Boku no Imouto wa Kanji ga Yomeru Vol1 Ch1-B

Apologies for the delay. To be honest I’m not too interested in this past the first chapter, because nothing else in the volume compares. That doesn’t mean I’m dropping this, but the priority is going down and translations will be slower. It’s a pretty, er, amazing chapter though. Enjoy!

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The living room that Sensei led us to was sparsely furnished with white walls and a white table.
Kuroha and I sat next to each other on the sofa.
“So you want to be a novelist, Gin-kun?”
“Yes, I do.”
I pulled a manuscript out of my bag.
“Actually, I brought my manuscript with me today. I was hoping that you could read it.”
“Is that so?”
Sensei looked down at the manuscript after I handed it to him. Having Oodaira-sensei read my work is like a dream come true! I wonder what he thinks of it.
After reading in silence for a while, he raised his head back up.
“…Is this in code?”
Sensei’s expression was one of bewilderment.
“It’s very incoherent overall. Especially all the nonsensical ‘£’ signs you placed everywhere. What were you trying to accomplish with this?”
“It represents the heroine as she spreads her arms out and runs with joy.”
“……”
Sensei was at a loss for words.
“…Gin-kun, you may be the genius that will usher us into a new age.”
A genius?! Yes! Words of praise from Oodaira-sensei himself!
While I was in a state of ecstasy,
“We’re sorry.”
Kuroha hung her head down with a strained smile. Eh? Why was she apologizing?
“I’ll read it to the end later. If I’ll be able to, that is.”
“Thank you very much. Also, may I ask if you have any advice for writing novels that you could give me?”
“Advice, hmm…?”
Sensei thought for a moment, then pulled out a single piece of cloth from under the table.
It was a pair of white undergarments, with a ribbon attached. Women’s panties.
“What do you think this is?”
“They’re panties.”
“Indeed, they are.”
Sensei turned to Kuroha and asked, “What do you think, Kuroha-kun?”
Kuroha’s face tensed as she replied, “I also believe that they’re women’s underwear.”
“Correct. You two stated the truth. You explained what it was, so to speak. However, simply stating the facts is not interesting enough from a writer’s standpoint. You must describe what it is.”
“Describe?”
“Yes. Don’t simply say that they are panties. You need to put more emotion into it. If I were writing, I would say that they are a little white universe.”
A little universe! I hadn’t thought of that.
“Practice your descriptive writing frequently, and you will learn.”
Sensei then put the panties on his head.
What’s this? I’m not following the logical flow of events here, but…
Oh, I’ve got it! He’s telling me to describe the image of him wearing panties on his head.
“I understand. I’ll think of a description now…”
An elderly man with panties on his head. I should try to use something natural and poetic. So…
“Pervert.”
Kuroha murmured from beside me.
Come on, isn’t calling him a pervert a bit rude? And he already said that there’s no meaning in stating exactly what you see. That doesn’t even come close to his ‘little white universe.’ At least use something like ‘incomparable’ to describe what’s on his head.
As we continued puzzling over the task, Sensei kindly looked over at us with the panties still on his head.
“But anyway, an adopted brother and a non-blood-related little sister… This is just like OniAka.”
OniAka.
The full title is Onii-chan no Aka-chan Umitai (I Want to Have Onii-chan’s Baby).
It’s a legendary best seller by the literary master Kurona Gura, published in 2060. It is a classic of little sister novels, and gave birth to movement of moe-themed orthodox literature. According to researchers, it heavily influenced not only literature, but all of Japanese culture.
My life closely resembles that of the main character of OniAka. We were both raised as foster children, and we both have a non-blood-related little sister.
“It was because of OniAka that I wanted to become an author.”
“Oh, is that so!”
I am extremely emotionally attached to OniAka. Thanks to that novel, I was able to overcome the feelings of guilt I had when I was a child. The love that the heroine Taitei Homyura displayed for the protagonist made my heart tremble when I first read it. It was as if a ray of light shone down on my world.
“Homyura is an eternal heroine for me.”
“She was beautiful and brave, wasn’t she? Although I would have preferred if she was 6 or 7 years younger.”
Sensei narrowed his eyes. By the way, Homyura’s established age is 16.
“Her first entrance scene was nice. The moment her older brother appeared, the wind flipped her skirt up.”
“A panty shot right from the beginning.”
“And after that, a panty shot whenever possible. The color and design of her panties symbolized Homyura’s current mood, didn’t they?”
