Anne of Green Gables/Akage no An: The Flowers of Quiet Happiness


That a Japanese readership has enjoyed a special connection with Anne of Green Gables continues to be an issue of mirth and curiosity. While critics have investigated the material products of this relationship—tourism, book clubs, and other fan-based festivities—the initial rational as to why the Japanese in particular, of all possible audiences, have taken to Anne remains enigmatic. This article proposes one answer to this question of a Japanese readership by studying the allusive textures of Muraoka Hanako's (Mikasa-shôbô, 1952) and Kakegawa Yasuko's (Kôdan-sha, 1999) translations. Both translators, in various ways, layered nuances of koten [classical Japanese literature] into Montgomery's text. Thus, interlingual and intercultural strategies underscore many of their linguistic and thematic selections in terms of vocabulary, syntax, and iconography. By drawing upon the language and poetics of the Japanese classics, Muraoka and Kakegawa fashion a hybridized Anne/An, a character geographically Canadian but also resonating, culturally, with Japanese registers.

This article “Anne of Green Gables/Akage no An: The Flowers of Quiet Happiness” originally appeared in Predators and Gardens. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 197 (Summer 2008): 42-60.

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