Article published in:New Insights in the History of Interpreting
Edited by Kayoko Takeda and Jesús Baigorri-Jalón
[Benjamins Translation Library 122] 2016
► pp. 75–98
Nagasaki Tsūji in historical novels by Yoshimura Akira
An alternative way of studying the history of interpreters
This chapter attempts to illustrate the significance of studying the history of interpreting through novels, focusing on Yoshimura Akira who portrayed pre-modern interpreters within socio-political contexts of the time. Four of Yoshimura’s novels will be analyzed: (1) Fuyu no Taka (1974), describing the translation of a medical book in Dutch into Japanese; (2) Von Siebold no Musume (1978), offering an insight into the role of interpreters; (3) Umi no Sairei (1989) illustrating how Ranald MacDonald taught English in Japan; and (4) Kurofune (1978), depicting interpreters at the time when American battleships came. Yoshimura’s works testify the potential of historical novels as an alternative way of studying past interpreters to help us understand how they lived and how they worked.
Keywords: historical novel, history and fiction, Nagasaki Tsuji, Oranda Tsuji
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Published online: 10 March 2016