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The Legend of the Eight Samurai Hounds is an epic fantasy novel written in Edo Period in Japan. The original Japanese title is ‘Nansoh Satomi Hakkenden (南総里見八犬伝)’, literally ‘The Legend of the Eight Dogs of the Satomis of South Soh’

The story became a best seller and an entertainment phenomenon of the contemporary society; it was adapted to various forms of stage performances, was made into versions of novels and parodies, was depicted by top Ukiyoe artists, was sung about in poems, and sold a big collection of merchandise. That was about 200 years ago, but the popularity never seems to wane today, and perhaps some of you have seen or heard of a film or two, watched a drama on television, or read in a manga about it.

The original author, Kyokutei Bakin (曲亭馬琴), completed the story over 28 years of his life, during which he lost his son, wife, and his own eyesight, due to which he dictated his later works to Michi, the wife of his late son.  ‘Kyokutei Bakin’ was Takizawa Okikuni (滝沢興邦)’s pen name. He was born as samurai but married into a common family who owned a business and later became a professional fiction writer. I reckon he was quite a free spirit.

It was rather surprising (though I felt I was in luck) when I found out that this story had not been introduced to English speaking populations in the world in its entirety yet (there seems to be a translation of a single chapter already written and published according to Wikipedia, but in fear of inadvertently copying the writing I’ve decided to keep myself completely away from it). In this blog I plan to publish in monthly installments the practically first-ever English version. The blog will be updated on the first day of each month. I hope you’ll enjoy it. I am aware that it is, to put it mildly, a reckless attempt as the original work is one of the longest among Japanese classic novels – about the length of Proust’s famous work in my guesstimate – and I have a full-time job. If you like it enough to think it worth your while leave a comment. Knowing I actually have someone who gets joy out of my writing should deny me any excuse I may be giving myself to evade updating. It is my wish to publish this story in a book form. Maybe some day.

The copyright of all the material in this blog (except images) belongs to me, Livingdaylightz (or livingdaylightz), and the images are kindly on loan from respective copyright holders including (in alphabetical order) National Diet Library Digital Collections which is the source of the original text, Takagi Gen, who expertly runs a smashing web site full of authentic information and deep insights, and Tateyama City Municipal Museum in Southern Boso Peninsula where our heroes resided, so read the copyright notices and be mindful of them. Thank you.

 

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