Japanese Translations of Jin Ping Mei: Chinese Sexuality in the Sociocultural Context of Japan

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China and Japan have a long history of literary exchange. As a masterpiece of classical Chinese literature, Jin Ping Mei has been well-known among the Japanese literati since the Edo period. Over the centuries, a large number of Japanese translations and adaptations of the Chinese novel have been produced, which often involve interaction with literary censorship, due to the explicit sexual descriptions in Jin Ping Mei. This chapter examines how the sociocultural contexts of Japan during different historical periods have influenced and shaped the translation and dissemination of Jin Ping Mei. When examined diachronically, the different ways in which Jin Ping Mei was translated and adapted provide a clear historical timeline of the vicissitude of Japanese censorship of sexuality. Translations are therefore tied to their historical contexts, and translation products should be examined at once textually and contextually in order to more fully understand the processes and strategies of translation, adaptation and dissemination.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncountering China's Past
Subtitle of host publicationTranslation and Dissemination of Classical Chinese Literature
Place of PublicationGateway East, Singapore
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9789811906480
ISBN (Print)9789811906473, 9789811906503
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Japanese translation
  • Jin Ping Mei
  • Sexuality
  • Literary censorship
  • Manga adaptation
  • Sociocultural context

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