Cultural mediation and scientific mission of the Tokugawa interpreters

Giovanni, Borriello (2012) Cultural mediation and scientific mission of the Tokugawa interpreters. In: 2nd International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics (FLTAL’12), 4-6 May 2012, Sarajevo.

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With the arrival of English and Dutch ships, European culture began to flow in Japan from the first years of the 17th century through other means respect to those already established by the Iberian mercantilism and the Catholic missionarism. Since the arrival of the first Westerners, the Japanese received a great quantity of new knowledge, mainly through Nagasaki, and it derived from the same members of the Dutch East India Company, the officers and the crews of the ships. Since the beginnings, and increasingly from the first decades of the 18th century, a high number of intellectuals and artists, not only merchants, frequented Nagasaki and they got in touch with the Europeans and the Japanese interpreters. The number of the interpreters was more than 120 already at the end of 17th century and their number became constant (about 150) during the 18th century: a significant number to spread the various aspects of the European culture. Furthermore, the interpreters approached the agency and the Dutch ships, but also the guardians, officials and workers of Deshima/Nagasaki, in contact every day with European people and things. So, the increasing curiosity for Europe became more and more diffused in the population and opened to new interests that concerned the most different fields. Sciences, arts, techniques, started to be object of the investigations of the scholars called rangakusha (experts of Dutch studies) and they promoted a vast presentation of the European scientific and humanistic culture. But above all it was the command of the Dutch language or at least the ability to read those texts that allowed realizing and spreading the principal knowledge. In this, as we will see in this paper, the Japanese interpreters play the most important role with the realization of the first dictionaries, glossaries and grammars of the Western languages.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cultural studies, Japanese History and Culture
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Depositing User: Mr. IT Center Editor
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2012 09:00
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2012 09:00

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