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Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by akuto, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. akuto Junior Member

    French-France / English-Australia
    hello all, I'm working on a translation exercise of a text set in a pre-WW2 setting, and the author keeps refering to a 帽子屋's 「番頭」. My dictionaries give me "head clerk", but i'm really not sure how correct this is. 大辞泉 gives the following definition 「 商家などの使用人のかしら。営業•経理など、店のすべてを預かる者。」

    In this case, could it be simply refering to the shop's owner, or is it really some kind of hiearchy where the 番頭 is the "head salesman" or something. I'm not really familiar with the context, but it seems like refering to a head salesman in hat store is a little strange, and if it's just not an old fashioned way of refering to the shop's salesman / or owner.

    thanks in advance for your help

    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  2. mikun Senior Member

    Chiba Japan
    '番頭' is a Directors general, or general manager of old days Japanese company.
    Usually, Owner family did not commit any corporate operation. Every daily works was determined and conducted by '番頭', head of employee.
  3. akuto Junior Member

    French-France / English-Australia
    Thanks, that's helpful. So in the case of a hat store, I guess it's refering to the person who runs the store but is not necessarily the owner.

    I just looked into it, and it's actually much more recent than I thought, it's actually from 1957, even though the style felt older. I also realized that the extract I was working on is quite famous since this is actually from Mori Mari's essay about her father, Mori Ôgai... Who died in 1922, so it's set somewhere between 1903 and 1922.

    I'll try to find something to render the idea of main salesman / employee.

    thanks again


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