“Yes, but did you know? The panties possessed another meaning in them.”
“Another meaning…?”
“Homyura’s panties represented the state of society back then.”
The state of society?
“In the first panty shot, Homyura’s panties were completely red, right? That symbolized the hardships of the Japanese citizens in the face of taxes. That was the author Gura’s message – the citizens are suffering so much that they’re shedding blood.”
I didn’t know that! How frustrating. It looks like my reading comprehension still has a way to go.
“Normal readers don’t need to understand it that deeply, though. Homyura is cute – that much is fine enough.”
But I’m aiming to become an author. I can’t be satisfied with reading at that level…
“Kuroha, we’re learning something interesting here. You need to read OniAka as well.”
I turned to Kuroha with vigor. My spirits were soaring right now, since I had just discovered a new way to read my beloved OniAka.
“Maybe.”
However, Kuroha’s response was cold.
She liked reading, but she hasn’t read OniAka. Why doesn’t she want to? It’s such a waste.
“Kuroha, why don’t you read OniAka? Homyura is the best.”
“I don’t understand that mentality of being so enthusiastic about fictional characters.”
“It seems that the more Gin-kun talks about how much he likes Homyura, the more Kuroha-kun doesn’t want to read it, eh?”
Kuroha became flustered and responded with “That’s not true!”
“Hahahah. Well, that book was the catalyst to the so-called moe culture.”
Right now Japan is known as the country of moe, but it seems that it wasn’t like that in the past.
“However, something strange has become popular recently.”
Sensei’s smile quickly turned into a frown.
“Have you read it – usubi?”
Ahh, as expected, Sensei also finds usubi unpleasant.
“I’ve read it. It certainly is original, but…”
“There wasn’t a single female character. No panty shots or undressing scenes. I have just one thing I want to say to that usubi author – literature without panties is not literature!”
I understood that Sensei was angry. It was natural for him to be.
“And for it to be nominated for the Homyura Prize, of all things…”
The Homyura Prize was named after the heroine of OniAka, Taitei Homyura. It was Japan’s most influential literary award. Every generation, published works that are considered orthodox moe are nominated. However, this year an eccentric novel like usubi had been mixed into the nominees.
Sennsei and I were both literati, so naturally we were upset about it. However, a non-literati like Kuroha…
“I think it’s fine to have books where pretty girls aren’t flashing their panties too.”
…made that completely unrefined comment.
“Oh? Then are you saying that usubi is appropriate for the Homyura Prize, Kuroha-kun?”
“I didn’t say that much.”
“From my perspective, my biggest rival to win the prize would be Haruka-kun’s my little sister can’t use the toilet by herself (imouto wa hitori de toire ni ikenai).”
‘Haruka-kun’ is a major author by the name of Haruka Haruka. On equal grounds with Sensei when it comes to little sisters, they are each called “Oodaira of the Non-Blood-Related Little Sisters” and “Haruka of the Blood-Related Little Sisters.”
my little sister can’t use the toilet by herself has an old-sounding title, but it is indeed a contemporary work. The descriptions of the heroine holding it in are written in an easy to read manner.”
“What do you think of that book, Kuroha-kun?”
“……”
Kuroha had sunk into silence. She had a decidedly mean look on her face.
I knew why she couldn’t answer immediately.
my little sister can’t use the toilet by herself basically describes Kuroha when she was young.”
“…!!”
Kuroha glared at me with her face dyed the color of embarrassment.
I was reminded of the old days. As a child, Kuroha couldn’t use the toilet alone. When mom and dad weren’t home, she would go “Onii-chan, come with me!” and made me accompany her to the front of the bathroom.
“Kuroha may act very reserved now, but she was really cute back then.”
“Shut up, don’t talk about that!”
Kuroha glared at me with her face as red as a ripe tomato.
“I’ll tell you what I think, then! I am impressed by the fact that someone can write a full novel on that subject matter, but I think it’s very radical, and that it’s a book that chooses the reader.”
“That novel has already ascended to philosophy. Haruka has gotten his madness back; it brings back memories. Back when we were young, we often had quarrels at a literary bar in Shinjuku Golden Gai.”
The viewpoints of the Blood-Related Little Sister faction and the Non-Blood-Related Little Sister factor conflict, so they often had debates in literary magazines. Oodaira-sensei and Haruka-sensei had been at loggerheads since their début. Oodaira-sensei surely doesn’t want to lose the prize race to Haruka-sensei.
