Till I heard Tansai speak out loud and bold

Iwanami Bunko has republished its 1932 AOKI Masaru-edited edition of (SAWA) Tansai Shujin's 通俗古今奇観 (Tsuuzoku kokon kikan), an Edo-period translation of the Ming Chinese work 古今奇観 (gujin qiguan), apparently a.k.a. 今古奇観 (jingu qiguan), in either case meaning "Strange spectacles modern and ancient", a collection of folk traditions and histories. Tansai's translation apparently had a fairly strong influence on Edo literature and, therefore, Japanese literature up to and including the present day. (Or at least until the Meiji period, when Soseki reinvented Japanese literature from the ground up with his bare hands, glancing only occasionally at the Western canon for ideas. But that point is debatable.)

More importantly, this book is an old classic buried under two layers of noticeably non-modern editing, not to mention crappy printing. Naturally, I bought it. I can feel my speech patterns falling back in time already.

From Tansai's original introduction:

There are rather a lot of chapters, and it would not be easy to publish them all. For this popularization [i.e. Japanese version], I will begin with those that are not too long. "To climb to the heights, one must begin from the depths..."

Now that's a translator after my own heart.

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