Book details life of Japanese translator of Anne of Green Gables
Written by tokyoclub on June 14, 2021
The story of the writer who translated Anne of Green Gables into Japanese in 1952 is now accessible to English speakers with the publication of Anne’s Cradle: The Life and Works of Hanako Muraoka, Japanese Translator of Anne of Green Gables.
Anne’s Cradle was originally written in Japanese by Eri Muraoka, Hanako’s granddaughter. Cathy Hirano wrote the English translation of Anne’s Cradle, which was published last month.
“[Hanako] knew the value of good literature for young people,” said Hirano in an interview with CBC’s Kerry Campbell for Mainstreet P.E.I.
Eri’s book about her grandmother was the inspiration for the 2014 Japanese TV show Hanako to Anne, a fictionalized depiction of Hanako’s life.
Hanako’s life was more than worthy of its own book.
“In some ways her life was a little bit similar, I think, to Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables,” Hirano said. “She wasn’t an orphan but her family was extremely poor, and they didn’t have enough money to raise their children.”
But Hanako’s father “was adamant that his daughter should get an education,” Hirano said. This was very unconventional for the early 1900s in Japan.
From the age of nine, Hanako attended a Christian boarding school and was taught by Canadian missionaries. One of those missionaries was from P.E.I. Although the school was not where Hanako first read Anne of Green Gables, Hirano said Hanako learned a great deal about classic literature during her schooling days.