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  • A Parody in the RuinsA Translation of Irisawa Yasuo's Waga Izumo, Waga Chinkon (Part 2)
  • Scott Mehl

This is the second installment of a two-part translation of Waga Izumo, waga chinkon わが出雲・わが鎮魂 (My Izumo, My Requiem; 1968) by Irisawa Yasuo 入沢康夫 (b. 1931).1 The first installment, which includes a translation of Waga Izumo, appeared in MN 72:1. Part 2 contains a translation of Waga chinkon, Irisawa's notes to the poem followed by his afterword. For details about the text and its provenance, see my introduction in the first installment.

Waga chinkon is filled with references to and quotations from other texts: ancient Japanese chronicles and poems, modern fiction and poetry in European languages, scholarly works by mythographers and historians, and more. It was not possible in this translation to preserve the various literary styles of the premodern sources that Irisawa quotes verbatim in his annotations as part of a parodic effort to express his disparagement of myth scholarship. Nevertheless, in order to give readers some sense of Irisawa's modus operandi, I make use of English translations of these sources by different scholars employing a range of literary and stylistic registers.

My approach to integrating these English translations into my rendering of Irisawa's annotations is as follows: First, where needed for clarity I have supplied antecedents for pronouns (for example adding place-names or names of deities); I have introduced consistency in stylistic matters such as capitalization and the romanization of Japanese terms as an aid to overall readability; and, to avoid ambiguity concerning their provenance, I have omitted parentheses or square brackets introduced by the translators. In the case of such relatively minor alterations as these, my citation reads, "Translation from …" Second, where the cited translation differs from what is presented by Irisawa, with Irisawa and the translator using either different text editions or different commentaries to these ancient texts, I have made changes, such as the silent elision of words or phrases, to as closely as possible reflect Irisawa's presentation. In the case of these more substantive alterations, my citation reads, "Adapted from …" [End Page 223] [End Page 224]

  • My Izumo, My Requiem (Part 2)
  • Irisawa Yasuo
    Translated by Scott Mehl

My Requiem

In making these notes I have drawn upon many texts, the most important of which I specify in each note. With regard to Izumo myths and the Izumo no kuni fudoki my heaviest debt is to the following two texts: Torigoe Kenzaburō's Izumo shinwa no seiritsu [The Creation of the Izumo Myth] (Sōgensha, May 1966) and Katō Yoshinari's Izumo no kuni fudoki sankyū [A Study of the Izumo no kuni fudoki] (Hara Shobō, November 1962). The latter is often abbreviated Study in the notes that follow.2

Virtually all citations from Kojiki, Nihon shoki, Fudoki, and other ancient texts are from Nihon koten bungaku taikei [Compendium of Japanese Classical Literature] by Iwanami Shoten. I have used the following abbreviations:

K         Nihon koten bungaku taikei 1, Kojiki, norito, edited and annotated by Kurano Kenji and Takeda Yūkichi (June 1958)

NS1/NS2         Nihon koten bungaku taikei 67–68, Nihon shoki, 2 vols., edited and annotated by Sakamoto Tarō, Ienaga Saburō, Inoue Mitsusada, and Ōno Susumu (vol. 1, March 1967; vol. 2, July 1965)

Fudoki         Nihon koten bungaku taikei 2, Fudoki, edited and annotated by Akimoto Kichirō (April 1958)

Koyō         Nihon koten bungaku taikei 3, Kodai kayō shū, edited and annotated by Tsuchihashi Yutaka and Konishi Jun'ichi (July 1957)

Kojiki and Nihon shoki are abbreviated K and NS, respectively, and their various sections are indicated by title. Unless otherwise specified, Fudoki refers to Izumo no kuni fudoki. [End Page 225]

[1]3 The august Omizunu … : The famous land-pulling [kunihiki] episode from the section on the Ou district in Izumo no kuni fudoki. The Iwanami edition renders the relevant passage into Japanese as follows:4

(Ou was named after the words of the god Yatsukamizuomitsu.) The august Omizunu who performed the land-pulling spoke majestically, "Clouds-Rising Izumo is a narrow strip of young land. When the creator gods established the land of Izumo they made it small. Therefore, it has to be enlarged by the addition...


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