Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s Fallen Words Manga Up for a North American Release

The North American publisher Drawn & Quarterly has confirmed with one of the biggest anime portals that they have licensed the collection of manga stories by Yoshihiro Tatsumi and it will be released in May 2012. The given description of Fallen Words is as follows:

In Fallen Words, Yoshihiro Tatsumi takes up the oral tradition of rakugo and breathes new life into it by shifting the format from spoken word to manga. Each of the eight stories in the collection is lifted from the Edo-era Japanese storytelling form. As Tatsumi notes in the afterword, the world of rakugo, filled with mystery, emotion, revenge, hope, and, of course, love, overlaps perfectly with the world of Gekiga that he has spent the better part of his life developing.

These slice-of-life stories resonate with modern readers thanks to their comedic elements and familiarity with human idiosyncrasies. In one, a father finds his son too bookish and arranges for two workers to take the young man to a brothel on the pretext of visiting a new shrine. In another particularly beloved rakugo tale, a married man falls in love with a prostitute. When his wife finds out, she is enraged and sets a curse on the other woman. The prostitute responds by cursing the wife, and the two escalate in a spiral of voodoo doll cursing. Soon both are dead, but even death can’t extinguish their jealousy.

Tatsumi’s love of wordplay shines through in the telling of these whimsical stories, and yet he still offers timeless insight into human nature. (amazon)

Also by Drawn & Quarterly, another manga series’ publication has been announced. It bears the title NonNonBa and is an autobiographical work by Shigeru Mizuki. It tells the story of a young boy who, back in 1930s, is swallowed by the Japanese folklore through the stories and words of an elderly woman who lives next door.

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Is this great news or not-so-great? What do you think? Comment below.

6 thoughts on “Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s Fallen Words Manga Up for a North American Release

  1. I have to admit, I am just breaking into manga, but I cannot help being especially interested in “Fallen Words” since rakugo is my area of specialty. Thanks for announcing the North American release. I wonder who is doing the translation, and how good the translation will be. Considering the natural of rakugo and Japanese word play (kotoba asobi, share, dajare, ossan gyagu, etc.), this must be a challenging project. I guess I should start by reading the original and move to the English when it’s out. Certainly something I would be interested in reviewing. Nice blog!
    -matt

    1. I have to say that all translations from Japanese are quite difficult (and to Japanese I suppose) and after looking deeper into what you said, it will be a huge challenge to translate this one. I am hoping they manage to do it!

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