Shinchosha 's official website for Fuyumi Ono 's The Twelve Kingdoms novel series revealed on Wednesday that Ono has finished the first draft for the newest work in the series. The work is slated for The draft for the "epic" story is 2, Japanese manuscript pages long, and it centers on the Kingdom of Tai. Ono uses standard Japanese manuscript pages which can each have up to characters on it.
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April 15, by Erin. What initially attacked me to it was two things: 1 In the first book, the main character is a girl who, from the looks of the paperback cover seen on the left, appeared capable, and 2 a plot that was intriguing. Once I did, I was hooked. Unfortunately, the book series has never been completely translated, stopping at four books in English, and the anime series never finished either, but I will review what I can of it.
The stories all revolve around an intricate fantasy world made up of 12 kingdoms thus the name. The books focus on various characters, meaning characters who were side characters in one book might come back in another as the star, fleshing out their stories further and the stars of one book will not appear at all in the next, but reappear in the one after that.
Admittedly, I was dubious of this system initially as I grew attached to the heroine of the first book, but I ended up liking it very much; it keeps the stories self-contained, as I mentioned, and allows side characters that I liked to get some of the spotlight.
The first book focuses on Youko Nakajima, a high school student living an unremarkable life in Japan. That is, until a blonde-haired young man suddenly appears before her, pledges his loyalty to her, and whisks her away to the world of the Twelve Kingdoms.
There they are separated, leaving Youko in a strange, unfriendly place and no idea why she was brought there or what to do next. Oh, and did I mention monsters are chasing her, too? And Ono creates such rich characters! One of the reasons I love The Twelve Kingdoms is the fact that it is never about whether the character is female or male, young or old. Ono does a fantastic job of realistically sculpting out believable and relatable characters with very complex and realistic emotional journeys.
Take Youko for example. Youko starts off as a girl who has lost herself in the effort to please everyone around her. In the attempt to do so, Youko dulled her real opinions and personality. Then, after being betrayed numerous times in this new world, Youko becomes the opposite, so consumed with distrust that she decides to only look out for herself. The series is full of characters with depth like Youko. Two other heroines of the series, Suzu and Shoukei, also are shown to have less than admirable moments; Suzu wallows in self-pity and Shoukei, who I discussed more in-depth last week, begins jealous and ignorant.
And I absolutely adore how Ono decided to downplay gender for once. I guess as someone who feels gender is almost fully social and that there are no feminine or masculine traits, just traits, this sort of thinking resonates more with me.
Kind of curious whether your thoughts on the matter are the same. The theory of the division of labour in our earliest beginnings being tied to women as the sex that creates children and subsequent social ideas being built up on that. So Ono taking out that biological feature from women takes out the historical underpinning of the double standards in The Twelve Kingdoms and allows its women not to be defined by roles dealing with babies and birth.
This is not a bad thing and I am just pointing out that there are other ways to write women being equal in society then just taking away a biological function. And that is all that it is: an excuse. I was just referring to roots of the division of labour between men and women in society.
Furthermore, I do think this biological ability was the justification for this double standard in later societies women naturally being better at child rearing because they bear child so therefore they should stay home and raise children and nothing else and etc. Is this a good justification? Also it definitely was not the root of all bile spewed about women. So I agree there is more going on then just the division of labour when it comes to sexism. So in my musings, I had wondered if this was the conclusion Ono had come to and the reason she removed the ability of child bearing from a single sex.
I mean, as far as I can tell, the division of labour existed in all societies at one point, regardless of whether they were misogynist or not. Was Ono trying to provide a more egalitarian society by rendering the division of labour unnecessary and hence the reason why both sexes participate in all sorts of labours in the Twelve Kingdoms universe. Men child rearing and women going to war and vice versa? This was my interpretation of why she removed the child bearing ability from a single sex.
Of course, I by no means suggest that this is the only reading of why Ono removed child birth from women. It was more ordered and easier to survive in the early days of humanity if everybody knew what their job in the community was and yes some jobs had more men and some had more women but I find it hard to believe that sexism came after the job division by gender and that it did not start with a gendered job division. In the past it could have worked in a homogenous society except that well: when was the last time you heard of a completely homogenous society in a history lesson?
And with the advances in various technologies our society is becoming more and more heterogeneous every day. And no amount of labor division was ever a good enough excuse for sexism, racism…. I had a feeling this would be a hot issue. I in no way want to suggest all men are like this, but worst case scenario, a man can just walk away from a pregnancy while the woman has to deal with it no matter what.
Even now in the U. I agree that it is an interesting debate to talk about a moment in society when women will no longer be the child bearing sex. I have to completely disagree with the both of you, actually. Pregnancy, itself, is sexist. Pregnancy requires a lot of material, labour, building, costs and sacrifices that can only be drawn from the sex that is assigned to those with the genotypes and phenotypes often associated with double x chromosomes.
Therefore, the more children a woman had before she may have died, the better. Which also made the division of labour something other than a choice for women, unlike men. Also, human society has never experienced a matriarchy as it is actually defined. And that is what most historians and some feminists regularly confuse with the practice of the elements of a matriarchy.
And a matrilineal society can be just as misogynistic as one that is patrilineal. Think… dowries…. Keep up the good work! Thank you so much! Though I have to wonder.
What is the purpose of having male and female in this world? They have brothels so sex exists. Is it just solely for pleasure? I kind of got an asexual vibe from Youko. I know she had a thing for Asano in the beginning but I wonder if that was only because of social expectations? Comments RSS. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account.
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The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow
Chapter 46 Angel Falling Softly. Chapter 45 Angel Falling Softly. Main site offline. The cherry blossom front. Chapter 44 Angel Falling Softly. Chapter 17 Dreaming of Paradise.
The Twelve Kingdoms, Volume 1 : Sea of Shadow
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Writer Fuyumi Ono reported on her official Twitter account on Monday that she is aiming to finish her new work in The Twelve Kingdoms novel series sometime in She states that the new novel will be "very long. The Twelve Kingdoms depict a fantasy world inspired by classical China literature, where a girl named Yoko Nakajima finds herself after being transported from Japan. She becomes embroiled in the politics of the kingdom of Kei, as well as the other kingdoms. Ono began writing the light novel series in , and has published 12 volumes in Japan.
Japanese cover for Shadow of the Moon, Sea of Shadow , part 2. The series was published by Kodansha and contains illustrations by Akihiro Yamada. The first entry in the series, The Shadow of the Moon, The Sea of Shadow was published in Japan in ; the most recent volume was released in Some of the novels have been published in two volume editions such that the total number of volumes consists of eleven books. In , Shinchosha Publishing Co.