Transformation of A "Queer"Little Princess:Transition of Shokojo from Wakamatsu Shizuko to Itoh Sei
(Fuji Women`s University)
Paper short abstract:
This study aims to compare and analyze the transformation of the "queerness" of A little Princess during the formation of the "Shojo Shosetsu (Girls' fiction)" genre before and after the WWII, by taking a close look at the the translated wordings, particularly gender-related ones.
Paper long abstract:
The modern Japanese "Shojo Shosetsu (Girls' fiction)" opens its history with Wakamatsu Shizuko's translation of Sara Crewe, or What Happened at Miss Minchin's (1887), which was later revised and published as A Little Princess (1905), by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The translator, Wakamatsu, who had been well known already for her previous translation of Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886) in 1890, exercised her ingenuity in translating Sara Crewe to be accepted to the Japanese readers, who were not yet familiar with Western cultures. Burnett's texts, including the "Secret Garden (1911)," have been re-discovered and receiving attention in the Post-colonial context since 1990's. For example, Kawabata Ariko claims that Sara is the "Lady of the Empire," who once becomes an orphan but eventually recovers her family and wealth. However, when her intolerability comes to an extreme, the make-believe princess was not enough for her to escape from the reality; instead, such condition requires her to be a make-believe soldier. Meguro Tsuyoshi pays attention to Sara's violent temper in Wakamatsu's translation and claims that this text is quite unique for not being part of the "dutiful wife and devoted mother (Ryosai Kenbo)" ideology, which has been maintained since the late 1880's in Japan (Meguro, 2007). From this point of view, it is important to note that Wakamatsu's translation carefully preserves Sara's description being a "queer (Ippu Kawatta)" little child. In the modern translation of A Little Princess, Kuroyanagi Kazuyo (2014) also uses the same word, queer (Ippu Kawatta), as one of Sara's main characteristics along with some other descriptions, such as "odd" and "quaint." In 1910, Fujii Haku'unshi translated A Little Princess, and since then, notable authors and scholars, such as Kikuchi Kan (1927), Itoh Sei (1940, 1949), and Kawabata Yasunari and Nogami Akira (joint translation, 1953) have made the Japanese translation of this text. This study aims to compare and analyze the transformation of the "queerness" of A little Princess during the formation of the "Shojo Shosetsu (Girls' fiction)" genre before and after the WWII, by taking a close look at the the translated wordings, particularly gender-related ones.
Politics of Translation