whether the title of this story should be ‘The Legends (plural) of the Eight Samurai Hounds’ rather than the singular ‘Legend’. As I proceed with translations there is a definite feel that the story really is a composition of numerous legends.
The original title: 南總里見八犬伝
*The kanji for 總 (soh) is often and usually replaced by the modern version: 総
Even back in the summer of 2015 when I was contemplating on a suitable title for the blog, I wasn’t totally sure of it. I dug up my notes:
For one thing I’m still wondering about the title; I’m not sure about the ‘Legend‘ and ‘Hounds‘, as 伝 can be easily translated to anything from a tale, story, episode, chronicle, saga, epic, and as for that a saga or epic far better describes the story as it is a very long story half based on history and is written in verses, and hounds only mean a certain type of dogs but the connotation the English word dog has is not as nice as 犬.
My friend Alan Hauk, mentioned in the acknowledgement section, assured that hounds sounded good, for a very good reason that ‘most dogs belonging to samurai and daimyo would have been used for hunting’, and I’m still happy with the choice. However, I sort of let the word legend choose itself.
It was only after I looked up my own blog on the Internet to check its searchability (I might have made up that word – some people hate conjuring up words like that and I usually try to discourage myself from doing it so excuse my Japanese), that I realised there was a well-known Japanese film with a title very close to it: The Legend of the Eight Samurai, which kept coming up above my blog in the search. Although the difference is minimum, (of course) I prefer mine as it doesn’t miss the canine reference and therefore closer to the original, but the film has a good review. I’d love to watch it sooner or later. My guess is it’ll be an extremely abridged recreation of Bakin’s work, but all the same it’ll be fun I’m sure.
Here is a question for you. Back to where I was earlier, I may seriously change the title to the ‘Legends’ but is it even allowed? The Japanese word for it in the original title has no singular or plural sense to it, so I guess it’s up to my creative liberty. What would you fellow Hakkenden lovers, or anyone interested, say?