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Hanako Muraoka, Translator of “Anne of Green Gables”

One of the NHK’s current TV programs, “Hanako and Anne” (花子とアン) has been a big success since its start in March 2014.  This program is based on a biography of Hanako Muraoka (1893–1968), who is a celebrated translator of Anne of Green Gables, a bestselling 1908 novel written by a Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Hanako was not only a talented translator but also a prolific writer, which was exemplified by an array of her works held by the Prange Collection.  She wrote a number of children’s books, and seventeen of them, including “Tanpopo no Me (Dandelion’s eyes)” featured in the TV program, are accessible in full text at the Prange Children’s Digital Collection.

In addition, she wrote a wide variety of essays, which reveal her strong belief in women’s social advancement.  For example, in “Ame no naka no Bisho [Smile in rain] (PL-53752),” she emphasized the importance of women’s political involvement by pursuing female suffrage, which was implemented in 1945 in Japan.  In another essay, “Kokoro no Mado kara [From the Window of the Heart] (PL-53755),” she highlighted the significance of equal partnership between husband and wife in order to form a modern democratic family.  Hanako also demonstrated her strong Christian identity in her writing.  As educated by missionary women, she depicted her dedication to Christian faith in one of her novels, “Midori no Shima [Green Island] (PL-53758).”

In addition to her essay writing, Hanako published translation books of “Knight Errant” by a Pulitzer Prize winner, Margaret Widdemer (PZ-9001g), and “Blossomy Cottage” by Montanye Perry (PS-9003g).  A wide array of Hanako’s works uncover her creative talent for writing and help us construct an alternative image of Hanako Muraoka distinct from the ones formed in the TV program.

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