This post is part of a series featuring individual members of the international, interdisciplinary editorial board of the Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies. Read about editorial board members' achievements and their reflections on L.M. Montgomery.
Yoshiko Akamatsu, PhD, is a professor at Notre Dame Seishin University in Okayama, Japan. She translated Montgomery’s posthumous collection of short stories Akin to Anne: Tales of Other Orphans in 1988-89. Recent articles include “Japanese Readings of Anne of Green Gables” (1999), “The Continuous Popularity of Red-Haired Anne in Japan” (2013), and “During and After the World Wars: L. M. Montgomery and the Canadian Missionary Connection in Japan” (2015). The paper “The Awakening of Awe-inspiring Girls: From a Viewpoint of the Japanese Novel, Daiana from the Bookstore (2014)” is to be included in a collection of essays. Her research interests are mainly on Japanese reception or adaptation of L. M. Montgomery's works, translation studies, and analyses of Montgomery's fictional texts.
We asked the journal editorial board members some questions. Here are Dr. Yoshiko Akamatsu's responses:
What excites you about being a journal editorial board member?
Akamatsu: It gives me a chance to contribute to promoting L. M. Montgomery studies.
What would you like to see the journal contribute to L.M. Montgomery studies?
Akamatsu: Future scholars and students will refer to the journal in their papers or theses.
Where do you see Montgomery studies in 50 years?
Akamatsu: LMM studies will look like the studies of adult literature rather than children’s literature.
What was Montgomery's greatest accomplishment?
Akamatsu: As an author Montgomery made Canada and Prince Edward Island an attractive place to live. Because she made Anne say “I've always heard that Prince Edward Island was the prettiest place in the world, and I used to imagine I was living here, but I never really expected I would” (Anne of Green Gables, Chap. 2), Anne makes eager readers who have never been there want to visit 'the Island.'
Some L.M. Montgomery favourites:
What is your favourite line from Montgomery's work?
Akamatsu: “Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive— it's such an interesting world” (Anne of Green Gables, Chap. 2).
“He had long since ceased to care for her. And she—she would love him for ever. And even though he knew it not, surely such love would hover around him all his life like an invisible benediction, not understood but dimly felt, guarding him from ill and keeping from him all things of harm and evil” (Emily’s Quest, Chap. 26).
Where is your favourite Montgomery place, fictional or otherwise?
Akamatsu: Lover's Lane and Anne’s room whose window faces a cherry tree, named “The Snow Queen,” by her.
Do you have a favourite plant mentioned in Montgomery?
Akamatsu: I am a plant-person. I love gardening. Attracted by the names of flowers such as “Love-in a-Mist,” “Baby’s Breath,” and “Dusty Millers” in Emily Climbs (Chap. 19), I looked for the seeds and grew them in my senior high school days.
What is Montgomery's wittiest line?
Akamatsu: “But the materials of story weaving are the same in all ages and all places. Births, deaths, marriages, scandals—these are the only really interesting things in the world” (Emily’s Quest Chap. 1).
What is the most interesting place in L.M. Montgomery's work?
Akamatsu: Hester Gray’s garden.
What do you think is the funniest moment from a Montgomery novel?
Akamatsu: Anne’s first prayer at Green Gables in which she prayed to be a beauty in the future.
What's an interesting, or unexpected, intertextual Montgomery moment?
Akamatsu: A Japanese novel, Honyasan no Daiana (Diana from the Bookstore, 2014), by Asako Yuzuki.
What is your favourite Montgomery adaptation?
Akamatsu: “Anne of Green Gables: The Musical” by Don Harron and Norman Campbell.
Which piece of Montgomery's would you most like to see adapted and what medium would you like to see it adapted to?
Akamatsu: Some short stories in Chronicles of Avonlea such as “Aunt Olivia’s Beau” and “The Quarantine at Alexander Abraham’s” as a musical.
On the strange and underrated:
Who is the 'worst' character Montgomery has penned?
Akamatsu: Hazel Marr from Anne of Windy Poplars.
Who is the most underrated Montgomery character?
Akamatsu: Aunt Jamesina from Anne of the Island. Though she is a minor character, she is a wonderful woman, a kindred spirit for Anne.
Which Montgomery text is most underrated?
Akamatsu: “Some Fools and a Saint,” a short story in The Blythes Are Quoted.
Who is the strangest person Montgomery has penned?
Akamatsu: Dean Priest (in the Emily trilogy).
And now for some fun:
What is the best outfit worn by a Montgomery character?
Akamatsu: Anne’s puffed sleeves given by Matthew.
Who are the "mother and father of the year" from a Montgomery novel?
Akamatsu: Marilla Cuthbert and Matthew Cuthbert from Anne of Green Gables.
What food or drink from a Montgomery text would you most like to try?
Akamatsu: Pound cake based on the secret recipe of the Pringles (Anne of Windy Poplars).
Who is the best love interest?
Akamatsu: Gilbert Blythe.
Who is the best side-kick or kindred spirit?
Akamatsu: Philippa Gordon (Anne of the Island).
Who is your favourite fictional Montgomery couple?
Akamatsu: Anne and Gilbert.