Puppet's Heart : Manga :

Chapter 1

This unofficial fan translation is made freely available for the benefit of owners of the original Japanese manga. The translations should not be used for profit in any way.

The first puppet tale
"Puppetmaster, celebrate the princess's wedding"
by Takada Yuzo

Translated by David Park (dpark@sazan.net), 1999-Oct-29

  ()   Comments by the translator
  {}   Small text, asides
  []   Private thoughts of characters
  *    Margin notes by the author (Takada-sensei)

  The Japanese word ningyo means both "doll" and "puppet".  I mostly use 
  "puppet", but I translate iki-ningyo as "lifelike doll" just to make 
  things more confusing.

  Names appear in original Japanese order (family name first).

  Several honorific suffixes are left untranslated.  Here is a brief list:
    dono     =  polite, old-fashioned title; think "Esquire"
    hime     =  princess (e.g. Kikuhime means Princess Kiku)
    sama     =  very polite title; think "good sir" or "my lady"
    san      =  general title; think "Mr." or "Mrs."

pg. 7)
  Narration:    First year of Keichou (1596)
                A certain day

                The late lord of Kamikawa castle's only daughter, 
                Nagashima Kiku, is bewildered.

  Narration:    That morning, her younger cousin Takegami Shiro Tatsumaru
                suddenly vomited blood and was claimed by death.

  Genba:        What shall we do, Kikuhime?
                This could cause a commotion.  But what about Tatsumaru...

pg. 8)
  Genba:        Was there foul play?

  Kiku:         There didn't seem to be...

  Genba:        Right, there's no reason to worry.
                Even if Tatsumaru is dead, as the second candidate, I can 
                become the princess's betrothed instead, and become the 
                successor of the Nagashima household.

  Kiku:         Geh, who does he think he is?

  Genba:        Hm?  What was that?

  Kiku:         Oh, nothing... Uncle Genba.

  Narration:    Thus, ten days before the wedding ceremony of Kikuhime and 
                Tatsumaru, these events took place.

pg. 10)
  old man:      What a fool!!  Once again, up and moving without so much as 
                a nap.

pg. 11)
  old man:      Look, Genzo, take a break and eat some breakfast.

  old man:      This morning there's tsugumi barbeque with tanishi sauce.
                It's tasty!
                (barbequed thrush with pond snail juice--tasty!)

  Genzo:        Not interested

  old man:      Now, how many times do I have to say it before you understand,
                someone who eats interesting food will be safe from diseases.
  Genzo:        Father,
                (literally, "stepfather")

  Genzo:        I said I'm not interested, in anything.
  old man:      In anything...

  old man:      Well then, is your work interesting?

pg. 12)
  Genzo:        Hmph, THIS is the least interesting.

  Genzo:        If I complete this satisfactorily, I'm going to quit being a 
                dollmaker.  It's no longer enjoyable.

  chimes:       clang clang clang!

  warrior:      What are you jerks supposed to be, bandits?  Interesting.
                I have a little something to ask you jerks.

pg. 13)
  bandits:      heh heh heh

  Kiku:         I am seeking a person.  On this mountain, I heard there is a 
                skilled doll craftsman.

  bandit:       Ho ho, I thought it was a young warrior.  A girl, eh?
                In the world outside the castle lands, laws aren't taught.
  bandit:       First, give us your belongings.

  Kiku:         Do you know the puppetmaster "Tsujimura Seibei"?  You...

  bandits:      P-puppet?

pg. 14)
  Kiku:         Using magic to manipulate puppets
                so they are mistaken for living beings--

  Kiku:         that is the puppetmaster.

  bandits:      Hiiiii!

  old man:      Splendid!  You must be the spirited princess of Kamikawa 
                castle that I have heard about...

  old man:      Kikuhime-sama, isn't it?

pg. 15)
  Kiku:         Indeed, and you?
  old man:      Puppetmaster "Tsujimura Seibei"

  Seibei:       But then, at this age my fingers are not what they used to be.
                More than 10 years ago I retired.  Now my son-in-law has 
                succeeded me.

  Seibei:       My second generation, "Tsujimura Genzo"

  Genba:        Visitors?  In the princess's room?

pg. 16)
  servant:      Puppeteers, parent and child...

  Genba:        Does she plan to view a puppet play?

  Genba:        Well, after 7 days I'll have my way in this house.

  Genba:        Hurry with the wedding preparation.
  servent:      Yes.

pg. 17)
  Kiku:         After my father died, for the continuation of the Nagashima 
                house, Tatsumaru was going into my family, but three days ago 
                he died.  Except from one other person, his death has been 

  Seibei:       You don't mean...

  Kiku:         I want you to make a lifelike doll of Tatsumaru.
                I am going to wed the doll.

