Pioneers of Japanese Bible translation : the application of the dynamic equivalent method in Japan : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Japanese at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
The objective of this study is to investigate the appropriateness of the term kami (神) as the translation of the term ‘God’ from the point-of-view of Dynamic Equivalent (DE) translation in Japan. The study argues that the translated term kami (神) in the Japanese Bible was adopted at first without sufficient investigation of its appropriateness but because of its penetrating character, it became the exclusive term to represent the monotheistic God. Discussion of the effect of the philosophy of Dynamic Equivalent translation in the history of Bible translation in Japan and the history of the changes of the Japanese notion of God is used to justify the validity of the above argument.
As a procedure, two translation methods (DE and FE) seen in conventional Bible translations have been compared, supported by case studies where these methods are used. Next, to understand the mind of the Japanese who were the recipients of the new concept of God, the history of Japanese Shinto is discussed. Finally, the lives of two Japanese assistants of Japanese Bible translation, Anjirō and Otokichi, are studied.
The study concludes that the adoption of kami (神) was appropriate from the point-of-view of DE translation, and the Japanese assistants also applied the DE translation method unconsciously. A reassessment of their selection of the terms for God is possible if they are seen as examples of the DE translation method.