Monday, July 5, 2010
Bitou (Taillights) was written in the 70s, at the peak of Japan’s economic boom years when it was normal for Japanese “corporate warriors” to fully commit their time and energy to their workplace, and men spent little, if any, time with their wives and children. This story gives us a glimpse into the absence of purpose and broken relationships that awaited one such man in his retirement years. Even without particular knowledge of the cultural and economic background of the story, the situation should be familiar enough to 21st century Western readers. Bitou is included in the short story collection titled Dokumugi no toki (Season of the tares) published by Kodansha in 1983.
Last fall, I posted a call for Miura fans who would be willing to take time from their busy schedules to read my translation of this short story and give me feedback on several points. I am deeply indebted to the generous souls (you know who you are) who shared their time and thoughts with me. My translation of Bitou has undergone many transformations, and could certainly use even more polishing, but I'm eager to share it with you all, and have decided to go ahead and post it in its entirety on the Miura Ayako home page. I appreciate any feedback via the comment box below, although I may not be able to post them all. If you have thoughts about the story that you do not want me to post, please say so, and I will keep it between the two of us.