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Worlding Sei Shônagon

Worlding Sei Shônagon: The Pillow Book in Translation

Copyright Date: 2012
Published by:
Pages: 330
  • Book Info
    Worlding Sei Shônagon
    Book Description:

    TheMakura no Sôshi, orThe Pillow Bookas it is generally known in English, is a collection of personal reflections and anecdotes about life in the Japanese royal court composed around the turn of the eleventh century by a woman known as Sei Shônagon. Its opening section, which beginsharu wa akebono, or "spring, dawn," is arguably the single most famous passage in Japanese literature.Throughout its long life,The Pillow Bookhas been translated countless times. It has captured the European imagination with its lyrical style, compelling images and the striking personal voice of its author. Worlding Sei Shônagon guides the reader through the remarkable translation history ofThe Pillow Bookin the West, gathering almost fifty translations of the "spring, dawn" passage, which span one-hundred-and-thirty-five years and sixteen languages. Many of the translations are made readily available for the first time in this study.The versions collected inWorlding Sei Shônagonare an enlightening example of the many ways in which translations can differ from their source text, undermining the idea of translation as the straightforward transfer of meaning from one language to another, one culture to another. By tracing the often convoluted trajectory through which a once wholly foreign literary work becomes domesticated-or resists domestication-this compilation also exposes the various historical, ideological or other forces that inevitably shape our experience of literature, for better or for worse.

    eISBN: 978-0-7766-1979-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. None)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. None)
  3. Preface
    (pp. i-vi)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-x)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-46)

    In 1889, one of the very first scholarly articles ever written in English on the subject provided a highly laudatory, albeit significantly orientalizing, depiction of what Western readers would discover in an encounter with Classical Japanese literature:

    Gentleness and grace and a vein of playful humour are its chief characteristics. We look in vain for the bold, irregular flights of imagination, or for that rude, untutored vigour which we are accustomed to associate with the first literary efforts of a nation just emerging from barbarism. Instead of war and rapine, of deeds of daring and revenge, the gentler muse of...

  6. Sei Shônagon Classical Japanese
    (pp. 47-50)
    Makura no Sôshi

    春はあけぼの。 やうやうしろくなりゆく山ぎ は、 すこしあかりて、 紫だちたる雲のほそくたなび きたる。

    夏は夜。 月のころはさらなり、 闇もなほ、 蛍もなほく飛びちがひたる。 また、 ただ一つ二つな ど、 ほのかにうち光りて行くもをかし。 雨など降る もをかし。

    秋は夕暮。 夕日のさして山の端いと近うな りたるに、 烏のねどころへ行くとて、 三つ四つ、 二 つ三つなど飛びいそぐさえあはれなり。 まいて雁な どのつらねたるが、 いと小さく見ゆるは、 いとおか し。日入り果てて、 風の音、 虫の音など、 はた言ふ べきにあらず。

    冬はつとめて。 雪の降りたるは言ふべきに もあらず、 霜のいと白きも、 またさらでもいと寒き に、 火などいそぎおこして、 炭持てわたるも、 いと つきづきし。 昼になりて、 ぬるくゆるびもていけ ば、 火桶の火も、 白き灰がちになりてわろし。

    Modernized Japanese crib provided beneath original:

    春はあけぼの。 だんだん白んでくっきりとし てゆく山ぎわが、 少し赤みを帯び明るくなって、 紫 がかった雲が細く横になびいているの。

    夏は何といっても夜だ。 月のあるころは言 うまでもない、 闇もやはり、 蛍がたくさん入り乱れ て飛びかっているの。 また、 たくさんではなく、 た だ一つ二つなど、 かすかに光って飛んで行くのも、 夏の夜の快い趣がある。 雨などの降るのもおもしろ い。

    秋は夕暮。 夕日がさして、 もう山の端すれ すれになっている時に、 烏がねぐらへ行くというの で、 三つ四つ、 二つ三つなど、 飛んで急いで帰るの までしみじみとした感じがする。 まして雁などの列 を作っているのが、 ひどく小さく見えるのは、 とて もおもしろい。 日がすっかり沈んでしまって、 風の 音や虫の音などが聞えるのもやはり、 言いあらわし ようもなくよいものである。

    冬は早朝。 雪が降っているのは、 言うまでも ない、 霜がたいへん白くおいたのも、 またそうでな くてもとても寒い時に、...

