Shaping the Field of Translation In Japanese ↔ Turkish Contexts I

by Esin Esen (Volume editor) Ryō Miyashita (Volume editor)
©2019 Edited Collection 262 Pages


The academic discipline of translation studies is only half a century old and even younger in the field of bilateral translation between Japanese and Turkish. This book is the first volume of the world’s first academic book on Turkish↔Japanese translation. While this volume gathered discussions on translation studies with theoric and applied aspects, literature, linguistics, and philosophy, the second volume deals with the history of translation, philosophy, culture education, language education, and law. It also covers the translation of historical materials and divan poetry. These books will be the first steps to discuss and develop various aspects of the field. Such compilation brings together experienced and young Turkology and Japanology scholars as well as academics linked to translation studies and translation, and also translators. Both volumes contain 24 essays written by twenty-two writers from Japan, Turkey, USA and China.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • Citability of the eBook
  • Contents
  • List of Contributors
  • Is It a Stone in Babel Tower Bridging Both Ends of Asia?
  • Collaging Parallels and Divergences in Turkish and Japanese Translation History and Studies
  • Through the Window of Translation Studies: An Overview of Cultural Exchange between Turkey and Japan
  • Non-European Literature in Translation: A Plea for the Counter-Canonization of Weltliteratur
  • Translating the Turkish Personal Pronoun “Ben” into Japanese Role Languages
  • On Japanese Socio-Cultural Locutions in Literary Creations: On Ferhad Ile Şirin of Nazım Hikmet
  • Confronting Emptiness: Translating Japanese Philosophy into Turkish
  • A Method with a Manual for Translation of the Reader Responsibility Feature of Japanese
  • The Translation Strategies of Cultural Factors from Japanese to Turkish in Kafka on the Shore
  • “Istanbul: Memories and the City” in China and Japan
  • -Te iru in Translated Narratives from Japanese into Turkish
  • Some Reflections on Gesture in Japanese Novels and Its Translations into Turkish
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables

List of Contributors

Esin Esen, is a, Japanologist. who specializes in Japanese language and literature, translation from Japanese and Japanese women’s literature (Nara-Heian Periods). She applied cognitive poetics and relevance theory to develop a method for translation of reader responsibility features of Japanese language into Turkish. Her PhD is on the Man’yōshū – the reader responsibility approach and cognitive poetics theory. She translated Murasaki Shikibu Nikki into Turkish from classical Japanese and Sasameyuki by the famous Japanese writer Tanizaki Jun’ichirō. She has been translating since the 1990s (Japanese, Spanish and English, Classical Japanese, Turkish (native)). She also teaches theoric and applied translation courses at university level in these languages. Founder of Kotodama Istanbul book project themed Japan in Turkey and Turkey in Japan. (For details please see esinesen.com)

Ryō Miyashita (宮下 遼) Assoc. Prof. Dr. at Osaka University, Graduate School of Language and Culture, Turkish Section. He specializes in History of Turkish Literature and presented his PhD on city images of 16-17th century Istanbul in Divan poetry and has published as Tagensei no Toshi Istanbul: Kinsei Osman Teito no Toshi-kûkan to Shijin, Shomin, Ihōjin [The City of Pluralism: Poet, Populace, Traveler in Ottoman Classical Istanbul], Osaka Univ. Press. Osaka, 2018. In addition co-authored Sekai no 8 Dai Bungakushō [The World Eight Literal Award], Rittō-sha, Tokyo, 2016; Kyōi no Bunka-shi: Chû to Europe wo Chûshin ni [The Cultural History of Marvel], Nagoya Univ. Press, Nagoya, 2015, etc.; translated Orhan Pamuk’s The White Castle, Fujiwara Shoten, Tokyo, 2009; The Museum of Innocence, Hayakawa Shobō, Tokyo, 2010; My Name is Red, Hayakawa Shobō, Tokyo, 2011; Snow, Hayakawa Shobō, Tokyo, 2012; Strangeness in My Mind, Hayakawa Shobō, Tokyo, 2016; Latife Tekin’s Berji Kristen The Tales from Garbage Hill, Kawade Shobō Shinsha, Tokyo, 2014, etc. into Japanese.

