16 August 2019

Futago no Teikoku v4 (last updated Aug 26)

Although Futago no Teikoku started back in 2015, it only has 3 released volumes and a total of 23 (?) chapters so far. And that's because Kitou Mohiro was suffering from spinal stenosis and had to undergo back surgery (source: http://evening.moae.jp/news/4486), which naturally caused the series to go on a break last year while he focuses on rehabilitation. Since there are magazine-raws floating around up to chapter 23 on the internet, MangadexScans and I will do it up to there and hopefully it won't be too long before Kitou's health recovers well enough to return to work.

*Update: Just gonna put all the individual chapter releases that will probably be included in the as yet unreleased volume 4 under this post for now.

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Futago no Teikoku c19:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku c20:   Mega

16 July 2019

Ad Astra v09 (complete)

Time to start volume 9 with my editor Nixbrod.

*Update: Volume 9 is now finished. Unfortunately, no new chapters until late fall, around Oct/Nov.

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Ad Astra v09:   Mega

Ad Astra v09 c52:   Mega
Ad Astra v09 c53:   Mega
Ad Astra v09 c54:   Mega
Ad Astra v09 c55:   Mega
Ad Astra v09 c56:   Mega
Ad Astra v09 c57:   Mega

15 July 2019

Discourses on Salt and Iron - Part 2, Chapters 55 and 56

I'll probably talk about the inaccuracies behind labels like Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism in part 3.
This is part two of my post on the Discourses on Salt and Iron, which I'm planning on making into a 3-parter. The two chapters I've translated here mostly debate the true purpose and meaning of law and how to actually promote an orderly society. It's a little redundant in the sense that each side essentially makes the same point over and over again, but it's pretty funny how each time, they try to turn around the analogy or expression their opponent just used against them. Also, there's nothing quite like reading expressions in different languages that are purely the product of differing cultural references.

The upcoming third and final part won't have any translations but will be just my thoughts on the rhetoric and historical background regarding the debate points I've translated. For the translation, I'd say I tried to be 80% literal so I could preserve a lot of the colourful expressions, parallelisms, and syntax. The quotations from the Book of Odes are from James Legges' translation but everything else is my translation which means that there may/will be some errors since I'm no expert in classical Chinese.

12 July 2019

Shiji v04 (last updated July 21)

Alright, it's summer and I have some more time to devote to translating again. Gonna quickly get Shiji v04 done and then move to doing both v02 of Planet Sutakola and continue Kamui-Den.

Regarding chapter 1, which chronicles the hectic back-and-forth conflict between Qi and Yan in the late Warring States period, the actual Shiji and other historical records explicitly state that King Kuai made his chancellor Zizhi as his successor. Not counting the legendary emperors, this seems to be the only historically attested incident of a ruler abdicating the throne willingly to a non-kin member. The fact that this had disastrous consequences seemed to prove to all the political philosophers active during the late Warring states that willing abdication to the "most capable" as you might have in a more democratic state was a big no-no. Consequently, all the different schools of political philosophy still agreed on the idea of a universal monarchy ideally passed down through primogeniture, though different schools of thought had different ideas on how much power/responsibilities the nobles or minister should have. If you're at all interested in the intellectual history on how prominent thinkers proposed solutions on how to "fix" the broken realm that was the turbulent Eastern Zhou, I'd highly recommend Yuri Pines' Envisioning Eternal Empire: Chinese Political Thought of the Warring States Era.
This tactic was consequently named the "fire oxen strategy (火牛之計)." It's pretty interesting how setting animals on fire comes up quite often in military history. Some are likely more legendary, like with Olga of Kiev's burning of a Drevlian city, while others, such as using bats carrying incendiaries to burn Japanese cities in WW2 sounds completely insane but was something that actually happened was attempted.

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Shiji v04 c1: Mega
Shiji v04 c2: Mega

18 May 2019

Futago no Teikoku v3 (complete)

Let's move right onto volume 3! Hopefully, Breading Bad and I can finish this volume before August. Also, don't attach that much importance to how I romanize a lot of the character names. Most of the characters are clearly not meant to have Japanese names, and the limited number of vowels/consonants in Japanese is making it difficult to know what English spelling I should give from the Japanese spelling. Even Fa is technically written as "Fua" in Japanese, but I decided to spell it as Fa to make it consistent to the vol. 1 translations and to make it easier on the eyes of English-speakers.

*Update: Yay, volume 3 is finally done! Sorry this took so long and much thanks to Furakutarou and Zephyrus from mangadex for helping me out. Volume 4 tankoban ran into delays in Japan and still isn't out yet, but we're gonna go ahead and do some of the chapters that we have magazine scans for in the near future.

