Glynne WalleyMay 19, 2022
Eight Dogs, or "Hakkenden"
Part One―An Ill-Considered Jest
Cornell University Press 2021
Hakkenden is a classic work of Japanese literature: the story of the eight warriors, born from Princess Fuse and the dog Yatsufusa, has been adapted to manga, movies and anime. And its tropes continue to pop up in Japanese popular culture today.
But there’s so much story in Hakkenden that Eight Dogs, or "Hakkenden": Part One―An Ill-Considered Jest (Cornell University Press: 2021), a new translation by Glynne Walley, doesn’t even get to the eight warriors before it’s end! Glynne’s translation sets the scene for the emergence of the eight dog warriors, translating everything in the book–including the medicine ads the author included to help pay the bills.
In this interview, Glynne and I talk about what makes Hakkenden so special, Glynne’s translation choices, and how its themes and tropes persist to the present day.
Glynne Walley is an Associate Professor of Japanese Literature at the University of Oregon and author ofGood Dogs: Edification, Entertainment & Kyokutei Bakin's Nansō Satomi hakkenden (Cornell East Asia Series, 2018), the first monograph-length study of Hakkenden, a landmark of premodern Japanese fiction.
You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of Hakkenden. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia. Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.