  7. First Generation of Western Translators

    • August Pfizmaier (1875) German
      (pp. 53-58)

      An autodidact whose innkeeper father had originally intended to train as a cook, Pfizmaier (1808–1887) enjoyed a long and productive career at the Imperial University in Vienna. He lectured on and translated,inter alia, Turkish, Chinese and Japanese—his output related to China’s literature and philosophy alone is prodigious, with many dozens of publications relating to various historical periods. Pfizmaier taught himself Japanese from a small collection of books in the Imperial library, compiling his own bilingual dictionary as he went along (only a single volume of this dictionary was ever published). In 1847, he produced the first-ever translation...

    • The Late Dr. T. A. Purcell and W. G. Aston
      (pp. 59-62)

      Theobald andrew Purcell (1841–1877) served as Surgeon-Major for the British in Japan ca. 1870. In 1874, he publishedOur Neighbourhood, or Sketches in the Suburbs of Yedo, which described Japanese daily life (the various chapters, illustrated with engravings, deal with such curiosities as a saké shop and a sparrow catcher) for the entertainment and edification of those back home. William George Aston (1841–1911) was a highly respected diplomat and Japanologist, a contemporary of Ernest Satow and Basil Hall Chamberlain. His ground-breakingHistory of Japanese Literature, first published in 1899, would long serve as the standard English-language reference work....

    • Koumé Kéitchirau (1892) French
      (pp. 63-66)

      Koumé kéitchirau (1866–1934) (his name is today more commonly romanized as Kume Keiichiro), was a Japanese painter and eventually professor at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and director of the Imperial Art Academy. He studied with Raphael Collin (a prominent figure in Franco-Japanese art history, mentor to the first generation of Japanese painters working in oils) in Paris from 1885 to 1892, and became a leading proponent of theyôga(Western-style painting) school. Along with fellow artist Kuroda Seiki, Koumé was instrumental in introducing Impressionism and plein-air painting to Japan. He and Seiki founded an art...

    • W. G. Aston (1899) English
      (pp. 67-68)

      In his monograph, Aston revises and expands the material that can be found in the earlier paper co-authored with Purcell, increasing the number of passages he translates from six to eleven. He now characterizes the work as Sei Shônagon’s “farrago libelli” (105) or “medley”, thus implicitly, for the benefit of his European audience, associating his author with the great authors of ancient Rome as well as with the satiric wits of England’s more recent past. (The Latin phrase is from Juvenal and was adopted in the eighteenth century by Richard Steele as the motto for his periodicalTatler.) Aston’s admiration...

    • Henry-D. Davray (1902) French
      (pp. 69-72)

      Because the first history of Japanese literature originally written in French would not appear until 1935 (co-authored by Kuni Matsuo et al.), this 1902 version of Aston’s English-language work represented a significant publication. The first to publish a review of Yeats in France, Davray (1873–1944) was also a prolific translator from English, including such authors as H. G. Wells (many of these translations remain in print and readily available), Oscar Wilde and Joseph Conrad. In particular, Davray can be credited, along with Judith Gauthier and her famous translations from the Chinese, with helping to establish an early vogue within...

    • Karl Florenz (1906) German
      (pp. 73-76)

      Karl florenz (1865–1939) is a major figure in Japanology, widely regarded as the father of the field in Germany. He taught German at Tokyo’s Imperial University, and hisGeschichte der japanischen Litteratur(History of Japanese Literature) would serve as the standard reference work in that language for many decades. Previously, he had published numerous translations from Classical Japanese into both French and English, as well as his mother tongue. Later work includes several books on Japanese theatre and religion, as well as a lovely volume of poetry translations printed on fine handmade paper and illustrated with coloured woodblock prints....

    • Takéshi Ishikawa (1909) French
      (pp. 77-80)

      Ishikawa (1883–1951) obtained a doctorate from the Sorbonne for his thesis on thezuihitsugenre, providing explanation, analysis and partial translation of Kenkô’sTsurezuregusaand Kamo no Chômei’sHojôki, as well asThe Pillow Book. Invited to speak about Sei Shônagon before the Société Franco-japonaise de Paris shortly after the defence of his thesis, he was unfortunately called back to Japan just one week before the lecture was scheduled. That talk, titled “Une Poétesse japonaise et son œuvre” (A Japanese Poetess and Her Work”), was instead deliveredin absentiaby the society’s librarian and subsequently published in theirBulletin...

