“Child’s Play” in Classical Japanese: Manga Edition

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“Child’s Play” in Classical Japanese: Manga Edition
Author: Ichiyo Higuchi
Illustrator: Hatsumi Chigira
Specifications: ISBN  978-4903281308
240 pages
14.8 x 21.0 cm / 5.9 x 8.4 in (WxH)
Category: Academic & Science
Publisher: Musashino University Press
Nishitokyo, 2017
Buy now: amazon.co.jp


Ichiyō Higuchi (1872–1896), Japan’s first prominent female writer of modern times, made an early debut, with her first work of fiction serialized in a newspaper at the age of 20, and she compiled a legacy of numerous fine short stories before her untimely death at the age of 24. But because she wrote in the classical literary language of the Heian period (894–1185), few Japanese today have read her work. In this manga adaptation of her most famous story, Takekurabe (tr. Child’s Play), bite-sized chunks of the original text have been placed in narrative boxes alongside illustrations of their content for easier understanding. In many cases separate speech balloons in contemporary Japanese also aid comprehension. As a further aid, the content of the narrative boxes is translated into modern Japanese in a separate section to which readers can refer as necessary. The full running text of the original story is included at the end of the volume.

Through manga, readers who might otherwise stay away are given entrée into one of Japan’s modern classics and also introduced to the beauty of the classical language.