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Uncharted Territory

自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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サムライの娘

 


5月にJapan Timesの書評で知ったDaughters of the Samuraiを読み始めました。Kindleとして出るのを待っていたのですが、出そうもなかったので。。。

アメリカ人だったら、1920年代にアメリカでベストセラーになった杉本鉞子の本はA Daughter of the Samurai(武士の娘)を連想するかもしれません。このあたり日本語に翻訳される場合どのようなタイトルになのでしょうか。

下記のC-Spanでのトークを見るだけでも興味深いです。英語キャプションも出すことができるのでありがたいです。

MAY 12, 2015
Book Discussion on Daughters of the Samurai

Janice Nimura talked about her book Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back, in which she recounts five women sent to the United States by the Japanese government in 1871 to learn and export Western culture. In her book, the author reports that three of the five women remained in the United States for 10 years, and returned to Japan emboldened to reform women’s education. Janice Nimura spoke with author Marie Mutsuki Mockett.

ノンフィクションなのですが、小説のような書き方をしてくれていて大河ドラマのように読み進めることができます。このあたりはいろいろな書評が褒めてくれているところです。

Miriam Kingsberg on Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back
Out of Their Country, Ahead of Their Time
July 9th, 2015

IN DAUGHTERS OF THE SAMURAI, Janice P. Nimura achieves the elusive dream of the historian, producing a work that will engage and satisfy academic and non-specialist audiences alike. The author offers both sets of readers a magnificently and meticulously detailed account of three women whose lives epitomize key features of the changing landscape of late 19th and early 20th century Japan.

Infused with insight from Nimura’s experiences as the American wife of a Japanese-born man in contemporary Tokyo, the book’s immediate inspiration was the author’s serendipitous discovery of a single provocative source. Published in 1893, A Japanese Interior recounted Connecticut schoolteacher Alice Mabel Bacon’s yearlong sojourn in Tokyo in the late 1880s as an instructor of English. Bacon ventured to Japan at the invitation of her friend Ume Tsuda (1864–1929), remembered today as the founder of the prestigious Tsuda College. It is Ume and the women she comes to regard as sisters — Shige Nagai and Sutematsu Yamakawa — who are the subject of Nimura’s book.


*******

History review: ‘Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back,’ by Janice P. Nimura
By ELIZABETH BENNETT
Published: 19 June 2015 10:38 PM

Author Nimura has done an impressive amount of research to tell her story. Japan’s power structure at the time is complicated to explain and understand, and Nimura’s attempts to make her book readable sometimes fall short.

Most of the time Daughters of the Samurai reads like a novel about the meeting of East and West and how it transformed the lives of three extraordinary young women.


生き生きとした描写を実現できたのは、作者自身の共感があったからかもしれません。本の初めの部分はamazonでも紹介されているのですが、ご自身も結婚後日本に移って外国に住む心細さを感じたそうです。

I live in the city where I was born, like my parents and grandparents before me. But my story converges with the one I'm telling in "Daughters of the Samurai." On the first day of college, I met a boy who was born in Japan. His family had left Tokyo for Seattle when he was very small, and announced the decision to return "home" when he was sixteen. For him, home was America. They left, and he stayed.

Two years after our graduation and two months after our wedding, we moved to Tokyo ourselves. As my Japanese improved, I was praised for my accent, my manners, my taste for sea urchin and pickled plums. My face excused me from my failures--I was a foreigner, after all. My husband enjoyed no such immunity. He looked Japanese, he sounded Japanese--why didn't he act Japanese?

Upon our return to New York three years later, I went to graduate school in East Asian studies and fell into a fascination with Meiji-era Japan, the moment when the Land of the Gods wrenched its gaze from the past and turned toward the shiny idols of western industrial progress. One day, in the basement stacks of a venerable library, I found a slim green volume by one Alice Mabel Bacon, a Connecticut schoolteacher. She had written a memoir of a year spent in Tokyo in the late 1880s, where she had lived with "Japanese friends, known long and intimately in America." This was strange. Nineteenth-century American women didn't generally have Japanese friends, especially not ones they had met in America.

Alice came from New Haven, where I had spent my college years; she moved to Tokyo and lived not among foreigners but in a Japanese household, as I had; she taught at one of Japan's first schools for girls, founded within a year of the one I attended in New York a century later. She wrote with a candid wit that reminded me of my own bluestocking teachers. Following where Alice led, I discovered the entwined lives of Sutematsu Yamakawa Oyama, Alice's foster sister and Vassar College's first Japanese graduate; Ume Tsuda, whose pioneering women's English school Sutematsu and Alice helped to launch; and Shige Nagai Uriu, who juggled seven children and a teaching career generations before the phrase "working mother" was coined.

I recognized these women. I knew what it felt like to arrive in Japan with little or no language, to want desperately to fit into a Japanese home, and at the same time to chafe against Japanese attitudes toward women. A hundred years before "globalization" and "multiculturalism" became the goals of every corporation and curriculum, three Japanese girls spanned the globe and became fluent in two worlds at once--other to everyone except each other. Their story would not let me go.


My face excused me from my failures--I was a foreigner, after all. My husband enjoyed no such immunity.(私の顔を見れば、外国人ということで失敗を多めに見てもらえた。夫はそのような手加減を受けることはなかった)と、旦那さんも日本人のようですが、アメリカで育ったため日本に馴染むのが大変だったようで、日本人の風貌なので余計大変だったと書いています。

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