Eight Dogs, or "Hakkenden": Part Two—His Master's Blade
Kyokutei Bakin's Nansō Satomi Hakkenden is one of the monuments of Japanese literature. This multigenerational samurai saga was one of the most popular and influential books of the nineteenth century and has been adapted many times into film, television, fiction, and comics.
His Master's Blade, the second part of Hakkenden, begins the story of the eight Dog Warriors created from the mystic union between Princess Fuse and the dog Yatsufusa and born into eight different samurai families in fifteenth-century Japan. The first is Inuzuka Shino, orphaned descendent of proud warriors. Left with nothing save a magical sword and the bead that marks him as a Dog Warrior, young Shino escapes his evil aunt and uncle and sets out to restore his family name. Unaware of their karmic bond, Shino and the other Dog Warriors are drawn into a world of vendettas and quests, gallants, and rogues, as each strives to learn his true nature and find his place in the eight-man fraternity.
By nearly all accounts, Hakkenden is the single most important and influential work of fiction from Japan's long nineteenth century. Glynne Walley skillfully conveys the diversity of the original style without sacrificing readability. Eight Dogs is a fine translation of a monumental work, one that we have needed for many years.
—Michael Bourdaghs, University of Chicago, author of A Fictional Commons
- Cornell East Asia Series
Publication Year: 2024
Publication Number: 218