Mikawayama started off as my 2016 NaNoWriMo project. It’s a historical fiction set in medieval Japan, and it’s definitely heavy on the fiction. I might go as far as to say that it has aspects of horror in it, considering my usage of Japanese ghosts and monsters. This story has taken a lot of research to write, and even though I got a lot done in November, it isn’t complete yet.
三 Mi, which means three
川 Kawa, for rivers
山 Yama, for the mountain
Mikawayama is the mountain of the three rivers, a semi-fictional setting for this story. My characters live in the mountains of Shikoku Island, where they are starting to be more and more plagued by yokai, or Japanese ghosts. The main character, Sachiko Shyohana, leaves her normally peaceful village to find out why the yokai are so active, and to restore balance to their world. She ends up learning that the problem is not so simple, and having quite an adventure along her way.
The interesting thing about working on Mikawayama is that I get to play on my love for Japan and cultural research. On the same note, that is exactly what makes writing this story so difficult. I want to be as accurate as I can be (especially taking the genre into consideration), and sometimes that means doing research every few paragraphs.
I ended up being reminded that history is written by the victors, and it is often written about the higher classes. One can spend hours looking at the many-layered kimono worn in medieval Japanese courts, but common life is less written about. There are holes in our histories, and it makes writing that much more of a challenge, especially while also trying to be respectful.
Mikawayama is a bit of a synthesis of my love for the history, culture and language of Japan, but also a tribute to anime and fantasy. I wanted to write a story that took many things and pulled them together into a tale with honor and adventure, nature and wisdom, and a little bit of that creepy bump in the night.
It is going to be a lot of work to finish, but it will get there. Until then, enjoy the bits and pieces of it that I share here. Happy reading!
Yanagi no Erenoa – 柳のエレノア
Hear the mountain’s call,
Walk along the rocky path.
forested and cold,
even as the summer sun shines,
and not a cloud can be seen.