Sense in nonsense : the 'Alice' books and their Japanese translators and illustrators
This thesis makes cross-cultural comparisons between various British and Japanese illustrated versions of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and explores the ways in which these different versions of Carroll's two masterpieces can throw light on the social and cultural changes that have taken place in these two countries since Carroll's time. My focus is, however, unambiguously on the Japanese reception of Alice, as narrative texts and as visual texts. The modern Japanese translations and illustrations of the two Alice books from 1899 to 1933, ranging over Meiji (1868-1912), Taisho (1912-1926) and Showa (1926-1989) Japan are dealt with. It is the first large-scale historical study of this kind, especially on Japanese illustrations, and the first to make detailed comparisons of different Japanese Alice translations and illustrations from a woman's perspective. It explores the ways in which Japanese translators, confronted by Carroll's nonsense fantasy, unprecedented in Japanese culture, attempted to achieve a new blend in language from Meiji to Showa Japan. It examines how Japanese translators and illustrators have interpreted Carroll's nonsense and how his nonsense has been transplanted into Japanese culture. Furthermore, particular attention is paid to the viewpoint of a young reader who is in the transitional stage from the little girl of Wonderland Alice to the early adolescent of Looking-Glass Alice and who is forced to make "Japanese sense" out of "Victorian sense". It explores how the Alice texts, both Carroll's and those of Japanese translators and illustrators, reflect women's and children's education, prevailing moral codes, and their general social and cultural circumstances, both in England and in Japan, and how particularly English elements have been transformed in the process of creating a Japanese Alice throughout the history of Japanese Alice translations.