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15 January 2017

Past and Present - 01/2016 (last updated Jan. 16)

In case you couldn't tell with my non-fiction blogging which was only 1 post long in 2014, 3 posts in 2015, and 6 posts in 2016, I'm having a lot of fun doing these posts. So I've made a resolution for 2017 to regularly talk about real-world stuff in the past and present. You can expect more of the same kind of posts as I did for the books I read in 2015 & 2016. I'll also make short posts in which I share some links to papers or news articles I thought were fun, along with brief comments so people can decide whether or not to take a closer look. The news articles will mostly be political and by political, I mean stuff like the Korean Rasputin scandal or Erdogan's purges, not endless ranting about SJWs/alt-right crap. I claim absolutely NO ACADEMIC CREDENTIALS and there's plenty of smarter people doing this sort of stuff. I'm just doing this as a way to nudge me into trying to stay informed.

If you just come here for the releases and find these posts to be a clutter, you can click on the Manga Releases post categories that I've linked on the blog's top right corner.

This is January's post. I'll be updating it weekly until the end of the month.

8 January 2017

Shiji, Records of the Grand Historian (last updated Jan. 13)

So like I promised last year when I finished Sangokushi, I'm returning to Yokoyama Mitsuteru with his 15-volume adaptation of Shiji (I haven't forgotten about the other promises, they've just been... delayed). In case you haven't noticed from my history-related posts and my 60 volume-translation of Sangokushi, I'm a pretty big fan of Chinese history. And when it comes to Chinese history, there's arguably no other work more important as Sima Qian's Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian), which pretty much set how history should be told for not just Chinese, but through China's influence, for Koreans, Japanese, and Vietnamese as well. As the New Dictionary of History of Ideas writes:
The most important early figure in Chinese historical thought and writing, however, was the Han dynasty figure Sima Qian (145–86 B.C.E.). After the unification of various “Warring States” into a single empire by the violent but short-lived Qin (whose first emperor ordered an infamous book-burning and mass execution of scholars, virtually eliminating records of the conquered kingdoms), the succeeding Han emperors (206 B.C.E.–220 C.E.) created the stable conditions under which historiography could mature. Sima Qian, often known as the Grand Historian, did far more than write in his Shiji (Historical Records) a comprehensive account of Chinese history. He also evinced a clear sense of the historian’s purpose: to record major and minor occurrences accurately in order to counsel the present and to bestow fame on the good and infamy on evildoers. Perhaps most important, his model for the compilation of facts about the past with its clearly worked out format, a combination of year-by-year annals and individual biographical treatments, influenced the next two millennia of Chinese historical writing. No Western historian, not even Herodotus or Thucydides, can claim that kind of influence, nor does Western historical writing display the continuity of a systematic and eventually institutionalized approach to the past that is exemplified by China. Sima Qian created various categories for the representation of the past that would be developed and augmented by subsequent writers. By the time he finished the Shiji that his father had begun, it was nearly four times the size of Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War. The Shiji would come to be regarded as the first in a long series of twenty-four “Standard Histories” (zhengshi), the official history of a dynasty written under its successor dynasty. (The Shiji itself, since it covered both the Han and their predecessors, is an exception to the rule that Standard Histories cover only one dynasty and are written after its fall).
I'll probably do a longer Some Thoughts post on Sima Qian and Shiji once I finish this project but the main reason why I'm translating this is because there's a lack of easily accessible "fun" narrative history for early Chinese periods. Yokoyama's Shiji manga is full of interesting stories about famous assassins, ministers, kings, and generals, so I hope this'll get some people interested in Chinese history, just as Sangokushi can help people get into the RotTK fandom.

Release pace will probably be 1 volume every 2-3 months since I plan to juggle it with other projects.

Shiji v1 c01:   Download
Shiji v1 c02:   Download

7 January 2017

Soil v10 (last updated Jan. 14)

Time to kick off the 2nd last volume!

Soil v10 c73:   Mega
Soil v10 c74:   Mega
Soil v10 c75:   Mega

27 December 2016

Some Thoughts on Big Ideas in History

Ah, 42... The great answer to life, universe, and a lack of reading. 2016 is the first year I really made an effort to pursue reading books as a daily habit by reading just 50 pages/day, which works out to only ~1hr for most non-fiction books, and I'm both surprised and pleased by how easily achievable my original goal of reading at least 24 books for 2016 was. I guess this is what normal people feel like when they talk about how easy it is to get in the habit of exercising? That's definitely something I need to work on but running for the sake of running is one of the dullest activities for me... To anyone reading my blog, I encourage you to get out there some stale indoor-air and read as many things as possible! Manga, articles, journals, blogs, books, erotic fan-fiction! Life's too short to spend it on exercise, charity work, dating, praying to God, or raising a family. Surely, we can all agree that the warm embrace of a loved one is inferior to the smug satisfaction one can get from reading 17th century grain-price fluctuations across Europe, right?

Bad jokes aside, I saved the best for the last to conclude my series of posts for 2016 books. This post is dedicated to the Big Ideas in history. The kind of ideas that even normal people find fascinating but historians sometimes hesitate at because they don't want to seem too reductionist with grandiloquent ambitions of constructing historical formulae or metanarratives.

19 December 2016

Some Thoughts on Books I read in 2016 - Part 5

I think that economics, like religion, is one of those topics that's seemingly a lot less interesting than it actually is. I think the best way for fellow history fans to get through the initial high entry barrier for these subjects, is to read books that uses them to explore a bigger question with greater appeal. For instance, the whole reason why I recommended books on the development of Jewish mythology, is not to be a douchebag but get people more interested in religion, especially how it helps shapes human cultures. That's why even though I fully admit I'm closer to being a scatter-brained dilettante than some intellectual (I'm just a dude who translates manga on the interwebz ( ̄ヘ ̄)┌ ), I'm still excited to recommend books that'll hopefully get people to leave their comfort zones and explore new ideas. With that said, here are 3 economic history books that I hope some weirdos people will have fun with.

3 December 2016

Wombs v02 (complete)

At last, volume 2 is done! I'm not going to start on v3 until January, as I have a few things to wrap up before the end of the year.

Wombs v02:   Mega
Wombs c16:   Mega

2 December 2016

Some Thoughts on Maks, Japs, and Yanks.

Christ, what a year we've had. Bloody Ramadan, Nice terror attack, Orlando shooting, Brexit, Trump, failed Turkish coup and Erdogan's purges, FARC referendum, Panama leaks, Korean shaman scandal, Brazilian presidential impeachment... That's not even mentioning all the other noteworthy events going on in Syria, Yemen, Baluchistan, and Philippines. Well, only one more month left in 2016 so let's just hope the year doesn't end in a literal bang from some surprise asteroid strike. In the meantime, I'm gonna try to wrap up my Some Thoughts on Books of 2016. This is Part 4 of 6.