Volume 61, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0521-9744
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9668
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This article proposes a skopos-based analysis of the English translations of the eleventh century Japanese literary work, Genji monogatari (“The Tale of Genji”) as a means of understanding the basis for the translations’ differing receptions among their target audiences. The translations, by Suematsu Kenchō, Arthur Waley, Edward Seidensticker and Royall Tyler, are widely spaced chronologically, being published between 1888–2001, and were each produced with differing audiences and aims, thus making them a useful corpus for this analysis. In addition, all of the translators have written, with varying degrees of explicitness, about their motivations and purposes in conducting their translations. First, through an analysis of the translators’ writings, introductions, and individual circumstances, the article will demonstrate how the skopos for each translation can be determined. Second, through an analysis and comparison of text excerpts, it will demonstrate how the skopos influenced the translation choices of the individual translators, with material being, for example, omitted, changed in psychological tone, or rendered more explicit, depending upon the individual translator’s overriding purpose in their work. Finally, through an analysis of the reviews of the various translations, it will consider the extent to which each translator was successful in achieving a positive and intended response to his translation in the target audience.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): audience; Genji monogatari; Japanese; reception; skopos
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