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Thu, Jun. 12th, 2014, 12:44 am
moving from one place to another.

Picked up a copy of Mishima's 『命売ります』, which the Wikipedia is pleased to translate as Life for Sale. It's strange -- I bought it mostly because it's a Mishima work I'd never heard of, and once upon a time that would have been important to me. But at that time it hadn't occurred to me that so much of his work might remain untranslated, and in fact sunk into utter obscurity, at least in the English-speaking world.

But it doesn't matter, I suppose. There's probably a reason it hasn't been translated yet.

I did find an interesting bit of trivia while trying to discover if a translation existed. John Nathan, who translated Mishima's The Sailor who Fell from Grace with the Sea, recounts how he couldn't translate the original title (which is a pun, as so many things are) and eventually just gave up and asked Mishima.

I went to see Mishima, who seemed to relish the challenge. "Let's come up with a long title, like Proust," he said. Then he astonished me by rattling off half a dozen such titles in Japanese. I wrote them down as he spoke them. One seemed to translate itself: Umi no megumi wo ushinawarete shimatta madorosu -- The Sailor Who fell from Grace with the Sea.
It's a brilliant title, one I've always admired. Knowing that it was a joke on the spur of the moment -- well, I can't say I'm surprised, but I should be.