Judy Wakabayashi has taught translation theory and Japanese-English translation at the M.A. level at the University of Queensland in Australia and Kent State University in the United States and is also involved in PhD training. Her current research mainly focuses on the history of translation in Japan but also in other parts of East Asia and beyond, with a particular interest in the methodology of translation historiography. Wakabayashi is co-editor of Asian Translation Traditions (2005), Decentering Translation Studies: India and Beyond (2009) and Translation and Translation Studies in the Japanese Context (2012), has published ←9 | 10→dozens of refereed articles and book chapters on translation practice, theory, pedagogy and history and has translated seven books. She serves on a number of journal advisory boards, was CETRA Chair Professor in 2015, and is chair of the steering committee for the Asian Translation Traditions conference series.

Turgay Kurultay. Born in 1955 in Gaziantep. He holds MA and PhD in foreign language teaching and German studies (from İstanbul University). Previous studies on geology (Darmstadt University). Since 1979, he has translated philosophical and literary works as well as technical texts from the fields of economy, law, and etc. He also edited various translations and actively worked in the publishing of translation journals. In 1984, he started to work at Istanbul University as an instructor. In 2000, he received his Professor’s degree, and in 2009, he was retired from Istanbul University. Between 2015 and 2017, he worked at Yaşar University. He has researches and publications in a range of fields, such as translation studies, relations between linguistics and translation studies, translation education, translated literature, children’s literature, cultural reception, and transfer of knowledge. He took part in the working group for improving professional competence in the field of translation. He is a member of Translation & Interpreting Association Turkey (ÇEVDER), Interpreters-in-Aid at Disasters (ARÇ) and Translators’ Society Turkey (ÇEVBİR).

Devrim Çetin Güven is a researcher of Comparative Literature, Japanese Literature, Cultural Studies and translator. He obtained his BA from Ankara University Dept. of Eastern Languages and Literatures, his MA and Ph.D. from Tokyo University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. In his graduate research under the supervision of literary theorist and critic Prof. Komori Yōichi (小森陽一), he conducted a comparative analysis between modern Japanese, modern Euro-American, Turkish and ‘Third World’ literatures from a postcolonial perspective. He also published several articles on 1994 Nobel laureate Ōe Kenzaburō, and wrote a comprehensive commentary for the first volume of “Ōe Kenzaburō—Collected Novels” (Kodansha, 2018) entitled “ ‘Decontextualization’ of World Literature and ‘Mapping’ of the ‘South’—Centring on the Reception of Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover”(われらの時代 における「世界文学」の「脱文脈化」と「南」の「地図作成」——ローレンス『チャタレイ夫人の戀人』の受容を中心に). He taught “Turkish” at Keio University, “Turkish and Translation” at the Research Institute of Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and “Japanese” at Izmir Economy University. He is currently teaching at Dokuz Eylül University Dept. of Comparative Literature. Among his translations into Turkish are Karatani Kojin’s Origins of Modern Japanese Literature (日本近代文学の起源), Kobayashi ←10 | 11→Takiji’s Crab Cannery Ship (蟹工船), Ikezawa Natsuki’s A Burden of Flowers (花を運ぶ妹), and Seirai Yūichi’s Ground Zero, Nagasaki: Stories (爆心).

Keichirō Ishii (石井啓一郎), is a translator and independent researcher on Middle Eastern literature (Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan). He published Japanese translation of short stories by Iranian modernist writer Sādeq Hedāyat in two collections, Ikiume (Zende be-gūr) from Kokusho-kankō-kai (2000) and Sādegu Hedāyato Tanpenshuu (Bargozīde-ye ār-e Sādeq Hedāyat) from Keibunsha (2007), and Feruhado-to Shirin Ferhad ile Şirin (2002) of Nazım Hikmet (to be referred to herein). Also he contributed translations of Hedāyat, Mojtabā Bozorg Alavī, Sīmīn Dāneshvar, Yaşar Kemal, and Mohammad Hoseyn Shahriyār in various literary magazines and academic bulletins. Languages: Persian, Turkish and Azerbaijani, Japanese (native).

