Miyuki Ono’s science fiction story “Pure” is being released as NFT (non-fungible token) copies to create a new channel of income for writers and translators who are currently insufficiently compensated for their work.

Fast facts

  • “Pure” is one of world’s first Japanese science fiction works released as an NFT, while also being the first NFT of a Japanese story to be released with English translations. The English translations are exclusively available on the NFTs. Ono explained her motive in her blog, “By releasing this story and translations as NFTs, I hope to suggest a new possibility for literary translation and encourage more translations from Japanese.” She believes the sales of her novel in NFTs could bring a new profit model for authors and translators.
  • Ono explained how it is difficult to make a living out of being a translator of literature in Japan. Ono says that translators are underpaid compared to the amount of time and effort devoted to translating a literary work, all the while only a small portion of Japanese literature gets English translations. 
  • Three versions of the NFTs were released simultaneously, one with the original story in Japanese, one English version translated by Laurel Taylor and another by translator Kalau Almony, all with the cover art of the novel. Ono’s NFT version of Pure is currently on sale on OpenSea NFT Marketplace
  • “Pure” is a love story based in a world where females must consume males in order to get pregnant. It became popular in 2019 when it was first posted on Japan’s science fiction publisher Hayakawa Publishing’s online blog, gaining 200,000 views. This led to the story being published in a collection along with four other stories in 2020.