Tatsuhiko Shibusawa : 高丘親王航海記 (Takaoka’s Travels)

The latest addition to my website is Tatsuhiko Shibusawa‘s 高丘親王航海記 (Takaoka’s Travels). This is a highly imaginative and colourful account of the travels of the very real Prince Takaoka around South-East Asia as he tries to get to Hindustan and the birthplace of the Buddha. The book is set in the ninth century. Quite a few of the characters are real as are the places (though very different from how we know them now). However much is fanciful as we meet strange characters and animals such as a talking dugong and animals who live entirely on a diet of people’s dreams. The boundaries between the dead and the living and reality and dreams are very fluid. They get shipwrecked and becalmed but seem to meet Buddhists wherever they go. Takaoka’s death is forecast but will he make it to Hindustan and, if so, how? This is a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy travel story and it is good to finally have it in English.

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