The Politics of affect in English-language translations of Toshi Maruki's Hiroshima no Pika

Tatsuko Ochiai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Picture books have a large potential to expand cross-cultural interactions because their visual codes seem to be intelligible and accessible from one culture to another. However, the interpretation of pictures is affected by interaction with the verbal text, which, during transmission, may undergo significant changes under the influences of linguistic structures and cultural politics. Taking Toshi Maruki’s Hiroshima No Pika (1980) as its example, the article examines cultural transmission in translations of a picture book about war, a topic which normally entails a political issue and emotional affect. Comparison of the original text with a British translation (1983) and an American translation (1982) suggests that political perspectives in England and the USA in the early 1980s not only shape how the Japanese text is translated, but also prompt the translators to omit or add material. Making adjustments in order to mediate a text for an audience with a different set of cultural assumptions can dismantle the innermost significance of the original work and reduce narrative depth. The article concludes that, for effective cross-cultural communication, both a deep and culturally accurate interpretation of the original work and adequate consideration of the effects of any cultural or linguistic adjustment is essential.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-100
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Research in Children's Literature
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • cultural transmission
  • nuclear war
  • children's literature
  • affective linguistics
  • translation
  • Toshi Maruki
  • picture books


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