Tuesday, October 21, 2008


まだ独語にしか訳されていない『江戸人の発想法について』(1943) の英訳の完成がいよいよ近づいてきた。エッセー自体はそれほど長くないものの、実は計りたくないぐらい長時間かかった。後からだから言えることだが、最初から研究社発行の分厚い和英辞典を使わなかったのはいかにも愚かなことで、深く反省している。それぬきでは文学的な翻訳はまじで不可能だと痛感した。




Nanpo's position within Tenmei kyōka, for instance, corresponds to Bashō’s vis-a-vis Genroku haikai, and his position as compiler of Wild Poems of Ten Thousand Generations corresponds to Tsurayuki’s as compiler of the Kokinshū; furthermore, it seems that by willing itself into being, Nanpo’s very existence was to become the haikai-ed form of the combined existences of both Bashō and Tsurayuki. 



Anonymous said...


Ryan said...


Matt said...

For instance, Nanpo was to Tenmei kyōka as Basho was to Genroku haikai, and as editor of WPoTTG he was to that work as Tsurayuki was to the Kokinshū, but it goes beyond that: the self-actualizing nature of the Nanpo phenomenon makes makes it a sort of haikaification of the "Basho/Tsurayuki" phenomenon.

(Totally different writing style, probably unusable as-is, but might give you some ideas?)

My understanding of "芭蕉貫之といふ存在" is not just "the combined existences of Basho and Tsurayuki" but rather "the presence/influence of 'Basho and Tsurayuki' as a phenomenon within Japanese literature". That is to say, what is haikai-ed is not so much Basho and Tsurayuki themselves as their literary position, their status as an idea(l) or myth within the popular imagination. That's why I used "phenomenon" to "existence" for 存在, for example. (I briefly considered "presence" but I couldn't make it work easily in the sentence so I gave up.) But not having read the surrounding parts I may be overthinking this.

Pardon my English!

Ryan said...


I think you have it right on, which is amazing considering you've only read this short excerpt. If you don't mind my plagiarizing your translation, I think I'll go with what you have.

Also, a unrelated question: Does publishing online (say, at Japan Forum) disqualify it from one day being published in an anthology?

Finally, a totally unrelated and perhaps impertinent question: What do you do? Is all of the editing/translating work you do freelance, or are you a seishain somewhere?

Ryan said...

Should read: "an unrelated question."

Don't want people to think I've forgotten the old "add-n-to-an-a-when-a-vowel-beginning-noun-follows" rule.

Ryan said...

One more thing: I like how you rendered "haikaika" as "haikai-ification." Sounds much better than "haikai-ization."

Ryan said...

Much hipper. Almost sounds like a Chilly Pepper's song.

Matt said...

I was thinking of "haikaification" even but it depends how much of a gag you want the verb to be... (I always push for as much as the editor will allow, which can be disastrous when the editor is me). Anyhow, borrow away! Just don't forget me when you're living the high life of the literary translator, drinking champagne out of diamond-and-gold goblets on your own private Concorde.

Also, a unrelated question: Does publishing online (say, at Japan Forum) disqualify it from one day being published in an anthology?

No idea, sorry... I know that editors in general prefer unpublished stuff to published stuff, but it's obviously not an absolute rule. Maybe you could try asking some folks who've published (or published in) recent anthologies.

(I'll answer your other question in private.)