15 January 2017

Past and Present - 01/2017

In case you couldn't tell with my non-fiction blogging which was only 1 post long in 2014, 3 posts in 2015, and 6 posts in 2016, I'm having a lot of fun doing these posts. So I've made a resolution for 2017 to regularly talk about real-world stuff in the past and present. You can expect more of the same kind of posts as I did for the books I read in 2015 & 2016. I'll also make short posts in which I share some links to papers or news articles I thought were fun, along with brief comments so people can decide whether or not to take a closer look. The news articles will mostly be political and by political, I mean stuff like the Korean Rasputin scandal or Erdogan's purges, not endless ranting about SJWs/alt-right crap. I claim absolutely NO ACADEMIC CREDENTIALS and there's plenty of smarter people doing this sort of stuff. I'm just doing this as a way to nudge me into trying to stay informed.

If you just come here for the releases and find these posts to be a clutter, you can click on the Manga Releases post categories that I've linked on the blog's top right corner.

This is January's post. I'll be updating it weekly until the end of the month.

8 January 2017

Shiji, Records of the Grand Historian (v1 complete)

So like I promised last year when I finished Sangokushi, I'm returning to Yokoyama Mitsuteru with his 15-volume adaptation of Shiji (I haven't forgotten about the other promises, they've just been... delayed). In case you haven't noticed from my history-related posts and my 60 volume-translation of Sangokushi, I'm a pretty big fan of Chinese history. And when it comes to Chinese history, there's arguably no other work more important as Sima Qian's Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian), which pretty much set how history should be told for not just Chinese, but through China's influence, for Koreans, Japanese, and Vietnamese as well. As the New Dictionary of History of Ideas writes:
The most important early figure in Chinese historical thought and writing, however, was the Han dynasty figure Sima Qian (145–86 B.C.E.). After the unification of various “Warring States” into a single empire by the violent but short-lived Qin (whose first emperor ordered an infamous book-burning and mass execution of scholars, virtually eliminating records of the conquered kingdoms), the succeeding Han emperors (206 B.C.E.–220 C.E.) created the stable conditions under which historiography could mature. Sima Qian, often known as the Grand Historian, did far more than write in his Shiji (Historical Records) a comprehensive account of Chinese history. He also evinced a clear sense of the historian’s purpose: to record major and minor occurrences accurately in order to counsel the present and to bestow fame on the good and infamy on evildoers. Perhaps most important, his model for the compilation of facts about the past with its clearly worked out format, a combination of year-by-year annals and individual biographical treatments, influenced the next two millennia of Chinese historical writing. No Western historian, not even Herodotus or Thucydides, can claim that kind of influence, nor does Western historical writing display the continuity of a systematic and eventually institutionalized approach to the past that is exemplified by China. Sima Qian created various categories for the representation of the past that would be developed and augmented by subsequent writers. By the time he finished the Shiji that his father had begun, it was nearly four times the size of Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War. The Shiji would come to be regarded as the first in a long series of twenty-four “Standard Histories” (zhengshi), the official history of a dynasty written under its successor dynasty. (The Shiji itself, since it covered both the Han and their predecessors, is an exception to the rule that Standard Histories cover only one dynasty and are written after its fall).
I'll probably do a longer Some Thoughts post on Sima Qian and Shiji once I finish this project but the main reason why I'm translating this is because there's a lack of easily accessible "fun" narrative history for early Chinese periods. Yokoyama's Shiji manga is full of interesting stories about famous assassins, ministers, kings, and generals, so I hope this'll get some people interested in Chinese history, just as Sangokushi can help people get into the RotTK fandom.

Release pace will probably be 1 volume every 2-3 months since I plan to juggle it with other projects.

Shiji v01:   Download
Shiji v1 c01:   Download
Shiji v1 c02:   Download
Shiji v1 c03:   Download
Shiji v1 c04:   Download