New translations in 2022

Two translations of Japanese literature have been published in Finnish so far this year: one children´s book and one collection of classical poetry.

Troll (Yōko Tanaka, illustr. Masahide Fukasawa): Mestarietsivä Peppunen. Mestarivaras ja Hohtava huntu. Translator: Mayu Saaritsa. Publisher: Nemo, Helsinki. February 2022.
Japanese: Oshiri tantei. English: The Butt Detective.

The eighth book in the series of The Butt Detective (Oshiri tantei), the hugely popular children´s detective picture book series, was published in February, again skilfully translated by Mayu Saaritsa. Later in this year there will be two or three more books of the series. Children in Finland, like in many other countries, love these books!

Ryookan: Huoletta ja hölmönä. Translator: Kai Nieminen. Publisher: Basam Books, Helsinki. February 2022.

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 Ryookan 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.

To be published 2022
May 2022

Myōe: Elän unessa näkyjä. Translator: Miika Pölkki. Publisher: Art House, Helsinki.

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 will be available for Finnish readers thanks to Miika Pölkki, who has made the translations from the original language and also added comments and background information.

Coming in Autumn 2022

Sayaka Murata: Maan asukit (working title). Translator: Raisa Porrasmaa. Publisher: Gummerus. Japanese: Chikyū seijin, 2018. English: Earthlings, 2020, tr. by Ginny Tapley Takemori.

Sayaka Murata´s Convenience store woman was very well received in Finland and I am sure the second Murata novel is expected by many. A word of warning, however: while at least some readers found sympathetic gentleness and humour in Convenience store woman, in Earthlings Murata approaches her themes simply from horror perspective. She deals with themes that are taboos in Japanese society (as well as in any other society), like: alienation, sexuality and asexuality, gender roles, conformism etc. In this work they are described in a wild way that may take many readers outside their comfort zone. But those who are brave enough to take the ride, may have mind changing experiences.

Kikuko Tsumura: Unelma helposta työstä (working title). Translator: Raisa Porrasmaa. Publisher: Into Kustannus. Japanese: Kono yo ni tayasui shigoto wa nai, 2015. English: There´s no Such Thing as an Easy Job, 2021, tr. by Polly Barton.

Kikuko Tsumura (b. 1978) has written several books and received many important awards in Japan. The present work is her first book translated into English in 2021 and now in 2022 into Finnish. It is a book about the pressures people are experiencing in the Japanese work life. The book is a collection of five stories.

Two more translations by Raisa Porrasmaa will appear in the autumn. One of them is the third work of Keigo Higashino published in Finnish, the title not yet public. Earlier works are Uskollinen naapuri (The Devotion of Suspect X) and Myrkyllinen liitto (Salvation of a Saint), published by Punainen Silakka. Among the Finnish translators Raisa Porrasmaa is the one who has translated the largest number of works of contemporary Japanese literature.

Haruki Murakami: Ensimmäinen persoona. Translator: Antti Valkama. Publisher: Tammi. Japanese: Ichininshō tansū, 2020. English: First Person Singular, 2021, tr. by Philip Gabriel.

This latest work of Haruki Murakami, a collection of short stories, will be published in October and it is the fifteenth work of Murasaki translated into Finnish.