August Pfizmaier

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August Pfizmaier was an Austrian writer, translator, and publisher who is credited with being the first to produce a commercially circulated translation of a Japanese work of literature in a European language. That work was Ukiyo-gata rokumai-byôbu, by Ryûtei Tanehiko, originally published in Japan in 1821, and republished by Pfizmaier in 1847 in Vienna as Sechs Wandschirme in Gestalten der verganglichen Welt. The first widely circulated English translation of a Japanese work was not to come out until 1871.

Pfizmaier's translation of Tanehiko's work was published alongside the original Japanese. Pfizmaier himself was self-taught in Japanese.


  • Michael Emmerich, "Discoveries in Japanese Literature: Notes on the Beginnings of Translation History," talk given at UC Santa Barbara, 1 November 2017.