“In any event, what has become of my dear father? My mind is not at ease.”

Many a time he stopped his horse’s step to look back, only to hear the roar of the battle cries and screaming arrows. Now the castle seemed to have fallen, and violent fire was burning the sky. Even before a sharp cry came out of his mouth, he pulled the reins and was trying to return, but the two lieutenants had a firm hold of the horse’s bridle and would not let go.

“What a waste! Have you gone out of your mind after all that, young master? What do you make of the Lord’s lessons? If you went back to the fallen castle now and let yourself be extinguished, it’d be an act more meaningless than moss jumping into fire as they sang in the old song. Believing too much is not the same as believing. Being too good is not the same as being good. Those were the maxims you always liked saying, were they not? For the noble and the common alike there is only one way to be good. What makes you doubt that? Come this way.”

As they pulled the horse, Yoshizane, maddened by the hurt and pain he felt for his father, shouted in an irritated voice,

“Let go of me, Sadayuki. Do not stop me, Ujimoto. You said as my father wished, but I cannot bear this. A man’s child cannot. Let go, let go!”


This is a snippet from the first episode. To read the full story go to the Novel.

Livingdaylightz (livingdaylightz) and The Legend of Eight Samurai Hounds, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of all or any part of this material without express and written permission from me, Livingdaylightz (livingdaylightz), is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Livingdaylightz (livingdaylightz) and The Legend of Eight Samurai Hounds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content and upon express and written permission from me, the author/site owner.



8 thoughts on “Preview

  1. I’m very happy to read that you are making the Hakkenden your special project. For years I believed anyone else cared about the Hakkenden, and was aiming to make my own translation, once I had worked my way through the entire novel. I thought I had better check to see if it really was a good read before committing to it. If you read Basil Hall Chamberlain’s “Things Japanese” from 1900, Hakkenden is acclaimed as the greatest novel ever written in Japanese, but nowadays Bakin seems to be treated a bit like Tolkien (i.e. not that seriously as literature), except that most Japanese are no longer capable of reading him in the original. In Japanese Bakin seems to me about half way between Spenser and Dickens, Spenser because of the archaic language and subject matter (knights who represent certain virtues, and the fantastic element) and Dickens because of the long, drawn out nature of the novels, and the fact that they were contemporaries.

    One of my very favourite bits in the first chapter (or is it the second?) is that long essay on the nature of dragons, how they breed with horses to give birth to kirin and so on. I have looked in a lot of old Chinese encyclopædias to find out where Bakin got his background information, but so far have come up with nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Big thanks for commenting Kōmōkadri! I’m very happy to read your comment too. Thanks for the post on my facebook page as well. It’s always great to meet a fellow enthusiast, and you’d be surprised to find out how many people all over the world have been waiting for the full translation!! I truly believe it is worth all the commitment; my only concern is whether my skills and efforts deserve the work.
      Unfortunately I haven’t read Chamberlain (nor Spenser) but I probably should if he speaks so highly of Hakkenden; I normally don’t read too much fiction except for manga comics. And I must confess I tend to compare Bakin to Tolkien myself in that they are both some of the best epic fantasies ever written. I see Hakkenden as mass entertainment with quality, and to me what has entertained generations of people and been embedded in the societal mind is true good writing, whatever the genre, because the very idea of what seems eternal values such as literature can actually be transient. I don’t know I could be wrong.
      I thought that bit about dragons was tough for modern readers (certainly for me) to crunch so I tried to make light of it, but you certainly took me by surprise. I need to go through it when time permits. And you read Chinese too? Double wow. Bakin’s often described to be ‘博覧強記’ – possessed of encyclopaedic knowledge, so who knows where he got all that information from!

      *Come to think of it Chamberlain’s probably not a fiction writer… unlike Spencer and Dickens.


  2. Thank you for working to translate this story! It’s very long, so kudos to you. I was looking for translations of other classical Japanese works (those of Santo Kyoden and Jippensha Iku) but surprisingly found none, so I’m very happy to have found this site.

    A question, though: Why do you call the posts ‘episodes’?


    • Thanks galore for commenting and following chocobana12! I’ve just found some Jippensha Ikku books on and as well as Santo Kyoden (just throw the name in the amazon search window and they’ll pop up) so check them out.

      About episodes, that’s how the original story was divided. It has 180 episodes altogether though some are longer than others. Originally I wanted to upload an episode every month just like you normally would, but so far I’ve managed it only once. I hope that answered the question!


  3. Just wanted to tell you:

    I’m very much looking forward to the fruits of your labor! It seems to be an incredible stroke of luck that I just now decided to look into English translations of Nansou Satomi Hakkenden, not even two weeks after you started your project. I’ll be delighted to follow the story month by month as you publish new chapters.

    So please keep them coming!


    • Thanks for the kind comment SandJonze! I feel a little flushed and excited at the same time to get the first ever comment to my blog when I began believing I wasn’t going to get any, haha. The first episode is now up and I’m working on the second, to be posted on 1 October – fingers crossed. Hope they’ll meet your expectations!


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