An analysis of this magnitude requires taking segments in sizeable chunks without it becoming all too unfathomable for either your senses or the connection through which you are currently accessing this site.
I must admit that I initially planned for Scrooge to be one of the first characters to be analysed, but his facets are unravelled throughout the chapters as he is visited by the three Ghosts of Christmas as well as when we in turn also analyse them. It seems therefore far more advantageous to take them along with Scrooge as we go along in the story and, similarly, the cast as they appear in chronological or narrative order of the story itself.
Thus, we will be looking at the initial version of Scrooge, his old sinful miser-self; Frederick, his nephew; and then pitiable charity workers will be taking care of in the next part of the analysis, together with Jacob Marley. who is quite a complex beast that will be taken care of in the next part of this analysis.
Uncle Ebeneezer and Nephew Fred:
“Christmas a humbug, uncle!” said Scrooge’s nephew. “You don’t mean that, I am sure?”
“I do,” said Scrooge. “Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You’re poor enough.”
“Come, then,” returned the nephew gaily. “What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You’re rich enough.”
(Stave I, 1843)
Probably the most famous group of paragraphs that establish the problematic relationship between Ebeneezer and Fred.
Note that I will be translating the Japanese greeting as "Auspicious Christmas" as to properly render any wordplay, rather than the English original equivalent of "Merry Christmas."
"Kurisumasu ga bakabakashii! Sou oii no janai deshou, kitto ojisan!"
"Souda! Kurisumasu omedetai? Naze omedetai, kisama donna riyuu ga atte omedetai? Kisama, sukanpin darou." Oi wa kokimi yoku hentou shita, "ate, nani anata wa inkinioi, soreja? Soreja? Donna riyuu ga atte fusagittekomu desu? Ojisan, anata wa ookanemochi deshou."
"Christmas is foolish!? Surely not such an expression, uncle"
"That's right. An Auspicious Christmas? Why auspicious? A churl like you, what reason have you for it to be auspicious? Aren't you penniless, you ruffian."
The nephew replied briskly, "Ho! Why are you so dismal, I'd like to know. What reason have you to be so thoroughly sullen? Uncle, are you not someone very rich?"
Here we see a rather scathing Scrooge calling Fred, his very own nephew, kisama (貴様), a second person pronoun - hence "churl/ruffian" - with the full force of imprecations like "bastard," no reference to the natal nor marital status of Scrooge's late sister intended. Fred is called "penniless" by Scrooge and the son literally refers to him as "one who has great (amounts) of money."
Fred is rather polite towards his uncle here, using お言ひ or お言い (in modern orthography), o-ii, a clipped form of the full sonkeigo verb oiininaru (お言いになる), equating to "The sir/madam said." Whereas Scrooge is downright vulgar, even though the vertical relationship of the two demands Fred being the courteous here, even using the polite gender-neutral pronoun anata.
"Kurisumasu kuso de mo kue desutte" Sukuruuji no oi wa itta. "Sonna koto wa nai deshou to, nee?"
"Arutomo!" Sukuruuji wa itta "Omedetai Kurisumasu datte! Omae nanka medetou garu kenri ga doko ni aru? Omoshigaru riyuu ga doko ni aru? Monnashi janai ka."
"Gozatta ne," oi wa genki yoku kotaeta. "Sonnara ojisan nanka nakashigaru kenri ga doko ni aru? Shibutsura suru riyuu ga doko ni aru? Kanemohci janai ka."
"Christmas can go to hell!?" said the nephew of Srooge, "You cannot be meaning such words, can you?"
"Most certainly!" said Scrooge, "Auspicious Christmas, you say! To which extent have you the right have you to wish me that? Where is this reason for being so amused with yourself? You are broke, aren't you!?"
"Verily, sir," replied the nephew in good spirits, "To which extent have you any right to be so lugubrious? Why are you making such a sullen grimace? Aren't you a rich man?"
Scrooge goes from in Kusano's version calling Christmas "foolish," to saying "it can go to hell" or more literally if less Dickensian, "eat shit." This can also in some contexts mean "fuck off," which do not veil in the least the miserly old git's mood towards Christmas nor his fellow humans. Otherwise the linguistic formalities are the same as in the previous translation, note however that Fred uses the amiable emphatic particle nee as well as gozatta, the formal polite, if archaic, form of aru (to be) as well as the non-polite form of gozaimasu. This could be merely part and parcel of the Taisho-era's vocabulary.
"Kurisumasu ga berabou desutte! Kore wa odoroita, ojisan" to oi wa me wo maruku shimasita.
"Masaka sou osshattanjanai deshou ne!"
"Nai koto ga aruka." to Sukuruuji ga iimashita.
"Omedetou ga kiite akireru. Kisama nazo ga omedetagaru kenri ga doko ni aru? Omedetagaru riyuu wa doko ni aru? Binboujin no kuseni."
"Saa sonnara hitotsu ukkagaimashou." to oi wa genki yoku iikaeshimashita.
"Ojisan nazo ga sonna inki na kao wo shite iru kenri ga doko ni arimasu! Sonna nigai kao wo shite iru riyuu ga doko ni arimasu? Kanemochi no kuseni."
"Christmas is falderal, you say! You shock me, uncle" said the nephew with eyes wide-open.
"Good heavens, you cannot be expressing such things, sir!"
"Oh, no such things, eh?" said Scrooge.
"Who the hell, do you think you are fooling, when you are asking such things!? How can an arse like you have any right to think it auspicious? How can you have any reason for this? In spite of being so poor!"
