Today I'm very pleased to be interviewing Jason Rohan, the author of "The Sword of Kuromori" and "The Shield of Kuromori." I'd like to thank him for agreeing to do this interview and for taking the time out to answer a few questions for Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books. This has been one of my favourite Q&As that I've received recently - very interesting and incredibly engaging. Thank you very much.
Tell us a little bit about The Sword of Kuromori and the series?
As the title suggests, The Sword of Kuromori is somewhat unique for a kids' book in that it's set entirely in modern Japan. Japan is one those countries that everyone knows a little about but at the same time is still viewed as exotic and largely unknown which is odd given the huge presence Japanese culture has in our lives. Be it film, comics, consumer electronics, cars, toys, games, fashion, cuisine - you name it - Japan has its influence.
Having spent five years in Japan, living and working the sarariman lifestyle, I wanted to bring that rich culture to a wider audience, not only by describing everyday life in the country, but also by tapping into its history, religion and folklore. As with Europe, villages were quite isolated in feudal times and regions developed their own distinctive traits, such as dialects, foods and folk tales. These diverse myths create a rich backdrop to set a story against and I had a blast bringing some of these ancient stories kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
One of the central conflicts I see in modern Japan is the clash between a fiercely traditional society and a fast-paced world which embraces technology. I decided to take that old-versus-new battle to a literal extreme by having ancient Japanese gods adopt modern science to settle old scores, and that's another aspect which I think sets the Kuromori books apart from other middle grade fantasy stories.