Bilingual Manga: ダーリンは外国人 in English (My Darling is a Foreigner)

The premiere of the film  My Darling is a Foreigner (『ダーリンは外国人 』 daarin wa gaikokujin)) was last weekend (10-11 April); the film is currently playing at Forus in Kanazawa and other local theaters.

From amazon.co.jp

I haven’t seen the film yet, but I absolutely adore the original manga by Oguri Saori (小栗佐多里). I read the first volume in Japanese at Middlebury Summer Japanese School and was instantly hooked. I really wanted to share it with my spouse, who doesn’t speak or read Japanese, but even though Oguri’s American husband Tony Lazlo (the titular “darling”) had translated it into English, the bilingual version had been out of print for years.

Thanks to the popularity of the film, however, the bilingual version is back in print, at least in Japan. The title is ダーリンは外国人 in English. I bought a copy at Beans on the Kenchou Road (Route 60), but it’s also available on amazon.co.jp, and, I imagine, other large booksellers promoting the film. (Look for it near the My Darling is a Foreigner film/manga displays on the first floor of Beans.)

Lazlo’s translation isn’t always literal, but it does capture the feel of Oguri’s original language. The manga, which also has three additional volumes in Japanese, is episodic, with some episodes dealing with Tony and Saori’s cultural differences, like Saori’s desire to have an American pet name like “honey,” and some dealing with their personalities, like Tony’s passion for language study. (「グラスの心」,or “Heart of Glass” is one of my favorite chapters in the first volume, but no spoilers!)

Whether you’re just starting to learn Japanese, interested in translation theory, or want an enjoyable read in either language, ダーリンは外国人 My Darling is a Foreigner is a great way to practice your Japanese and learn about Japanese culture.

Leah Zoller is a first-year CIR in Anamizu, and her darling is also a “foreigner” from the mythical land of Gaikoku.

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