Corps de l’article


This article looks at self-censorship and censorship in Nitobe’s Bushido[1]: The Soul of Japan, first published in 1900, and in four different translations of the book, published at different times during the 20th century: the Spanish translation by Gonzalo Jiménez de la Espada (1909), the French translation by Charles Jacob (1927), the Japanese translation by Yanaihara Tadao (1938) and the Spanish translation by José Millán-Astray (1941).

Looking for Spanish translations of Nitobe’s Bushido in 2004, we were surprised to discover a translation by General Millán-Astray in the Bibliotéca Nacional de España. Given the enormous cultural and ideological distance between Nitobe and Millán-Astray, it seemed probable that the comparison of Nitobe’s Bushido with Millán-Astray’s translation would shed light on our understanding of censorship in translation and the reception of Japanese culture in the West. Millán-Astray was responsible for much of the Nationalist ideology and propaganda before, during and after the Spanish Civil War, as well as being Franco’s first Director of the State Delegation for Press and Propaganda. He was thus responsible for censorship just after the Spanish Civil War. As the official representative of “institutional censorship” (Billiani, 2009, p. 30), he translated Nitobe’s Bushido for “la juventud escolar” [“young students”] (Millán-Astray, 1941, front cover) at a time when few books and fewer translations were published. Should we consider his adaptation of the text as manipulation, censorship or self-censorship? Certainly it is not self-censorship as defined by Maksudyan: “Self-censorship occurs prior to publication when the cultural agent censors the work voluntarily, in order to avoid public censorship or in order to achieve approval from the dominating sector in society” (Maksudyan, 2009, p. 640). Millán-Astray was a public censor and a dominant member of society being one of the victors of the civil war.

The choice of the rest of our translation corpus was partially dictated by questions arising from establishing the source text of the 1941 translation, El Bushido: El alma de Japón. In his Preámbulo [Introduction] to this edition, Millán-Astray explained how he had been inspired by Bushido when he was teaching cadets in the Academia de Infantería de Toledo from 1909-1912 and writing the Credo Legionario [The Legionnaire’s Creed] for the Spanish Foreign Legion in 1920 (Millán-Astray, 1941, p. 6). Although he must have read the only Spanish translation available at that time, which was Jiménez de la Espada’s (1909), in his Preámbulo, he claimed to have translated from the French (ibid., p. 9). The only French translation available in 1941 was by Charles Jacob (1927) and textual analysis has indeed confirmed that this was Millán-Astray’s source text.

The Japanese translation by Yanaihara Tadao (1938) was included to provide a mirror image to Nitobe’s cultural mediation efforts. Nitobe wrote about his own Japanese culture in English, a foreign language, and the resulting text was a kind of self-translation in which the author practised self-censorship (Tanqueiro and López-Gay, 2008). In Bushido, probably the best known of Nitobe’s books, the renowned Japanese writer and diplomat tried to act as an inter-cultural mediator between East and West, and export the concepts and values of Bushidō [“the path of the samurai”]. Nitobe was descended from one of the great samurai families, but he converted to Christianity, married an American Quaker from Philadelphia and studied widely in the US and in Europe. Bushido: The Soul of Japan was a valiant attempt to translate the ethical code of the samurais for the West, but, in the process, Nitobe censored some aspects of the culture, presenting a romanticized and “Orientalist” vision. He idealized the samurai caste by domesticating their values and teachings in order to make them more acceptable to American readers brought up in the values and teachings of the New Testament. The purpose of his book was to help Western readers understand and value Japanese culture at the beginning of the 20th century. However, at the same time, Nitobe was an employee of the Japanese government and had to make sure that he did not fall into disgrace at home.

The theoretical approach to this paper is based on the assumption that translation is a purposeful activity (Reiss and Vermeer, 1991; Nord, 1997) and that the translation skopos refers to the goal of the translation process, which may not coincide with the function of the source text (Schäffner, 2009, p. 120). Evidence of the skopos can of course be found in the text. In this study, a descriptive, diachronic study of the five texts has shown how their different skopos are reflected in the translation of cultural references.

Widdowson describes the way discourse is interpreted in the interaction between text and context: “What interpretation involves is the relating of the language in the text to the schematic constructs of knowledge, belief and so on outside the text. In this way discourse is achieved” (2004, p. 61). Widdowson’s definition of pretext has been particularly useful, suggesting that the explicit reason for taking a point of view or course of action may hide “an ulterior motive: a pretending to do one thing but intending to do something else” (ibid., p. 79). It is related to a hidden skopos or discourse purpose: “The meaning of words in texts is always subordinated to a discourse purpose: we read into them what we want to get out of them” (ibid., p. 86). This certainly seems to be true for some of our translators and is probably equally so for readers of their translations. Most of our translators are not only very visible in their translations (Venuti, 1995), but they have also provided paratextual information about their skopos, or pretexts in the shape of forewords, prefaces or introductions. We have tried to describe each translator’s discourse purpose, or skopos, by investigating the relationship between the socio-political context of translation production and the visibility or invisibility of the translators in their translations and paratexts. The concepts of Orientalism (Said, 1978) and Nihonjinron [“theories about being Japanese”] (Dale, 1986, p. 199) are useful to explain foreignizing and domesticating strategies and self-censorship in the texts by Nitobe and Yanaihara Tadao. We have also found it useful to draw on some aspects of the Manipulation School, in particular ideology, censorship and problems posed by translation between distant languages and cultures (Bassnett, 1991 [1980]; Bassnett and Lefevere, 1991; Hermans, 1999).

The analysis of the four translations shows that manipulation or censorship of the cultural references in the source text is most evident during periods of conflict, for example the Japanese translation of 1938 and the Spanish translation of 1941. In the case of Millán-Astray’s 1941 translation, the translator’s context and pretext led to manipulation or censorship of the source text such that Nitobe’s purpose was completely lost in the translation.

The five texts are presented in chronological order with a brief description of each context and pretext. They were all published with forewords, prefaces or introductions that explain the purpose of the author and translators.