“The prize is definitely going to go to your imouto st☆r. After all, only imouto st☆r is truly representative of orthodox literature among all the other nominations!”
“Thank you. That book is a work that I’m truly proud of. My little sisters even praised me for it.”
Kuroha became puzzled at Sensei’s words.
“I’ve been wondering for a while now, but Sensei, do you have any little sisters?”
“Yes, I do. About twenty of them.”
“…What?”
“They all live in here.”
Sensei pointed at his brain.
“From my début Azu to my most recent Rin.”
Sensei raised his hand to his ear. He was probably listening to his little sisters’ words. He had answered in an interview before that he often communicates with his little sisters. So this is what he meant!
“Oh my, Azu is jealous. She’s telling me not to fawn all over a pretty girl. She’s probably talking about Kuroha.”
“I, I see..”
Kuroha turned slightly pale.
“Azu has been my little sister for 50 years, but she still doesn’t understand me. What a troublesome girl. It’s a matter of course, I don’t touch high school girls!”
“I would just like to confirm, but you mean that someone as young as me would be unable to become your partner, correct?”
“No no, it’s the opposite. You’re too old, Kuroha-kun.”
“I am not old!”
You don’t need to be that angry. He’s just praising you for being a mature and beautiful girl.
Sensei put a hand to his ear again. He nodded several times with a smiling face.
“What’s that? You want to wee-wee? Then let’s go to the bathroom.”
Sensei stood up.
“Let’s change your panties as well.”
He took the panties off his head as he left the living room.
After Sensei was out of sight, Kuroha looked at me tiredly.
“…Onii-chan, Sensei’s little sisters are officially 10 years old forever, right?”
“That right, everyone is ten.”
“He said ‘wee-wee’ to a ten-year old…”
“That’s fine, isn’t it? It would sound too normal if she were a two-year old. The quirk adds personality.”
“…What do you think of Oodaira-sensei, Onii-chan? From how he acted and spoke just now.”
She asks some strange things. No matter how you look at him, he’s…
“Freak…”
Kuroha looked relieved.
“That’s right…”
“…ishly genius.
“What?”
“Calling him a freak is a compliment. Sensei’s level of creativity is difficult to imitate.”
“You DEEEFINITELY shouldn’t imitate him!”
Kuroha grabbed me with force and said in an urgent voice.
“You understand? Onii-chan is onii-chan. Don’t copy someone else – you have to be original. You’ll turn out much better that way.”
That’s right, I should be aiming high right now.
“I got it.”
Kuroha breathed a sigh of relief at my response. Was she that concerned for me? The thought made me incredibly happy.
The two of us continued to wait for Sensei to come back without many more exchanges. However, he had yet to show up after some time.
“Onii-chan, the author of OniAka only became famous after death, right?”
Perhaps out of boredom, Kuroha started to talk again.
“I believe so.”
“What Sensei said earlier, about how the design of the panties reflected the state of society at the time – is that really true? Perhaps he was just reading too far into it.”
“Kuroha.”
My tone was unexpectedly low.
“That’s what Oodaira-sensei himself said. The red color represents the blood of the citizens. If that’s what he thinks, then it must be true.”
“I just don’t buy it.”
“You’re too suspicious of everything.”
I’m worried that her attitude might make her friends hate her. As her older brother, I should guide her down the path to becoming a more honest human being.
Just as I was about to warn Kuroha about it, Sensei came back. He was no longer wearing panties on his head.
“Sorry for taking so long.”
He was holding a bundle of papers in his hand. I wonder what that is?
“Since it’s such a nice day today, I thought I’d let you read my new work.”
“Your new work?! Are you sure?!”
“It’s fine. But I’m afraid it’s not finished yet – you’ll have to make do with just the beginning.”
“It would be an honor!”
I get to read Sensei’s new work before the 80 million people in Japan! What amazing luck!
“This one is going to be a historical piece,” Sensei proudly declared.
“A historical piece?”
“Yes. It’s set in the early 21st century, the Heisei period.”
Sensei sat down on the sofa and handed me a manuscript.
The Heisei period… In Japanese history, it’s considered a relatively peaceful era.
Compared to the world war in the Showa period or the Bakumatsu and Meiji Restoration, it was perhaps a bit boring. Of course that doesn’t mean that nothing happened; we suffered our share of natural disasters and economic depression, but Japan recovered and restored the peace quickly each time.
Using the peaceful Heisei period as your setting means that you can’t rely on famous people or events to tell the story. The focus instead shifts to your own writing. This is a masterpiece in the making.
With a beating heart, my eyes fell on the manuscript.

