Mirror of the Sun Gods

Matt Alt on the unlikely similarities that occur in book design.

Matt Treyvaud compares the covers for famed translator and scholar Jay Rubin’s new novel.

Here is the cover of The Sun Gods, translator and scholar Jay Rubin’s new novel about the U.S.’s wartime internment camps and their aftermath. As you can see, the designer has placed everything on a background of old-timey Japanese text, suggesting a certain linguistic and cultural separation between the intended readership and the contents of the book.

Here is the cover of the Japanese translation of The Sun Gods, Hibi no hikari 『日々の光』. As you can see, the designer has placed everything on a background of old-timey English text, suggesting a certain linguistic and cultural separation between the intended readership and the contents of the book.

Hopefully there will soon be a translation into Korean or French, say, to break the tie.

Matt TREYVAUD
August 31, 2015

Matt Treyvaud is a writer and translator living near Kamakura. He is Néojaponisme's Literature/Language editor and the proprietor of No-sword.

2 Responses

  1. ak Says:

    Why ducks? Were wooden ducks a popular import?

  2. Matt TREYVAUD Says:

    No idea! I haven’t actually read the book yet in either language. I thought they were geese, though, which would open up a whole image-complex around the idea of migration. (Given the book’s blurb I assume it’s not a coincidence that the birds are clearly a parent/child pair, either.)