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Fiction Short Stories (single Author)

Will not forget both laughter and tears

illustrated by Tomoko Mitani

introduction by Yukari F. Meldrum

The University of Alberta Press
Initial publish date
Dec 2013
Short Stories (single author), Translating & Interpreting
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2013
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jan 2014
    List Price

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Geishas and samurai, manga and animé come to mind when Japan enters the conversation. While these traditional and modern images about the island nation have been widely disseminated in North America, most of us cannot imagine what everyday life is like in Japan. Tomoko Mitani's work addresses this gap with honest responses to the male-dominated society of Japan in a down-to-earth style that looks inward, with stories that are at once intriguing and amusing. Translator Yukari F. Meldrum finds the fine balance in translation between domestication and foreignization, letting a new vantage point emerge. This collection of short stories and a novella will interest scholars and students of Translation Studies, Japanese Studies, and Women's Studies, as well all of those who are interested in this genre.

About the authors

Tomoko Mitani was born in 1945 and grew up in Hokkaido, Japan. Married with two daughters, she worked as an instructor for Kumon, and her translator Yukari F. Meldrum was one of her students. In addition to various business ventures, she began writing these short stories, which she self-published as a collection in 2002, called Wasurenai, warai mo namida mo. She lives in Sapporo, Japan.

Tomoko Mitani's profile page

Yukari F. Meldrum enjoys bridging cultures through translation and owns a translation company in Edmonton.

Yukari F. Meldrum's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Thanks to online programs like Google Translate, it's possible to have a chunk of text translated into another language with just a click of a button. However, word-for-word translations don't capture the context and tone of the original text.... Meldrum strove to represent the original text as accurately as possible, but admits that the biggest challenge was trying to convey cultural differences." Work of Arts blog [Full post at]

"While Mitani uses humour in most of these stories, she never exaggerates for effect.... each [story] is a self-contained vignette that beautifully encapsulates an idea or emotion.... Her stories are thoughtful, profound and moving without dramatics, revealing without being confessional.... [Yukari F. Meldrum] proves a sensitive translator, adapting Japanese tone to elegant, simple English prose." , , September 2014

Alberta Views

"Consisting of 22 short stories in two sections and a novella, and largely based on the author Tomoko Mitani's life, Will Not Forget Both Laughter And Tears is a rich record of Mitani's personal experiences mediated by both the act of writing and of translation."

Cha: An Asian Literary Journal

"Mitani’s stories are, in effect, a kind of Japanese life writing... Stories of the kind Mitani has written here give glimpses of contemporary Japanese life that rarely see the light of day in English translation, and are a welcome addition to the small but hopefully growing Canadian body of work translated from the Japanese into English." [Full review at]

The Malahat Review

“The majority of the stories are first-person, narrated conversationally by a girl or woman observing the details of life as a daughter, student, wife, friend or mother…. Mitani’s greatest strength is the ability to present different perspectives—here is a hero, here is a bully—with heartbreakingly understated gestures or remembered details revealing the hope, pain, fear or pride underneath the annoyances and irrationality of others’ behavior…. Her stories are thoughtful, profound and moving without dramatics, revealing without being confessional.”

Alberta Views

"One thing that appealed to Meldrum about the stories was how they showed a side of life in Japan that rarely makes it onto North America's limited radar. We know geishas. We know Godzilla. But we don't know the emotions and routines of a married, middle-class woman in the late 20th century.... Even in Japan, Meldrum says, where these stories may be more familiar, the act of putting them down on the page is not." Michael Hingston, Edmonton Journal, January 30, 2014 [Full article at]