Coming in autumn 2021

Saihō-ji, Kyoto 西芳寺, 京都

Autumn is soon here and it is time to see what is the situation with the upcoming new translations of Japanese literature in Finnish. Actually, it seems to be excellent, there will be quite a variety of translations published during the autumn season. They are introduced here in the order of announced publication dates. Wider reviews will be available in the blog later.

Yōko Ogawa: Muistipoliisi. Translator: Markus Juslin. Publisher: Tammi, Helsinki. To be published: 17.8.2021.
Japanese: Hisoyaka na kesshō (密やかな結晶), 1994.
English: The Memory Police. Translator: Stephen Snyder, 2019.

It took 25 years after the publication of this book in Japan until it was translated into English. And now we have the Finnish version translated from Japanese by Markus Juslin. This world famous dystopia is a story of an island where things and even the memories of them start to disappear. Everything is controlled by Memory Police. The story evolves into a profound study of loss and grows into an allegory of human limits. This masterpiece is timeless as well as a timely reminder of the present state of the world.

Sōsuke Natsukawa: Kissa joka suojeli kirjoja. Translator: Raisa Porrasmaa. Publisher: Tammi, Helsinki. To be published: 6.9.2021.
Japanese: Hon o mamorō to suru neko no hanashi (本を守ろうとする猫の話), 2017.
English: The Cat Who Saved Books. Translator: Louise Heai Kawai. To be published: 16.9.2021
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If you pay attention to the publishing dates of Finnish and English translations you will notice that the Finnish translation is whole ten days ahead of the English version. This is due to the foresight of the publisher and the enthusiasm of the translator Raisa Porrasmaa, who has, besides this book, made many other books of present day Japan available to the Finnish public, and directly from the Japanese language, of course. In this heart warming story we meet a speaking cat and a lonely schoolboy with whom we can travel to the land of books and discover the power that books have on people´s lives. Great reading for young adults but also for people of all ages.

Troll (Yōko Tanaka, illustr. Masahide Fukasawa): Mestarietsivä Peppunen. Hylätyn hotellin mysteeri. Translator: Mayu Saaritsa. Publisher: Nemo, Helsinki. To be published: 15.9.2021
Japanese: Oshiri tantei.
English: The Butt Detective.

This is the seventh book of the super popular children´s detective series in Finnish translated by Mayu Saaritsa. In Japan the series has been published since 2012 and it has become a phenomenon. Never before had anyone seen a detective, whose head is a butt and who solves the crimes in a very special way. The series continues.

Ryookan: Kuka sanoo minun runojani runoiksi. Translator: Kai Nieminen. Publisher: Basam Books, Helsinki. To be published: 15.9.2021.

A collection of poems by the beloved zen monk and poet Ryookan (1758–1831) by the master translator Kai Nieminen. All three printings of an earlier collection (2000) by the same translator were sold out, so there is definitely need for this new collection containing partly same poems as the earlier one and partly new poems chosen for this collection.

Haruki Murakami: Vieterilintukronikka. Translator: Antti Valkama. Publisher: Tammi, Helsinki. To be published: 4.10.2021.
Japanese: Nejimaki-dori kuroniku (ねじまき鳥クロニクル), 1994–95.
English: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Translator: Jay Rubin, 1997.

This is the 12th translation into Finnish of Murakami´s novels and one of his major works. It is a surrealistic mixture of events à la Murakami, but it is also the novel that earned him he praise and acceptance of one of his earlier critics, the Nobel laureate Kenzaburō Ōe. This may be due to the fact that also the theme of Japan´s role in WWII was included in the story. The translation from Japanese is made by Antti Valkama, an experienced interpreter of Japanese language and culture.

Myōe: Elän unessa näkyjä. Translator: Miika Pölkki. Publisher: Art House, Helsinki. To be published: 31.12.2021.

Buddhism in Japan has always been an essential feature of the culture and closely related to the arts. Quite often the monks were also poets, calligraphers etc. One of them is Myōe (1173–1232) who besides his poems is also known for the fact that he kept a diary of his dreams for 30 years. Now his poems and diaries are available for Finnish readers thanks to Miika Pölkki, who has made the translations from the original language and also added comments and background information.

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