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.

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.

Shiji v04 c1: Mega
Shiji v04 c2: Mega