    • Michel Revon (1910) French
      (pp. 81-86)

      This anthology of Japanese literature by Michel Revon (1878–1946) was to remain a seminal work for generations, influencing scores of French writers and intellectuals from Edmond de Goncourt to Marguerite Yourcenar. Revon taught in Tokyo for many years, and later at the Sorbonne, where he eventually supervised André Beaujard’s doctoral thesis on Sei Shônagon. The cover page to this anthology, reprinted several times by Delagrave through the 1920s (and eventually reissued in 1986 by Vertiges), identifies him rather grandly as a “Former professor in the Faculty of Law in Tôkyô, Former Legal Counsellor to the Japanese Government, and Lecturer...

    • Paul Adler (1926) German
      (pp. 87-90)

      This version of Revon’s anthology, by the Czech-born Paul Adler (1878–1946), which includes approximately three dozen passages fromThe Pillow Book, enjoyed wide circulation. Adler not only translated the entire book, but also revised it significantly. He replaced the latter’s twenty-page introduction with one of his own that claims that this translation marks the first overview in German of Japanese literature (conveniently ignoring Florenz’s monumental history written two decades earlier). A postscript to the volume refers readers to Adler’s own Japanese literature handbook, published in 1925.

      Initially trained as a lawyer, Adler later joined an artist colony in Dresden...

  8. Second Generation

    • Kuni Matsuo and Steinilber-Oberlin (1928) French
      (pp. 93-96)

      Kuninosuke matsuo (1899–1975) and Émile Steinilber-Oberlin (b. 1878) jointly produced numerous works on Japanese literature and culture. Matsuo, who held degrees from both the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (School of French Studies) and the Université de Paris, was a translator, critic, author and journalist. He moved to France in 1922, and returned to Japan sometime after World War II. In 1934, Matsuo founded a periodical titledFrance-Japonand, in 1935, co-authored a history of Japanese literature. Although it does not include any translated extracts, that history contains a footnote stating: “There is a French translation [ofThe Pillow...

    • Arthur Waley (1928) English
      (pp. 97-100)

      Arthur david waley (1889–1966), né Schloss, is generally considered the West’s single most influential translator of Classical Chinese and Japanese. Within Japan as well, where many native writers once claimed to have first learned to appreciateThe Tale of Genjivia his English translation, he is widely revered.

      Waley’sPillow-Bookcontains approximately one hundred passages, or excerpts of passages, from the original text, interspersed throughout the extensive socio-cultural commentary that forms the bulk of his volume. Although generally laudatory toward his author—he applauds “the delicate precision of her perceptions” (150) and “her extreme readiness of wit” (152)—Waley...

    • Nobuko Kobayashi (1930) English
      (pp. 101-104)

      This translation would appear to be the only published work of Nobuko Kobayashi (dates unknown). It is an abridged version, containing just over fifty passages, although the claim is made in the introduction that Kobayashi has indeed translated the entire text and had at least tentative plans to publish the rest. The volume was reissued in Kyoto in 1977 by the publisher Seiza Sha, and certain passages from Kobayashi’s translation also appeared in a book titledThe Treasury of Japanese Literature(Tokyo: Jippoh-Kaku, 1933).

      L. (Lily) Adams Beck’s introduction explicitly claims sole validity for this translation: arguing, first, that none...

    • André Beaujard (1934) French
      (pp. 105-110)

      Beaujard (dates unknown) received a doctorate from the Sorbonne in 1934 for his research on Sei Shônagon, supervised by Michel Revon. The thesis comprises two volumes: one the complete and annotated translation cited above, and the other titledSéi Shônagon’ : Son temps et son oeuvre (Une femme de lettres de l’ancien Japon)[Séi Shônagon’: Her Time and Her Work (A Woman of Letters in Ancient Japan)], to which he frequently refers the reader in his footnotes. Ivan Morris and others have quite mercilessly mocked the awkward system by which Beaujard sought to indicate within square brackets any elements not...

    • E. M. Kolpakchi (1935) Russian
      (pp. 111-114)

      Evgeniia maksimovna Kolpakchi (1902–1952) belonged to the academic circle within Russia that between the wars aimed to produce translations directly from the Japanese rather than through an intermediary language. This important anthology contains translations from Chinese and Japanese into Russian by various authors and translators. Kolpakchi’s selection from Sei Shônagon comprises eleven passages, preceded by a five-page introduction to the author and her work.

      Russia had long had an interest in Japan, but the 1904–1905 Russo-Japanese war was likely the cause of the great upsurge in scholarly activity and publications witnessed in the early twentieth century. A incredibly...

