Heart of Thomas Errata

To everyone who has already purchased or ordered my translation of Moto Hagio’s The Heart of Thomas, please note that there is text missing in panels 4, 5 and 6 on page 29. They should read as follows:

Panel 4, Oskar: ….

Panel 5, caption: It’s as if his whole body was spitting out blue sparks.

Panel 6, caption: Find your answer, Juli. And then get it off your chest.

The page should look something like this:



I want to apologize to everyone who bought or read the book, as well as to Ms. Hagio and the people at Shogakukan Publishing. This omission was actually caught in our very thorough editing process, yet somehow worked its way back into the final manuscript that went to the printer. I failed to catch the omission the second time, and for that I apologize.  I have never been so upset about an error in one of my books. I am now worried that there are other omissions or errors that got by. I’m almost afraid to look. My thrill at seeing this gorgeous book–which is in some ways my “life work”–lasted for about five minutes, and then I noticed the missing text.

And this happened on the day after I was married! I almost wish I hadn’t discovered the error for a few more days.

  1. Jillian’s avatar

    Sadly, I noticed some other errors :( I don’t recall the pages, but there’s a place where the Japanese text (inai) is alongside the English (he’s not here). Also, the first mention of oscar’s father is Gustov, while subsequent times he is Gustof. Breaks my heart a little for such a beautiful book to have these mistakes.

  2. Hayden’s avatar

    Holy cow, I didn’t even know that you were working on a translation! Where do I order a copy?

    As for the errors, I suppose I’ll be one of those readers who wouldn’t know, not being conversant in Japanese. :( Still, it’s not going to stop me from getting a copy after owning an untranslated one for nearly a decade now.

  3. Matt’s avatar

    Jillian, thank you for the information, and, again, my apologies. In a book of this length and complexity, minor errors are inevitable, and the errors you mention are, to my mind, “acceptable” (or as acceptable as any errors can be). But the one I corrected here is a pretty big one in my book (so to speak). But the omission does not seem to have disturbed the flow of the book for anyone. I suppose we can more or less imagine what Oskar is feeling in those panels.

    Hayden, you can buy it just about anywhere. It’s always nice to buy from a local independent bookstore, but there’s always that online behemoth that does not need to be named. I’m so glad that people like you can finally read this in English. I really did pour my heart and soul into this one. The original moved me so much that it quite literally changed my life, and I wanted to convey that in English as effectively and powerfully as possible. Errata aside, I’m more proud of this book than of any other work I have done in 22 years of professional translating.

  4. Hayden’s avatar

    That’s awesome, thank you! Looks like I can order it through Indiebound. :)

    I love Heart of Thomas. I took to it more than Kaze to Ki no Uta, which was gut-wrenching, to be sure, but over-the-top in the angst and tragedy. Moto Hagio’s Manga is much more restrained and more affecting BECAUSE of that quietness. Or at least that’s how I interpret my copy.

  5. Matt’s avatar

    Hayden, despite superficial similarities (both were inspired by Les amitiés particulières, both are set in a European boys’ boarding school, both deal with same-sex attraction), the two are very different works. It like comparing A Tale of Two Cities and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Both are about the French Revolution, both are set in England and France, both are great reads, but they are in completely different genres and serve different purposes.

  6. Kimberly Lammens’s avatar

    Thank you very much for posting the omissions!

    I’m thankful to you for being a part of this project and an enthusiastic part at that! Making mistakes and not being afraid of them is only learning that moves us forward!

    Congratulations on your marriage!

  7. Matt’s avatar

    Thank you, Kimberly! I’m just grateful to Fantagraphics for letting me do this. It was my dream for literally a quarter of a century to translate The Heart of Thomas, and now that dream is realized. Naturally I wanted it to be perfect, but there you go. I just hope there will future print runs!

  8. a-yin’s avatar

    I would like to read your translation of The Heart Of Thomas. Plus, the edition seems so beautiful…

    I bought my French copy of it The Heart Of Thomas, since I live in France and I wanted to support the French publisher to get a chance, maybe, to read other works of Moto Hagio in French one day… The Heart Of Thomas is the first work of Moto Hagio published in French (actually, the first work is Leokun but it was available during Japan Expo 2012 only… that’s to say, it’s hard to get it).

