Inoue Hisashi and the Idiot Cicada Open Access

Gailmard, Collier Lane (2013)

Permanent URL:


My thesis is an introduction and translation of Japanese author Inoue Hisashi's short story Akuru Asa no Semi. The story is in full English translation, and the introduction describes Inoue's status in Japan and his characteristic writing style. This style is important to Inoue's work and is one of the reasons for his success in Japan, but components of his writing also make translation of his work nearly impossible. Inoue's sense of humor in his work, both satire and non-satire, make for novels and plays that are amusing and insightful to a Japanese audience, but the techniques he uses to convey such humor are linguistically too far away from English for a proper translation to be possible. Dialect, a prominent aspect of Inoue's work, has different perceptions and starkly different structure in Japanese, and in a literary context, dialect is almost entirely limited to a Japanese audience in terms of understanding the connotations. This, as well as Inoue's love of wordplay, comprise Inoue's love of language and writing for a popular audience, but his work suffers in translation as a result. Problems in his translated works are explored through previous attempts at translation, and I discuss my own problems and choices in translating this short story. However, because of the story's strong sense of pathos, which is similar to one of Inoue's most popular works abroad, translation problems can be overcome and Western audiences can enjoy this story all the same. Akuru Asa no Semi is an appropriate introduction of Inoue to foreign audiences as it both represents him as a writer and approaches his themes in a way that is accepted worldwide.

Table of Contents

I. Inoue Hisashi and the Idiot Cicada

- Introduction 1

- Inoue as a Writer 3

- Inoue and Humor 4

- Inoue's Untranslatable Work 8

- Translating Akuru Asa no Semi 13

- The Universality of Pathos and Inoue's Cicada 17

II. The Cicada of Tomorrow Morning 23

III. Works Cited 47

About this Honors Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files