Friday, December 30, 2011

the bible in the dialect of tohoku earthquake surivors

"Tsunami Bibles" help Japan to understand the tragedy 3 thousand copies of the Bible translated in the local dialect which survived the tidal wave that enveloped the country on March 11,are back on sale. They give an answer to those who suffered and will help the publishing house back on its feet.

Photo shows stacks of the Kesen-dialect Bibles that survived the tsunami. When the publisher was ready to sell the slightly damaged books at a discount, Masahiro Kudo, deputy director of the Miura Ayako Literature Museum Foundation advised him not to hesitate selling them at full price, saying "They are very precious copies. They demonstrate the love of God for the survivors." Sales will help the publisher rebuild his devastated business.

Click to read full article on (English, 英語) or here on (Japanese, 日本語)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

free offer for miura fans

KAIREI (Asahi Shimbun Press, 1981) is one of Miura Ayako's greatest historical works. It was once made into a bilingual feature-length film and, in recent years, has been performed in several locations throughout the world as a stage play. (see details in this post)

In 1993, my English translation of Kairei was published by Dawn Press under the title Hidden Ranges. It has long since been out-of-print. With English translations of Miura's works so rare and difficult to come by, I've decided to offer an updated and slightly abridged version of my original translation at no cost to readers of this blog and members of the Miura Ayako Book Club on Facebook.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

the tongue-cut sparrow's christmas

Among Miura's many, many works, there is one (and only one) play script. It was written to be performed at Christmas to an audience of children. In January of 2010, I wrote a post titled The Tongue-Cut Sparrow, Revisited in which I introduced this play in detail. To make sense of this update, please read that post now, if you haven't yet done so.

About twenty years ago, when we lived in Osaka, I translated the story into English and added illustrations so that my husband could use it in English classes and Christmas events at the college where he was teaching. More recently, I converted my translation back into simple Japanese, which I combined with my illustrations to turn it into a kamishibai (story board) for reading aloud to the children at our church here in Sapporo.

I have just learned that Miura's play was published as a picture book in 2008! Click here to see the listing on Amazon Japan and here to see the listing on Amazon US. It appears to be a bilingual version with both English and Japanese text. The English title is Christmas at the Sparrow's Inn and the name of the translator is Arden Lewis. I am not familiar with the translator, and I haven't yet seen the actual book, but if you have, please post a comment below. If you could track down a copy, I'm sure it would make the most awesome Christmas gift for the children in your life, especially if they understand Japanese or English or both.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

j.philip gabriel visits hokkaido

J. Philip Gabriel, professor of Japanese literature and head of the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Arizona, has translated the works of such noted Japanese writers as Murakami Haruki and Oe Kenzaburo. Phil first came to my attention several years ago, when I came across his book Spirit Matters: The Transcendent in Modern Japanese Literature. He spends a good part of the book discussing the works of Miura Ayako (specifically Hyoten and Shiokari Pass) in a way that convinced me I had found that rare Western academic who "got" what Miura was all about and actually valued it.

Through our sporadic email correspondence, I learned that Phil was interested in writing about Miura Ayako's novel Juko, the last novel she wrote before her death in 1999. Imagine how excited I was when he emailed me earlier this year to say he would be making his first trip to Hokkaido in June! Unfortunately, I was unable to accompany Phil and his wife Junko to Asahikawa, Miura's homeground. But they went to the trouble of visiting me at my home in Sapporo, where we had a stimulating discussion on how to get more exposure for Miura's works in the West.

In Asahikawa, Phil visited the Miura Ayako Literature Museum where he had the good fortune to run into Ayako's husband Mitsuyo. He told me the trip hardened his resolve to write about Juko, which was very good to hear. Having a translator and scholar of his caliber committed to writing about Miura's works is a huge encouragement to me. I'm hoping that between the two of us, and with the support of our various networks, we will have more success in introducing Miura lit to English readers than we might have had on own own.

Friday, April 29, 2011

for miura fans in india!

Yoshimitsu Hasegawa, the head of the Miura Ayako Dokushokai (Miura Ayako Readers Association) will be in India on May 7 to give a talk about Miura Ayako's works and what she had to say on the subject of what it means to live.

Location: Delhi Bible Church, V20 Green Park Extn.
Time: May 7 (Saturday), 2011 15:00~17:00

Contact Ms. Yoshida by May 4 (Wednesday) for further information:
email her at
or telephone her at 97-1177-7984