    • Helmut Bode (1944) German
      (pp. 115-118)

      Helmut Bode (1910–1988) translated numerous Japanese works into German. His version of Sei Shônagon’s text is an abridged one, and this particular passage appears about two-thirds of the way through it. (In what would appear to be a simple oversight or printing error, the first appearance of this translation, in 1944, omitted the second sentence of the “Summer” section.) A postscript in the 1944 edition explains that Bode relied upon Kobayashi’s English translation, although his selection is more limited. It also acknowledges use of the translations done by Waley and Pfizmaier. The 1951 edition has been expanded to a...

    • Gerhart Haug (1948) German
      (pp. 119-122)

      Gerhart haug (1896–1958) was a noted German lyric poet, essayist and translator working primarily in Munich. His other books include translations of Balzac, Verlaine and Rimbaud.

      This volume contains just over forty passages, withharu wa akebonoappearing second (immediately after Sei Shônagon’s description of the genesis of her text). Interspersed among the passages are numerous reproductions of Japanese woodcuts by Utamaro, Hokusai and others; these well-known artists are acknowledged in an appendix. Haug cites both Florenz and Waley in his introduction, and a note at the end of the book acknowledges that he relied on both of these...

    • Mamoru Watanabe (1952) German
      (pp. 123-126)

      This well-known German translation by Watanabe (1915–1970) has been reissued many times and remains in print today. It contains approximately 135 passages, beginning with this one about the seasons, interspersed with numerous black-and-white illustrations.

      Watanabe, primarily known as a musicologist, had a long and extremely illustrious career. He graduated from Tokyo University’s School of Aesthetics in 1938 and from Vienna University in 1942. After teaching at both the Musashino Academia Musicae and Tokyo University (School of Literature), Watanabe went on to become minister of the Japanese Embassy for West Germany and Director of the Japanisches Kulturinstitut in Köln. In...

    • Zhou Zuoren (1958) Chinese
      (pp. 127-130)

      Zhou zuoren (1885–1967) was an important mainland Chinese essayist, political figure and translator, not to mention the younger brother of renowned modernist Lu Xun. They both travelled to Japan in 1906, where Zhou Zuoren studied Japanese language and literature. In 1911, he returned to China with his Japanese wife, and by 1916 held the post of professor at Beijing University, becoming Chancellor in 1939. An important figure in the May Fourth Movement, Zhou wrote essays (sometimes called miscellanies) in vernacular Chinese on such topics as folklore, anthropology and language reform, and promoted the creation of a more “humane” literature....

    • Ryôzô Matsumoto (1961) English
      (pp. 131-134)

      This translation, by a native speaker of Japanese, appears in a small anthology designed to “convey historically and comprehensively the ideo-psychological trend of Japanese literature,” as the blurb on the inside front flap of the dust cover would have it. Ryôzô Matsumoto (dates unknown) translated numerous books on Japanese art and literature into English in the 1950s and 1960s. This particular anthology, reissued in 1966, was also published in Mexico in 1970, under the titleLa tentación de Keikichi, y 8 obras más de la literatura japonesa(the Spanish version omits all of the Classical Japanese selections). Matsumoto’s other translations...

    • Unity Evans (1965) English
      (pp. 135-138)

      The original version of this book,La Littérature japonaise, appeared in France’s well-knownQue sais-je?reference series in 1956. Roger Bersihand quotes Beaujard’s translation, retaining the square brackets but making considerable abridgements (presumably owing to space constraints). The omissions remain unmarked, as they do in Evans, who has translated directly from the French. Bersihand also authoredHistoire du Japon des origines à nos jours(1959).

      A contemporary review of this volume is quite merciless to both author and translator, stating: “A heart surgeon performs operations with a scalpel, not an axe. Likewise, people who write or translate books about Japanese...

    • André Beaujard (1966) French
      (pp. 139-142)

      In his introduction, Beaujard comments briefly on the differences between this edition and that of three decades earlier: “First, in order to facilitate reading, I have done away with the brackets that I had used, in a work primarily designed for the use of specialists, to set off the words added to the text. Wherever they did not seem indispensable, these words themselves have been deleted. I have also rewritten the notes, leaving out a good number concerning, for example, titles, the names of places, animals, plants, clothing… ” (9; my translation). In this passage, the square brackets have indeed...

