Japanese Covers

So just a couple days ago, guess what came out?

(Click to Embiggen)

That’s right – It’s the Japanese version of the book.

I really like this interpretation of Kvothe. He’s young. He’s got some attitude going on. His hair is more manga than I typically picture it, but it’s totally appropriate for the Japanese market. Plus, Kvothe himself says, “When left to its own devices it tends to make me look as if I’ve been set afire.” So there you go.

This translation of the book was different in a lot of ways. For one thing, bringing the book into Japanese is much more difficult than, say, Dutch, or German. Not that every language doesn’t pose its own problems. But there’s just a lot of different cultural things going on, and the languages aren’t really similar at all.

I’m guessing it’s partly because of this that instead of one, I had a team of three Japanese translators working on the book. They were really great. They asked a lot of good questions, and included me in the decision making process. I like it when the translators ask questions or press me for clarification.

You see, when I wrote the book, I made a point not to over-describe everything. I also tried to make the book very full… of stuff.

Yeah. That’s great. My book is full of stuff. They should put that on the cover: “The Name of the Wind – It’s full of stuff.”

What I mean is that I didn’t want to club the reader over the head with everything. My strategy was to make sure that every page had enough cool things in it than if you missed half of them, you’d still have a good time. That means there’s stuff for you to enjoy the second time around. That means you can like the book in a different way than your friend. And it means if you’re a careful reader, you’ll get more out of the book.

So I’m fine if the average reader doesn’t get everything I put into the book. I expect that. I planned on it.

But if a translator doesn’t notice something that I’ve put into the book very subtly, that’s different. If they don’t catch it, it can’t be brought into the new version. And that’s a problem, obviously. But these translators were really on the ball, and I’m guessing that not a lot slipped through the cracks with them.

There’s another big difference in the Japanese edition. Apparently big, thick books aren’t really the norm over there. So they broke this first book into three separate volumes. That means three separate covers for the first book….

Nice hands. Can you tell what scene this is?

And number three. Check out the draccus in the background. I would not want to fuck around with that thing.

I’ve been reading the comments and suggestions for future contests, and my gears are slowly turning. But more on that later. For now, I’m off to write.

pat

This entry was posted in book covers, cool things, foreign happenings, the craft of writingBy Pat52 Responses

52 Comments

  1. Kip likes muffins
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

    Looks cool except for Kvothe having the flesh tone of a zombie, and the draccus’ underbite. but when it comes to that kind of stuff I’m nit-picker, it would annoy me every time I saw the book cover.I bring funny christmas presents for all: < HREF="http://www.abyssandapex.com/200710-wikihistory.html" REL="nofollow"> International Association of Time Travlers<>

  2. jeffk
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

    That’s so badass, Pat – do you ever get tired of geeking out over all the cool stuff that’s happening? Enjoy it. (And I’m glad to see the Joss shirt getting some international mileage!)

  3. Thomas
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

    Wow, that’s pretty sweet! But expensive! Each volume is 1900 yen (about $19). I’ll keep an eye out for them at the bookstore, and I’ll drop a comment if I catch any of my students reading one.

  4. marky
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

    I love the covers. The wild haired Kvothe is truly quality. Let’s hope they love it so much in Japan, they approach you to bring out a RPG of the books. That would be quality. I’m stuck between Final Fantasy style and Oblivion. How many countries is the book available in now?

  5. suziko
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    Thumbs up on the first pic of Kvothe! His face is so much sweeter than the American hard-cover version of Kvothe. I kind of agree that in the third pic his flesh-tone looks a bit zombie-like. You’re right on about the book being chock-full of info. I’m just about to finish my second read through, and I feel like I got a lot more out of it this time, noticed things and connections that I hadn’t the first time. Can’t wait for the next book!

  6. Kim
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 1:24 PM | Permalink

    I think that is the coolest thing ever. How cool is it to think that you’ve got an entire team of translators working on your book? With the book in three parts, does that mean they’ll count the separations as individual sales or will they wait till one of each of the three is bought and count it as one book? Congrats Pat!

  7. Laura
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 2:21 PM | Permalink

    I would not have thought I’d really like a manga’d Kvothe, but in fact I do. That is some fun artwork.

  8. Kalligenia
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

    I’ve always loved the fine detail and drama of Japanese art. The first one has more of a boyishness to his face which I think suits the book wonderfully. I like the tattered shirt look, too, as opposed to the open blowing in the wind romance type one.

  9. Jim C. Hines
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

    Sweet. I really like the style on those.

  10. Aaron
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

    I have to say that is fairly badass. One step closer to world domination.

  11. Loth Quendi
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

    This is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. I’m so into Name of the Wind and so into Japanese that seeing them together almost gave me an aneurism. Thank you for posting about it; I’ll be in Japan in September and this is the first thing I’m going to buy.

  12. Matt
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

    From what I can tell, he looks like the Japanese version of a badass.It’s great that the translators were on the ball, Pat – the real strength of your writing is how fresh you make even the most hoary old concepts. I’d hate for that to be lost in translated versions that just try and get the plot but lose all the flavour.

