2007 年 2008 巻 40 号 p. 55-68
Frederick Victor Dickins (1838-1915) is one of the early visitors to Japan during the last days of the Tokugawa regime. Unlike Ernest Satow or William Aston who came over to Japan as government officials, Dickins landed in Yokohama as an assistant surgeon on HMS Euryalus in 1863. He remained there until 1866 and during the time he became much impressed with Japan and made such remarkable progress in the Japanese language as to translate Hyakunin Isshu into English.
Dickins had been a close friend to Satow and contributed to his A Handbook for Travellers in Central and Northern Japan (1881). Their friendship which appears to have started in the 1860s in Japan continued until Dickins' death in 1915. He also became acquainted with Kumagusu Minakata, a learned folklorist, who resided in London during the 1890s. He most likely assisted Dickins with translating work including Hojoki. Their contact continued even after Kumagusu went back to Japan in 1900.
The purpose of this paper is to evaluate Dickins as one of the Japanologists by tracing his early days in Yokohama. I focused on this period because his deep interest in Japan was fostered then.
First I tried identifying the temple where Dickins frequented for language teachers and informants. Evidently, this temple is the one mentioned in A Diplomat in Japan (1921) by Satow and Memories by Lord Rededale (1915) by Mitford. Dickins wrote to Satow that 'The old priest there in the sixties was a great chum of mine & many, many delightful hours I spent with him'. Secondly I analyzed two of his articles entitled 'Hints to Students of the Japanese Language' which Dickins wrote after learning Japanese in 13 months and 'The Temples of Kamakura near Yokohama in Japan' written after about two years in Yokohama. Both articles show Dickins' wide range of interest in the Japanese language, literature, history and culture. The final discussion is on the significance of the translation of Hyakunin Isshu, the first translation ever made from Japanese literature into English.