Conceptions of Josei: A Translation and Analysis of Pumpkin and Mayonnaise by Kiriko Nananan
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I chose Pumpkin and Mayonnaise as the subject for my thesis because I knew I wanted to discuss josei manga; comics have always been a topic of interest for me and I feel that comics targeted specifically to women are an underrepresented topic in the discussion of comics and their place in various cultures. In the West there persists a stereotype that comics are the realm of boys and young men and, while there are many suitable manga series for which these are the target demographics that I could have chosen for my translation, I wanted to break out of that mold. I knew also that I wanted to do a manga that spanned a single published volume, so that I could translate the whole story, and that hadn't been commercially published in English. I was drawn to Kiriko Nananan because of her unique style which I was familiar with through her most prominent work, Blue, about high school girls who begin a lesbian relationship, and so I decided on the lesser known Pumpkin and Mayonnaise as it fit all of my criteria. The translation itself was a challenge as I am not fluent in Japanese and, as Pumpkin and Mayonnaise is a manga intended for adults, it was intended for a level of reading comprehension above my own; it was also my first serious attempt at translating anything. After comprehension, the biggest challenge was probably in finding a balance between making the translation as accessible as possible to English speakers and preserving the cultural context of the manga. Pop culture references and proper nouns were left unchanged, but honorifics and ritual phrases were dropped or translated-the idea, at least, was to employ the barest amount of localization so as to stay as true to the original text as possible, as the original text is very much a specifically Japanese commentary on adult life, especially that of women. I believe-or, rather, hope-the end result is that, while there are likely some elements that will be lost on those who are less familiar with Japanese culture, the2 story should nevertheless be utterly clear to those reading it in English.