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

By Tsuyoshi Ishihara | Go to book overview

3
Mark Twain in Postwar Japan
Juvenile Translations and School Textbooks

Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were two of the most frequently published American novels in postwar occupied Japan. Why were these novels so popular during the occupation? Did the Japanese accept them as they were, or did their translators transform them to reflect the cultural climate of Japanese society under the pressures of American democratization? The answers to these questions can be found by focusing on a variety of Japanese juvenile translations of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

After the end of the war, Japan ended its long suppression of American culture and literature and started the tremendous push toward Americanization of its society and culture. During this era, America had a great impact on every sphere of Japanese life. The Americandominated General Headquarters (GHQ) held the political power in occupied Japan and led the [democratization program.] It started by eliminating the source of militaristic nationalism and anti-Americanism in Japan. The emperor renounced his divinity and nearly a thousand

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