  13. roseneko
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 3:40 PM | Permalink

    Damn. Now I really wish I could read Japanese – in part because I really dig the artwork, but also because I think language is neat and I’d love to see how they translated everything. But hey – mass props on the new publication, and here’s hoping it sells by the forklift-load. =)

  14. Mary J.
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

    Those are so cool- especially the first one. I love the eyes. I wonder if (after Pat takes over the world) we will be able to buy prints of the different covers. Proper shrines in every fanboy’s home!marky- you made my breath catch when you mentioned RPG. I think my head would explode from happiness if it was done well.

  15. Captain Joe
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    Hmm… is the second cover Kvothe (calm, cool, and collected) leaping through flames to rescue a certain cloak-buying and one-time scantily clad damsel? That looks like fire to me.Either way, awesome covers. I wonder how the book would read in Japanese. Judging the book by its cover here, I reckon pretty damn awesome. I’m with Matt here – pretty damn badass.

  16. **A*V*A**
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

    Awww, no fair! I’d already done my own manga-style fanart of Kvothe, and now they’ve gone and made an official version that’s way cooler than mine. ^_^I’ll have to look for these next time I’m in a Kinokuniya or Sasuga. (I do read Japanese, but probably not well enough to get through the whole novel…)

  17. **A*V*A**
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 4:29 PM | Permalink

    Addendum: The blurb on the back cover is interesting! I like the transliteration of Kvothe to “Kuotto.” :)

  18. Danna
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    I think I’m in love.

  19. Josie
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

    I’m glad they put the draccus on the cover. The fact that it looks so heavy and clumsy just adds to the hilarity factor when I try to imagine it cavorting around when it’s under the influence.

  20. Molly
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

    So is there somewhere we can purchase this fantastically awesome set? ;) (I am learning Japanese and it would be o-so-fun to do with Kvothe!)

  21. Otter
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 6:17 PM | Permalink

    Wheeeeee. I’m rendered commentless by the sheer awesome. I can’t wait to get copies.

  22. King Sheep
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

    Damn cool. Seeing the European versions of the covers seemed more gothic or traditional, but the Manga style really works. Kudos to the translators, artists and the almighty Rothfuss.

  23. Anonymous
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 7:03 PM | Permalink

    The fronts look great. The back looks like they gave up and just said “just make it black”. Cool illustrations, though. Particularly the first one.

  24. Anonymous
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 7:13 PM | Permalink

    Man, that is really great! Congratulations! It’s neat to think that folks in Japan will read it, too!

  25. Kip, the knowlegable
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

    *grins really big at marky*I know something you don’t know!

  26. logankstewart
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 10:04 PM | Permalink

    pretty cool….pretty cool. goku looks like a coward in comparison, methinks.

  27. Anonymous
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

    Kvothe looks totally hawt in the first cover…if I was an anime character I would totally be all over him :P

  28. Fe2O3
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 11:01 PM | Permalink

    Glad to hear you had three translators working as a team and coordinating with you. A lot of people wouldn’t have taken the time to do such a thing. I speak Cantonese: one of the more complex, hence rapidly fading, Chinese dialects. I know that English and Chinese aren’t easy to reconcile in translation. I imagine Japanese to be similar from what little I know.The cover art is great. Although the picture of the Draccus was inspired more from the legends rather than from “The Mating Habits of the Common Draccus” (The teeth man, they’re too sharp!) Still I agree I would not (literally, nor figuratively) fuck with that!

  29. Amanda
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 11:13 PM | Permalink

    Love it.And you come up with new blurbs for your book kind of a lot. Have you ever noticed that?

  30. Phil
    Posted June 27, 2008 at 1:03 AM | Permalink

    Wow. That is all you can say. I think that these covers show him in his prime as young Kvothe, However the American hardcover (my personal fave) captures him as i picture him when he is telling the story or rescuing The Chronicler in the first part. Mind-blowing perfection.

  31. Sean T. M. Stiennon
    Posted June 27, 2008 at 2:12 AM | Permalink

    Heh, cool–those covers literally have the volumes marked as “top, middle, and bottom”

  32. Heather Raffaele
    Posted June 27, 2008 at 4:17 AM | Permalink

    I like the covers and all, but in that second one his eyes look dead instead of concentrating. I guess I just don’t get art sometimes. Japanese though… thats so cool.

  33. Anonymous
    Posted June 27, 2008 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    I wish I could read Japanese so I can compare the translation.–vu–

  34. Anonymous
    Posted June 27, 2008 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

    wow, those pictures are amazing and the are so detailed! Pat, do you have a fav cover?

  35. marky
    Posted June 27, 2008 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

    Kip! What! I insist you tell me right now! tell me! TELL ME!!

  36. Kip, I rule the d20
    Posted June 27, 2008 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

    Pat’s a PNP gamer like me. I was telling him that I was going to try to make a class for D&D for sympathy (because honestly in all other forms of magic it had been a sideline, Pat put it on the map as a legitimate magic) but I was having problems, plus his system is not fully fleshed out in the book which makes if harder on me (by the way Pat I probably could make one for a D10 system or 40K’s d100 system). Pat was saying that he wants to eventually make a campaign setting in his world for “Sword and Sorcery” RPG, which he mainly plays. He told me I should learn to play it.Pat: It’s on my list to learn, but I have just finished learning Dark Heresy (40K), I want to learn Fireborn, Scion, SLA Industries, GURPS, Sword and Sorcery, Lace and Steel, and lastly D&D 4.0.