    The French edition by Kaze lacks lots of introduction texts about Moto Hagio. I think that’s a real shame when editor publish that kind of work, so important for the history of shôjo manga, and manga too. There is nothing about Moto Hagio, unless a little listing of her works (and a little listing…). We don’t hear much about Moto Hagio now that The Heart Of Thomas has been published here.

    It’s sad that the publisher didn’t add text about her works, Moto Hagio is mainly known by the French audience through her BL influence. But nothing is said about her SF work.

    I read They were eleven (in floppy issues since Four Shôjo Stories is so expensive…), A, A’ and A Drunken Dream and Other Stories in English, Léokun and The Heart Of Thomas in French.

    I do hope to read more of her manga such as Marginal, or Barbara Ikai, they sound so interesting… A Cruel God Reigns and Mesh too. The one I’m the most curious about is Silver Triangle. The panels are magnificient… Is there a chance to get them published by Fantagraphics?

    I’ve just read Shio Satô’s The Changeling you translated in Four Shôjo Stories. It was an excellent read and I’m sad that nothing more has been translated into English. Why? You recommended One Zero and I’m looking for a Chinese edition of it. About The Changeling, I saw it was in a one-shot entitled The Changeling. What are the other stories included in this one-shot?

    Congratulations for your translation of The Heart Of Thomas. As a big fan of this manga, I think you were really thrilled to work on it ^^ .

  9. Matt’s avatar

    a-yin, thank you for your comments. The Fantagraphics edition is indeed beautiful. I think it’s the most beautiful edition of the work that has been published anywhere, in any language. (The Japanese “Perfect Selection” edition is quite nice, but ours is better!) And I worked very hard to make the translation as beautiful as the original.

    I’m sorry to hear that the French edition did not include any text on the background of the work. I feel it is essential to have that information in order to fully appreciate the work, although I would like to believe that the work can stand on its own in any language (if properly translated!). Did you feel that the French translation was good?

    I think it’s a shame that people lump The Heart of Thomas into the “BL” genre. It helped to create that genre, but that is like lumping The Lord of the Rings in with Deltora Quest.

    I’m flattered that you have read all of my Hagio translations! I’m proud of them all. It is too bad that They Were Eleven and A, A’ are out of print. Perhaps that situation can be remedied. I would love to do more of Hagio’s work, and have been talking with the editors at Fantagraphics about it. I cannot say more than that. I hope you understand.

    As for Satô, I’m very sorry to say that she passed away several years ago. She was much too young. Perhaps someday I will have another opportunity to translate her work. She was one of the smartest, most knowledgeable people I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. As for the other stories included in the Changeling volume, I’m afraid I don’t recall them off the top of my head, and my copy of the book is in my office at the university.

  10. Jillian’s avatar

    Despite any little errors (and someone like me kinda freaks out even about stuff like the wrong captions on some of the illustrations at the back of Drunken Dream…) the Fantagraphics Moto Hagio books are two of the most beautiful books I own, or could hope to own.

    Thank you Matt for working so hard to bring them to us!!

  11. Ben Applegate’s avatar

    It’s seriously classy of you to do this. I’m really enjoying Heart of Thomas, and I am on my third copy of Drunken Dream (I keep giving them away and having to buy another one).

  12. Rae’s avatar

    Oh, how bittersweet. I’m afraid I did notice the omission too since I’ve had the Japanese version for many years after I stumbled on your website. The English book is so large the details in the artwork truly stand out. I haven’t been able to read all of it yet though because my emotions overwhelmed me. I’ve never gotten through it without crying.

    I feel bad asking about this now too but, one thing I noticed was that there is more German being used than in the original. I don’t speak any German despite that my Grandmother was fluent, so it was a little distancing in places so far even though I know it’s simplistic. Sorry!

    Regardless, I will be trying to get my friends and family to read this wonderful book now. Thank you Mr. Thorn and Fantagraphics so much!

  13. Matt’s avatar

    Thank you Jillian!

    Ben, wow! You’ve given away two copies of Drunken Dream!? That’s not a cheap book! LOL You’re a generous friend. I’m really glad you’re enjoying my translations of Hagio’s work.

    Rae, thank you very much, and 本当に申し訳ありません。今日は萩尾先生にお知らせしましたが、萩尾先生は寛大な方ですからお気になさらなかったようです。

    In the opening scene, I used the German for “Good morning,” to let readers know the setting was German. I did the same with some other greetings. There are certain usages in the original Japanese that cannot be directly translated into natural English, so I sometimes tried to achieve a similar effect in another place, where it seemed more natural. Greetings are one example of where I could do that, because most readers of English are familiar with basic German greetings.

