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Ryo Hanmura

legendary Japanese science fiction/fantasy author

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A Quick Tip by voilodion2012

  • Apr 3, 2013
His name is generally written as Ryou or Ryō Hanmura.

The man who wrote MUSUBI NO YAMA HIROKU (an epic fantasy saga reinterpreting 400 years of Japan's real history through the perspective of the mysterious and clairvoyant mountain people), YOUSEIDEN (another science fiction epic chronicling Japan's decades long war against the anti-Shinto god) and TAIYO NO SEKAI (a projected 80 volume novel chronicling the entire history of the lost Mu civilization) must be a genius. Two of his works, MUSUBI NO YAMA HIROKU and YOUSEIDEN specifically, have been consistently cited as the greatest Japanese speculative fiction novels EVER written. Unfortunately due to the "Japanese-centric" subject matter of his literature, none of his novels have ever been translated. While Western publishers are more than willing to export and flood our store shelves with loads of sugary, sensational manga, anime and video games; when asked about classic culturally relevant speculative fiction, the only thing they'll give is the middle finger*. Hopefully, Hanmura will be rediscovered by future generations, and then possibly, English speakers will finally get a chance to experience his exemplary fiction.

*I know that sounds a bit cynical, but some of these publishing representatives can have some extreme reactions when confronted with questions about translating the classic Japanese stuff. Most are courteous and will explain to you that there's simply no market for this old stuff in the West. But I've encountered some who will get paranoid and maybe even angry. They may even turn the tables on you and accuse you of trying to undermine the integrity of their company by promoting works that have no commercial value over here.  I understand Hanmura is a hard sell in the West. For example, MUSUBI NO YAMA HIROKU features a complicated narrative which constantly shifts protagonists and expects the reader to have a previous solid education of the 400 years of history being discussed. But I really think it's silly on the part of these companies to just ignore his works praying they never get requests for them, especially if they are considered influential masterpieces in their native country.  When Western audiences think of Japanese Science Fiction, generally all they think about is Godzilla or popular anime/manga.  But there's a whole other level of written Japanese science fiction that has just barely begun to get explored over here.  Ideally enthusiasts would have an opportunity to be exposed to the pillars of the genre first.  Alas, that's not the way the world works.
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Ryō Hanmura Born October 27, 1933
Tatsuno, Hyogo, Japan Died March 4, 2002 (aged 68) Nationality Japanese Genres Science fiction, fantasy, horror Notable award(s) Naoki Prize for Amayadori
1988 Nihon SF Taisho Award

Ryō Hanmura (半村 良 Hanmura Ryō?, October 27, 1933 - March 4, 2002) Hanmura was a Japanese science fiction, fantasy, and horror author. His name is alternatively transliterated as Ryo Hammura. He won the Naoki Prize for his 1975 novel Amayadori. One of his novels was the basis of the film Sengoku Jieitai, also a series of role-playing video games called "Eiyuu Densetsu" ("The Legend of Heroes") was loosely based on his novel by the same name. He won the first Izumi Kyōka Prize for Literature by his novel Musubi no Yama Hiroku in 1983.[1] He won also the 1988 Nihon SF Taisho Award.[2]




  • Ishi no Ketsumyaku (石の血脈) Hayakawa shobou, 1971
  • Oyone Heikichi Toki no Ana Yuki (およね平吉時穴道行) Hayakawa shobou, 1971
  • Hikkakatta Haru (ひっかかった春) Freberu-kan, 1972
  • Gunka no Hibiki (軍靴の響き) Jitsugyou no Nippon-sha, 1972
  • Musubi no Yama Hiroku (産霊山秘録) Hayakawa shobou, 1973
  • Ougon Densetsu (黄金伝説) Shouden-sha, 1973
  • Eiyuu Densetsu (英雄伝説) Shouden-sha, 1973
  • Akuukan Yousai (亜空間要塞) Hayakawa shobou, 1974
  • Waga Furusato wa Yomi no Kuni (わがふるさとは黄泉の国) (contained Sengoku Jieitai) Hayakawa shobou, 1974
    • Sengoku Jieitai (戦国自衛隊)
  • Yōseiden (妖星伝) Kodansha, 1975-1995

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