  9. Third Generation

    • Ivan Morris (1967) English
      (pp. 145-148)

      Morris (1925–1978) was a highly esteemed scholar and translator of Classical Japanese. His is the first English translation to render the full text, supplemented with a hefty second volume of scholarly notes, although it has circulated far more commonly in an abridged edition by Penguin Classics (with many reprints since 1970) comprising only half as many sections and drastically reduced commentary. The complete edition was also published in 1967 by Oxford University Press. Morris’sPillow Bookremains very widely read (the Penguin paperback has sold over 100,000 copies) and has served as the source text for translations into several...

    • Lydia Origlia (1968) Italian
      (pp. 149-154)

      Lydia origlia (dates unknown) is a prolific translator of primarily modern Japanese, known especially for her renditions of Mishima, Kawabata and Akutagawa. This translation ofThe Pillow Bookis complete and was published not long after that by Ivan Morris (whose English was likely consulted). In this original hardcover edition, the introduction is from Morris, although Origlia does provide her own preface as well. Despite an arguable debt to Morris with this book, Origlia is among Italy’s first generation of translators to work more or less systematically from the original Japanese rather than in a relay from the English. Earlier,...

    • Kazuya Sakai (1969) Spanish
      (pp. 155-158)

      Sakai (1927–2001) was born in Buenos Aires of Japanese parents. Educated in Japan from the age of seven, he obtained a degree in Literature and Philosophy from Waseda University before returning to teach Oriental Philosophy at Argentina’s National University of Tucumán and to lecture widely throughout that country. Sakai was also a self-taught abstract painter with numerous solo and group shows to his credit. Although perhaps best known as a visual artist, he was a frequent contributor to this Mexican journal, supplying articles on and translations of a wide range of Japanese texts. The Centro de Estudios Orientales of...

    • Marcello Muccioli (1969) Italian
      (pp. 159-162)

      Muccioli (1898–1976) was a professor of Japanese language and literature at the Istituto Universitario Orientale in Naples and at the University of Rome. He translated theHôjôkiin 1930, wrote a volume on Shintoism in 1948, and contributed extensively to an important Asian Studies journal titledRivista degli studi orientali. In the 1960s, Muccioli was very active in publishing, authoring and co-authoring books on Japanese history, theatre and morphology, as well as on Central Asia and the Far East more generally.

      Of the almost six hundred pages in this hefty volume, over four hundred deal with a survey of...

    • Nelly and Wolfram Naumann (1973) German
      (pp. 163-166)

      Nelly naumann (1922–2000) enjoyed an illustrious academic career in the field of early history and folklore. After completing her doctorate at the University of Vienna, where she studied Japanology, Sinology and Ethnology, she spent several years in Shanghai before returning to her native Germany in 1954. Her scholarly publications are extensive, dating from 1949 to the year of her death, with a primary focus on Japanese myth prior to the arrival of Buddhism. Wolfram Naumann (b. 1931) is also an acclaimed Japanologist who taught at Munich University for almost thirty years. He had studied both Law and Philology (Japanese,...

    • Stanca Cionca (1973) Romanian
      (pp. 167-170)

      Cionca, who now goes by Scholz-Cionca (birthdate unknown), is a highly respected Japanologist who has taught at various institutions in Germany and in Norway. She is currently Chair of Japanese Studies at the University of Trier, and works in Comparative Literature and Theatre, especially within the Japanese context (i.e.nohandkyôgen). She has also translated canonical modern authors such as the Nobel laureate Kawabata Yasunari and Mishima Yukio.

      This Romanian translation, which was reprinted again by rao in 2004 as part of their classics series, is preceded by a sixteen-page foreword on the author and her times.


    • Vera Markova (1975) Russian
      (pp. 171-174)

      Markova (1907–1995) was an important Russian translator, whose complete version ofThe Pillow Book, originally published in 1975, was reprinted in the 1980s and 1990s. Unesco’s Index Translationum lists a Georgian translation based on her version, with the same title, by Džumber Titmerija (Tblisi: Sabčota Sakartvelo, 1984) although sadly an extensive search failed to turn up a copy of that book in any library. Among Markova’s many other translations areTaketori Monogatari(Bamboo Cutter’s Tale) andOchikubo Monogatari(Tale of Ochikubo). Also, her renditions of Japanesehaiku, including those by Bashô, were very influential in the development of this...