1. Nitobe Inazo (1900): A Japanese in Philadelphia

Nitobe Inazo (1862-1933) grew up in the Meiji Era (1868-1912), a period when Japanese society was undergoing transformation. The Meiji Restoration (Meiji Ishin) was started by a sector of the samurai class who rebelled against Tokugawa, the Shogun, ending seven centuries of feudalism and opening the way to the establishment of a “modern” constitutional state. Nitobe and other promising young students were educated at home and abroad so they could learn from the West and contribute to the modernization of their country. Nitobe also served in the Japanese colonial administration, most notably in Taiwan between 1901 and 1903 (Miwa, 1995, pp. 165-166) and as a diplomat in the West, a specialist in mediating between Japan and the West.

During this period, unlike many other Asian countries, Japan managed to escape Western colonization. In fact, Japan learned to emulate Western imperialist strategies and become a European-style colonial power in its own right (Diez del Corral, 1974, pp. 36-37). The Japanese policy of extending the country’s influence in the Asian continent was successful due to the spectacular victories of the Japanese navy and army in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and the Russian-Japanese War (1904-1905). In Japan, these victories were mainly attributed to the spirit of Bushidō, or the code of the samurais. One of the results of these military victories was the growing prestige of the Japanese forces in the West. This led to increased interest in Japanese culture and thought in Europe and the USA.

Japan established the foundations of a modern state during the Meiji Era, a period of military euphoria fuelled by nationalist and imperialist propaganda. The concept of Yamato Damashii [the soul of Japan] represented all those qualities and traditions that made up Japanese national identity. Theories about the unique essence of Japanese culture were developed within the Nihonjinron movement (the term used to describe the discourse on Japanese identity). Three of the most important books published in this tradition at that time were written originally in English by Japanese authors. One of these was Nitobe’s Bushido: the Soul of Japan (1900). The other two are Representative Men of Japan by Uchimura Kanzō (1894) and The Book of Tea by Okakura Tenshin (1906).

Although a professor, colonial administrator, agricultural expert, moralist, diplomat, author and literary critic, Nitobe’s main source of income nevertheless was the Japanese government. His reputation in Japan has fluctuated over the years, where he has often been criticized for being too Western in his approach. In 1932, he was sent on a gruelling tour of the United States to defend the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and was criticized by both sides; by the Japanese for his pacifism and by the Americans for defending the Japanese military position. In fact, his books were censored for a brief period (Howes and Oshiro, 1995, pp. 3-26; Oshiro, 1995, pp. 253-278; Kojima, 2003). However, on the whole, he has remained popular in the West, as can be seen by the numerous translations of his works. Bushido is only one of his many publications. In the preface to the 1905 edition he describes its genesis in a conversation with his American Quaker wife, who persuaded him to write a little book that would make Bushidō accessible to Western readers. Nitobe completed the book in Monterey, California in December 1899. His book was first published by Leeds & Biddle Company in Philadelphia in 1900 and in Tokyo the following year. However, the most internationally successful edition was the one published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons of New York in 1905, the year of Japan’s resounding victory in the war against Russia. The rise of Japan’s spectacular military power attracted increasing interest in Japanese history and traditions, and, as a corollary, in Bushido: The Soul of Japan. The source text used for this study is a facsimile edition printed by Tuttle Publishing of Boston in 2001 of the enlarged 10th edition of Bushido: the Soul of Japan, published by Putnam’s Sons in 1905.

Bushidō, or the path of the warrior, was the unwritten moral code of the military samurais, the bushi, who had dominated feudal Japan from 1185 to 1868. This code began to take shape in the Kamakura Period (1185-1333) and developed throughout the feudal period with the evolution of the samurai class. It came to be regarded as a legally-binding, consuetudinary ethical code that represented the spirit of Japan (Yamato Damashii). Nitobe described it as the “noblesse oblige” of the warrior class. In fact, the Meiji Restoration was started by a group of samurais from the provinces whose economic situation had become increasingly precarious. This situation resulted from, on the one hand, the abuses and corruption of the central government in Edo [Tokyo] under the rule of Tokugawa and, on the other hand, the diminished importance of their role during the long period of peace (1603-1868).

In this book, Nitobe tried to explain Bushidō to Western readers by presenting its origins, values and teaching in a systematic way. He also questioned whether it could survive during a period of political and social revolution when Japan was being invaded by Western influences. Nitobe’s Bushido is divided into seventeen chapters covering four main topics: (1) the origins and the sources of Bushidō: its Chinese roots (Taoism, Confucianism and Chan Buddhism—Zen in Japanese) and its Japanese roots (Shintō, or the way of the gods); (2) the characteristics and teachings of Bushidō; (3) the influence of this code, originally intended exclusively for the samurai class, on Japanese society as a whole; (4) the importance of Bushidō for twentieth-century Japan.

Nitobe made his intention explicit in his preface to the first edition. He was trying to explain Japanese culture to the West at a time when very little was known about it:

I found that without understanding feudalism and Bushido, the moral ideas of present day Japan are a sealed volume. […] All through the discourse I have tried to illustrate whatever points I have made with parallel examples from European history and literature, believing that these will aid in bringing the subject nearer to the comprehension of foreign readers.

Nitobe, 2001, pp. xii-xiii

Nitobe himself thought about his text in English, a “borrowed” tongue, as a kind of self-translation (Nitobe, 2001, p. 8). He wrote about his concept of translation, continually posing questions about how to express Japanese cultural concepts in a foreign language. Nitobe was well acquainted with the European trends and admired the German philosophers, as did Ortega y Gasset, the Spanish philosopher. It would appear that both were influenced by the same ideas about translation. Nitobe’s conception of translation as an impossible but necessary utopia was very similar to the conception of translation expressed by Ortega y Gasset in “Miseria y esplendor de la traducción” [“The Misery and Splendour of Translation”] (1976, pp. 127-162).

However, Nitobe was particularly conscious of the difficulties of translating between distant cultures and languages, between East and West. He used both foreignizing and domesticating strategies to get his message across. On the one hand, he maintained the Japanese terms and, on the other, he tried to explain the concepts with examples that would be familiar to his readers:

Bushido means literally Military-Knight-Ways- [...]. Having thus given its literal significance, I may be allowed henceforth to use the word in the original. The use of the original term is also advisable for this reason, that a teaching so circumscribed and unique, engendering a cast of mind and character so peculiar, so local, must wear the badge of its singularity on its face; then, some words have a national timbre so expressive of race characteristics that the best of translators can do them but scant justice, not to say positive injustice and grievance. Who can improve by translation what the German “Gemüth” signifies, or who does not feel the difference between the two words verbally so closely allied as the English gentleman and the French gentilhomme?

