Trinity College Dublin and Osaka University Joint International Symposium

Japanese Studies in a global context: The art of friendship

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Japanese translations of Irish literature during the Meiji period

James Hadley, Trinity College Dublin

Japan’s tradition of literary translation from European languages began in the late nineteenth century, during the country’s Meiji period (1868-1912). Following several centuries, during which translation from European languages was highly limited, and overwhelmingly of a technical or practical nature, literary translation began slowly, and then increased rapidly to peak by the first years of the twentieth century.

The research project underpinning this paper has examined the literary translations published in Japan during the Meiji period on a macro level, asking a series of questions on topics such as who the translators were, how many translations each produced, which languages they translated from, and what might have influenced the fluctuations in translation publication figures that are observable during the period. This paper will take a subsection of this research’s results to examine the translations of Irish literature during the same period, asking which Irish authors were being translated, when the translations were published, and how these translations fit into the wider picture of the Japanese translation of literature. It will illustrate the wide range of translators during the period that were translating Irish literature, and the similarly large number of periodicals in which the translations were published.

Short Biography

James Hadley is Ussher Assistant Professor in Literary Translation at Trinity College Dublin. He is also the Director of Trinity’s MPhil in Literary Translation and a researcher at the Trinity Centre for Literary Translation. His research and teaching interests are broad, spanning translation theory and translation history. His research covers all languages and contexts, but has a particular focus on translations both into and from Japanese. He is particularly interested in empirical, digital humanities research, and is in the process of formulating a new, empirically testable theory for indirect translations (translations of translations).