  Seibei:       The doll?
                Surely there must be other candidate heirs on the mountain.

  Kiku:         Without Tatsumaru, I have to marry the second candidate, 
                Uncle Genba.  I would rather die than swear myself to him.

  Genzo:        Then it's better if you die.
  Kiku:         Eh?

pg. 18)
  Genzo:        I don't make boring stuff like that.  Let's go, Father.

  Kiku:         So, you don't think you can make a puppet that can fool those 
                at the wedding ceremony?
  Genzo:        That simple matter is not the problem.

  Kiku:         If it's money, how much do you want to be paid?

  Seibei:       Princess, Genzo doesn't work for cash.
  Kiku:         In that case, what?

  Seibei:       Female bodies!!
                Young ladies like the princess, completely nude...

  Kiku:         Nude!?

pg. 19)
  Genzo:        If I like your body, then I will do the work.
                Will you disrobe?

  Kiku:         Wh-uh-ah

  Genzo:        Just a moment.  It's not like there is a lot of flesh, but 
                that's not too important.

  Kiku:         In-insolent fool!!  {Sexual harrassment!!}
                Who are you to say that!!  Get out!!

  Genzo:        Well, then I shall take my leave freely.

  Kiku:         Ah

  Genzo:        Eh?

  Genba:        I do not know what are you doing, but I won't allow rudeness 
                towards the princess.

pg. 20)
  Genzo:        Whaaat?  It was just a joke.  Anyway, I don't want to see 
                such ugly people nude.

  Genba:        The princess is ugly, you say?

  Genzo:        I don't mean it that way, because I can see true "uglyness".
                But then... in my eyes, this whole society is  a reflection 
                of nothing but trivial things.

  Genba:        Trivial things?  You jerk, what are you saying?

  Genba:        You are a guest of the princess, and this alone has saved your
                life.  Quickly, take your leave.

pg. 21)
  Genzo:        Bah, I can see them again.  As I thought, warriors are ugly...

  Genba:        GO!!

  Kiku:         Tsujimura-dono

  Genba:        It's troublesome when people like this accompany you into the 
                castle.  Throw him out immediately.
  Kiku:         Tsu-Tsujimura...

pg. 22)
  Seibei:       I am very sorry about Genzo.
  Kiku:         Mmm...

  Seibei:       All the same, if you don't want to marry that man, rather than
                making a puppet, why not just kill him...
  Kiku:         I only consider him vulgar and savage because I am disgusted 
                by all military arts.

  Kiku:         But I can't do it.  It may look like he be a murderer, but I 
                cannot go so far as to kill him without reason.

  Kiku:         Um
  Seibei:       Yes?

  Kiku:         Am I ugly?

  Seibei:       Please forgive him.  Genzo is suffering from an illness of 
                the heart.
  Kiku:         Illness of the heart?

pg. 23)
  Seibei:       Genzo possesses a wonderful skill rare among puppetmakers.
                He was engaged to my daughter, Saki.

  Seibei:       However, one time, our village was engulfed in a battle.

  Seibei:       My daughter, Saki, became a lifeless corpse...

  Seibei:       Since then, Genzo's eyes have been vacant and the light in 
                them is gone.  For some reason he began to see strange things.
                Anger and joy and sorrow... all of his emotions are lost.

pg. 24)
  Seibei:       Now he thinks of nothing but a recreation of Saki.
                However, to what degree will he retain his great skill?

  Seibei:       One whose emotions are dead makes puppets that are dead.
                If he is unable to recover any bit of emotion, that guy...

  Genzo:        Saki...  Why did you die...

  Genzo:        If you're not here, I can't enjoy anything.  Even 
                puppetmaking is worthless...

  Genzo:        Not one feeling rises in me.  As for being a puppetmaker, I am

  Kiku:         ...giving it up, I'm afraid.

pg. 25)
  Kiku:         Tricking the eyes of people, Genzo...
                Even the castle craftsmen do not have that skill.

  Kiku:         I came with Tatsumaru's corpse.  By all means, a lifelike 
                doll...  You will...

  Genzo:        Please stop about trivial things like that.
  Kiku:         Wo-women's body shapes, you are gathering research on them 
                for making a puppet of a departed lady, but 

  Kiku:         you cannot achieve a sa-satisfactory likeness, is that right?

  Kiku:         I-if you like, I am going to cooperate too...
                If this poor body is good enough, you may do what you like.

pg. 26)
  Kiku:         In exchange, the lifelike doll of Tatsumaru...
  Genzo:        ......

  Genzo:        Please go.

  Kiku:         I-I'm ugly, is that it!?
  Genzo:        No, your form is not bad...

  Genzo:        But, dolls are not the tools of warriors.