Nitobe, 2001, p. 4

Nitobe did not translate many of the specifically Japanese cultural references in order to emphasize what was distinct and unique about the samurais and their institutions in contrast to “the other culture.” This foreignizing strategy is very much in keeping with the Nihonjinron discourse. However, Nitobe also wanted to build bridges between East and West, by using domesticating strategies to present an idealised, Orientalist vision of Bushidō, adapting the rigid samurai system to Western values (especially to Christian values) so that the Japanese culture would be well received in the West. In our edition of the source text, Nitobe’s preface is followed by an introduction by William Elliot Griffis, an American who had been “[c]alled, in 1870 to Japan as pioneer educator to introduce the methods and spirit of the American public-school system” (2001, p. xvii). Griffis’ totally Orientalist introduction is worthy of a study in itself, for it presents Nitobe and Bushido in an extremely romanticized and idealized light as instruments that would help Christianity to grow: “Even in Japan, Christianity, unwrapped from its foreign mould and matting, will cease being an exotic and strike its roots deep in the soil on which Bushido has grown” (2001, p. xxiii).

Nitobe not only made his intentions quite clear in his preface, but he also left very clear signals in the three quotations he chose to precede the text. The quotes are from Robert Browning, Henry Hallam and Friedrich von Schlegel. The first quote is from Browning’s poem Bishop Blougram’s Apology. The poem is not often included in modern anthologies, but it was important in the Victorian era because it reflected on one of the great debates of the day—the balance between reason and faith. The message is that while we need science and technology, we are lost without our spiritual roots.

The second quote is from Henry Hallam’s The View of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages (1818). Hallam was a nineteenth-century historian who was particularly influential for his work on the English constitution and the formation of other European states. The quotation selected by Nitobe refers to the spirit of liberty, religion and honour that made up the ideals of knighthood and how these ideals sometimes emerge from the depths to inspire humanity. This idea reinforced the central theme of Nitobe’s book that Bushidō was the soul of Japan, and allowed him to draw parallels between the perfect gentle knight and the samurai.

The third quote, “Chivalry itself is the poetry of life,” is from Schlegel’s Philosophy of History.[2] Friedrich von Schlegel (1777-1829) was a German writer, critic and philosopher, a pioneer in comparative Indo-European linguistics and comparative philology who had a profound influence on the early German Romantic Movement and supported German nationalism. Between 1810 and 1812 he gave lectures in Vienna on medieval poets as forerunners of romanticism, while perfecting his philosophy of history, which viewed national cultures as organic developments. German nationalism was very influential in the development of Japanese nationalism during the decade that followed the Meiji Restoration, and Nitobe obviously found a kindred spirit in Schlegel.

Nitobe drew on his varied studies in comparative philosophy, universal literature, law and comparative religion to find points of encounter between traditional Japanese and Western values, questioning the Manichean division between Christians and pagans so common in the West in the nineteenth century. Nitobe sympathized with the Quakers’ rejection of violence and hierarchies and with Mukyoukai, the Japanese “no church” Christian movement:

It is with ecclesiastic methods and with the forms which obscure the teachings of Christ, and not with the teachings themselves, that I have little sympathy. I believe in the religion taught by Him and handed down to us in the New Testament, as well as the law written in the heart. Further, I believe that God hath made a testament which may be called “old” with every people and nation, —Gentile or Jew, Christian or Heathen.

Nitobe, 2001, p. xiv

Given the socio-political context in which this book was written, a period when Japan had awoken the admiration of the West for its military victories and when the Japanese were becoming increasingly nationalistic and proud of their imperial status, it is hardly surprising that Nitobe’s attempts to domesticate the pathway of the warrior were not always well received, particularly in Japan. He practised self-censorship, trying to soften the harsher aspects of the samurais’ code of behaviour, such as seppuku, the ritual suicide required of a samurai who had in some way stained his honour or the honour of his feudal lord (Nitobe, 2001, pp.111-114 and 117); kataki-uchi, legitimate vengeance taken on behalf of a feudal lord (ibid., pp. 126-128); the education of children (ibid., pp. 31-35, 107-110 and 131); or the position of women (ibid., pp. 139-144; Hane, 1991, p. 154).

In his role as cultural mediator between East and West, Nitobe was walking a tightrope. However, as can be seen in the four translations we have studied, each translator made his own reading, interpreting the text in his own context and in light of his own pretext, censoring, consciously or unconsciously where necessary. For example, Nitobe equates the Bushidō concept of rei [politeness] with Saint Paul’s description of charity and love in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 13: 4-5, by quoting directly from the translation in the seventeenth-century King James Bible. The reference is not explicit, but the intertextuality would have been immediately clear to English-speaking Protestants at the beginning of the twentieth-century. Three of our translators (Spanish or French Roman Catholics) seem to have been unaware of this intertextuality, or at least they did nothing to maintain it. However, Nitobe’s disciple, Yanaihara Tadao, who was also a Protestant did compensate for the emotional intensity of the text by using high register old Japanese.[3]


In its highest form, politeness almost approaches love. We may reverently say, politeness “suffereth long, and is kind; envieth not, vaunteth not itself, not puffed up; doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, taketh not account of evil

p. 50


En su forma superior, la cortesía casi se confunde con el amor. Podemos decir sin irreverencia que la cortesía “sufre largo tiempo y es generosa; no envidia, no se envanece, no se engríe, no comete inconveniencias, no es egoísta, no es fácil á la provocación, desoye el mal

p. 59

[Politeness “suffers a long time and is generous; does not envy, does not become vain, does not become conceited, does not make trouble, is not egoistic, is not easy to provoke, does not hear evil”]


Dans sa forme la plus haute, la politesse confine presqu’à l’amour. Nous pouvons dire avec respect : la politesse « est très patiente et elle est bonne ; elle n’envie point, elle ne se vante pas, ne fait pas d’embarras ; elle ne se comporte pas d’une façon inconvenante, ne pense pas à elle même, n’est pas facilement vexée et ne fait pas attention au mal ».

p. 89



p. 58

[In its highest form, politeness approaches love. The authentic person, with a respectful heart, may say: politeness is compassionate, politeness is tolerant, politeness is forgiving, politeness is not envious, it is not proud, it is not puffed up, it is not rude, it does not put its interests first or criticize others.]


