Baby got back (shoot me)

I'm going to be spending most of my free time this November translating HIGUCHI Ichiyō's novella Takekurabe at Takekurabe vs No-sword.

Takekurabe was written in the late 1800s and centres around the vigorous and fistfightful lives of young children growing up in and around Yoshiwara, the red-light district. According to the Wikipedia entry, it's been translated into English twice, but I haven't read either of them (yeah, I never did get around to Keene's Kompendia) so hopefully mine'll be different enough to have a raison d'etre.

The title, by the way, literally means "back-comparing", i.e. comparing heights, used of course in a metaphorical as well as a literal sense, and evoking that period in one's life when one is still growing. It is quite difficult to translate into English, and I don't really think much of "Child's Play" or "Growing Up" as translations or as titles for the work... so I decided not to translate it at all. Lazy is the new authentic.

Popularity factor: 9


i'm pretty sure i've heard you sing that at karaoke


My research is exhaustive.

Kyle Goetz:

What about something a little more "artistic": My Height at Seven Years Old, or How Much I've Grown, or something like that. Many translators have taken these artistic liberties.

However, Takekurabe sounds fine to me if you must.

Kyle Goetz:

Oh yeah, good luck translating it.


Thanks! Yeah, if I had an editor who insisted on an English title I'd probably do the usual thing: browse through whatever books written in English before WWI were handy in my collection, and choose a phrase that seemed resonant.


down with "artistic liberties"! *shakes fist*. way too many people do that, there needs to be at least a few who try to be as literal as possible


there was a musical based on that when I was a kid. I don't really remember how it was... but anyway, i know you are gonna do a great job.
can't wait for you to be rich!


don't suppose the original text is availble to read too?


Musical: Translations of out-of-copyright works posted tardily online are a sure-fire path to riches. Stick with me, baby!

Clayton: Indeed it is! Here: http://www.aozora.gr.jp/cards/000064/card389.html

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