Omitted emotions: Miyuki Miyabe's "Kasha" (Original) and "All She Was Worth" (English Translation)

Christie Lee Barber

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An essential component of readers’ experiences is their emotional involvement with a work and its characters, often invoked by emotive or descriptive language. In translation it is important that this relationship between the reader and the work created by language is maintained so that the reader is still able to experience the work as the original author intended. With the increase in English translation of Japanese contemporary fiction comes the requirement to examine the reception of these works. To do so, this paper will compare Miyuki Miyabe's ‘Kasha’ (the Japanese text) with the English translation ‘All She Was Worth’. In this novel, Miyabe seeks to realistically convey the dangers of personal debt and the frailty of privacy and identity in contemporary Japan. The reader is asked to understand the tragedy of this moralistic story by empathizing with the emotional motivations of the characters. The usually subtle yet engaging language of the text is used to invoke the reader's emotional response and plays a critical role in this cautionary novel's impact. However, many emotive, metaphoric or descriptive phrases were omitted in the translation. The combined effect of these omissions is to prevent the English translation from effectively communicating a pivotal aspect of the original text. This paper will analyse the effect this omission has on both the English-language work as a whole and the reader's response to the translation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-121
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of the Humanities
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2007 Common Ground Publishing. Article originally published in International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp. 113-121. This version archived on behalf of the author and is available for individual, non-commercial use. Permission must be sought from the publisher to republish or reproduce or for any other purpose.


  • translation
  • equivalence
  • Japanese contemporary fiction
  • Miyabe


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