En su forma más elevada, la cortesía casi se confina con el amor. Podemos, por tanto, con la debida reverencia decir: “La cortesía es muy paciente y es buena; no es envidiosa, no se jacta, no pone ningún pero; no se conduce de manera inconveniente, no piensa en ella misma, no es fácilmente vejada y no hace caso del mal

p. 81

[“Politeness is very patient and is good; is not envious, does not boast, never says but; does not behave in an improper way, does not think of herself, is not easily angered and pays no attention to evil”]

2. Gonzalo Jiménez de la Espada (1909): A Spaniard in Tokyo

Gonzalo Jiménez de la Espada, Nitobe’s first Spanish translator was living in Tokyo in 1908 when he started his translation. Bushido: El Alma de Japón, was published in 1909 by the Daniel Jorro publishing house in Madrid. It is essential to become familiar with the socio-political context in order to understand the where, why and when of this translation. Military prestige was at its height in Japan after the country’s victories over the Chinese and the Russians (1905), and there was increasing international interest in the samurais, Bushidō and Nitobe’s book. The news of the Japanese victories had reached Spain,[4] but living in Tokyo, Jiménez de la Espada was obviously more aware of Japan as an emerging power and Nitobe’s importance. The first Japanese edition of Bushido was published in 1908, translated by Sakurai Ōson, a close friend of Nitobe, and revised by the author himself. We know from Jiménez de la Espada’s introduction to the Spanish edition that he was also in touch with Nitobe. The translator expressed his gratitude to the author for graciously allowing him to publish his book in the “noble lengua castellana” [“noble Castillian language”] (Jiménez de la Espada, 1909, p.7).

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the so-called “agony of the Spanish Empire” entered its final phase with the loss in 1898 of Cuba and the Philippines, the two most important of the remaining colonies. The intellectuals of the time, known as the “Generation of 98,” were nostalgic for Spain’s imperial past and very critical of the stagnant socio-political situation. They felt that no time should be lost in reaching out to other cultures in order to learn new ideas that might help to halt Spain’s decline and prepare the country to face the storm clouds gathering over Europe. Jiménez de la Espada’s translation of Bushido can be seen as a part of this trend. He was both initiator and translator of the book. In his introduction, “Algunas palabras del traductor” [“A few words from the translator”], he wrote that Spain and Japan admired each other’s cultures although little was known in Spain about the Japanese. The purpose of his translation was to make Japanese thought and culture known in Spain (Jiménez de la Espada, 1909, p. 5).

Jiménez de la Espada had first-hand knowledge of Japan and its culture. He thought that Spain had a lot to learn from Japan, but he was also motivated by a personal affinity with Nitobe’s Bushido, and the fact that the original was in English, which made it easier to translate. He insisted on his faithfulness to the author of the source text. Nitobe is very visible indeed in the 1909 translation, which maintained Nitobe’s preface to the first and tenth English editions (Nitobe, 1938b, p. 13). In his preface, the translator described the translation strategies he used to remain faithful to the source text and maintain what was exotic and unique in the Japanese culture. While trying to make the most of this unusual opportunity to understand Japanese thought from the inside, he made an effort to stay as close as possible to the author’s style, even if it meant sacrificing his own. However, although Jiménez de la Espada tried to avoid over-domestication in his translation, he wanted to make clear to Spanish readers that Japan and Spain shared certain values that were enshrined in the samurai and “el caballero español” [“the Spanish caballero”]. His one criticism was that, whereas Nitobe had compared the codes of the samurais and European chivalry in general, he had not mentioned the close similarities between the samurai and the Spanish caballero. The Spanish translator stressed the importance of these shared values, in particular the caballero’s legendary orgullo [pride] and his disdain for material wealth. Jiménez de la Espada also felt that the two cultures were governed by similar politeness rules. He referred to the caballero’s gallantry towards the fairer sex, a characteristic that was satirized in elQuijote but that was commented on favourably in several chronicles by European travellers to the Iberian Peninsula from the nineteenth century.[5]

As far as content is concerned, Jiménez de la Espada’s translation follows the original closely. His affinity with Nitobe is marked and we have not found obvious cases of deliberate censorship or manipulation, although there are some examples where his translation does not reflect the ST, but these are usually due to false friends between English and Spanish, such as “injury” (Nitobe, 2001, p. 128) and “injuria” (Nitobe (GJE), 1909, pp. 119-120).[6] He even maintained Nitobe’s reference to the Spanish defeat in the Philippines (1898), which is completely omitted by Millán-Astray. Nitobe explained this defeat, the Prussian victory over Napoleon and the Japanese victories in terms of the martial virtues: “What won the battles on the Yalu, in Corea and Manchuria were the ghosts of our fathers, guiding our hands and beating in our hearts” (Nitobe, 2001, p. 188). Jiménez de la Espada’s translation, published only a decade after Spain had lost the Philippines, was aimed at inspiring his readers to rediscover martial virtues in Japan.


Why did not Louis Napoleon beat the Prussians with his Mitrailleuse, or the Spaniards with their Mausers, the Filipinos, whose arms were no better than the old fashioned Remingtons?

p. 188


¿Por qué Luis Napoleón no derrotó á los prusianos con sus Mitrailleuse, ó los españoles, con sus Maüsers á los fiipinos, cuyas armas no eran mejores que anticuados Remingtons?

p. 165

[Why did not Louis Napoleon defeat the Prussians with his Mitrailleuse, or the Spaniards, with their Mausers the Filipinos, whose arms were no better than old fashioned Remingtons?]


Pourquoi Louis Napoléon ne battit-il pas les Prussiens avec sa mitrailleuse, ou pourquoi encore les Espagnols avec leurs Mausers ne défirent-ils pas des Philippins, dont les armes ne valaient guère mieux que de vieux Remingtons ?

p. 253



p. 146

[Why did not Louis Napoleon beat the Prussian Army with his Mitrailleuse? And also the Spaniards, why using their Mäusers, couldn’t they defeat the poorly armed Filipinos who used their old fashioned Remingtons?]


¿Por qué Luis Napoleón no batió a los prusianos con su ametralladora?

p. 246

[Why did not Louis Napoleon beat the Prussians with his machine guns?]

3. Charles Jacob (1927): The “Grandeur” of the Samurais in Paris

Le Bushido: L´Âme du Japon, the first French translation of Bushido. The Soul of Japan, was published in 1927, when France was still an important colonial power and the centre of European culture; however, intellectuals were concerned about the cold winds of change. French travellers to the Far East had been seduced by the aesthetics of Japanese art and traditions and japonisme had become popular after the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1867 (Rodríguez, 2008b, pp. 4-18).

