Research for Japanese Based Science Fiction Story
Recently I was writing a story that turned into a novel. The title of the story is, The Memory Thief, about a woman in a futurist/Victorian world who has her memories stolen when surveying an alien world with tribal people very similar to the Ainu culture of Japan. There were many concepts in this story inspired by different sources: women’s suppression in the Victorian era, my business as a steampunk costumer, my time living in Hokkaido for two years and seeing the Ainu village, the book The Giver by Lois Lowry that I read when I was a teenager and reread more recently, the Inuit practice of wife swap and my own experiences with family and sibling relationships.
I wrote 70,000 words in about 30 days. Of course, the editing is what then takes months to work on! While writing, I did research into various realms of information related to the themes included in the story. I had many windows up on pieces of information I didn’t want to forget. Even though I lived in Japan for two years, there was no way I could keep the honorifics or names straight so I kept those tabs handy.
For those interested in learning more about Japanese history, or just curious what kind of research goes into world building and writing a novel, check out these links below.
Etiquette Before Going to Japan
The meaning of male and female Japanese names
Japanese terms for endearment
The language of love: Terms of endearment in six languages
Anui History and Words in the Jomon based culture
Anui Tattoos on women’s face and arms
Genetic evidence of Jomon culture and the origins of the Anui using Y Alu polymorphic elements in DNA for tracking.
Tanuki or raccoon dog lore with great and accurate photos
The Yokai Files – Tanuki – The myth and the reality
Animals in Japanese
Family member titles in Japanese
Explanation of Japanese honorifics or the equivalent of our titles like Miss and Mr.
Japanese terms of endearment and pet names
Diseases that a culture might catch from colonists:
Different kinds of yokes for carrying buckets:
Wife swap article in Inuit culture