Translations of Kanadehon
The earliest complete translation of Kanadehon Chūshingura into a foreign language was this Chinese work in three volumes. The 1815 version shown here is the earliest of several editions published in
The translation covers ten acts of Kanadehon Chushingura, omitting Act VIII, the michiyuki travel scene. It appears to be an embellishment as much as a translation, adding poems in Chinese that were not in the original. The text is provided with punctuation marks for Japanese readers.
Chen Hongmeng 鴻濛陳, trans.
Zhong chen ku 忠臣庫
Starr East Asian Library,
Gift of Donald Keene
The earliest French translation of Kanadehon Chūshingura seems to have been a secondary translation of 1886 by Albert DousdebPs from Dickins’ Chiushingura of 1875 (see case on opposite side). Then in 1918, a good-quality French translation was produced by the Japanese scholar Shinobu Junpei (1871-1962), entitled Tchushin-goura, ou “Le tresor des vassaux fideles”. This was superceded in 1981 by the work on display here, including translations of both Kanadehon Chûshingura and two important other works related to the Chûshingura tradition, and translated by two leading contemporary French scholars of Japanese literature.
In Italian, the translation here by Mario Marega, with an exquisitely decorated cover, was published in 1948.
Rene Sieffert and Michel Wassermann, trans.
Le Mythe des quarante-sept ronin; Kenko-Hoshi monomi-guruma par Chikamatsu Monzaemon; Goban Taiheiki par Chrikamatsu Monzaemon; Le tresor des vassaux fideles par Takeda Izumo; Fantomes a Yotsuya par Tsuruya Namboku
Mario Marega, trans.
Il Ciuscingura, La vendetta dei 47 ronin
The earliest introduction of the story of the AkÇ Incident to the West seems to have been a brief but largely accurate account by Isaac Titsingh (1740-1812), head of the Dutch trading station in Nagasaki in the early 1780s; it appeared in his posthumous Illustrations of Japan (London, 1822). The story was next told by the English diplomat Rutherford Alcock in Capital of the Tycoon (
Also influential, particularly for the influence that it had in molding Theodore Roosevelt’s admiration of the Japanese samurai spirit, was a translation (in fact, more of a rewriting in English) of a late Edo collection of popular tales of the Gishi entitled Iroha bunko (A Library of the Kana, 1836-41) by Tamenaga Shunsui.
Above and left:
A. B. Mitford (Lord Redesdale) (1837-1916)
“The Forty-Seven Rônins”
In Tales of Old
Right top and bottom:
Tamenaga Shunsui 為永春水 (1818-1886)
The Loyal Ronins: An Historical Romance
Translation of Iroha bunko いろは文庫,
by Shiuichiro Saito (1855-?) and Edward Greey (1835-1888)
46. English Translations of Kanadehon Chushingura
The complete text of the joruri puppet play Kanadehon Chūshingura, the core text of the theatrical tradition of the story of the 47 RÇnin, has been translated three times into English. Frederick Dickins’ translation was first published in
Frederick Victor Dickins (1838-1915), trans.
Chiushingura, or, The Loyal League:
A Japanese Romance
Right, in the center:
Jukichi Inouye, trans.
Chushingura, or The Treasury of Loyal Retainers
Above: revised 1937 edition
Below: First ed.,
Donald Keene, trans.
Chushingura: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers