“Mount Fuji in the Spring.” Norikane Hiroto. Etching, 1997. Gift of Philip H. Roach Jr., 2010 (31780). Courtesy of Honolulu Museum of Art.
The new issue of MĀNOA: A Pacific Journal of International Writing, volume 29 number 2, is a collection of Japanese literature in translation edited by Leza Lowitz and Frank Stewart.
From the editors:
Mountain/Home presents new translations of selected Japanese works from the medieval period to the present. The volume opens with traditional folktales, court poetry, Edo Period poetry, and contemporary fiction—all from “One Hundred Literary Views of Mount Fuji,” a collection of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction related to Japan’s national symbol. The works reveal how Japanese attitudes toward Mount Fuji have changed over time, particularly after the country was opened to the West in the nineteenth century.
Table of Contents
One Hundred Literary Views of Mount Fuji: Mount Fuji has been celebrated by poets, novelists, and playwrights for almost 1,500 years, from Japan’s earliest literary works to the present. Peter MacMillan provides these translations and introductions.
- The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter: Taketori Monogatari, a tenth-century tale, recounts the origin of Mount Fuji’s name and is one of the earliest examples of Japanese literary fiction.
- Love Song and Reply: These poems are from the Gosen Wakashū, a major tenth-century anthology of Japanese poetry. Many of the waka in the collection are “dialogue poems,” written in pairs by men and women of the court, speaking the cloaked language of secret love affairs, seductions, and laments.
- from The Confessions of Lady Nijo: Lost for over six hundred years, Lady Nijo’s manuscript was discovered by a Japanese scholar in the Imperial Library in 1940.
- A Tale of a Mount Fuji Cave: This story from the Kamakura Period tells of a journey to the mouth of hell and back.
- Two Haiku by Matsuo Bashō: His poetry broke from the decadent style of the time, finding instead a resonance with nature, simplicity, spontaneity, and originality.
- Sanshirō: In this excerpt from Natsume Soseki’s 1908 coming-of-age novel, the protagonist, Ogawa Sanshiro, is twenty-three years old.
Accompanying artwork in Eyes of the Heart: The Selected Plays of Catherine Filloux from Camille Assaf, a French and American costume designer for theater, dance, opera, and film, and lead design editor at Chance, a photography magazine that looks at the world through the lens of theatrical design.
Eyes of the Heart presents six of Catherine Filloux’s plays.
Playwright, librettist, teacher, lecturer, and activist Catherine Filloux has been writing plays about human rights, social justice, and individual freedoms for over twenty years. Her plays often incorporate actual people and events, but are never merely biographical. By reimagining real-life characters and situations—employing temporal shifts, dreams, hallucinations, soundscapes, and other theatrical techniques—she explores the characters’ thoughts and emotions as they struggle with moral and ethical dilemmas, resist evil while searching for goodness, and react to assaults on human dignity. Her plays also question the fallibility of our collective memory, and the ways our interpretations of the past change and become distorted over time.
— From Editor’s Note
The following notes provide some historical background to the plays: Continue reading
From this issue: Duplication, Image 5 , 2003 by Xing Danwen.
Red Peonies is the first English translation of The Woman Liu and The Woman Yang—two novellas by Chinese writer Zhang Yihe.
In 1970, when she was 28, Zhang was convicted of being a counter-revolutionary and sentenced to two decades in a remote prison labor camp. With empathy and grace, Zhang tells the stories of Liu Yueying and Yang Fenfang, two women she met at the camp.
Of her novellas, Zhang says, “They are not about politics or the system but about the tragic destinies of these young female prisoners.” Continue reading