Adaptations of Western Literature in Meiji Japan by J. Miller

By J. Miller

This booklet examines 3 examples of past due nineteenth-century eastern diversifications of Western literature: a biography of U.S. provide recasting him as a jap warrior, a Victorian novel reset as oral functionality, and an American melodrama redone as a serialized novel selling the reform of jap theater. Written from a comparative point of view, it argues that variation (hon'an) was once a sound kind of modern eastern translation that fostered artistic appropriation throughout many genres and between a various crew of writers and artists. moreover, it invitations readers to re-examine model within the context of translation concept.

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40 Although he came from a family of fishmongers, he was apprenticed to a family of means and developed a love for gesaku classics written by the likes of Santô Kyôden (1761–1816), Jippensha Ikku (1765–1831), and Shikitei Samba (1776–1822). As a young writer Robun focused on works that capitalized on contemporary events, such as 46 S Adaptations of Western Literature in Meiji Japan the Ansei earthquake (1855) and the repeal of the age-old prohibition of women climbing Mt. Fuji (1860), and his most famous works include Western themes.

In front of these elegant apartments were congregated a large number of our Japanese friends. Mr. Kusumoto [Masataka, Governor of Tokyo]’s stately figure moved up to us and we received from His Excellency a kind greeting. Mr. Nakamura [Masanao, educator], in a swallow-tail several sizes too large for him and an unruly collar, beamed upon us from behind a door, where the crowd had forced his insignificant figure. The tall, muscular form of Mr. Fukuzawa [Yukichi, educator], arrayed in the stiffest of stiff hakama, towered above the surrounding men of shorter stature.

Thus objectified, printed texts took on a dimension of malleability that allowed, if not encouraged, domestication: The horizontal, foreign alphabets, photograph-based etchings, and other illustrations—even the chapbook, literary journal and hard-bound book formats—set the hon’anmono sources apart from Japanese textual conventions. In the case of printed sources, then, the physical strangeness of the imported text demanded localized adaptation, and Meiji writers went to varying lengths in their efforts to tone down the otherness of the originals.

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