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.
3 responses to “Konban wa!”
A lot of my friends are really into learning about Japanese culture. I think your story will find quite a big audience. I wish you lots of success.
I’m sorry to say it’s really disgustingly dishonest that you are deliberately choosing to misrepresent Japanese Edo culture in order to appease modern western bigotry by pretending that the love affair of Shinosuke and Senpachi was far more age-equal than you know it was.
I’m sorry you feel that way, but even not taking readers into consideration (I’ve decided to self-publish the story), I won’t write pederasty. I accept that it was a different time period, but I think it’s a good thing that our culture no longer accepts adults forcing (or encouraging) children into sexual roles. I wouldn’t be as bothered by a relationship between an 18-year-old and a 40-year-old. I’ve known people in real life who have greater age gaps in their relationships, and I have no problem with that. I don’t really specify the samurai’s age in the story.