So, while I’m waiting for responses from various editors and readers about three of my stories, and Murderous Requiem has stalled yet again, I’ve once again been bitten by the Japanese bug. This is a phase I go through about once a year, in which I become completely enthralled by Japanese culture. I take side trips into Chinese culture, as well, but generally I prefer Japanese.
I first got bitten by the bug when I was in High School, and James Clavell’s novell Shogun had just been made into a miniseries. I don’t recall whether I watched the series first or read the 1,000-page novel first. But I loved it, at any rate. So I began trying to teach myself the Japanese language and devouring books and movies about it. Thirty years later, I still can’t speak the language, though I know a lot of words and tourist phrases, and I’ve still never been to the country. But I still love it.
So, I decided to adapt a story from Nanshoku Okagami (which translates to The Great Mirror of Man Love) by Ihara Saikaku (1641-1693). Which story, I won’t say, because then everybody will want to adapt it, but it’s a tragic love story about a samurai and his young (male) lover.
In the time period, it was typical for adult samurai and priests to take on young boys as apprentices and lovers. Typically, the boy would be between the ages of 10 and 15. However, in the interest of continuing to have a writing career after the story has been made public , I’m going to let historical accuracy slide a bit on that point and make my young lover 18. Additionally, I’m going to lower the age of the samurai (who probably would have been about 40 in the original tale) just seven years older — 25. If that sqwiks publishers, I’ll consider tightening up the gap. On the other hand, some fellow authors have suggested it would be much more plausible, if the samurai were 30. I’ll have to think on that.
The ending is…well, let’s just say the the stories in Nanshoku Okagami don’t generally tend towards happy. So it will be a break for me. But now and then I like a sad story.