Japan uncovers oldest translation of 'Peta Rabbit'

  1. Japan uncovers oldest translation of 'Peta Rabbit'

    Thu May 10, 10:24 AM

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese researchers have discovered a translation of Beatrix Potter's much-loved children's classic "Peter Rabbit" dating back to 1906, making it the oldest known foreign-language version of the book.

    The Japanese version of the story was published in the Nihon Nogyo magazine just four years after the original English version, but without mentioning Potter's name or using her distinctive illustrations, a spokesman for the national library said Thursday.

    "A Fairy Tale of Mischievous Little Rabbits," tells the story of "Peta" and his clashes with the farmer, Mr McGregor, who is given the Japanese name Old Mokubei in the story, the Yomiuri Shimbun daily said Wednesday.

    A 1912 Dutch translation of the book had previously been thought to be the world's oldest, the paper said, while the oldest Japanese version was thought to have been one published in 1918.

    "Although the story doesn't give any attribution, it correctly tells the story of 'The Tale of Peter Rabbit', the paper quoted Yoshihide Kawano, a literature professor at Daito Bunka University in Tokyo, as saying of his discovery.

    Beatrix Potter is a firm favorite with Japanese readers, and a replica of her Lake District home was opened at the university's campus in Tokyo last year to house early editions of her works.

    Potter's talent as an illustrator was the source of her success in Japan, according to the head of the museum.

    "If it had been just the text, I don't think her books would have been so popular here," said Hideo Kuribayashi.

    "Japanese people are very familiar with rabbits and the humor of drawing them dressed up in clothes and getting up to mischief is very appealing," he added.

  2. very interesting acctually. i'm dutch hehe i like it that we have the oldest version ;)
  3. OMG that's so kewl
  4. very interesting. thanks for posting.
  5. I loved Peter Rabbit and the other Beatrix Potter stories growing up.

    I was terrified of Mr. MacGreggor. I would wake up screaming at night because I would dream he'd come after me with a rake.

    Whenever a family friend / relative has a baby, my mom sends a library of Beatrix Potter books or one big treasury of stories as a baby present.