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By Rebekah Clements

The interpretation of texts has performed a formative function in Japan's background of cultural alternate in addition to the improvement of literature, and indigenous felony and spiritual structures. this can be the 1st ebook of its sort, besides the fact that, to supply a complete survey of the function of translation in Japan throughout the Tokugawa interval, 1600 1868. by way of reading a variety of texts that have been translated into eastern from chinese language retailers, Jesuit missionaries and Dutch investors, in addition to the interpretation of classical jap into the vernacular, Rebekah Clements finds the circles of highbrow and political trade that came about in pre-modern Japan and that opposite to well known trust, Japan's 'translation' tradition didn't start in Meiji. through interpreting the 'crisis translation' of army texts in keeping with overseas threats to safety within the 19th century, the publication additionally deals clean insights into the overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1868."

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59 The ‘Chinese’ of works written in Japan, conventionally called ‘SinoJapanese’, included in the category kanbun 漢文 (‘Han language’, which also covers Chinese written in China), or described as hentai kanbun 変体漢 文 (‘irregular kanbun’), often has linguistic and lexical peculiarities that distinguishes it from Chinese-character texts written in China. 60 The combination of Japanese and Chinese elements in any given text was a decision of style and register, and even the characters of a text originating in China could be read seemingly as Chinese using ondoku or as Japanese using kundoku.

43 And all this is to say nothing of the mixture of spoken dialects – both regional and class based – that could be heard on the streets of large urban centres, and which were recorded with hilarious precision by works for the commercial press, like Bathhouse of the Floating World (Ukiyoburo, 1809–13) by Shikitei Sanba (1776–1822). Writing in 1723, one author of a vernacular translation of the classical Japanese The Tale of Genji acknowledged the different vernaculars into which he could have chosen to translate: Even within the so-called vernacular (zokugo 俗語) there are old versions and contemporary versions .

51 For an overview of the history of dictionary production in Japan, see Okimori 2008, pp. 9–24. 28 Language and society in Tokugawa Japan Although dictionaries and glossaries – mainly of Chinese-character compounds – had circulated prior to the late sixteenth century, their number and availability increased from the seventeenth century onwards. The mixing of different languages was seen in scholarship as well: scholars during the period were often active in a number of fields which traversed several linguistic boundaries.

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