  Genzo:        Dolls, you see, are treated with affection, rather than being 
                objects of hatred.  They are objects capable of curing 
                people's unfulfilled hearts.
                (note cameo by K'u-yung from 3x3 Eyes)

  Genzo:        I sympathize with Tatsumaru-dono.  The ugliness of the 
                princess's heart... do you think of anything but your house?

pg. 27)
  Kiku:         I understand...

  Genzo:        I accused you wrongly.  I am the most ugly.  However, as long 
                as I have no feelings and am bewildered by the human heart, 
                I am just these dolls and puppets...

pg. 28)
  Kiku:         Tatsumaru, you're breeding maggots...
                What an ugly face.  Exactly like the ugliness of my heart.

  Kiku:         Why did you die, Tatsumaru...  As I suspect, aiming at the 
                inheritance, did Genba serve you poison?

  Kiku:         We enjoyed childhood together like brother and sister, but 
                becoming involved in these unimportant matters destroyed that.

  Kiku:         I'm sorry.

  Kiku:         It's all my fault.  I'm sorry, Tatsumaru...

  Kiku:         I...

pg. 29)

  Genzo:        We'll avenge you!!

pg. 30)
  Genzo:        Beautiful.  Your body in exchange...

  Kiku:         Ooh aah

  Genzo:        My puppet technique uses everything
  Kiku:         N-no!  Don't look...

  Genzo:        Deceased heart--

                you are going to heal.

pg. 31)
  Genba:        Ridiculous...

pg. 32)
  Tatsumaru:    How may I help you, Horinouchi Genba-dono?
                What has surprised you on this joyous occasion?

  Genba:        Um, uh...
                [Ridiculous, Tatsumaru can't be alive.]

  Tatsumaru:    Is it strange that I am here?

  Genba:        ......
                [It can't be!!  It absolutely can't be!!]

  Genba:        [If he's here, then it's a disguise or a fake...]

pg. 33)
  servant:      My, what a beautiful princess.
  servant:      No doubt Tatsumaru-sama cannot wait, don't you think.

  servant:      And your late father in the grave...
  Kiku:         It's OK, don't feel bad.
  servant:      What is it, Genba-dono?
  Genba:        Excuse me.  Kikuhime, clear out these people.

  Genba:        We have some official matters...

  Kiku:         Understood.
  servant:      Princess...
  Kiku:         Everyone, please leave.

pg. 34)
  Kiku:         What business?
  Genba:        The trickster behind Tatsumaru, who is that?

  Genba:        That's a custom puppet, isn't it?
                A simple doll cannot deceive my eyes.

  Kiku:         Wh-what a jest...

  Genba:        Pledging yourself to me is that disagreeable, is it?

  Genba:        Still, being caught for the crime of tricking your whole 
                household by marrying a doll to rob me of the inheritance is 
  Kiku:         Kyaa!
  Genba:        For a solution, I think I know what to do.

  Genba:        Quite...

  Kiku:         You accuse me wrongly!
                What reason would I have to marry a doll?

  Genba:        Fool, Tatsumaru cannot be alive.
                There isn't anyone who can withstand that poison...

  Genba:        Oops

pg. 35)
  Kiku:         As I thought

  Genba:        Eh?

pg. 36)
  Genba:        Wha... eh...

  Genba:        Mo-monster!!

  Genba:        Hiii

  Genba:        Whaaaa
  Tatsumaru:    Unnncle

pg. 37)
  Tatsumaru:    As I though, I was killed by my uncle, right?  You must have.
                That puppet was meant for you to doubt.
  Genba:        So-someone help me!

  Genba:        Hel...

  Genba:        mmff

  Tatsumaru:    We'll go together...

pg. 39)
  Seibei:       Kikuhime announced that she will not marry for the present.
                As for what has become of the inheritance...

  Seibei:       However, it's a shame the puppets of Tatsumaru and the 
                princess burned.

  Genzo:        What?  That was interesting!

  Seibei:       So, have your emotions been resurrected?
  Genzo:        Well, I don't really know.

  Seibei:       Oh no, not that tone.
                From here, the day of completing the living puppet of Saki 
                to heal your heart is not far away.

  Seibei:       How about it, Genzo, isn't being a puppetmaster interesting?
  Genzo:        Well...

pg. 40)
  Narration:    After that, Kikuhime left the castle--

  Narration:    However, 
                after the Tsujimura family had left the mountain--

  Narration:    In front of the grave of Tatsumaru's courteously buried body

  Narration:    Kikuhime's heart--
                whether it has healed or not, that is uncertain.

Genzo Hitogata Kiwa story, art, and characters Copyright © 1996-1999 Yuzo Takada / Kodansha.
These unofficial fan translations are made freely available for the personal use of owners of the original Japanese manga. They should not be used for profit in any way.

Last updated: October 29, 1999 5:26AM EDT