In my post about Hakkenden I lamented the lack of a good English translation of the book (apart from the extracts found here and there). There's also vanishingly little English scholarship about the author (Bakin Takizawa) — apart from one book which I have found, Leon M. Zolbrod's Takizawa Bakin, volume 20 in the Twayne's World Authors Series, and now quite out of print. The book goes into great detail about Takizawa's life and the history of Hakkenden itself, and despite being a 1967 edition relies on a number of Japanese-language primary sources, so I suspect there hasn't been a seismic amount of change in the landscape of understanding for the subject since.
It's times like this where I say to myself, "Surely the Google Books deal isn't such a bad idea?" Then again Amazon just this week released their Kindle Reader for the PC, and if I have to choose between Google's dubious approach and paying Amazon a flat fee (at least some of which is designed to go back to the author's estate) for a PC-readable digital copy, I incline that much more towards Amazon's approach. At least there the chain of responsibility and ownership is a little clearer.
So what did I do? I bought a used copy, for something like $8. Through Amazon, no less. I can't say their motives are pure — they're a business — but again, at least I have that much better an idea of where everything comes from and where it goes.