    • Miroslav Novák (1984) Czech
      (pp. 175-178)

      This czech translation is found in an attractive volume devoted to the three major examples of the Japanesezuihitsu:Notes made in moments of leisure: Old Japanese literary notebooks of Madam Sei Shonagon, Kamo no Chómei, Joshida Kenko(for a brief discussion of this genre and these other authors, see my Introduction). Sei Shônagon’s work is here titled “Confidential Notebooks.” The translation of theTsurezuregusais done by Geisler, with Honcoopová credited with the lovely illustrations. Novák (1924–1982) had previously publishedFairy Tales from Japan, which also appeared in French asContes japonais.

      One oddity of this version of...

    • Tzvetana Kristeva (1985) Bulgarian
      (pp. 179-182)

      Kristeva (b. 1954) is a Bulgarian scholar of classical Japanese literature and the semiotics of culture, with an ma from the University of Moscow and PhDs from both the University of Sofia and Tokyo University. In addition to several articles specifically concerningThe Pillow Book, she has published, in Japanese, a book on the poetic language of Classical Japanese literature (Namida no shigaku[The Poetics of Tears], Nagoya University Press, 2001). Kristeva has been affiliated with several major universities in Japan, including Sofia University, Chukyo Women’s University and the University of Tokyo. She is currently professor of Classical Japanese Literature...

    • Paul Heijman (1987) Dutch
      (pp. 183-186)

      This dutch translation of Sei Shônagon is based on the abridged translation published by Ivan Morris, although Heijman’s introduction states that he also referred to Morris’s complete version as well as to Beaujard’s (in an edition from 1966). In the introduction, Heijman (birthdate unknown) paraphrases Morris and quotes indirectly but extensively from his introductory remarks.

      Heijman is a prolific translator of both fiction and non-fiction from English to Dutch. His version of Sei Shônagon’s work is very attractively presented, with an artistic dust jacket: Japanese calligraphy of the “spring” section written in red against a black background (see Appendix II)....

    • Anita Kontrec (1987) Croatian
      (pp. 187-190)

      This croatian translation by Kontrec (b. 1954), edited by Nikica Petrak, is based on Ivan Morris’s abridged version. An afterword prepared by Vladimir Devidé references Aston, Florenz, René Sieffert (a major French Japanologist and translator of theGenji, among many other works), E. Pinous, Muccioli, Donald Keene (a major American Japanologist and translator), Morris and Waley.

      From 1972 to 1978, the translator studied English Literature, Ethnology and Sociology in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Zagreb. An active painter and sculptor, her first solo exhibition, titledShapes of Memory, was shown in 1986.

      At the time of this...

    • Lin Wenyue (1989) Chinese
      (pp. 191-194)

      Lin wenyue (b. 1933) is a highly esteemed scholar who taught Japanese Literature at the National University of Taiwan for many years. In addition to this widely read version ofThe Pillow Book, she has also translated the entireTale of Genji.

      In a 1982 article about her experience as a translator, Lin writes as follows: “Generally speaking, the fundamental difference between Japanese and Chinese is that the former expresses feelings and emotions in a circumlocutory way whereas the latter tends to be more concise. This is why some people call Japanese a ‘wet’ language and Chinese a ‘dry’ one....

    • Charlotte Rohde and Lone Takeuchi (1989) Danish
      (pp. 195-198)

      Charlotte rohde (b. 1951) and Lone Takeuchi (b. 1947) are both natives of Copenhagen. Rohde graduated from Copenhagen University in 1979, and is a librarian at the Danish Royal Library. Takeuchi earned her PhD in Classical Japanese in 1987 from the same university and was, until 1996, a lecturer with the Japan Research Centre of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Her other publications includeA Study of Tense and Aspect of Classical Japanese(1987), andStructure and History of Japanese(1999). Rohde and Takeuchi had earlier also collaborated on a translation of the pre-modern tale...

    • Helen Craig McCullough (1990) English
      (pp. 199-202)

      A renowned American scholar of Classical Japanese, McCullough (1918–1998) was the author of numerous important books and articles, and translatedKokinshû, as well as selections fromThe Tale of Genji, Tale of Flowering FortunesandThe Tale of the Heike. She was among the pioneering students of the US Navy’s Japanese Language School during World War II, and served five years as a translator in Tokyo and Washington. Among other honours, she was awarded the Japanese government’s Medal of Honour in 1996. All of the translations in the textbook from which this passage is drawn are her own.


    • Javier Sologuren (1993) Spanish
      (pp. 203-206)

      Sologuren (1921–2004), one of the “50s generation” of ground-breaking Peruvian poets, published numerous books of poetry and scholarship throughout his long career.

