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  • Writer's pictureStone Bridge Press

"Takaoka's Travels," Tatsuhiko Shibusawa's cult classic novel, for the first time in English

Updated: Jun 17

Takaoka's Travels by Tatsuhiko Shibusawa is a beloved gem in Japanese literature that has captivated readers for decades. Winner of the Yomiuri Prize and recipient of the 2022-23 William F. Sibley Memorial Subvention Award for Japanese Translation, the novel continues to enthrall readers, earning its status as a cult classic in Japan.

A blend of historical fantasy, adventure, and surrealism Takaoka's Travels whisks readers away on a thrilling adventure to ninth-century India, where Prince Takaoka, now a monk, discovers a world of marvels and perils. 

We follow Prince Takaoka and his companions as they encounter strange creatures and mystical phenomena. From a white ape guarding bird-women to dream-feeding beasts and a dog-headed man with foresight, each encounter brings new wonder and excitement. Yet, amidst the allure of beauty, Takaoka learns its dangers as he is drawn to captivating sights like perfectly shaped pearls or giant blood-red flowers, revealing the peril they hide. 

The author, Tatsuhiko Shibusawa (1928-1987)
The author, Tatsuhiko Shibusawa (1928-1987)

Written by Tatsuhiko Shibusawa (1928-1987), a counterculture icon of the 1960s, Takaoka's Travels reflects his lifelong fascination with the mystical. A prolific translator of French literature, Shibusawa was known for his translations of the Marquis de Sade and the French surrealists as well as his essays, which deal with topics ranging from dreams to the occult.

Tatsuhiko Shibusawa in Bungo Stray Dogs
Tatsuhiko Shibusawa in Bungo Stray Dogs

Anime enthusiasts may recognize Shibusawa from a character inspired by and that shares his same name in the anime Bungo Stray Dogs.

Written as Shibusawa was dying and only published after his death, Takaoka's Travels, his one and only novel, is often seen as a prime representation of all that fascinated the author throughout his life.  

Translated into English by David Boyd, best known for his translations of Hiroko Oyamada's The Hole, and Mieko Kawakami's Breasts and Eggs (among others), readers worldwide will finally be able to embark on the extraordinary pilgrimage that is Takaoka's Travels this year.

Takaoka's Travels by Tatsuhiko Shibusawa, translated by David Boyd will be available in both print and digital May 14th, 2024.

This is the third book published under our MONKEY imprint in collaboration with MONKEY: New Writing From Japan.

Check out our other MONKEY publications here, including Hiromi Kawakami's Dragon Palace, and Hiromi Ito's The Thorn Puller.



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