In order to understand the context and pretext of this translation, we have to look at the initiator, André Bellesort, the author of the prologue. Bellesort (1866-1942) was a traveller, ethnologist, writer, poet, journalist and literary critic. As a journalist, he worked as a special correspondent for Le Temps and the Revue des deux mondes in Chile, Bolivia, Sweden and the Philippines. In 1895 he was sent to Japan to cover the end of the Sino-Japanese War. A Member of the Académie française, he published widely, including several books about Japan, one of which was about the missionary work of Saint Francis Xavier in Asia. Little is known about Charles Jacob, the translator, but he seems to have followed the guidelines laid down by Bellesort.

Bellesort’s “Préface” (1927) is a mine of information about the translation’s context and pretext. The initiator of the translation stressed the importance of being able to read about laVoie du guerrier in French at that historic moment and the unique opportunity of learning about Bushidō from a Japanese chevalier who “non seulement a reçu une très forte culture européenne, mais encore qui s’est fait chrétien” (Bellesort, 1927, p. 9). Bellesort enlarged on Nitobe’s knowledge of European culture and his efforts to make Japanese culture accessible to Europe by quoting European philosophers in his preface to the translation about the soul of Japan, whose target audience was European.

The French journalist expressed his admiration for Nitobe’s conversion to Christianity and pointed out that Nitobe’s defense of Bushidō should have calmed the fears of his Japanese compatriots that Christianity threatened their traditions and that Japanese Christians were anti-patriotic. Bellesort was obviously well informed about Japan in the Meiji Era, for he gave the example of Uchimura Kanzō, one of Nitobe’s friends at school, who had been persecuted for his Christianity (and his pacifism). In fact, Bellesort highlighted the similarities between Bushidō and the New Testament, following a tendency initiated by Nitobe himself, and emphasized to a greater or lesser extent by the other translators.

Bellesort reported that only on his second visit to Japan, in 1914, at the outbreak of the First World War, had he started to hear the Japanese talk about Bushido:laVoie du guerrier. He claimed that the term had not been used before 1900, the year when Nitobe’s Bushido was published for the first time, and that it had not been included in any Japanese dictionaries. He also referred to Basil Chamberlain’s criticism of Bushidō in 1912. Chamberlain (1850-1935) was a writer and translator (one of the first to translate haikus into English) who had accused the Japanese of practising an extreme form of nationalism and of having used Bushidō to invent a new religion. However, Bellesort insisted that in no way was it a new religion. However, it was true that the resurrection of Bushidō during the Meiji Era had indirectly strengthened national sentiments during the construction of the modern state of Japan and had inspired imperial dreams. Japan had been invaded by European ideas and technology in the decade following the Meiji Restoration and Bellesort believed that, without the resurrection of Bushidō, the Japanese might have forgotten their centuries-old unwritten code of honour.

Bellesort also referred to the passage we have already mentioned above where Nitobe claimed that the Japanese victories were due not to advanced technology or weapons, but to the spirit of Bushidō transmitted from ancient generations of samurais to the whole nation (Nitobe, 2001, p. 188). He pointed out that this spirit was a synthesis of the local Shintō religion, which was bound up with ancestral rites and the divinity of the Emperor, Confucian ethics and “un peu la résignation du Bouddhisme” (Bellesort, 1927, p. 11).

We can see from the Préface that Bellesort, like Jiménez de la Espada and Nitobe himself, was in favour of both foreignizing and domesticating strategies. They all share a strong Orientalist tendency to emphasize what is exotic in Japan. Bellesort claimed that such a chivalric concept of knighthood was not to be found anywhere else in the Far East, in India or Malaysia. Drawing on his knowledge of Saint Francis Xavier (1506-1552)—in 1916 he had published L’Apôtre des Indes et du Japon. Saint François Xavier—he described the tremendous impression that the samurais had made on the first Europeans to reach Japan. Saint Francis was not only a saint but also a knight (un hidalgo), “qui avait du sang de hidalgo dans les veines et qui, sous son humilité et son dévouement d’apôtre, gardait toujours les sentiments de son origine et de ses traditions” (ibid., p. 12). He had been surprised to discover that the bushi virtues were so similar to those of European chivalry, that money was scorned and honour was not measured by material wealth. The poor knight’s honour was valued as much as that of the rich. The saint had also been fascinated by the ideal of Japanese courtesy, aimed not only at creating beauty, but also practising the most essential moral principles.

Bellesort believed that the “grandeur” of the samurais came from Bushidō. The skopos for his translation was to inspire the French to restore the “grandeur” of France: “Mais il faut toujours que la leçon vienne d’en haut, que le branle soit donné par un aristocrate. […] Le Bushido a déposé dans l’âme populaire japonaise des principes de grandeur, conceptions d’un idéal qui n’est pas mort” (ibid., p. 17). The concept of “grandeur”—“la France ne peut être la France sans la grandeur”—continued to be central to Gaullist discourse throughout the twentieth century.

This translation, like the two previous ones, was written during Nitobe’s lifetime and with his approval. Bellesort’s Préface to Le Bushido: L´Âme du Japon is followed by an “Avant-propos,” which is the translation of Nitobe’s introduction to the first edition (Nitobe, 1927b, pp. 19-21) and an “Avant-propos à l’édition française,” also by Nitobe (Nitobe, 1927c, pp. 23-24), in which he expressed his satisfaction that his book (at that time already in its 13th edition in English and its 30th edition in Japan) had finally been translated into French. The French edition also included the three quotes from Browning, Hallam and Schegel that are in the original, but a novelty was introduced in the form of a sonnet, “Le Samourai,” by the Parnassian poet, Jose Maria de Heredia (1842-1905). The poem provides a very vivid image of “un homme à deux sabres,” highlighting the aesthetic side of the samurai in armour: “Ce beau guerrier vétu de lames et de plaques, sous le bronze, la soie et les brillants laques, semble un crustacé noir, gigantesque et vermeil” (Nitobe, 1927, p. 26).

