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  • Re-Imported Literature or Double Domestication: Shizuko’s Daughter by Kyoko Mori

    Hiroko Inose

    Chapter from the book: Jonsson, H et al. 2021. Narratives Crossing Borders: The Dynamics of Cultural Interaction.

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    A text can travel between languages and cultures through translation, but this “travel” can be rather complicated when the text not only goes, but goes back to the culture of origin. This can happen when the text is about the culture of the target language. Translating Memoir of Geisha by Arthur Golden (1997) into Japanese can be one example. Due to the expected level of readers’ cultural knowledge, the translator will have to use some different translation strategies compared to when the text is translated into other languages.This “travel” of the text can be even more complicated if the author’s first language or original cultural background is different from the language in which s/he writes the text – for example, an author whose first language is Japanese, but writing his/her text in English, about stories that take place in Japan – and then the text is translated into Japanese by a translator, to be published in Japan. This is the case of Kyoko Mori, a Japanese-American writer who had grown up in Japan until she moved to U.S. as an adult. Her first novel, Shizuko’s Daughter was published in U.S. in 1993. It is autobiographical, and therefore the story takes place in Japan, with all its personages being Japanese. The novel was translated by Makiko Ikeda and published in Japan in 1995. Four of Mori’s novels are published in Japan, but the author never translated her own novels into Japanese.

    This happened before the cross-border literature boom in Japan and may be considered as its precursor. In the present study, the “travel” of this text will be studied from two aspects – exoticisation and translation. The novel belongs to the minority literature in U.S., and its Japanese aspects seem to be emphasized in its reading (in its cover or in book reviews), whereas in Japan, its publication was called “Reimported Japanese literature”, and the fact it was written in English attracted great attention. It was an exoticisation from both ends. As for the translation, source and target texts will be studied in detail, to identify the cases of change, addition (of extra information), omission, correction of culturally wrong information (if any) and their motives will be considered. Unnatural expressions and translationese will also be studied, considering if they can be avoided when the first language of the author is Japanese.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Inose, H. 2021. Re-Imported Literature or Double Domestication: Shizuko’s Daughter by Kyoko Mori. In: Jonsson, H et al (eds.), Narratives Crossing Borders. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16993/bbj.l

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on June 15, 2021


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