Mark Twain in Japan: The Cultural Reception of an American Icon

By Tsuyoshi Ishihara | Go to book overview

1
What Happened to Huck?
Kuni Sasaki's Translation of
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain was first introduced to Japan in the 1890s mainly as a writer of short stories. Translations and adaptations of his stories occasionally appeared in magazines and newspapers. Some of these were interesting and one of them caused a well-known debate between two famous translators of the time. But these early Japanese versions of Twain appeared too infrequently to arouse sustained interest among large Japanese audiences.1

Translations of Western literature played a significant role in the formation of modern Japanese literature. Many of the major works of Western literature were translated into Japanese in the late nineteenth century and influenced a variety of Japanese writers who were looking

1. For a list of the earliest Japanese translations of Twain's short stories, see
Michiaki Kawado and Takanori Sakakibara, eds., Mark Twain shu (Collected
works by Mark Twain), 360–62. For the debate between Hoichian Hara and Isoo
Yamagata, see Kamei, [Mark Twain in Japan, Reconsidered,] 75; Kamei, [Com-
parative Literature,] 182–87; Yoshio Katsuura, Nihon ni Okeru Mark Twain: Gai-
setsu to Bunken Mokuroku
(Mark Twain in Japan: Survey and bibliography), 36–46.

-10-

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