Posts Tagged ‘folk tales’


Translation Project: The Tale of the Mother in Hell Freed by the Lotus Sutra

May 28, 2009

So for my final translation project I wanted to do something crazy and modern like a couple of chapters from Yoshi’s Deep Love, one of the most popular cell phone novels in Japan. But the course focused on pre-modern Japan and, though the professor would have let me get away with it, I felt weird doing something modern when the rest of the class was way back in time. So I went way back in time with them and chose a story from the Konjaku Monogatari, or, as it is commonly translated, Anthology of Tales from the Past.

Now, we’re talking majorly old here so there was no way I could translate the original. I have enough trouble with modern Japanese. But I chose this story because the modern Japanese translation could be easily found here. Looking at the tiny print in their tiny books, I don’t know how the more myopic Japanese do it. How can they possiblyread a book if so many kanji are tiny black blobs? But I haven’t been to my optometrist since before my study abroad in Japan so maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this story. It’s a pretty typical Japanese folk tale with a typical Japanese folk tale format that firmly establishes where the story happened, tells the story, and then gives a little bit of proof that the story was real. I added a few translation notes at the end.

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