"Well, permit me then most humbly to ask you this, sir." replied the nephew gaily.
"How have you any rights to put on such a miserable face! Such a face of utter spite, is there any reason that you have for that? In spite of being so rich!"
The good Frederick's politeness is kicked up a few notches here, with the kenjougo (humble speech) verb ukagau (to humbly ask) and the sonkeigo (reverential speech) verb ossharu (the sir/madam speaks). to reflect a much more decorous behaviour on behalf of Scrooge's sister-son. Scrooge, however, is still the same old git using kisama and in general using bitingly informal language towards him.
『馬鹿らしいとも。お芽出度いクリスマスなんて何だ！ 一體お前なんか芽出度がる權利がどこにあるか？ 面白がる理由がどこにあるか？ 貧乏の癖に！』と、スクルーヂが言った。
『そんなら、一本參りませう』と甥は元氣よく答へた。『叔父さんなんか不景氣な顔をぶら下げる權利がどこにありますか？ 澁面をせられる理由がどこにありますか？ 金持の癖に！』
"Ojisan, kurisumasu ga berabou desutte! Masaka sonna koto wo osshatan dewa nai deshou, nee!" to, Sukuruudi no oi ha itta.
"Bakarashii tomo, omedetai kurisumasu nante nan da! Ittai omae nanka medetagataru kenri ga doko ni aru ka? Omoshirogaru riyuu ga doko ni aru ka? Binbou no kuseni!" to Sukuruudi ga itta.
"Sonnara, ippon mairimashou" to oi wa genki yoku kotaeta. "Ojisan nanka fukeiki na kao wo burasageru kenri ga doko ni arimasuka? Shibuidura wo serareru riyuu ga doko ni arimasuka? Kanemochi no kuseni!"
"You say that Christmas is malarkey, uncle! You cannot truly be expressing such things, good sir!" said Scrooge's nephew.
"It is also foolish! What even is a auspicious Christmas! What the hell of an right have you to feel it is auspicious? What reason have you to fool yourself into believing such? In spite of being so impoverished!"
"Is that so, let me most humbly present this version," answered the nephew gaily, "Uncle, what right have you to be hanging with such a cheerless face? What reason have you for possessing such a sullen grimace? In spite being so rich!"
Same decorous tone from Fred, now also using mairu (to humbly perform/go), when beginning his reply to the sullen oldster. Scrooge, however, is less hostile with omae, but nevertheless still a miserly git.
「そういう積りだよ」とスクルージは云った。「聖降誕祭お目出とうだって！ お前が目出たがる権利がにある？ 目出たがる理由がどこにあるんだよ？ 貧乏しきっている癖に。」
「さあ、それじゃ」と甥は快活に言葉を返した。「貴方が陰気臭くしていらっしゃる権利がどこにあるんです？ 機嫌を悪くしていらっしゃる理由がどこにあるのですよ？ 立派な金持ちの癖に。」
"Seikoutansai ga bakabakashiindesutte, ojisan!" to Sukuruuji no oi ha itta. "masaka sou iu tsumori janai deshou nee?"
"Sou iu tumori da yo" to Sukuruuji wa itta. "Seikoutansai omedetou datte! Omae ga medetagaru kenri ni aru? Medetagaru riyuu ga doko ni arun da yo? Binboushiki tte iru kuse ni."
"Saa, soreja" to oi wa kaikatsu ni kotoba wo kaeshita. "Anata ga inkikusaku shite irassharu kenri ga doko ni arun desu? Kigen na waruku shite irassharu riyuu ga doko ni aru no desu yo? Rippa na kanemochi no kuse ni."
"The Festival of the Holy Regal Birth is utter folly, uncle!?" said Scrooge's nephew, "you cannot truly be meaning such words, no?"
"Most assuredly I do!" said Scrooge. "An Auspicious Festival of the Holy Regal Birth, you say!? What right have you to feel it is auspicious for you? Where is you reason for feeling that it is auspicious? In spite of being impecunious."
"Well, is that so," replied the nephew with cheerful words, "Where is you right, good sir, to be in such a state of gloominess? Being in such ill humour, what is your reason for this, dear sir? In spite of being so splendidly wealthy."
And Fred has reached the apex of politeness with irassharu (the sir/madam is), an extremely decorous sonkeigo verb, and the translation is a bit more verbose, this time around, presumably to add the scathing sarcasm of the nephew in reply to his uncle's blunt insults.
Thus, we see the translators conveying the un-avuncular behaviour of Scrooge and the jovially polite, but sarcastic behaviour of the nephew through various means of informal versus formal language.
Scrooge, in Hayata's version, is particularly ill-tempered when his wishing the nephew to leave in a forcible manner is first rendered "please, quickly go home" (早くお帰り, hayaku okaeri), but as the confrontation escalates it becomes a blunt "go the hell home!" (帰りやがれ, kaeri yagare) which could - if one felt bold - become "fuck off home." Suffice to say using the imperative form of yagaru, an auxiliary verb denoting total disapproval of someone's actions to tell their nephew off is not the most Christmassy way of things to do.
In four of the versions Fred uses watashi (私), the gender-neutral standard polite pronoun, and only boku (僕), the standard informal male pronoun, in a single one - this gives Fred a youthful tone to his speech. The uncle, however, uses ore (俺), the assertive informal male pronoun to yell at his impertinent nephew, in all of the translations - where his other usual pronoun is washi (わし), the generic senior pronoun.
To be continued in Part 2.