Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

A Cultural History of Translation in Early Modern Japan

$29.00 ( ) USD

  • Date Published: April 2015
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781316272800

$ 29.00 USD ( )
Adobe eBook Reader

You will be taken to for this purchase
Buy eBook Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, Paperback

Looking for an examination copy?

This title is not currently available for examination. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • The translation of texts has played a formative role in Japan's history of cultural exchange as well as the development of literature, and indigenous legal and religious systems. This is the first book of its kind, however, to offer a comprehensive survey of the role of translation in Japan during the Tokugawa period, 1600–1868. By examining a wide range of translations into Japanese from Chinese, Dutch and other European texts, as well as the translation of classical Japanese into the vernacular, Rebekah Clements reveals the circles of intellectual and political exchange that existed in early modern Japan, arguing that, contrary to popular belief, Japan's 'translation' culture did not begin in the Meiji period. Examining the 'crisis translation' of military texts in response to international threats to security in the nineteenth century, Clements also offers fresh insights into the overthrow of the Tokugawa shogunate in 1868.

    • The first comprehensive examination of the cultural history of translation in early modern Japan
    • Offers original conclusions regarding literacy, social mobility and the flow of ideas in the early modern world
    • Challenges the assumption that Japan was intellectually isolated during this period
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Clements' book is a thorough and extensively annotated look at the kinds of early modern texts that were translated, who translated them, and the various and fascinating forms that those translations took … one of the strengths of this book is the depth of scholarship evident throughout and the ease with which she navigates discussions of such varied fields as translation theory, Confucian studies, and classical Japanese poetry. The book provides new insights into Dutch studies, vernacular translation, and the importance of Chinese texts and translations, as well a new perspective on early modern Japanese cultural production reflected in a wide range of translation practices, making it a welcome addition to scholarship on the period."
    Journal of Jesuit Studies

    'The early modern period in Japan was an age of translation, and now we finally have a monograph that presents the critical impact that translations had in the cultural life of that time … Thanks to Rebekah Clements’s study, future scholars will be able to engage with the various semiotic negotiations of Tokugawa translation practices on the solid foundation she has built.' Federico Marcon, Monumenta Nipponica

    'This publication is uncontestably a milestone … for early modern Japan specialists. This much-needed and wide overview of translation activities results in a comprehensive examination of fields that are usually discussed separately and that cater to a Japanese reading public for various purposes. It places important elements of early modern life in Japan in a new light.' Margarita Winkel, H-Japan

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2015
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781316272800
    • contains: 10 b/w illus. 9 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    List of names with Sinitic characters
    A note on dates, transliteration, and names
    1. Language and society in Tokugawa Japan
    2. Classical Japanese texts
    3. 'Chinese' texts
    4. Translation of Western languages
    5. Late Tokugawa 'crisis translation'

  • Author

    Rebekah Clements, University of Cambridge
    Dr Rebekah Clements is a Research Associate at the University of Cambridge, and Research Fellow of Queens' College. She has degrees from the University of Cambridge, Waseda University, Japan and the Australian National University, Canberra. She grew up in Cowra, Australia, a small country town with a long connection to Japan, having been the site of a mass breakout of Japanese POWs during WWII. From tragic beginnings a friendship between the townspeople and Japanese representatives developed in the post-war period, leading to numerous exchanges, and the Japanese language being taught to a high level at the local high school. Dr Clements' own interest in Japanese history and culture, and her fluency in Japanese date from this time.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.