HIKAKU BUNGAKU Journal of Comparative Literature
Online ISSN : 2189-6844
Print ISSN : 0440-8039
ISSN-L : 0440-8039
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The Study of Homer in Japan
Takero Oiji
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1979 Volume 22 Pages 17-27

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Abstract

 In this paper the author intends to m ake a survey of the research and translation of Homer and the Homerids in Japan since the Restoration of Meiji the Great, under the title of “The Study of Homer in Japan”. This time he is not ambitious enough to sound the depth,length and width of Homer’s influence upon Japanese mind and literature.

 Roughly speaking, the history of the study of Homer in Japan consists of three generations. In the first generation, three translators, Tatsusaburo Uchimura, Nonohito Saito and Bansui Tsuchii (or Doi) are conspicuous. None of them majored in Greek in their college days. Their zeal, however, for Greek culture as an origin of European culture, which Japanese intellectuals admired deeply in those days, led them to conquer the most difficult language in Europe. Tatsusaburo Uchimura, brother to Kanzo Uchimura, one of the outstanding Protestant evangelists in Japan, attem pted a verse translation of the Iliad for the first time and published Books I to IV of the epic in 1904 under the title of Toroi no Uta (Song o f Troy). Nonohito Saito, brother to Chogyu Takayama, philosopher and writer, was the first man to attem pt the translation of the Odyssey, but could not finish it, dying an untimely death of tuberculosis. The first lines were printed posthumously in 1913. The first complete Iliad was published in 1940 by Bansui who was himself one of the representative poets in the Meiji Age. His complete Odyssey was published in 1943, though it was not the first one. Both were translated in verse.

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© 1979 Japan Comparative Literature Association
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