    Incidentally, while translating I relied on a native German speaker for advice, particularly for coming up with real German names that were close to the names Hagio-sensei created. (Hagio-sensei invented many of the names, and it would have sounded strange to try to invent a Latin spelling for a fictional name such as, for example, ユリスモール. I also kept in constant contact with Hagio-sensei, and she approved every name. In my first draft of the afterword, I explained all of this in great detail, but my editor (who is also a translator of French) felt it did not belong in the book, and that readers would be interested in the background of the original manga, so I removed all of that material.

    I, too, have never gotten through this book without crying. It is not a book I can read in one sitting.

  14. a-yin’s avatar

    Hi Matt,

    Thank you for your reply!!!!

    I am indeed very proud to have your translations of Moto Hagio (except The Heart Of Thomas).

    I also think it’s such a shame to only talk about the influence of The Heart Of Thomas on BL manga since this book is so much more than that. It’s very deep and there are lots of things about freedom, “libre arbitre” as we say in French. And I really feel it in other works of Moto Hagio such as They were eleven, where the characters want to be free from something, and this goal is possible thanks to the exam entrance to the Galactic University.

    The SF work of Moto Hagio should not be ignore, and I really hope that French publisher will translate some of her SF works.

    I don’t know Japanese, but I really enjoy your translations. That’s why I wanted to buy Fantagraphics edition of The Heart Of Thomas.

    The French translation… I’m kind of lucky not to be very careful about the language. But my friend told me the French translation is very bad. She’s a translator herself, and she really was pissed by it. The translation was done by Japanese people, and “supervised” by Patrick Honnoré but maybe he didn’t have the plenty time to check it. This man is a really good translator, he’s working on Reiko Okano’s Onmyôji,which is kind of a challenge…

    I knew through your blog that Shio Satô passed away. It was a very sad news to me since I only read her story recently. I guess she was as smart as you tell me, we can feel it when reading her story. The feel is so peculiar… I was really thrilled. Thank you again to introduce this kind of author to the Occidental audience.

    I still have a little question. As I discovered shôjo in English, and as a foreign reader (so I don’t really know much about the market in the US), I had the feeling there was a real editor work to pick the shôjo titles, such as Akimi Yoshida’s Banana Fish, Yumi Tamura’s Basara, Chie Shinohara’s Red River, Moto Hagio’s works, Keiko Nishi or Shio Satôh. There were, with Viz, like a real will to present female mangaka through Animerica or Pulps. But now, and it ressembles the French market, published shôjo seem to tend to “girly romance in high school”. Why is that? Is this the Tokyopop effect you told about in an older article of your blog (but that was the translator point of view)? I’m very curious about the shôjo market evolution.

    I really love Akimi Yoshida and I read all her works in Chinese since only Banana Fish has been translated in French (maybe Umimachi Diary in 2013…). And I think all her works are amazing (Yasha, Kisshou Tennyo, Lovers’ Kiss are top notch). Why did not Viz translated more of her works? Did Akimi Yoshida’s Banana Fish sell well? I would like to read Ryoko Yamagishi’s Hi Izuru Tokoro Tenshi which was a great influence to Akimi Yoshida…

    Congratulations for your wedding :) . I’m still waiting for your next translations at Fantagraphics (still crossing the fingers for… Barbara Ikai or Marginal 😉 ). Thank you again for your work.

  15. Matt’s avatar

    a-yin, I’m sorry to hear that the French translation is not good. The sad fact is that good translations are rare, in any language, and The Heart of Thomas is particularly challenging.

    When we were choosing titles to translate at Viz in the early 1990s, there were very few women reading comics, so we had to choose titles that would appeal to male readers of comics. Science fiction and fantasy were obvious choices. BANANA FISH also had a clear crossover appeal. The Keiko Nishi stories I translated were riskier, because they were entirely about relationships, with very little fantasy element. Later, after the success of Sailor Moon, the number of girls and young women interested in reading translated increased dramatically, but by that time I had stopped translated manga in order to focus on the creation of Japan’s first “department of manga.” What you call the “girly romance in high school” is in fact the mainstream of shōjo manga, and has been since the late 1960s. Most such manga are shallow, but most shōnen manga are shallow, too. That is the nature of popular entertainment. Personally, I am happy to see those kinds of stories translated, because it means shōjo manga has become mainstream, and we no longer have to restrict ourselves to stories intended to appeal to narrow niches. And some of those “girly romances in high school” are actually quite good.

