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I'm curious about the Chekov passages which Tengo reads aloud to Fuka-Eri.

Presumably they are in Japanese in the original. Were they copied from an existing Japanese translation of Chekov?

In the English translation (by Rubin and Gabriel), did they take the Chekov from an existing English translation, or translate the Japanese?

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    There was one Japanese novel I once saw a quote from that quoted The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock "I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me." But they didn't restore the original; they translated the Japanese translation, so it came out different.
    – Peter Shor
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 12:56
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    @PeterShor a bit like watching dubbed anime with subtitles, which always seem to use a different translation to the dubbed audio. (well, almost exactly unlike. But only almost)
    – tgdavies
    Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 4:57
  • And Googe found the actual translation of Prufrock from Japanese: "The years are taking their toll. It’s time to roll up the cuffs of my pants — Time to part my hair from the back — Time to eat peaches. I put on my white flannel pants and walked on the beach. I heard mermaids singing to each other — Mermaids who would never sing out to me." [From What the Maid Saw, by Yasutaka Tsutsui, translated from the Japanese by Adam Kabat.]
    – Peter Shor
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 23:10

2 Answers 2

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The English translation of 1Q84 has used the translation by Brian Reeve. Here’s a passage from 1Q84:

The Gilyak is of strong, thick-set build, and average, even small, in height. Tall stature would hamper him in the taiga. [“That’s a Russian forest,” Tengo added.] His bones are thick and are distinctive for the powerful development of all the appendages and protuberances to which the muscles are attached [...]

Reeve’s translation of Sakhalin Island (2013 Alma Classics edition from archive.org, but there’s also an older 1993 edition):

The Gilyak is of strong, thick-set build, and average, even small, in height. Tall stature would hamper him in the taiga. His bones are thick and are distinctive for the powerful development of all the appendages and protuberances to which the muscles are attached […]

I don’t have any information on the Japanese original.

Murakami’s Russian translator is a guy from Sakhalin, Dmitry Kovalenin. In the interview to P&I journal he says that Murakami visited Sakhalin at his invitation and later used this experience in 1Q84:

Да, в дороге Мураками читал «Остров Сахалин» Чехова в японском переводе, работал с текстом, делал какие-то пометки.

And on the road Murakami read Chekhov's Sakhalin Island in Japanese translation, worked with the text, made some notes.

So it’s plausible that Murakami’s included excerpts from his own copy of Sakhalin Island.

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Multiple Japanese websites (1, 2) say 1Q84 uses an older translation by Takuya Hara. Quoting from 1 (Titled 「気の毒なギリヤーク人は本当に気の毒か?」 by Tangiku Itsuji).

村上春樹『1Q84』で引用されているのは原卓也訳による中央公論社版

I have not confirmed it, but am pretty sure they are correct because the translation seems to be republished in 2009 (link to amazon jp).

The corresponding part quoted in b4rtr's answer in 1Q84 original (which is Hara's translation) is as follows:

ギリヤーク人はずんぐりした、たくましい体格で、中背というよりはむしろ小柄な方である。もし背が高かったら、密林で窮屈な思いをすることだろう。骨太で、筋肉の密着している末端の骨や、背骨、結節など、すべての著しい発達を特徴としている。

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    Links tend to go dead over time - could you please cite the relevant passages (mentioning Takuya Hara) inside the answer? It'd be better to have it here
    – b4rtr
    Commented Apr 28 at 3:28
  • @b4rtr added the quotes.
    – sundowner
    Commented Apr 28 at 12:36
  • Thanks! It's also a convention here to give the name of the resource we cite, e.g.: From [the name of the web site]. Do we know who's the author of that publication? Is it Tangiku Itsuji, or I got this wrong (tried auto-translation)?
    – b4rtr
    Commented Apr 28 at 15:50
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    @b4rtr added. He seems to be a researcher about the area or language let.hokudai.ac.jp/en/staff/tangiku-itsuji
    – sundowner
    Commented Apr 30 at 1:38

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