Takaoka's Travels (Paperback)
Winner of the Yomiuri Prize and recipient of the 2022-23 William F. Sibley Memorial Subvention Award for Japanese Translation.
Introducing Tatsuhiko Shibusawa--Japan's Italo Calvino--in this fantastical tale of a Japanese prince who encounters both beauty and danger on a pilgrimage to India.
A fantasy set in the ninth century, Takaoka's Travels recounts the adventures of a Japanese prince-turned-monk on a pilgrimage to India. As Prince Takaoka and his companions pass through faraway lands, the rules of the ordinary world are upended, and they find curiosities and miracles wherever they go. The travelers encounter strange creatures--a white ape who guards a harem of bird-women, beasts who feed on dreams, a dog-headed man who can see hundreds of years into the future. On the high seas, their ship is boarded by ghostly pirates and driven back by supernatural winds, and still they push on. At every turn, Prince Takaoka is drawn to the beauty around him, whether it takes the form of a perfectly shaped pearl or a giant blood-red flower, but such beauty proves to be extremely dangerous. Seductive and mysterious, offering high adventure yet deeply human, this is a novel that transcends all expectations.
With an afterword by translator David Boyd.
About the Author
TATSUHIKO SHIBUSAWA (1928-1987) published only one novel, Takaoka's Travels, but it is considered a touchstone of Japanese counterculture. He was a prolific translator of French literature, known for his translations of the Marquis de Sade and the French surrealists. In addition to Takaoka's Travels, he wrote several volumes of short fiction and numerous essays dealing with topics ranging from dreams to the occult.DAVID BOYD is an assistant professor of Japanese at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His translation of Hideo Furukawa's Slow Boat (Pushkin Press, 2017) won the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature. He has translated three novellas by Hiroko Oyamada: The Factory (2019), The Hole (2020), and Weasels in the Attic (2022). He won the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the second time for his translation of The Hole. With Sam Bett, he co-translated three novels by Mieko Kawakami: Breasts and Eggs (2020), Heaven (2021), and All the Lovers in the Night (2022).