    Thanks for the congratulations on my marriage! I feel like congratulating myself for finding my perfect partner! 😀

  16. a-yin’s avatar

    Hi Matt,

    It’s pretty much the same here in France. Comics is not something for “girls” and the first shôjo manga translated here were fantasy series. Espescially CLAMP’s series which sold so well. So we got Watase’s Fushigi Yugi, Hiwatari’s Please Save My Earth, Yuki’s Angel Sanctuary and so on. But no trace of Moto Hagio or other major figures, since the drawing looks too old I guess.

    Manga were very popular in the French market because of Dragon Ball. So it’s a different market, since it’s very much based on shônen. We needed shôjo titles that could appeal a male audience, with adventures and so on. I think things changed, not because of Sailor Moon (it was also popular for male readers, even they can’t really be proud of it 😀 ha ha) but because of Fruits Basket I think, and Nana which was a big hit here. Then, all publishers wanted to get their “girly shôjo romance”.

    I know the romance is the mainstream shôjo in Japan. But I was happy there were other kind of titles. I’m still very surprised about the titles that were published such as Moto Hagio or Banana Fish in the US market. Banana Fish was kind of a flop here, even it’s well known for its quality by some manga readers here.

    But I think choices like Moto Hagio were pretty audacious from Viz (more audacious than what we got in France such as CLAMP for example). In France, we still have some other shôjo titles such as Onmyôji, Ooku, Kaguya Hime, The Top Secret… 7 Seeds has unfortunately been stopped. They don’t sell very well.

    I know some good romance high school :) such as Fusako Kuramochi’s Tenne Kokekko (which is not a hit because the story is too slow and the drawings not appealing) or Asakura’s Oboreru Knife (I guess it’s translated here).

    Thank you very much for this discussion. I know my English is not very easy to read…

    I’m forward to reading other of your translations :).

  17. Michelle Smith’s avatar

    Personally, I loved the use of “gutenmorgen” to alert readers to the German setting. :)

    The one error I’ve noticed is on page 16, where “alter” is used instead of “altar.”

  18. Hayden’s avatar

    I finally bought my copy. 😀 I’m so stoked! I’ll be blogging about it when I receive it (and again after I read it) and, yep, will be geeking out totally with pictures of your edition plus the original that I have, ad nauseam, ad infinitum.

    I suppose now’s not the time to dangle a carrot for a translation of Kaze to Ki no Uta, huh? XD Just kidding. That’ll be monstrous to say the least.

    And I keep forgetting to congratulate you on your wedding.

  19. Michelle Smith’s avatar

    I did want to add, btw, that although these errors seem huge to you, who wanted it to be perfect, they really don’t detract from one’s reading experience. It’s still a lovely edition and I’m so grateful to be able to read it!

  20. Pirkaf’s avatar

    I just received my copy and I filled those panels myself with pencil. I’m really looking forward to reading this beautiful book, I liked Drunken Dream a lot. Cheers from Czech Republic!

  21. Renee’s avatar

    Hello, I bought Heart of Thomas when it first came out, but I didn’t see this blog post until now! Thank you for the correction on page 29. It does bring a bit more clarity to that page. The other notes you mention above (such as having to adapt the Japanese names) are also interesting. Though they weren’t included in the book, I’m glad to read them here.

    There are a couple other bits of the book that I’ve wondered about and maybe you can clarify. On page 139, at the bottom, the student yells out, “Yuri!” I’m guessing this is supposed to be “Juli” maybe?

    Page 507, Juli says, “I made a show of rejecting Juli at the farce.” I’m guessing he means Thomas instead of Juli.

    I think there are some other minor issues (such as, I’m guessing, on 316, the two sets of ellipses in the second panel aren’t deliberate) that I can’t recall offhand and are much less noticeable, but I was always curious about those 2 pages in particular.

    None of the issues I’ve mentioned make me regret my purchase. In addition to Please Save My Earth, Berserk, Five Star Stories, and Swan (though the last 2 are incomplete), I never thought I would see Heart of Thomas printed in English. I couldn’t be happier to be wrong in those cases! When I heard the news this book would be printed, I was very excited. In no way could I be disappointed to own this edition of Thomas.

