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Heike tale shortchanged
on June 30, 2008
I am a Japanophile and history buff, so I loved this author's "Musashi" and "Taiko" novels. I finally got around to this and am quite disappointed. I agree with those who have found this translation weak---the dialogue sections are stilted and the feelings of the characters seem awkwardly expressed in English. The worst damage to the novel is the abridgement of entire sections, deletion of characters and incidents and the condensation of some chapters. As noted at the end of the "Historical background" section, this is an "English version" of the novel!
Eiji Yoshikawa is definitely ill served by this version and the publisher should seriously consider having a new translation made. As it stands, this version does not even cover the fall of the Heike---which is the main point of the whole chronicle.
Still, Yoshikawa weaves a good tale---he gives a human face to historical events. What delights have English readers been deprived of by this badly mangled version?