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Crawford Steve <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 12 Dec 2006 08:52:47 +0200
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I believe that some Japanese "creatively" translated western texts
primarily because of subjective cultural and not overtly political
concerns. Certain aspects of westerns texts would not have made much
sense to Japanese, in spite of the fascination with western culture
prevalent during certain periods of late Japanese history.
Translators were probably quite challenged on one hand to cater to
idealized notions, for example of the western gentleman (the British
"Dandy"), while at the same time presenting cultural aspects which
would appear to be completely upside down to the Japanese. Whether it
was right to do so may be difficult today for others to rationalize,
keeping in mind that at the time the distance in cultural terms
between Japan and west would be comparable perhaps to the distance
between the earth and Pluto. To some significant degree we pick and
choose what aspects of other cultures we incorporate into our own,
vis-a-vis the translation of texts, unless of course we are forced to
accept the other at the end of a sword. We should also keep in mind
that in terms of the receptivity of others, western critique of non-
western literature has over the years been an exercise of dominance
over the other.

Steve Crawford
Jyväskylä, Finland