Translation Month! Celebrating Works of Literature and History from Japan, Korea, and Russia

September is National Translation Month, and we’re ready to celebrate! This year’s featured books take us back to unsettling times in Japan, Korea, and Russia. Peruse the list and book excerpts below, and check back every Tuesday for a guest post. In the meantime, explore last month’s features on women in translation, and be sure to enter our drawing (bottom of page) for your chance to win one of these featured titles! 

The giveaway will close Wednesday, September 30th. Winners will be contacted within the second week of October.

Sachiko

A Novel

Endō Shūsaku
Translated by Van C. Gessel

The first featured title takes place during World War II in Japan. Sachiko, set in Nagasaki, is the story of two young people trying to find love at a time when Japanese Christians were accused of disloyalty to their country.

With the A-bomb attack looming in the distance, Endō Shūsaku depicts ordinary people trying to live lives of faith in a wartime situation that renders daily life increasingly unbearable. Endō’s compassion for his characters, reflecting their struggles to find and share love for others, makes Sachiko one of his most moving novels. It is part of our Weatherhead Books on Asia series.

Check back on Thursday to read a guest post by Gessel.

Christian Sorcerers on Trial

Records of the 1827 Osaka Incident

Translated and with an introduction by Fumiko Miyazaki, Kate Wildman Nakai, and Mark Teeuwen

Next, we’ll travel back in time to the execution of accused Christians in Osaka, Japan.

In 1829, three women and three men were paraded through Osaka and crucified. This was a startling development. No one in Japan had been identified and punished as a Christian for more than a century, and now, avowed devotees of the proscribed sect had appeared in the very heart of the realm. Christian Sorcerers on Trial offers annotated translations of a range of sources on this sensational event, from the 1827 arrest of the alleged Christians through the case’s afterlife. 

Check back next Tuesday, September 8 to read a guest post by the book’s translators.

The Diary of 1636

The Second Manchu Invasion of Korea

Na Man’gap
Translated and with an introduction by George Kallander

Our next book comes to us from the Translations from the Asian Classics series and takes us back to 1636, Korea.

The Korean scholar-official Na Man’gap (1592–1642) recorded the second Manchu invasion in his Diary of 1636, the only first-person account chronicling the dramatic Korean resistance to the attack. Partly composed as a narrative of quotidian events during the siege of Namhan Mountain Fortress, where Na sought refuge with the king and other officials, the diary recounts Korean opposition to Manchu and Mongol forces and the eventual surrender.

Check back on Tuesday, September 15 to read a guest post by Kallander.

The Nose and Other Stories

Nikolai Gogol
Translated by Susanne Fusso

Rounding up the month will be two new books from our Russian Library series. 

By turns—or at once—funny, terrifying, and profound, the tales collected in The Nose and Other Stories are among the greatest achievements of world literature.

Susanne Fusso’s translations pay careful attention to the strangeness and wonder of Nikolai Gogol’s style, preserving the inimitable humor and oddity of his language. The Nose and Other Stories reveals why Russian writers from Dostoevsky to Nabokov have returned to Gogol as the cornerstone of their unparalleled literary tradition.

Come back on Tuesday, September 22 to read a post by Fusso.

Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow

Alexander Radishchev
Translated by Andrew Kahn and Irina Reyfman

Alexander Radishchev’s Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow is among the most important pieces of writing to come out of Russia in the age of Catherine the Great. An account of a fictional journey along a postal route, it blends literature, philosophy, and political economy to expose social and economic injustices and their causes at all levels of Russian society.

Check back on Tuesday, September 29 to read a post by the book’s translators.


We encourage our readers to support independent bookstores. Bookshop.org makes it easy to order from bookstores across the nation. Visit LitHub for a curated list of black-owned bookstores

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