Winner of the Yomiuri Prize and recipient of the 2022-23 William F. Sibley Memorial Subvention Award for Japanese Translation.
Introducing Tatsuhiko Shibusawa—Japan’s Italo Calvino—in this fantastical tale of a Japanese prince who encounters both beauty and danger on a pilgrimage to India.
A fantasy set in the ninth century, Takaoka’s Travels recounts the adventures of a Japanese prince-turned-monk on a pilgrimage to India. As Prince Takaoka and his companions pass through faraway lands, the rules of the ordinary world are upended, and they find curiosities and miracles wherever they go.
The travelers encounter strange creatures--a white ape who guards a harem of bird-women, beasts who feed on dreams, a dog-headed man who can see hundreds of years into the future. On the high seas, their ship is boarded by ghostly pirates and driven back by supernatural winds, and still they push on.
At every turn, Prince Takaoka is drawn to the beauty around him, whether it takes the form of a perfectly shaped pearl or a giant blood-red flower, but such beauty proves to be extremely dangerous. Seductive and mysterious, offering high adventure yet deeply human, this is a novel that transcends all expectations.
With an afterword by translator David Boyd.
8.5 x 5.5"
# OF PAGES
“I love Takaoka’s Travels so much that my novel The Third Love features a character inspired by Shibusawa’s hero, Prince Takaoka. With the publication of this translation, readers around the world will be able to enjoy this marvelous book!”
—Hiromi Kawakami, author of Strange Weather in Tokyo and Dragon Palace
“Takaoka's Travels will somehow remind you, simultaneously and impossibly, of a hundred books you’ve loved and nothing you’ve ever read. The plot moves in eddies, playfully forgetting and then remembering itself. . . . It’s rare to read a book and feel not only that you don't know where it’s taking you but, over and over again, that you don't know where it took you, and I can't stop thinking about the experience.”
—Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Ghost Variations