As was already mentioned at the beginning of this section, little is known about Charles Jacob, but our analysis of the text (Rodríguez, 2007a, pp. 175-188) suggests that he was guided by Bellesort, whose skopos was quite similar to that of Jiménez de la Espada. Certainly, the translator usually maintained the emotional intensity and the vivid metaphors of the original. Motivated manipulation can be seen in the choice of less monarchic terms when translating political structures and his translation of “country” or “land” by “la Patrie” with a capital letter. There are several sections where the meaning of the original was lost in the translation, but the losses seem to be due to misunderstanding the English text (Rodríguez, 2007a, pp. 284-296). We have been able to determine that Jacob’s 1927 translation was Millán-Astray’s source text, because the Spanish translator reproduced these meaningless phrases in his 1941 translation. He also used the term “Patria” (below) and avoided monarchic terms whenever possible.


To us the country is more than land and soil from which to mine gold or to reap grain—it is the sacred abode of the gods, the spirits of our forefathers:

p. 14


Para nosotros, el país es algo más que la tierra, algo más que el suelo donde se extrae el oro, ó en que se cosechan granos: es la mansión sagrada de los dioses, espíritus de nuestros ascendientes;

p. 31

[For us, the country is something more than the earth, something more than the soil where gold is mined, or in which grain is harvested: it is the sacred mansion of the gods, the spirits of our ancestors;]


Pour nous, la Patrie est quelque chose de plus que la terre, de plus qu’un sol dont on extrait de l’or et où l’on récolte du grain : c’est le séjour sacré des dieux, des esprits de nos aïeux ;

pp. 42-43



p. 33

[To us our country does mean more than the soil to mine gold, and more than the soil to reap grain; that is, the sacred abode of the spirit of our ancestors’ gods.]


Para nosotros, la Patria es algo más que la tierra, algo más que un suelo del cual se extrae el oro y se recoge el grano; es la mansión sagrada de losDioses, de los espíritus de nuestros mayores.

p. 30

[For us, the Fatherland is something more than the earth, something more than a piece of land from which gold is mined and grain is harvested: it is the sacred mansion of the Gods, of the spirits of our ancestors;]

4. Yanaihara Tadao (1938): Protecting Nitobe’s Legacy in Japan and Surviving

The pretext of Yanaihara Tadao’s Japanese translation of Bushido in 1938 can only be understood in the the translator’s personal context and the international situation (after the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, Japan’s withdrawal from the League of Nations and the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War, and just before the outbreak of the Second World War). Yanaihara Tadao (1893-1961) was a disciple of Nitobe and Uchimura Kanzō, the persecuted Christian leader mentioned by Bellesort (Nitobe (CJ), 1927, p. 10). Uchimura Kanzō had founded Mukyoukai, a Christian movement opposed to any kind of ecclesiastical hierarchy. Yanaihara shared his teachers’ preference for intercultural dialogue rather than war and had opposed the occupation of Manchuria in 1931. He was Professor of Colonial Policy at the University of Tokyo from 1923-1937 (a post that had originally been created for Nitobe) and a prolific scholar, who, in many of his books, was critical of Japanese domestic and foreign policy—in particular of Japanese colonial policy in Korea, China, Manchuria, Taiwan and Micronesia. His open criticism of the Japanese Empire’s declaration of war on the Chinese Republic in 1937 led to the “Yanaihara Incident.” He was forced to resign from the university, and some of his books were censored under pressure from right-wing scholars and armed forces.

Yanaihara’s motives for publishing his translation of Bushido in 1938 must have been complex. Some of them were explicitated in his introduction to the translation, whereas others can only be guessed at. The 1938 translation was not the first translation into Japanese. The first, published in 1908, was by Sakurai Oson, Nitobe’s publisher and personal friend. Author and translator had collaborated on it, and Nitobe insisted that he himself could not have done a better job, recognizing Sakurai’s superior knowledge of the Chinese classical sources. In his introduction, Yanaihara expressed his profound devotion to Nitobe and Sakurai, and insisted that his first loyalty was to Nitobe, that he could not approach the scholarship of Sakurai’s translation and that the only reason for his translation was to make Bushido accessible to a wider public otherwise incapable of following Sakurai’s classical style. Sakurai wrote mainly in kanbun [“ancient Chinese characters”] and kanshi [“a poetic language derived from classical Chinese poetry”]. Not only was the translation difficult to read, but it was out of print and difficult to find.

Therefore, in the introduction to the 1938 edition, Yanaihara wrote that he had tried to modernize the text while, at the same time, preserving some of the chivalric, poetic language so as not to alienate readers.

However, Yanaihara may have had other reasons for translating the work. Out of loyalty to his dead master he may have wanted to insist on the possibility of inter-cultural dialogue in this Christianized vision of Bushidō that had been so admired in the West. He may also have hoped to protect himself at a time when all Christians were suspect by showing that it was possible to be a Christian and follow the samurai’s path.

The 1938 translation is full of examples of elimination or self-censorship at a time when Nitobe’s loyalty was in question and Yanaihara himself had lost his position at the university. In Chapter 13, “The Sword, the Soul of the Samurai,” Nitobe described the ceremony celebrated when boys from samurai families were five. The boy was dressed as a samurai, placed on a go board and given a real sword instead of his toy sword. Nitobe added a footnote explaining go, “sometimes referred to as Japanese checkers” and comparing it with “the English game” (Nitobe, 2001, p. 131). Yanaihara simply eliminated the footnote in his translation, whereas all the other translators maintained it, although “the English game” was changed to “juego europeo” by Gonzalo Jiménez de la Espada (1909) and Millán-Astray (1941) and “jeu européen” by Charles Jacob (1927). Nitobe had to explain that the ceremony “adoptio per arma” [“initiation by the sword”] “initiated the boy into the rights of the military profession, by having thrust into his girdle a real sword instead of the toy dirk with which he had been playing” (ibid.). Yanaihara did not use the Latin expression that was reproduced by all the other translators or talk of “rights” but used the appropriate Japanese expressions for becoming a Bushi (「武門に入る」, translated literally as “to enter the gate of the Bushi”). The intertextuality of these rights would have been understood by Japanese readers to include the child’s right to use this new sword to kill himself for his feudal lord (seppuku).