[1] I’m late, I’m late~
Kiyoshi hurried along.
It was a bad decision for him to watch internet videos until late last night.
He had completely overslept.
But he couldn’t be late for the new school term.
He ran with all his might.
He took a shortcut through the park and then arrived at the main street.
And then…
He ran into a girl who was also running like he was.
“Uwaah!”
“Kyaa!”
The girl’s skirt flipped up due to the fall and her panties became visible.
They were sky blue.
Kiyoshi became flustered and looked away.
“…Oowww ow ow!”
“Are you okay?”
Kiyoshi held his hand out to the girl, and she became surprised.
“Onii-chan…”
“Eh?”
Kiyoshi was an only child. He shouldn’t have had a little sister.
“It huuurts.”
The girl rubbed her butt. It seems that she had fallen down on it.
“Should I lick it?”
Kiyoshi suggested. Wounds get better by licking them.
“I’m fine.”
The girl refused coldly.
Kiyoshi hung his shoulders.
Then at least I’ll dream about licking her butt in my mind…

“Wha…!”
I was shocked after reading it over once.
“Sensei…”
Sensei was smiling mischievously.
This can’t be his new work, can it?
I mean, these sentences…
“I can’t read it.”
There are too many kanji.
This story isn’t just set in the Heisei period. It’s as if the novel was from Heisei itself!
People in the current age can’t even begin to read this!
“Hahahaha! Perhaps I joked around a bit too much.”
“Did you write this, Sensei?”
“Of course.”
Amazing… I had heard that Sensei could read kanji, but I didn’t know that he could write them as well. Not just any author can write a novel in the style of late modern[2] literature. He would be top-class even as a linguistic researcher.
“How did you learn kanji, Sensei?”
“I wanted to read late modern novels, so I studied them. By the way, the first kanji I learned was ‘身体測定’ (body measurements).”
‘Body measurements’… I wonder what kanji it uses? I was getting a headache just thinking about the pronunciation.
“Are you writing using late modern Japanese this time, Sensei?”
“Of course not, I was just playing around. I was wondering how I should add to the historical atmosphere, and when I picked up the writing brush I was writing in kanji before I realized it.”
So that’s how it was.
“This thing is the real one.”
Sensei handed me another manuscript. The one looked like it was written in contemporary Japanese.
It’s the real one this time.
“You’re the first reader.”
It’s an honor.
It’s too much of an honor!
The emotions were too much for me; I was about to cry. But I need to hold back the tears. I need to save them for the tears of gratitude I’ll shed after reading the manuscript.
I started to read, overflowing with emotions.

went outside → kiyoshi
kiyoshi “im laaaaate”
watched videos & overslept ← bad
he cant b late
cut thru park & then
bump into girl☆
kiyoshi “uwah”
girl “myaa”
wooaahh skirt flip panchu sparkle☆
sparkly sparkly
sparkle☆
panchu → sky blue
kiyoshi embarrushed
girl “owwwww”
kiyoshi “need a hand”
girl surprised
girl “o-onii-nyan”
kiyoshi “wha”
kiyoshi is only child? no wittle sister
girl “ow ow”
girl bumped butt rub rub
kiyoshi “should i lick it”
licking heals wound
girl “no”
kiyoshi sad
kiyoshi wanna lick ← dreaming◎
butt licky licky
lick lick
licky☆

