Japanese Translations of the Jesuit Mission Press, 1590-1614

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Through examples, the methods of translation and editing used by the mission press in its attempt to produce a native Christian literature for Japan is explored. Part One examines two translations of De Imitatio Christi - Contemptus mundi jenbu and the Kontemutsusu munji, a later version. Part Two examines Guia de Pecadores - Giya do pekadoru. The study details their background, structure and style, with a textual analysis and comparison. The author identifies the translations' Buddhist terminology, the only religious language available to the Jesuits in Japan, and explains how Buddhist terms were used to convey Christian ideas.


" ... While a fair number of past studies, both historical and bibliographical, have outlined in general the workings of the Jesuit mission press in Japan, a comprehensive account of the linguistic and religious strategies that informed the missionaries' efforts has yet to be produced. Rev. Farge's book takes a major step in this direction by focusing on an important, yet largely unexplored, area of inquiry - namely, the multiple contexts, cultural, linguistic, religious, and psychological, within which a number of Christian classics were not only linguistically but also culturally translated into Japanese. To my knowledge, this is the only in-depth literary study in the English language of Japanese Christian texts from this period. Rev. Farge's book thus represents a pioneering effort and will hopefully not only aid scholars in their study of these specific editions from the Jesuit mission press but also encourage them to explore other Christian literary treasures produced in late sixteenth-century Japan." - Archivum Historicum, 2005

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