The bestselling biography of renowned Japanese translator of Anne of Green Gables is available in English for the first time.
The name Hanako Muraoka is revered in Japan. Her Japanese translation of L. M. Montgomery's beloved children's classic Anne of Green Gables, Akage no An (Red-haired Anne) was the catalyst for the book's massive and enduring popularity in Japan. A book that has since spawned countless interpretations, from manga to a long-running television series, and has remained on Japanese curriculum for half a century. For the first time, the bestselling biography of Hanako Muraoka written by her granddaughter, Eri Muraoka, and translated by the award-winning Cathy Hirano (The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up), is available in English.
A young girl born into an impoverished farming family in Yamanashi Prefecture, when Hanako Muraoka is given the opportunity to attend the illustrious girls' school Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin, she falls in love with the English language, and with translating poetry. This love of the written word leads to a career as a children's writer, but her burgeoning literary life is cut tragically short with the death of her son and the bankruptcy of her husband's printing company. When the Second World War brings an end to her stint reading children's stories over the radio--for which she is known across Japan as Aunty Radio--she turns to her first love: translation.
It was the story of a young girl in a pastoral setting with a love of poetry that spoke most powerfully to Muraoka's heart. Amidst the wail of air raid sirens, she began translating her copy of Anne of Green Gables into Japanese around 1943, completing the majority of the work during the Second World War. In 1952, despite the crumbling of the Japanese publishing industry and the censorship enforced by the occupation, a publisher took a chance on an unknown translator, and the rest is history.
From rural Japan to mid-century Tokyo, Anne's Cradle tells the complex and captivating story of a woman who came of age in conservative twentieth-century Japan, and risked everything to bring the best of children's literature to her people, and cultivated a literary career that led generations of Japanese readers to fall in love with a plucky redhead from Prince Edward Island.