  37. marky
    Posted June 27, 2008 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    AAHH. I understand. It sounds like loads of fun. Unfortunately, I’ve never played any role-play or D&D. I always wanted to give it a shot but I never found anybody to play with me. :-(I used to have a toy bottle when I was a kid though. I loved that bottle. Some days it was a battleship, some days a ray gun. Happy times. Unfortunately it was smashed by my drunken uncle in the summer of 85 rendering me toyless until winter 92.

  38. Kip.......boo!
    Posted June 27, 2008 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

    That sucks! find a group, or force some people to play with you (in a completely non perverted sense).

  39. Brandy
    Posted June 28, 2008 at 4:22 AM | Permalink

    Wow. I wish I had anime hair. No really, Disney and anime have given completely unrealistic hair expectations.Also, the dracus looks like the bastard child of a T-Rex and the world’s biggest iguana.

  40. Llyralei
    Posted June 28, 2008 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

    FGSFDS I WANT IT.;___; so expensive. Maybe someday.I have such a weakness for Japanese things. xD;; I love it. I’m so happy things seem to be working out so splendidly for you, Pat. :D

  41. Alexis
    Posted June 28, 2008 at 8:19 PM | Permalink

    Those are really awesome! Definitely my favorite versions of the cover so far! Thanks for sharing and congrats!

  42. Maarten
    Posted July 2, 2008 at 6:31 PM | Permalink

    drool… Those covers are a clash between two things I really like. Name of the Wind and Anime. Any idea if these come in poster format?

  43. Elizabeth McCullough
    Posted July 2, 2008 at 9:02 PM | Permalink

    MAn ! I was just there!! LOoking for your book! grrr. Maybe ill get my brother to pick me up a copy. That would rock.

  44. Bek
    Posted July 6, 2008 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

    At first glance, Kvothe was pretty. But taking in the serious lines in his face and that shock of red hair, I’ve decided he’s downright beautiful. =)

  45. Corbenik
    Posted July 7, 2008 at 5:15 PM | Permalink

    I have just one thing to say: Nan da yo! (What the hell!)They seriously pimped Kvothe ;D

  46. Anonymous
    Posted July 8, 2008 at 7:14 PM | Permalink

    wow this is awesome yet slightly hilarious cause it basically looks like an anime version of kvothe whcih kinda sota shouldn’t exist it’s a bit weird for existance. XDDD still awesome. love your books, thanks to josh the barnes and noble guy who mysteriously dissapeared

  47. Aera
    Posted January 29, 2010 at 10:35 PM | Permalink

    I think the reason why it’s published in three books, is that japanese texts take up a lot more space. Usually for Fantasy-novels they also use a larger and easier to read font. So the whole book would end up having 1300-something pages. Which might cause some difficulties with the binding.

    Sorry for being a terrible know-it-all. It’s just… 7 years of studying Japanese at unversity have to be good for something somtimes :.-D

    Anyway I’ve only read the first 150pages of your book yet, but I already like it very much. And it kinda made me happy to see the japanese covers, because there’s not so much ‘official’ art out there that shows Kvothes face clearly.
    I really hope I’ll find the time to draw something little myself someday >_< But I was just stopping by. And now I’ll go on reading <3

  48. Lioness
    Posted July 12, 2010 at 4:59 AM | Permalink

    When I go to Japan, I am so buying the Japanese version of Name of the Wind.

    Just. For. Fun.

  49. Zolt
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 1:08 AM | Permalink

    Pretty cool – I’ll try to pick these up the next time I’m over there. My wife doesn’t usually read fantasy but this might just be the thing to get her into it!

    And you won’t see no badass-looking, hardcover tomes on shelves in Japan. Their format for novels is about half the size of a paperback, in all dimensions.

    Not sure if the text itself takes more space. Look how they managed to get “The Name of the Wind” in just 4 characters. And it even sounds pretty cool too (Kaze no Namae). On average you’ll have fewer characters, a bigger font, and it should pretty much even out.

    Anyway, good for you! Now you already have 3 books published!

  50. curtins
    Posted January 25, 2012 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

    I live in Canada and I have been trying so hard to purchase these for a birthday present. I’ve looked everywhere!! I almost succeed on Amazon Japan, but they can’t mail the books to my location. Japan Ebay is no help, and I asked the Tinker’s Pack, but their copies are sold out. I even turned to Reddit to no avail. Can anyone help me find all 3 books so they can be ordered and mailed to Canada??

  51. KatDonohue91
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

    can’t believe these are sold out :( i’m currently learning the Japanese language and would have loved to have read one of my favourite books in the language! Not to mention helping a great charity! Please sell some more!

  52. linkage
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 3:49 PM | Permalink

    You can’t imagine how glad I was when I found out my favourite artist, Suwahara Hiroyuki did the book covers for my favourite book. <3

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