It was a momentous occasion for him when at the age of five he was apparelled in the paraphernalia of samurai costume, placed upon a go-board* and initiated into the rights of the military profession, by having thrust into his girdle a real sword instead of the toy dirk with which he had been playing. After this first ceremony of adoptio per arma,

pp. 131-l32

* The game of go is sometimes called Japanese checkers, but is much more intricate than theEnglish game. The go-board contains 361 squares and is supposed to represent a battle-field, the object of the game being to occupy as much space as possible.



p. 111

[It was a momentous occasion for him when, at the age of five, he was dressed in the accessories of the Bushi costume, he was placed upon a go-board*, given a real sword instead of the toy sword with which he had played until then, and “authorised as a Bushi.” After this first ceremony of (武門に入る, translated literally) entry through the gate of the Bushi,]

5. General Millán-Astray (1941): Translation and Propaganda

In the case of the second Spanish translation, El Bushido: El alma de Japón (1941), the historical context and the translator’s pretext are even more closely connected. Whereas Yanaihara (1938) was under pressure from the right-wing censorship of the Imperial authorities, José Millán-Astray was himself the highest authority with regards to censorship in the early years of Franco’s regime. Before the Spanish Civil War, he had been influential in constructing the Nationalist discourse, and, after the war, was appointed Director of the State Delegation for Press and Propaganda, which formed part of the General Secretariat of the Head of State. Therefore, it is difficult to distinguish between self-censorship and censorship in his translation, for he kept within the ideology of the regime, an ideology that he had helped to shape.

The Second Sino-Japanese War, which had sparked the “Yanaihara Incident,” began on 7 July 1937; the Spanish Civil War had begun on 18 July 1936. These two wars, which were part of the buildup to the Second World War, took place on opposite ends of the Euro-Asian continent. However, in Spain there was a feeling that similar issues were at stake. The Republicans identified with the Chinese resistance against the Japanese invasion, whereas the Nationalists identified with the Japanese anti-communist propaganda (Rodao, 1998, p. 1). The Nationalist army was triumphant in the years following the end of the Spanish Civil War, called “[los] años de la Victoria” [“the Victory years”] by the regime.

Although Spain did not participate officially in the Second World War, the regime’s sympathies were with the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis. Millán-Astray worked enthusiastically for the Fascist propaganda machine in Italy and Spain (Rodao, 2001, pp. 122-123). The US-Japanese War in the Pacific began in 1941, and the first Japanese victories encouraged the Spanish regime to believe in the final victory of the “New Order”; therefore, this was a good moment to publish El Bushido: El alma de Japón. The propaganda makers were interested in presenting an idealized image of the Japanese soldier’s courage, honour and obedience, and Japan as a first-class military power.

However, Millán-Astray’s interest in Nitobe’s Bushido dated back much earlier in his career, to 1911, when he was preparing his classes for the Academia de Infantería de Toledo and later on when he was building an identity for the Spanish Foreign Legion. The skopos of Millán-Astray’s translation is very clear in his Preámbulo that was adopted as the basis of the Legionaries’ Code. Until 2008, it could still be accessed on the web page of the Spanish Foreign Legion, la Legión Extranjera.

En el Bushido inspiré gran parte de mis enseñanzas morales a los cadetes de infantería en el Alcázar de Toledo, cuando tuve el honor de ser maestro de ellos en los años 1911-1912, y también en el Bushido apoyé el credo de la Legión con su espirito legionario de combate y muerte, de disciplina y compañerismo, de amistad, sufrimiento y dureza, de acudir al fuego. El legionario es también samurai y práctica las esencias de Bushido.

Nitobe (MA), 1941, p. 6

I was inspired by Bushido for much of my moral teaching to the infantry cadets in the Alcazar of Toledo, when I had the honour to be their teacher in the years 1911-1912, and I also based the creed of the Legion on Bushido, with its legionary spirit of combat and death, of discipline and brotherhood, of friendship, suffering and toughness, of readiness to face the enemy. The legionnaire is also a samurai and practises the essence of Bushido.

Authors’ literal translation

Millán-Astray was born in Galicia in 1879 and entered the Toledo Infantry Academy when he was fifteen. His first war experience was the disastrous Philippines Uprising of 1896. He was in Africa from 1912 to 1917, after which he returned to Madrid and started to campaign for a mercenary army to serve in Spain’s colonies. He was sent to study the French Foreign Legion in Algeria, and, in January 1920, was named head of the Spanish Foreign Legion (Tercio de Extranjeros). He appointed Francisco Franco as his second in command and contributed to his legend before, during and after the Civil War. On 4 October 1936, just after Franco proclaimed himself the Head of State, Millán-Astray wrote that the Caudillo (the Spanish equivalent of Führer or Duce) had been sent by God as “Conductor” to lead Spain to greatness (Preston, 1999, pp. 122-126).

Millán-Astray was one of the most extravagant figures of the period. He was fearless on the battlefield and had lost an arm and an eye in Morocco. He was proud of his mutilations and cultivated a sinister aspect with a black eye patch. There are many stories about him, but perhaps the most infamous was the clash in Salamanca in 1936 with Miguel de Unamuno, at that time Vice Chancellor of the University. Millán-Astray interrupted the philosopher, with the sinister cry of “Viva la muerte y muera la inteligencia” (“Long live death and death to intelligence”). Unamuno’s answer is also very well known, “Venceréis pero no convenceréis” (“You will conquer but you will not convince”).

According to Paul Preston (1999, pp. 121-124), Millán-Astray’s “Bible” was a book published in 1895 by a Japanese called Nitobe and the General was alleged to have translated from Nitobe’s English original. Preston questions the identity of the translator on the grounds that there was no evidence that the General knew any English or Japanese. However, as we have already suggested, Millán-Astray must have read the 1909 Spanish translation and the evidence suggests that his 1941 translation was based on Charles Jacob’s French translation (1927). First of all, in his Preámbulo Millán-Astray wrote that he had translated from the French edition (Millán-Astray, 1941, p. 9). Secondly, as mentioned above, textual analysis has shown that the comprehension errors in the 1927 translation are reproduced in the 1941 translation. The textual evidence also suggests that Millán-Astray played a very active role in the process. His intervention can be seen in many examples of ideologically motivated censorship that are not in the French translation. Finally, the ornate language of the translation is very similar to that used by Millán-Astray in his political speeches and propaganda texts:

No os cansa más el traductor. Este saludo de proemio no es más que una cortesía en reverencia al Japón caballeroso, a Inazo Nitobe, el autor de tan bellísimo libro, y a vosotros, los que vais a leerlo, traducido a la lengua de Cervantes por vuestro servidor. [The translator will not tire you further. This introductory greeting is no more than a polite reverence to noble Japan, Inazo Nitobe, the author of such a very beautiful book and to you, to those who are going to read it, translated into the language of Cervantes by your servant.]

