During a livestream event held on Thursday, Fuji TV revealed their plans to present an anime adaptation of Shion Miura’s novel The Great Passage, which is scheduled to air this fall season. The first insight into proceedings has come with the introduction of Haruko Kumota, author of the manga which inspired the gorgeous Showa Genroko Rakugo Shinju anime, as the original character designer. There’s also the promo video below, which announces the official website and Twitter for the series.
The Japanese Literature Publishing and Promotion Centre’s J’Lit: Books from Japan gives us this introduction to the novel:
The story follows the lengthy process of compiling a dictionary, bringing a genuine sense of drama to the lives of people who immerse themselves day after day in the constant flux of language. Mitsuo Majime is 27 and in his third year of employment at the major publishing house Genbu Shobo when he is transferred to the Dictionary Department. The company is known for its excellent lexicons, and has been laying the groundwork for a major new release,Daitokai (The Great Passage)—a 2,900-page tome of the Japanese language. Led by a 37-year veteran of dictionary compilation named Araki, an editorial team of three others is chipping away at the project: a somewhat sketchy fifth-year employee named Nishioka, a contract employee who handles clerical matters, and a linguistics scholar named Matsumoto, who works as an external advisor to the project. Although Majime was regarded as something of an odd fish in the Sales Department where he worked before, his resume includes studying linguistics in graduate school, and Araki has hand-picked him to join the group in advance of his own impending retirement. Socially inept and still a virgin, Majime’s only interest seems to be in collecting antiquarian books. Then Kaguya Hayashi, his landlady’s granddaughter who is training as a chef in Japanese cuisine, moves into the old apartment house where he lives . . .
In Chapter 4 the story jumps forward 13 years. Amidst budgetary cutbacks from declining book sales that have hit the entire industry, Araki stayed on for a time past his official retirement age but is now fully retired, and Nishioka has been transferred out to another department as well, leaving Majime as the only regular employee in the group. Having successfully wooed and married Kaguya, he is now putting the finishing touches on the long-standing Daitokai project, but as the date of publication approaches, Matsumoto is hospitalized with stomach cancer . . .
The original Japanese title, which means “Assembling a Boat,” refers to an observation made by Araki: “A dictionary is a boat to carry us across the sea of words.” The film version of the novel, released in 2013, has been selected as the Japanese entry in the 86th Academy Awards (2014) for Best Foreign Language Film.