Prefatory remark:

This post has received a revamped approach towards its analysis, rather than handling select quotes, I will be glancing at their vocabulary overall.

This is in part due to Nakajima Kotou's version lacking pages in the photocopied book available through the Japanese website, and that there are two other versions which have been added:

Notably, those by Beni Bara (1911) and Nakayama Mitsuo (1941), which more than meet the criteria for this blog-post series and also offer the option for a much wider view at how the various translator's handle the line individualism of each character.

Thus we continue, this time with the charity workers, nameless wretches as they are, but nevertheless subjects to prove just how rotten Ebenezer is prior to his transformation and repentance.

We will be dealing with their usage of pronouns, and then the verbs in the next instalment, which hopefully - if I can make it within time - shall be preceded by a short guide to polite speech.

The Charity Workers:


Kusano Shibaji (1902):

First person: 私 (wata(ku)shi), 私共 (wata(ku)shi-domo)
Second person: 貴方 (anata),  貴方さま (anatasama)
Third person: 者 (mono), お方 (okata)

Beni Bara (1911):

First person: 私/わたし (watashi), 私共 (watashi-domo)
Second person: 此方さん (kochira-san), 此方様 (kochira-sama), 貴下/あなた (anata),
Third person: None.

Yaguchi Tatsu (1915):

First person: 私/わたし (watashi), 吾々 (wareware), 手前共 (temae-domo)
Second person: 貴君/貴下/あなた (anata)
Third person: お方 (okata)

Nakajima Kotou (1920):

First person: 私 (watashi), 我々 (wareware)
Second person: 此方様 (kochira-sama), 貴方/貴下/あなた (anata)
Third person: 諸君 (shokun)

Hataya Masao (1925):

First person: 私 (wata(ku)shi), 吾々 (wareware)
Second person: こちら様 (kochira-sama), 貴方/あなた (anata)
Third person: None

Morita Souhei (1929):

First person: 私 (wata(ku)shi), 私ども (wata(ku)shi-domo)
Second person: こちら (kochira), 貴方 (anata)
Third person: None

Yamanaka Mitsuo (1941):

First person: 私 (watashi), 私達/私たち (watashi-tachi)
Second person: こちら (kochira), あなた (anata)
Third person: 人たち/ひとたち (hitotachi)

Kusano, Beni Bara and Morita have the Charity Workers use the most humble of self-referential forms, i.e. wata(ku)shi-domo, with Yaguchi then surpassing them by having his use temae-domo (lit. "The lot which is in front of the hand"), an archaic humble first person plural form. The bracketing within the former pronoun is due to the fact that it can be read both ways, i.e. watakushi and watashi, where the first is the most formal of the two, but some of these texts do not use explanatory readings, furigana, to denote the pronunciation of the words. These two make up the most regular of humble first person pronouns, whereas Yaguchi's choice is less common and today temae or temee is more often used as a term of insult, i.e. "fucker/bastard," in how the humble first person pronoun mutated into a  depreciating reference to another person rather than oneself.

The plural forms vary, Yaguchi other than using temae-domo uses wareware, the formal first person plural that literally is a reduplication of ware ("I"), the Old Japanese first person pronoun, he and Hataya use the kanji 吾々, which includes the reduplication of a rarer kanji for ware, whereas Morita opts for the more standard 我々.

Yamanaka in contrast to the rest of them picks watashi-tachi, the standard polite way first person plural without any hints of humility, notably due to tachi, which neither too informal nor formal as a plural-suffix, whereas domo as seen above is a self-deprecating plural suffix when used for oneself or one's group.

When it comes to refering to Scrooge and indirectly Marley, the results vary less, but nevertheless significantly so: All of the seven translators opt for anata as the polite pronoun, but pick distinct kanji to write this word, and Kusano goes one step further and has them refer to Scrooge with anata-sama, the most decorous of second person pronouns.

Kusano, Nakajima, Hataya and Morita use 貴方 (lit. "honourable direction") to write anata, the standard gender neutral rendition, whereas Yaguchi, Beni Bara and even Morita furnish them with rarer kanji spellings namely, 貴下 ("honourable one below me", used to refer to people younger than the speaker, normally read as kika) and 貴君 ("honourable sir", used to refer to one's male social or age-wise equals, normally read as kikun). Everyone, except for Kusano, invariably also use the phonetic hiragana spelling あなた.

When enquiring as to if Scrooge is indeed Scrooge or whether or not he is his business associate Jacob Marley, Beni Bara, Nakajima and Hataya use kochira-sama, an archaic if polite way of referring to another person, typically as a polite replacement for kare ("he/him") or kanojo ("she/her"), Beni Bara includes the variant kochira-san, substituting sama, the honorific suffix, with the more informal san. Morita and Nakayama strip it of its honorific and use plain kochira.

The third person is use much more sparingly in the translations, specifically when the Charity Workers speak of how generous Jacob Marley has been. Kusano and Yaguchi use okata ("honourable personage"), a polite substitute for hito (人, "person").

Nakajima uses shokun ("gentlemen") when referring to the poor that the Charity Workers talk about when they try to persuade Scrooge to give amnesty for the destitute, Nakayama foregoes this formality with merely using the neutral hito-tachi ("persons").

All of them use the honorific san, when talking to Scrooge.