Academia & Science

Translating Yukio Mishima’s The Frolic of the Beasts – with Andrew Clare

18 February 2019


The Swedenborg Society, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Hall entrance on Barter St), London WC1A 2THt

020 7935 0475

The Frolic of the Beasts (Kemono no tawamure) is a gripping short novel from the acclaimed Japanese author Yukio Mishima (1925-1970). Set in rural Japan shortly after World War II, it tells the story of a strange and utterly absorbing love triangle between a former university student, Koji, his would-be mentor, the eminent literary critic Ippei Kusakado, and Ippei’s beautiful, enigmatic wife, Yuko. Originally published in 1961 and now available in English for the first time, The Frolic of the Beasts is a haunting examination of the various guises we assume throughout our lives, and a tale of psychological self-entrapment, seduction and murder.

In this lecture, British translator Andrew Clare will discuss the challenges of translating this work exploring Mishima’s writing style and particular issues involving the Japanese language. He will also position the book in the Mishima canon analysing the main themes and features of The Frolic of the Beasts in comparison with Mishima’s other work and commenting on its critical reception in Japan and abroad. Finally, through a comparison of the cover art in the US and UK editions, Andrew will examine the marketing strategies regarding Japanese literature in translation.

Andrew Clare is a British translator and lawyer. After graduating in Japanese studies at the University of Sheffield he obtained a master’s degree in political science from Kobe University in Japan. Andrew has developed a successful career as a lawyer working in legal and financial companies in the UK and Japan. As a translator, he has translated several short stories and novels such as Pro Bono (2012) by Seicho Matsumoto and Noma Prize winner Toward Dusk and Other Stories (2011) by Junnosuke Yoshiyuki. Andrew is also an expert practitioner of Japanese archery (kyudo) and participated in the Kyudo World Championships in Tokyo in 2018.

To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996, email or submit the online booking form.