…I couldn’t hold back my tears.
I became the first person to read Oodaira’s new work. That in itself was like a dream come true, but the content moved me as well.
Oodaira’s writing style was elegant and soothing. It was a feast for the eyes.
The plot progression where the little sister appears in the first page and flashed her panties immediately afterward was overflowing with literary style and shook my heart. It’s perfectly generic orthodox literature.
The part that amazed me most was how the description of the panty shot didn’t use “flash,” but “sparkle.”
The Heisei era had yet to develop light-radiating self-defense panties, so there should have been no light in a physical sense. However, Sensei has written that scene as if the panties had literally shined. It’s exactly the kind of creative expression he had talked about.
Could this be symbolism of a star of hope from the little sister to the protagonist? Or perhaps it’s also a message about society.
It may feel embarrassing for me to cry, but this conveys my emotions to Sensei much more thoroughly than my amateurish words ever could. I’ll shed my tears without restraint!
This is it.
This is Sensei’s literature!
kirarin! opanchu osorairo (sparkle! sky blue panties),” Sensei suddenly said.
“Eh?”
“That’s the title of this piece.”
I repeated after him as I continued crying.
kirarin! opanchu osorairo.”
How profound.
This may be more written more seriously than any of his previous works. I could feel it from the opening scene.
This is what my intuition says:
Sensei will become God with this work!
“Let me read it too.”
While I was still trembling with emotion, Kuroha snatched the manuscript away from me and started reading.
Kuroha, it’s okay for you to cry.
However, she remained expressionless after finishing it, perhaps because it didn’t click with her.
“Have you ever considered writing an opening scene that doesn’t start with a panty shot, like all your other works do?”
“Kuroha-kun, are you asking me to stop drinking water? Or to stop breathing air?”
“I don’t believe that answered my question.”
“I mean that having panty shots from the very beginning is as indispensable as those. If the story doesn’t start with panties, then I won’t have the motivation to write a single word!”
“…It was foolish of me to ask.”
What kind of response is that, Kuroha?! This won’t do, at this rate she’ll grow up into an emotionless adult.
I’ve decided. On the train ride back, I’ll teach her the appeal of Oodaira’s novels. I’ll talk about it nonstop. The first topic of discussion will be what type of panties each heroine likes!

***

May 1, 2202 – Journal

I boast nary a wish to impart to the masses my story. Yet it persiseth with certainty that this world doth depress.
All that live may claim thine quarters. As for myself, I hath found mine within literature. In my adolescence I was oft rapt by letterpress print, and since my puerile mind couldst judge I fancied a pen in hand in lieu of chopsticks.
I hath envisaged to enter the realm of words with grace in the likeness of my ancestor, Touji Torahiko. It ought to have been naught but child’s play, as my wisdom shalt attest.
But alas! Japanese literature is dead.
In spite of how the awful spectacle of literature hath perturbed me so, I yet yearned to believe the flames of righteous literature still remaineth, however scant, within this country. I endured to clutch at Japanese conscience.
I didst embrace that paltry hope that but fit in my palm, and thus made way to the bookstore. I ordained to confirm my nomination to a most great, influential award in Japanese literature. I ached to find another that couldst sympathize with my mind. Even a meager trace shalt fare. Oodaira Gai’s ‘imouto st☆r’, Haruka Haruka’s ‘my little sister can’t go to the toilet alone’, Nushisama’s ‘anedaruma’, Top of Top’s ‘first issue! book of little girls’, Kogure Saku’s ‘usubi’. I read them all.
And hence, my heart plungeth to the depths of despair.
I couldst not suffer through merely one. None possessed merit even as waste. Each was more vile than the most wretched of worth. Only ‘usubi’ manifest at a caliber above the others, but there yet remained an immutably grand breadth to my ideal.
I was bequeathed enlightenment. The literary world hath naught a place for me.
The literature akin to my ancestor Torahiko’s works, from the time of Meiji to Taisho, hath fallen to ruin. Vanished were the splendid writing fashions, the magnificently woven stories. The Japanese have degenerated, their language extinct, their culture corrupt.
All that holdeth value hath been lost to the far reaches of history.
I hath naught but to gulp my wine and shed my tears, in solitude.[3]

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[1] The original first and second pages, just for reference.
[2] Just to note, “late modern” refers to around the 21st century. I’ll try not to use “modern” in the context of the 23rd century to avoid confusion.
[3] I know it’s terrible. You can tell how I gave up after the first 2 sentences.

Ch1-A | Table of Contents | Ch2 →

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