Dr. Sachiko Kawai: How to Make Premodern Japanese History More Global

Translating historical terms is crucial for the continuous advancement of our field of premodern Japanese studies. Without translating primary and secondary sources, we face significant difficulty in exchanging our research findings on a global scale and nurturing future scholarly generations who could be active internationally. We also know, however, that it is a challenging and painstaking process to translate premodern historical terms into foreign languages. How can we reflect changing historical contexts when searching for a “correct” translation? How can we accommodate different disciplinary interests in present academia? In today’s talk, I would like to tackle these challenges and share possible solutions along with concrete examples. Specifically, I will explore how historical terms related to women’s and gender history could be translated into English, by focusing on the early-medieval Japanese royal family, their marital practices, and the titles given to differentiate gender groups of the premodern court.



Presentation Handout