TWO STORIES by MASUJI IBUSE
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Trans. by Kiyoaki Nakao (w. Author’s Critical Biography, Questions for Testing Comprehension, and Notes).
Hokuseido Press’ “Japanese Literature for Rapid Reading” Series, #1.
This bright and rare volume is an early publication of two short stories by prolific Japanese writer Masuji Ibuse: 'Kappa sodo' (‘Catching a Water Nymph’) and 'Noheiji no Mutsugoro ryakuden' (‘The Life of Mutsugoro of Noheiji'), translated from the Japanese by Kiyoaki Nakao. Printed in 1970, these stories make up the inaugural issue for Hokuseido Press’ “Rapid Reading” series, an introduction to Japanese literature for English-speakers. In this context, Ibuse’s stories can be seen as part of a new culture of exchange on multiple levels: between the writer and translator, between a Japanese visual language and a sonic, linear English interpretation, and between the formation of modern global relationships and the themes that repeat across Ibuse's body of work. With a keen observing eye, Ibuse's stories pivot between intellectual drives like the pursuit of mastery and the identification with inherited mythologies and mirages of country life, and so characterize a country by its belief in the future and connection to a traditional national identity.