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Futago no Teikoku v03:   Mega

Futago no Teikoku c13:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku c14:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku c15:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku c16:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku c17:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku c18:   Mega

11 May 2019

Discourses on Salt and Iron - Part 1, Chapter 34: De-prioritizing Punishments

These are pictures of a Ming-era percussive deep well drill used to extract brine. On the right, you can see bamboo tubes that feed natural gases to the stoves where the brine is evaporated for salt. What's particularly surprising that the two essential aspects of the brining operation, percussive drilling rigs and gas stoves, as seen above were all developed by the time of the Han dynasty (206BC-220AD), and later centuries simply improved on the process to construct better rigs that could dig deeper and deeper. For a better idea of how this all worked, you can take a look at this page and watch the video below:
 
I bring this up to point to the sophistication of the salt industry in Han China, which monopolized it along with the iron industry to fund its vigorous foreign policy, primarily against the Xiongnu steppe nomads to the North. Although a topic of great interest for historians of science and industry today, the salt and iron monopolies was a pivotal issue in imperial China that for thousands of years, shaped the ideas of emperors, scholars, and officials on what the ideal role of a state should be, what the ideal type of governance should be, and what the ideal relationship between a state and its economy should be. This was possible because the famous debate between those who advocated the monopolies and those who decried it were immortalized by the government official Huan Kuan in Discourses on Salt and Iron (Yan Tie Lun 鹽鐵論). A somewhat rough analogy for the American would be the influence that the Federalist papers have had on American thought on the nature of their republic. It is a rough analogy, of course, because whereas the Discourses on Salt and Iron gives equal weight to both sides to show how the dialectic between Legalist and Confucian thought played out in shaping government policy, the anti-Federalist papers had been, I think, much less read and influential.

20 April 2019

The Distant Dawn

Illuminati-Manga and I bring you something that we planned a long time ago but only finally got around to: A Distant Dawn by Hoshino Yukinobu. If you've been following me for a while, you'll know that I've done a few other stuff by Hoshino before (Stardust Memories, Sea of Fallen Beasts, Legend of Giants) and clearly have a soft spot for him. The same applies for Illuminati-Manga, who's done some more Hoshino manga. But this collection of short stories is particularly special because it contains his debut oneshot (The Steel Queen) as well as the oneshot The Distant Dawn, which won the Tezuka Award all the way back in 1975 and helped launch his mangaka career. In fact, half of this nearly 500 page-long collection is dedicated to his earliest works in the late 70s! So if you like Hoshino Yukinobu at all, I'd highly urge you to read this to get a better understanding of his development.

30 January 2019

2019 Status Update

Happy 2019, folks. Just a quick status update since I've been dead for so long. The truth is that the first half of 2019 is gonna be pretty slow on releases. I just have a lot on my real world plate right now and I'm really trying to give it much higher priority over the manga-stuff. It's not that I've lost interest but I have much less left-over energy to attend to scanlation at the moment. But it should get back much more normal from about July or so.

The only positive news I can give right now is about Futago no Teikoku. My previous scanner/cleaner/typesetter went missing on me for half a year, and hence the hiatus. No hard feelings on him, it happens to everyone, just like how I'm basically being inactive right now. That being said, some mangadex volunteers wanted to help out, so that we can pump out some chapters. I've already had the rest of v3 translated, so it shouldn't take long before we get the remainders fully released, which would actually more or less catch us up with Japan since tankoban for v4 is still not out.

That's all I really have to say. Sorry again for being inactive but you know, that's life. Here's a famous Li Bai poem for how I'm more or less feeling (click link for translation).


床前月光
疑是地上霜
頭望
低頭思故郷


*PS. It honestly seems like heresy to me that a later Qing-dynasty editor would change 看 (see) to 明 (bright), and a Ming-dynasty editor would change 山 (mountain) to 明. That being said, I think the 看 to 明 is actually pretty good because it then neatly makes the first two lines of the poem intransitive verbal descriptions about the poet's surroundings while the last two lines are transitive verbal statements on what the poet Li Bai does. Maybe it's just me?

Ad Astra v08 (complete)

Time to start up the new volume. Shenanigans in Syracuse this volume.

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Ad Astra v08:   Mega

Ad Astra c46:   Mega
Ad Astra c47:   Mega
Ad Astra c48:   Mega
Ad Astra c49:   Mega
Ad Astra c50:   Mega
Ad Astra c51:   Mega

25 October 2018

Historie 107

Iwaaki says he's gonna take a break to work on touching up  the art for the upcoming tankoban v11 for Historie so it's gonna be another long wait.

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Historie c107:   Mega