Saka no Ue no Kumo

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For the NHK special drama, see Saka no Ue no Kumo (TV series).

Saka no Ue no Kumo (坂の上の雲?), "Cloud (or Clouds) over the slope," is a popular Japanese historical novel by Shiba Ryōtarō originally published serially from 1968 to 1972 in eight volumes. A three year NHK television special drama series based on the novel and also entitled Saka no Ue no Kumo is being shown in thirteen episodes from 2009 to 2011.

The novel is set in the Meiji period and focuses on three characters from the city of Matsuyama: Akiyama Yoshifuru, his brother Akiyama Saneyuki, and their friend, Masaoka Tsunenori, better known as Masaoka Shiki. The novel follows their lives from childhood through the First Sino-Japanese War, culminating in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05.

The city of Matsuyama has a Saka no Ue no Kumo Museum dedicated to the novel and associated TV series.

English translation[edit]

On October 17, 2009, at a Japan Writers Conference,[1] Juliet Winters Carpenter, who previously translated Shiba's Saigo no shogun as The Last Shogun: The Life of Tokugawa Yoshinobu (1998), spoke on "Translating Historical Fiction: Shiba Ryotaro’s Saka no ue no kumo (Clouds Above the Hill)." In her abstract, she wrote, "Currently a team of three translators (myself, Paul McCarthy, and Andrew Cobbing), one editor (Phyllis Birnbaum), an advisor (Mr. Takechi) and publisher (Sumio Saito) are working to translate all eight volumes of Saka no ue no kumo (Working title: Clouds above the Hill) in the next three years."