Meet Jonathan Lloyd-Davies

Bikoo scoured the world for a translator up to the challenge of unwinding and repackaging Demon Hunters: Desires of the Flesh.  We found exactly that person in Jonathan Lloyd-Davies.

When Bikoo first began reading Majugari (Demon Hunters), we were struck by the sheer intensity of Baku Yumemakura’s work.  After searching for the English version and coming up empty, Bikoo quickly approached Baku Yumemakura late in the summer of 2011, braving the oppressive Tokyo humidity to make our case to spread his books around the world.  His writing is a major reason Bikoo exists.

Convincing Baku-san to take a chance on Bikoo was one thing, delivering a compelling work would be far more challenging.  The first book we chose to release was Volume 1 of the Psyche Diver Series, Majugari – Demon Hunters: Desires of the Flesh.

Bikoo had 6 months to find a quality translator, revise the copy, edit the book, create illustrations, setup Baku Yumemakura’s English presence, and finally publish to the Kindle store.  Without a good translation, none of the subsequent work would have any meaning.

Baku Yumemakura is one of the most important contemporary writers in Japan.  The more we dug into his prose, the more we realized that finding a translator that could capture the speed, violence and sexuality of the book was going to be a challenge.  Our goal is always to create a product that has as much polish, but more care than large publishers can provide.

A good translator takes words from one language and makes them readable in another.  A great translator, on the other hand,  takes words filled with nuance, breaks them apart, finds the inherent truth beneath the words and recasts them with the original essence still intact.  Demon Hunters needed not just a great translator, but the right translator.  After months of searching, we stumbled across the perfect translator for Demon Hunters:  Jonathan Lloyd-Davies.

What struck us most is his incredibly nuanced mastery of both English and Japanese, along with an uncanny grasp of Baku Yumemakura’s style and voice.  After a digging into his previous work, we became convinced that we had crossed paths with the next great Japanese translator.  When we finally gathered to meet at a Tokyo Izakaya over beers and food, we discovered Jon had spent 3 years living in Gifu, one of the main settings in Demon Hunters, and a setting that occurs over and over in Baku Yumemakura’s works.  It seemed like suspiciously good luck that we should meet under such circumstances.

Demon Hunters is a graphic, violent, and sexual book that, in any other author’s hands, could easily plunge into the realm of pulpy exploitation–something we love at Biko.  However, Demon Hunters rises above the pulpy exterior and dives (Psyche Dives?) into the realm of art.  In Baku’s hands, there is a depth–a historical and metaphysical core that demands attention.  After putting Majugari down, it calls to be read more, to be thought about; the imagery and world lingering for weeks at a time.

Jon’s task was to capture the breakneck pace, the intense imagery and brutal violence, while gently navigating the paper-thin line between art and exploitation.  We knew he had succeeded when we picked up the English version and felt the same brutality, emotions, and images pouring into our minds.

Demon Hunters: Desires of the Flesh is available from the Kindle Bookstore as a Kindle Select title.  Prime owners can take the book out on loan for free.  If you enjoy the book, please write a review and give Jonathan Lloyd-Davies a nod for his incredible work.

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