Dune in Japanese 砂の惑星


“…here’s a new one for you: the gom jabbar. It kills only animals.” Pride overcame Paul’s fear. “You dare suggest a Duke’s son is an animal?” he demanded. “Let us say, I suggest you may be human,” she said, “steady!”

Because I am a huge nerd, I thought it would be fun to try to read one of my favorite books in a foreign language, Japanese. I found a copy of Dune online at Amazon JP. In Japanese the title is either 砂の惑星 (suna no wakusei “Sand Planet”) or just デゥーン which is a transliteration of “Dune”.

Cover of Dune in Japanese

This book belongs to a science-fiction series called the Hayakawa Series (ハヤカワ文庫), which includes many other English-language science-fiction books translated into Japanese. I was surprised to see most1 Roger Zelazny books translated into Japanese and sold by Hayakawa too! I might buy some of those next. It seems like something I might do on my trip to Japan soon. 😉

Anyhow, like most Japanese books, it’s much smaller than American-printed books. This makes it easy to carry on trains and such I assume. I’ve been reading it on the bus, which is helpful because the bus gets very crowded. In fact, this book is only the first part of the novel. There are at least two other parts. I believe that if they published it as a single novel, it would be too thick for Japanese-style books, so they decided to break it up.

Also, the book features scenes from the 1984 movie Dune, including the cover above. The cover photo is the same scene I quoted above, which you can also see here on Youtube:

There are other scenes inside the book too from the movie, usually one per chapter or so. Some in color, but most are black and white.

So, you might ask: is it difficult to read?

Oh yes, it is difficult, but it’s still very interesting to me. Dune is difficult to read in English, so reading in Japanese is even harder. However, it’s a story I like very much, plus I already know the story, so even though there are many difficult words, I can still follow along. Plus, I learn many new words in the process like 老婆 (old woman, crone), 領土 (territory, dominion), 公爵 (Duke), 視線 (gaze, glance), 香料 (spice) etc. 🙂

I’m only on page 25, but it’s a good start for only 2 days.

1 I am unable to find Zelazny’s Isle of the Dead in Japanese so far which is unfortunate. That’s one of my favorites too.


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

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