A piece of good news on the translation front. Manga experts, VIZ Media, will be publishing a line of translated Japanese SF&F novels in the US. The line will be called “Haikasoru”, which is apparently Japanese for “High Castle”. Well, VIZ are based in the San Francisco Bay Area. They know a bit about SF as well, because the editor of the Haikasoru line is a fellow called Nick Mamatas, whom you might have heard of before. Here he is being interviewed.
5 thoughts on “Japanese Novels”
Here’s another interview that you may find of interest. (It is more SFnally oriented).
“Haikasoru” is what you would get if tried to render “High Castle” in the Japanese writing system (probably– YMMV with strong regional accents) and then were to transliterate it back into the Roman alphabet. With only 5 basic vowels, and every available syllable except ン (n) ending in a vowel, Japanese tends to seriously mangle foreign words.
Given that this is a business that is based on translating between Japanese and English, I’m reasonably sure that they have got the name as close as they can. As you say, it isn’t easy.
Oh, I don’t mean any criticism to them– in fact, I expect they picked something which gets especially mangled on purpose. To the young Japanophiles who are already reading Viz Media’s other lines, Nipponized English signifies hipness. (And then you have the reference to a classic sf work for everyone who doesn’t care.)
I am sure the “mangling” is deliberate, as otherwise they would have simply called it 高い城, as used in the Japanese translation of the original novel.
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