      For this important anthology of both premodern and modern Japanese literature (a second edition was published in 2001), Sologuren was himself responsible for most of the translations, working from a French version or, occasionally, in collaboration with a Japanese-speaking colleague, from the original. The remainder were supplied by others from English or, in a few cases, directly from Japanese. For his translation of these fourteenPillow Bookpassages, Sologuren used André Beaujard (1966) as his source. He...

  10. Fourth Generation

    • Mark Jewel (ca. 1998) English
      (pp. 209-210)

      Jewel, who earned his PhD in Japanese from Stanford in 1985, joined the School of Political Science and Economics of Tokyo’s Waseda University in 1987. He is now Associate Dean for International Education, and teaches English and Comparative Literature. He has translated short stories and haiku, edited dictionaries (includingColloquial Expressions in Dialogue Form: Japanese-Englishfor Asahi Press, and theKadokawa-Scott Foreman English-Japanese Dictionaryfor Kadokawa Shoten), and published scholarly articles in both English and Japanese on such topics as the English translations of Bashô.

      This translation is among several from various periods and genres that appear on Jewel’s university-based...

    • David Greer (2000) English
      (pp. 211-214)

      David greer (b. 1952) was raised in Pennsylvania, but has lived in Japan since 1982. He is currently Associate Professor of English at Tosa Women’s Junior College in Kochi City, Shikoku, and has published a number of articles in theKyoto Journaland has also written on English as a Second Language pedagogy. At the time this article appeared, he was working on a biography of Hosokawa Gratia, the Christian wife of a sixteenth-century Japanese warlord. Greer recalls with a wink that in the year his Sei Shônagon article was published, the popular sumo wrestler known as Akebono was performing...

    • Mercè Comes (2000) Spanish
      (pp. 215-218)

      This passage appears in Comes’s recent translation of Michel Revon’s seminal anthology—done some ninety-five years after that work first appeared in French. The Spanish book proved popular enough to be reprinted in 2001. Comes (birthdate unknown) has also translated, for the same publisher, again from the French, a collection of Egyptian stories.

      The translation here remains quite faithful to the French, with a few notable differences. For example, Comes twice retains the ellipsis where Revon had instead provided complements. Where Revon uses the impersonalon(one) to describe the bringing of hot coals, Comes prefers the first person plural,...

    • Amalia Sato (2001) Spanish
      (pp. 219-222)

      Sato (b. 1952) is an Argentinian “sansei”, or grandchild of a Japanese immigrant, and a professor at the University of Buenos Aires. She is also editor of the journalTokonoma, Traducción y literature(Tokonoma, Translation and Literature; atokonomais the traditional alcove in a Japanese room where a hanging scroll and flower arrangement are often displayed), founded in 1994, which is devoted to Spanish renditions of Japanese literature. Her translations include works by Brazilian authors Clarice Lispector and Haroldo de Campos, as well as modern Japanese authors such as Kawabata Yasunari. In 2004, she was recognized as an important...

    • Iván Augusto Pinto Román, Oswaldo Gavidia Cannon, and Hiroko Izumi Shimono (2002) Spanish
      (pp. 223-226)

      Peruvian scholars Pinto Román (b. 1950) and Gavidia Cannon (b. 1963) collaborated with Izumi Shimono (b. 1964), a Japanese literature specialist then resident in Lima, to translate the entirePillow Book. (They later went on to translate jointly theTosa Diary, the early tenth-century travel journal by Tsurayuki mentioned in my introduction, as well.) This very comprehensive and scholarly Spanish-language edition, with a cover designed by Izumi Shimono (see Appendix II), appeared at almost the same time as Sato’s shorter, more popularized version came out in Argentina. The Peruvian project was originally inspired by an academic seminar that met for...

    • Kenneth L. Richard (ca. 2003) English
      (pp. 227-228)

      The website created by Kenneth L. Richard (b. 1940), associate professor (now retired) with the Siebold University of Nagasaki, comprises some brief introductory information on Sei Shônagon, with links to other resources, and translations of seven passages. Richard obtained his PhD in Japanese Literature from the University of Washington in 1973, and among his publications are translations of Japanese poetry and a book on intercultural communication.

      This translator handles the ellipsis by inserting the phrase “is best” into the initial phrase for each season. He opts to render all three instances ofokashias “wonderful,” andawarequite simply as...