İbrahim Soner Özdemir is an aesthetician and art historian. He is a lecturer in the Department of Basic Art Sciences, at Düzce University, Turkey. His research fields include philosophical aesthetics, modern and contemporary art, Japanese aesthetics, and the Kyoto School of philosophy. He completed his Ph.D. on the aesthetics of Kitarō Nishida in the Department of Philosophy at the Middle East Technical University. His native language is Turkish, and he works with French, English, and Japanese. Some of his publications are: “Tasarım and Design: Reflections on a Semantic Gap,” Words for Design III: Comparative Etymology and Terminology of Design and its Equivalents (2010); “Yerin Güzelliği: Kyoto Okulu Estetiği ve İlişkisellik” [The Beauty of Place: Relationality and the Aesthetics of the Kyoto School], rkiye’de Japonya Çalışmaları II (2015); “do ve Japon Yağmurları” [do and Japanese Rains], Kotodama İstanbul Hajimari 2015 (2016). He has translated Gilles Deleuze’s Cinéma 1: Image-Movement into Turkish and he is currently working on the Turkish translation of the aesthetical essays of the Kyoto School philosophers.

Nuray Akdemir, lecturer, Social Sciences University of Ankara Doctoral Candidate at Faculty of Languages, History and Geography, Ankara University. Research Area: Modern Japanese Literature, Japanese Language & Culture Doctoral research Topic: Study of fantasy elements and fictional realism in Oe Kenzaburo’s works. Education background: B.A (Hons.) Japanese Language and Literature, M.A in Japanese Language and Literature Languages Proficient in: Turkish (native), Japanese, English.

Ruosheng Sun (孫 若聖), PhD (translation studies) from Kobe University, Assistant professor in the College of Foreign Language, Donghua University, PRC. Research interests include translation theory, and translation of ←11 | 12→contemporary Chinese literature in Japan and Turkey. Sun has published more than 10 papers in academic journals in China and Japan, and a Chinese translation (《翻译行为与跨文化交际》Fan yi Xing wei Yu Kua wen hua Jiao ji) of Fujinami Fumiko’s Honyaku Koui to Ibunka Kmyunike-syon (『翻訳行為と異文化コミュニケーション』, Syoraisya, Tyoto:2007).

Ayşegül Atay is an associate professor at Erciyes University, Faculty of Letters, Department of Japanese Language and Literature. Her research field is Japanese Language and Literature and she teaches Japanese and works on Japanese-Turkish comparative studies. She also teaches translation from Japanese to Turkish at the university. Her PhD thesis is “The Tense and Aspect Dispute in Japanese - iru Auxiliary Verb and Turkish within the Aspect Dispute”

Ayşe Ağrış. M.A. degree at Nanzan University. She researched about the use of gesture in Japanese speech by Turkish Japanese students in her thesis. Her work on gestures in Japanese speech has been previously presented at the Japanese Association of Second Language Acquisition JASLA (2016), the International Symposium on Japanese Language and Education - JADEUS 2017. She has experiences in teaching Japanese language in Turkey/Kirklareli Public Education Center and Turkish language in Japan. Also, She had experience as a Japanese interpreter in The Group of Twenty (G20) and as a translator of Japanese in translation company. She speaks Japanese, English, Bulgarian and beginner level Italian.

Esin Esen & Ryō Miyashita (Eds.)

Is It a Stone in Babel Tower Bridging Both Ends of Asia?

The academic discipline of translation studies is only half a century old and even younger in the field of bilateral translation between Japanese and Turkish. These books will be the first steps to discuss and develop various aspects of the field. The books contain papers on this topic from a variety of perspectives such as translation studies, linguistics, literature, history, philosophy, language education, cognitive science, law, along with others. Such compilation brings together experienced and young Turkology and Japanology scholars as well as academics linked to translation studies and translation; and also translators. Both volumes contain twenty-four essays written by twenty-two authors from Japan, Turkey, USA and China.

The purpose of these books is three-fold. First, they seek to deal with the theoretical and applied aspects of translation in the specific contexts of Japan and Turkey, to bring together the past and present achievements of the field and to build a base for future studies. Second, they aim to contribute to field of translation worldwide. Thirdly, this contribution also attempts to represent a resource for translators in such context.

We, the Japanologist Esin Esen and the Turkologist Ryō Miyashita, both editors of these books, besides being academicians and translators on these fields, have been devoted to different aspects of translation activities including university level translation education. On the one hand, Miyashita is the translator of many Turkish novels of the Nobel-Prize awarded novelist Orhan Pamuk and other modern authors. He also makes translations from Turkish Ottoman. On the other hand, Esen, made first direct translation from Heian period Japanese and also translates Man’yōshū poems from Old Japanese (OJ). Being this engaged in translation activities, the editing process has brought us great enthusiasm and vigor. Each article we have edited has represented a new source of knowledge to us, which, at the same time has made us aware again and again of how wide the field is and that there are endless topics that can be devoted an entire life and still will produce new knowledge. We feel that, all contributors in these books are shaping the field together, like paving small stones to the Tower of Babel. Being a part of this is a great honor.