Millán-Astray, 1941, p. 13

One of the most obvious differences between the 1927 and the 1941 Bushidos is in the pretexts. Bellesort (1927) wrote a long Préface to the French translation and included Nitobe’s original Preface to the first edition as an “Avant-Propos,” as well as a new text by Nitobe written especially for the French edition, the “Avant-Propos à l’édition française.” However, Millán-Astray (1941) replaced all the original pretexts with his own Preámbulo, thus ensuring that his pretext controlled the discourse to fit the propaganda purposes of the publication. The name of the translator appeared on the cover in bigger letters than that of the author. On the inside cover, the intended readership was made explicit, “Se suplica la difusión de este libro, principalmente entre la juventud escolar” [“Please make sure this book is distributed, mainly among young students”].

The Preámbulo includes his own summary of the book, which is supposedly based on four categories, even though these are not mentioned explicitly in any part of the ST. These categories illustrate the fascist, National-Catholic pretext used by Millán-Astray to guide his young readers: Cuatro Principios (Principles); Cuatro Votos (Vows); Cuatro Pestes (Plagues), Cuatro Cultos (Cults).

Most of the examples of censorship in the TT are designed to reinforce the translator’s skopos: first, to justify Spain’s military dictatorship and reinforce the figure of Franco, the Caudillo, the Conductor; second, to strengthen the position of the Axis countries by favouring fascism over democracy; third, to reinforce the Spanish version of National Catholicism and the alliance between Church and State. Finally, there are examples where the translator seems to have adapted certain concepts of Bushidō, such as seppuku (the Japanese institution of ritual suicide), to his own personal viewpoint.

The TT was censored in different ways. The most obvious technique was omission. Throughout the ST Nitobe had used European references to explain Japanese cultural markers. Whenever these references were not in line with Millán-Astray’s skopos they were eliminated. Therefore, a reference to “Carl Marx writing his Capital” became “another writer” and a reference to the death of the Japanese feudal system was omitted:

More than a decade later, about the time that our feudalism was in the last throes ofexistence, Carl Marx, writing his Capital, called the attention of his readers to the peculiar advantage of studying the social and political institutions of feudalism…

Nitobe, 2001, p. 2

Más de diez años después, otro escritor llama la atención de sus lectores sobre la peculiar ventaja que obtendrían de un estudio de las instituciones sociales y políticas del feudalismo…

Nitobe (MA), 1941, p. 17

[More than ten years later, another writer called the attention of his readers to the peculiar advantage they would obtain from a study of the social and political institutions of feudalism…]

When Nitobe compared the “paternal” government supported by Bushido with the “avuncular” government of the US, “Uncle Sam’s to wit!” (Nitobe, 2001, p. 39), Millán-Astray eliminated the reference to the US and contrasted “paternal” government with “despotic” government (Nitobe (MA), 1941, p. 64). Nitobe’s reference to the Masons, “the Masonic sign” (Nitobe, 2001, p. 170), was eliminated in the translation, “este signo secreto” [this secret sign] (Nitobe (MA), 1941, p. 222). This is probably because under Franco any “enemy” was often identified as being part of the Jewish-Masonic conspiracy, el complot judeo-masónico. Furthermore, Millán-Astray omitted Nitobe’s reference to Spain’s ignominious campaign in the Philippines, a campaign that the General had participated in as a young man.

The limitations of this article do not permit a full analysis of how Millán-Astray transformed Nitobe’s Bushido, intended to promote international understanding and tolerance, to a Bushidō that functioned as domestic propaganda for the victors of the Spanish Civil War, Franco’s fascist, National-Catholic state. Further details can be found in Beeby and Rodríguez (2009) on how this translation changed the focus of Nitobe’s Bushido to present a more favourable picture of fascism versus democracy, the Axis versus the Allies, National-Catholicism versus Protestantism (in particular the Quaker Movement) and, finally, Millán-Astray’s own peculiar interpretation of Zen Buddhism and attitudes to death in Bushidō.


We have analyzed the paratextual information available for the five texts discussed in order to understand the pretexts of our five writers and have investigated their discourses in the socio-political contexts of their times. The five texts have been analyzed for evidence of the visibility of the translator and his skopos. All five texts are clearly the result of very purposeful activity and all show evidence of a consistent pretext that is coherent with the context of the author/translators.

Each translator made his own reading of the source text, interpreting it in light of his own pretext, manipulating or censoring where necessary. We have only been able to describe a few examples here, but the general tendency can be seen in the respective language used to refer to key social, religious, cultural, political and military concepts. For example, references to political structures clearly reflect the context and pretext of each writer: Nitobe (1900) and Jiménez de la Espada (1909) used both democratic and monarchic vocabulary; Yanaihara (1938) stressed imperial structures and tried to downplay references to democracy; Charles Jacob (1927) and Millán-Astray (1941) tended to avoid monarchic terms (the latter also omitted democratic and communist references).

In some cases it is difficult to decide where these or other adaptations in the texts fall on the continuum between manipulation and self-censorship, since there is no clear-cut line between the two. Maksudyan defines self-censorship as a voluntary act “to avoid public censorship or in order to achieve approval from the dominating sector in society” (2009, p. 640). This definition suggests that the translator/author who practises self-censorship is not in a powerful position in relation to the “dominating sector in society” (ibid.). Another criterion that could be used to place adaptations on the continuum between manipulation and self-censorship is the cost to the translator of the disapproval of authorities. This could be more or less high depending on the power structure or whether the society is at peace or at war. Judging from what is known about the texts and contexts of the translators studied here, it does not seem that the translations of Bushido made by Jiménez de la Espada or Charles Jacob posed a risk to either their careers or personal safety; their adaptations would thus fall towards the middle of the continuum between manipulation and self-censorship. By contrast, there is evidence that both Nitobe, himself, and Yanaihara suffered reprisals when their words did not comply with the Japanese imperial discourse of the moment. They were both conscious of the need for self-censorship. Millán-Astray is certainly a case apart. With power on his side, he manipulated his admired Nitobe, not to avoid public censorship but to enforce the dominant discourse that was partially his own creation. How often is the official censor also the translator?