    • Simon Cozens (ca. 2003) English
      (pp. 229-232)

      Cozens (b. 1978), a computer programmer and preacher—he moved to Japan in 2007 to work as a missionary—with additional interests in music and photography, created this now archived webpage for what he describes as “a new translation of Sei Shonagon’s ‘Pillow Book,’ a 10thcentury blog.” He wishes he “had had time to complete the whole work” (personal communication), but in any case has opted to reorder these fourteen translated “postings” as he sees fit. Cozens has a degree in Japanese from Pembroke College, Oxford. While translating from the original (with the comment: “I knew those classical Japanese...

    • Jorge Luis Borges and María Kodama (2004) Spanish
      (pp. 233-236)

      Borges (1899–1986), the famed Argentinian writer, enjoyed a lifelong interest in both literary translation and Japan. He is said to have translated Oscar Wilde’s “The Happy Prince” at the age of nine, for example, and in the 1930s, he reviewed Waley’s version ofThe Tale of Genji. Kodama, a former student and subsequent personal secretary of Borges’s, who was born in 1945 in Buenos Aires of Japanese-German parents, is a university professor and photographer. Following a fifteen-year relationship, they married in 1986, less than two months before his death from liver cancer, and she now manages his estate.


    • Tuncay Birkan (2006) Turkish
      (pp. 237-240)

      This first Turkish translation, funded by the Japan Foundation’s Support for Translation programe, acknowledges earlier versions by Morris, Beaujard and Watanabe, as well as two Japanese editions. Birkan, born in Istanbul in 1968, graduated from Bogazici University’s Department of English Language and Literature in 1991. He is a prolific translator of literary works, criticism, philosophy and social science, making authors as diverse as J. G. Ballard, Samuel Beckett, Charles Dickens, Stephen Jay Gould, Edward Said and Slavoj Zizek available to readers in his native language. Birkan also currently chairs Turkey’s literary translators’ society.

      Turkey is often characterized as the nation...

    • Meredith McKinney (2006) English
      (pp. 241-244)

      McKinney (b. 1950), a freelance writer and literary translator of both modern and classical Japanese, taught English at the Kobe University of Foreign Studies for two decades, but now lives in her native Australia, where she is a visiting fellow and lecturer at the Australian National University. She received her PhD in Medieval Japanese Literature from anu in 2002, not long after winning the Japan-US Friendship Commission Translation Award forRavine and Other Stories(by late twentieth-century author Yoshikichi Furui). McKinney’s other translations from Japanese includeThe Tale of Saigyo: Saigyo Monogatari, Natsume Sôseki’sKokoro, and a range of poetry....

    • Valerio Alberizzi (2006) Italian
      (pp. 245-248)

      Alberizzi (b. 1973) received his doctorate in Japanese Linguistics from the University of Foscari in Venice and was a lecturer in Japanese in the department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Bologna from 2004 to 2008. He is currently a foreign researcher at the University of Tokyo, supported by a Canon fellowship, working on historical linguistics and Sino-Japanese hybrid styles of writing.

      This translation of “famosissimo il brano iniziale” [the most famous opening passage] appears in Alberizzi’s entry forThe Pillow Bookthat was posted to the digital library of the University of Bologna in 2006....

    • Xavier Roca-Ferrer (2007) Catalan
      (pp. 249-252)

      Roca-ferrer (b. 1949) has a PhD in Classical Philology. He has translated many classics from Latin, German and English into Spanish and/or Catalan, and his Spanish version ofThe Tale of Genjiappeared in 2005. According to the foreword, this version of Sei Shônagon’s masterpiece was based on Beaujard, Morris and Watanabe, and Xavier Roca-Ferrer has consciously sought to be as complete as possible. He dismisses the Borges-Kodama version as merely “attributed” to the great Argentinian author, characterizing Sato’s reading as “much more serious and well done” (33). Interestingly, he claims a parallel between Sei’s lists and those found in...

    • Jos Vos (2008) Dutch
      (pp. 253-256)

      Some forty excerpts fromThe Pillow Book(identified as dating from the late tenth to early eleventh century) appear in this anthology of Classical Japanese literature, which itself numbers almost eight hundred pages and is titledTravellers of Eternity. Vos (b. 1960) published a novel in his native Dutch in 1998, titledIn Kyoto: Roman; earned his degree in Japanese Studies from Oxford in 1999; and has been a fulltime literary translator since 2003. He has published translations of travel journals and Matsuo Bashô’s prose works, including theNarrow Road to the North, and is currently working on the first...

    (pp. 257-260)
    (pp. 261-272)
    (pp. 273-292)
  14. Bibliographies
    (pp. 293-312)