←13 | 14→

A Brief Outline of Translation in Japanese and Turkish History until the Foundation of First Direct Relations

Translation has deep roots both in Japanese and Turkish history, which played an important role within the polysystem of each culture. In Japanese history, translation activities have begun with the introduction of writing in the VI century along with the continental cultural influx (Nakamura 1964). There was no writing system enabling writing in Japanese until the VIII century, the Japanese were writing from constitutions to histories in Chinese, which eventually was converted into a kind of mental translation with kanbun kundoku system (For further details about this system, see Wakabayashi (2019) in this volume and Miyashita (2019) in Vol. II). The effects of this translation tradition can be seen later in the XVII century, in Dutch translations in Rangaku School which used the same mental translation system. From 1860 on, the literary translations from different western languages are seen in the Japanese polysystem. In this period we see great exertion of Japanese translators to find the right strategy (different from the previous kanbun kundoku method) for translating western texts1. These translations are closely related to the westernization and modernization of the country. 2

In Turkish history, the Kültigin and Bilge Kagan monuments contain both Turkish and Chinese inscriptions however they are not parallel texts. We have also information that the leaders of who pioneered the foundation of these Turkish inscriptions had studied in China and were well educated in Chinese (Yalınkılıç 2013). These two data give us the clue to assume that the translation activities between the two countries may date back to that period. In Anatolian Turkish history the translation activities were important for different fields such as trade, science and government issues. Official language of Seljuk Turks ←14 | 15→was Persian, their science language was Arabic and the language common to people was Turkish; and including relations with Byzantium and the Silk Road trade, the translation activities had great importance (Eruz, 2010: 59). In the Ottoman Empire there were more than 30 languages, this is why translation activities had always been the core of the state affairs and trade. In Istanbul alone Italian, French, Arabic, Persian, Greek, Armenian, Ladino, Yiddish, Bulgarian, and Russian were spoken (Eruz, 2010: 58). Literary translations from Western languages have entered to the Ottoman Empire nearly in same period and with same effect of the Japan in the XIX century. Accordingly, Berk Albachten (2006) states that “Translations from Western literatures were used as the main tool in the modernization of the Turkish society and that the cultural policies played an important role in this process”.

In comparison with these long established translation traditions in both cultures, translation activities between Turkish and Japanese have not begun until the first relation founded in the XIX century. Esenbel (2002) states it as follow:

We don’t have any information regarding the foundation of relationships between Japan and Ottomans before the XIX century. Both countries had acquainted with each other, via some book of travels and some reports on the other country. Ottoman scholar Katip Çelebi in his book Cihannuma writes a couple of pages on “Caponya” country. He mentions that the Japanese have high ethic and moral values. He also mentions that they like to wash themselves with cold water. (p. 149)

Regarding the different denomination employed to refer to Turkey, Esenbel (2002) adds the following:

In the Japanese’s similar kind of books […] and especially in the popular literature works printed in 18th century such as Komozatsuwa [The Tales on Red Headed People] or Bankoku Shinwa [The Tales on Ten Thousand Country], the Ottoman Empire is referred to as “Ottoman State”, “Turks Country” or “Toruko”. In these tales Turkey is described as a strong military power covering three continents. (p. 149).


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2019 (June)
translation studies Turkology Japanology translator
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2019. 262 pp., 4 fig. b/w, 4 b/w tables.

Biographical notes

Esin Esen (Volume editor) Ryō Miyashita (Volume editor)

Esin Esen, Phd, Japanologist. She specializes in Japanese language, literature, translation from Japanese and Japanese women’s literature (Nara-Heian Periods). She is a translator in Japanese, Spanish and English, Classical Japanese, Turkish (native) languages since the 1990s. She also teaches theoric and applied translation courses at university level in these languages. She is the writer and editor of many books on Japan. Ryō Miyashita(宮下 遼)Turkologist. He is a Associate Prof. Dr. at Osaka University, Graduate School of Language and Culture, Turkish Section. He specializes in history of Turkish literature. Translator in Turkish and Ottoman Turkish. He has translated many Turkish literature books in Japanese and he is the writer and editor of many books on Turkey.


Title: Shaping the Field of Translation In Japanese ↔ Turkish Contexts I
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