A Short History of Langland Studies in Japan
The study of PPl in Japan begins with Lafcadio Hearn, English novelist and poet, who taught courses in medieval English literature at the University of Tokyo from 1896 to 1903. Over the course of the century, the poem has been the subject of essay-length studies or chapters of books. Favorite topics have concentrated on L as prophetic poet, as a poet of the poor, and on the allegorical strategy of the poem. Takero Oiji published a two-volume edition of the poem, including detailed commentary, in 1968-69. Isamu Saito’s English-language Study of Piers Plowman remains the only book-length study of the poem by a Japanese scholar. The author’s Japanese translation of the A text in 1975 and Chusaku Shibata’s translation of the B text in 1981 have made the poem accessible to a much wider audience.