May 18, 2017

Hisho's Birds

I'll start posting chapters next week (more or less regularly, I hope). I'm doing this translation independent of o6asan, but feel free to compare and contrast (the legal vocabulary in "Rakusho no Goku" is proving particularly vexing), or jump ahead if you get impatient.

First up is the title story. "Hisho's Birds" is about a creative person working under a looming deadline, so one has to wonder about the extent to which the protagonist's ruminations reflect those of the author.

As the story begins, Hisho has a bad case of artist's block. He produces an important imperial ceremony held on auspicious occasions, like the winter solstice and the ascension of a new empress. He's an innovator with a reputation for outdoing himself but the inspiration just isn't coming.

Which is understandable, considering the state of affairs in the Kingdom of Kei. "Pressure" takes on a whole new meaning when a capricious emperor could have him executed. To make matters worse, a string of short-lived rulers hollowed out his department and left him with a long fallow period.

Hisho has another problem. He wants to deliver a message with his art. But the spectators only see the spectacle (or the lack thereof), not what he's trying to say. On top of everything else, Kei just got a brand new empress. Hisho's been ordered to produce the next ceremony on a tight schedule.

Even if he can settle on the message, he has to figure out how to deliver it with the resources on hand. For Hisho and his loyal assistant, it's a make or break opportunity.

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# posted by Blogger Melanie Pieper
Thank you for doing this, I've been looking forward to it.
5/18/2017 5:14 PM