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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

In cooperation with: Kevin G. Schumacher (Bavarian State Library)

Supported by: JaDe-Stiftung

Publication project: Cultural translation in Japanese literature

 October 2023 - ongoing

Translations are never mere translations of words. They include horizons of cultural reference.

What are established translation conventions and strategies? Which roles do emancipatory, subversive, and manipulative translations play, for example from a transcultural, postcolonial, or gender perspective? And what stereotypes and mistranslations need to be taken into account? These and other questions of cultural translation, and thus also of knowledge production and dissemination, are given a new relevance by current crises and the need to communicate knowledge to all parts of society.

Cultural translation contributes to the formation, demarcation and consolidation of cultural identities. Selective translation processes—primarily from Europe—have accompanied Japan’s process of modernisation. At the same time, Japan can look back on a distinctly longer, multifaceted history of similar processes, as the example of Buddhist texts shows.

Cultural translation offers various methodological approaches for literary and text-immanent research and encourages a reflection on disciplinary-bound approaches to research. Thus, in June 2023, scholars and literary translators discussed "Processes of cultural translation in Japanese literature" (= 8th Forum on Japanese literary studies) at LMU's Japan Center. The publication of an edited volume (in German) is planned for autumn/winter 2024. Its aim is to stimulate further methodological debates in literary studies research and an interdisciplinary dialog.