s pacifist constitution is under threat. Ms. Sakuma also highlighted two other trends in Japanese children’s literature: a focus on unconventional relationships and less-common afterschool activities, and stories about the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. She ended by stressing the need for even greater diversity in content for children in Japan.

Covering the recent changes and challenges in Japanese children’s books, Ms. Sakuma’s words proved a thoughtful closer. Like the other sessions, her speech offered hints of the hopes and dreams that we want children to cherish and chase―to help them on their way to shaping the future.

Nahoko Uehashi’s Moribito Series and Japanese-to-English Translation

Holly Thompson, author and Regional Advisor of SCBWI Japan, blogs this week about the conferral of a 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award to Japanese author Nahoko Uehashi. The translator of Uehashi’s acclaimed Moribito novels into English is Cathy Hirano. Holly shares here her post about the Moribito books, Cathy’s translations, and the prospect of more children’s and YA translations from Japan to come! Thank you, Holly!

This week at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Awards were announced, and the 2014 author winner is Japanese fantasy author Nahoko Uehashi.

MoribitoMoribito II

Cultural anthropologist Nahoko Uehashi’s Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit captivated me when I first read it—her fantasy world derives from ancient Japan and is rich with cultural and ethnobiological detail. That her complex work was accessible and moving in the English language owes much to the deft work of translator Cathy Hirano and the creative and thorough editing by Arthur A. Levine Books editor Cheryl Klein (visit her blog). Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit won the Mildred L. Batchelder Award for outstanding translation in 2009, and Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness was awarded a Batchelder Honor in 2010. Kaisei-sha is the publisher of the Moribito series in Japan. Congratulations to all!

Currently Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit and Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness are the only books in the series available in English, but, thanks to this Hans Christian Andersen award for Nahoko Uehashi, hopefully more of her books will become available in English.

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In the Classroom

Some material for teachers to share with students on the Moribito books and on the fascinating process involved in translating these complex novels might include the following:

Moribito Wiki

Moribito Review on Worlds of Words

Young Adult Fantasy in Translation: An Interview with Cathy Hirano by Misa Dikengil Lindberg, on the Society of Writers, Editors and Translators (SWET) site

Editing Children’s Literature in Translation: An Interview with Cheryl Klein by Sako Ikegami, on pages 4-7 of the SCBWI Japan Fall 2008 Newsletter (PDF)

One Passage, Six Translations: Nahoko Uehashi compiled after an SCBWI Japan Translation Day event held at Yokohama International School, at which Cathy Hirano was the featured speaker

Catching Up with Cathy Hirano by Alexander O. Smith on the SCBWI Japan Translation Group blog

Children’s Book Translation: An Interview with Cathy Hirano by Avery Fischer Udagawa, on pages 7-9 of the SCBWI Japan Fall 2006 Newsletter (PDF)

Interview with Nahoko Uehashi about the anime production

Summary of talk by Cathy Hirano and Nahoko Uehashi at the International Library of Children’s Literature, Tokyo (in Japanese only; PDF)

 

On the general subject of translation of literature from Japanese to English:

Eight Ways to Say You, Horn Book Magazine piece by Cathy Hirano

How Would You Translate Arigato: Alexander O. Smith visits Yokohama International School by teacher and author Trevor Kew

Translator in the Classroom by Avery Fischer Udagawa

Japanese to English Translation Basics by Kathryn Hemmann

Translating Culture to Kids with Kyoto-based former librarian Paul Evans

Tomo translator interviews and posts on the Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction blog

The SCBWI Japan Translation Group blog ihatov.wordpress.com

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Surely the Hans Christian Andersen Award will result in more well-deserved worldwide attention on Nahoko Uehashi and her works. Let’s hope there is also a powerful ripple effect with more attention paid to translation into English of Japanese literature for children and young adults.