enpaku 早稲田大学演劇博物館


関西学院大学教授 ダニエル・ガリモア教授のコメント

Comment on Matsuoka Kazuko

   When Tsubouchi Shōyō came to make his pioneering translation of Shakespeare’s Complete Works at the beginning of the 20th century, one of his driving ambitions for modern Japanese drama, which of course included Shakespeare in his translations, was that – compared especially with what he saw as the sensationalist and unrealistic kabuki history plays of his native tradition – dramatic texts should be as much literary as theatrical, with coherent plots, convincing characters and a level of rhetorical sophistication. Of course in the case of Shakespeare translation, most of these qualities are provided by the original plays, but as an original writer himself Tsubouchi espoused a distinctly literary style of translation that has been developed by successors such as Odashima Yūshi in the 1970s and 80s, and now Matsuoka Kazuko.
   Matsuoka is a stage translator best known for her collaboration on Ninagawa Yukio’s ‘Shakespeare Series’ of productions of the Complete Works between 1998 and 2021, but having myself first met and interviewed her in 1999 and used her translations extensively in my teaching of Shakespeare to Japanese students I have also been struck by their literary qualities. These qualities arise above all from the rhythms of the language, its amenability to repetition and internal rhyme and the visual aspect of the Sino-Japanese writing system, and in a study I made recently of Matsuoka’s use of four-character idioms (i.e. the combination of characters to create a literary idiomatic meaning) in her translations of Julius Caesar (2014) and The Merry Wives of Windsor (2001) I suggested that not only did these idioms serve to make the language more ‘speakable’ for Ninagawa’s theatre but also enhanced their literary interest.
   Japanese translators complain of the difficulty of conveying the force of Shakespeare’s rhetoric in their basically unstressed language, but for example Matsuoka’s rendition of Mark Antony’s line ‘This was the unkindest cut of all’ as kore koso hoka no dono kizu ni mo mashite, mottomo zankoku hidōna ichigeki (where zankoku hidō, ‘cruel and outrageous’, is the four-character idiom) seems to me to succeed in recompensing Shakespearean pithiness with Japanese successive rhythm, alliteration and so on.
   Ninagawa’s ‘Shakespeare Series’ was born from Japan’s so-called ‘lost decade’ of the 1990s, and I think is an outstanding example of the culture’s capacity for self-renewal in the face of economic challenge and natural disaster. Matsuoka’s contribution to this project begins even more than Ninagawa’s from inside the texts, and (freed from preconceived notions) was motivated by an animus of discovery, a desire ‘to know’ Shakespeare deeply, that is communicated as a cognitive process to readers and audiences alike.

Daniel Gallimore
Professor, Kwansei Gakuin University

3rd September, 2022





日本の翻訳家たちは、シェイクスピアのレトリックの力強さを、基本的に強勢がない言語で伝える難しさを訴える。しかしたとえば、マーク・アントニーの“This was the unkindest cut of all”というセリフを、「これこそ他のどの傷にもまして、最も残酷非道な一撃」(残酷非道は四字熟語)とする松岡氏の翻訳は、簡潔で力強いシェイクスピアの台詞を、日本語の連続的なリズムや頭韻等によって表現することに成功しているように私には思える。