    I’ve also enjoyed your translations of Viz’s other Moto Hagio’s books (A, A` now gets to sit next to Drunken Dream and Thomas on the bookshelf), Est Em’s works for Deux, and your other works for Fantagraphics. Fantagraphics is one of my favorite publishers and the editions they’ve published of your translations are beautiful (the Hagio interview was also great!). I admit though that I may have never checked out Est Em or Wandering Son if your name hadn’t been attached, and I’m glad I did. I look forward to following your work in the future! :)

  22. Håkan’s avatar

    The name “Yuri” is probably a mistake. Directly transcribed, the katakana for the name is “Yuri”, and it could also be a deadline mixup with the Russian male or the Japanese female name…

    Remarks aside, I’m hoping for more classic shoujo manga series to appear in the future.

  23. Matt’s avatar

    Renee, thank you for the heads up, and apologies (again) for all these errors. I know I’ve already said it, but I continue to be shocked and feel terrible. The thing that is most infuriating is that the editors and I caught ALL of these errors at one point, and yet somehow an earlier, uncorrected version of the script ended up going to the printer. I have asked Fantagraphics about the possibility of a second print run that fixes all these humiliating errors, but have not heard back from them. I assume they won’t even think about it until the first print run is almost sold out.

  24. Matt’s avatar

    Oh, and, yes, as Håkan noted, “Yuri” was a brain fart on my part. The Japanese pronunciation of the name I translated as “Juli” is “Yuri.”

  25. Marguerite’s avatar

    Hi Mr. Thorn,

    Thank you so much for your wonderful work on Drunken Dream and The Heart of Thomas. I had been looking for professional translations of Ms. Hagio’s manga for at least five years, so I’m very grateful for the quality of these beautiful editions. It’s actually very hard to find her works in translation! Some have been scanlated, but it’s a shame that few have been licensed. Sadly, I haven’t managed to procure a copy of your translation of “A, A'” yet.

    Since I speak French, I was able to supplement my collection with the short story anthology published by Glenat less than a year ago, which included “They Were Eleven” and its sequel, as well as “Egg Stand,” “Kawaisou no Mama,” “Shiroki Mori Shiroi Shonen no Fue” and “11 Gatsu no Gymnasium.” I have a feeling that both French and American manga markets are beginning to bring in more manga made for more mature audiences, based on your work with Fantagraphics, but also based on Viz’s Signature line works and the 2011 French release of Riyoko Ikeda’s “Versailles no Bara” (in a pleasantly larger format than most manga).

    It would be a terrible shame if more of Ms. Hagio’s works were not translated in English, but there’s been a lot of enthusiasm for your translations so I hope more will come! As for French editions, I’m hoping people’s love of history will allow “Ohi Margot” to be licensed in France (I’m not holding my breath, but I think it’s more likely than for her other works, besides “Poe no Ichizoku”). Do you think that there is a particular subject that may interest American audiences in more obscure manga? Thank you again for putting so much effort into these wonderful tales, and good luck with your future projects!

  26. Tila’s avatar

    Actually I’m very disappointed with the book and Fantagraphics especially. I knew there are missing translation because i read your amazon review and even when I purposely get my book late (this month) none of the error mention above has been corrected. The QC of this book is terribly done, I’m happy i get my copy and disappointed and irritated at the same time because publisher unwilling to take charge and correct the error. With that said, i dont think I’ll be getting anymore book from Fantagraphics.

  27. Jen’s avatar

    Will there be a second printing of this manga? I really want to buy it, but then I heard about the errors and am having second thoughts since it’s $40. :/

  28. Ben Applegate’s avatar

    Jen: Of course, there will only be a second printing if enough people buy the first one. We’re not privy to the decisions Fantagraphics made so we have no idea. I’d buy the book. It’s more than worth the money, and Matt has been very open about issuing these really very minor errata.

  29. Matt’s avatar

    Thanks to all for your interest and comments. If Fantagraphics was a big publisher, maybe they could afford to scrap the first printing and redo it, but they can’t afford to do that. It was a freak accident. The whole book was perfectly edited, then somehow an earlier version got sent to the printer instead of the final version. This book is personally very important to me, and I wanted it to be perfect. And nothing like this has ever happened before, though the occasional typo always sneaks in. This breaks my heart, and I’m very sorry about it. As Ben says, there won’t be a second printing till the first sells out. All I can do is offer this page with the corrections. Again, I am very sorry.


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