Transgenderism in Japanese manga as radical translation : The Journey to the West goes to Japan

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The subversive nature of manga is a fact widely acknowledged. Using “an expressive format that combines stylized and simplistic imagery with a laconic text,” it can “lampoon, satirize, romanticize [and] reimagine the world in which people live” (Allison 1996: 56-57). But what if the tar­get of the parody is a text from another culture? A case in point involves the parodic manga versions of the Chinese classic The Journey to the West (Xiyouji; hereafter The Journey ), representing a shift from a verbal to a visual medium and from a Chinese to a Japanese context. Not surprisingly, when such manga is translated back into Chinese, readers in China are offended to see their own cherished literary work tampered with, leading in 2007 to a critical attack on Japanese manga versions of a parodic nature (Lin and Zhang 2008: 168); official statements were issued concerning the need to curb the translation of such works in order to protect the health of Chinese culture. Much venom was directed not just at manga derived from The Journey , but on Japanese parodies in general. An article in the national newspaper Huanqiu shihao was subtitled “Why Does Japan Par­ody the Classics of Other Countries?” Among the commentators (e.g., Zhu 2007; Lin and Zhang 2008), the point was stressed that a culture of egao , or ‘malicious meddling,’ originated in a Japanese concept that had spread to Mainland China via Taiwan and Hong Kong. There were also strongly worded articles, such as “Malicious Meddling: When Does Cultural Sacrilege End?” and “Why Does Japan Meddle Maliciously with the Classics of Other Countries?”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQueering Translation, Translating the Queer: Theory, Practice, Activism
EditorsBrian James BAER, Klaus KAINDL
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781138201699
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017


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