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The Tale of Genji Options
TheParser
Posted: Sunday, January 03, 2016 8:02:45 AM
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Joined: 9/21/2012
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If you happen to be interested in "The Tale of Genji" by Murasaki Shikibu, you will want to read "Who Can Put Across Genji?" by John Nathan in the January 14, 2016, issue of the New York Review of Books.

*****

Here are a few points that Mr. Nathan makes:

1. Since it is written in 11th-century Japanese, most Japanese people cannot read it.

2. Most Japanese people read it in modern Japanese translations.

3. Some even read the comic book versions.

a. Some of the comic book versions are "vulgar." (See the article for more details.)

4. Translating it into English is, well, extremely difficult.

5. Mr. Nathan expresses respect for all the translators who have tried their best, but he has decided that the best translation is that of the English scholar Arthur Waley (1889 - 1966). [Wikipedia tells me that Mr. Waley never visited China or Japan, and he did not know how to speak modern Chinese or Japanese.]

a. "There is no question that the Waley version is problematic."

i. Mr. Nathan then lists all the problems. (It deletes certain sensitive passages, for example.)

b. But Mr. Nathan sums up his feelings this way:

"[W]e discover a collaboration between a Japanese lady-in-waiting in the eleventh century and an eccentric Englishman in the 1920s that ushered forth a resonant English masterpiece with the heart and soul of ancient Japan. No translation since has come close."
almo 1
Posted: Monday, March 06, 2017 5:51:27 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/16/2016
Posts: 1,027
Neurons: 4,638
Location: Fussa, Tokyo, Japan
TheParser wrote:


1. Since it is written in 11th-century Japanese, most Japanese people cannot read it.









Because it is written in a sort of artistic/calligraphic way.

However once you get the hang of reading it,
it wouldn't be too difficult since it is written mostly in kana.






Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Tuesday, March 07, 2017 4:11:29 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/21/2009
Posts: 40,035
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Location: Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland
I had always thought the early manuscripts were written using hiragana.




In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
TheParser
Posted: Wednesday, March 08, 2017 5:34:57 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/21/2012
Posts: 4,674
Neurons: 22,062
Thank you, Almo, for your informative comments.
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