The enthusiasm for translation during the early Meiji period is well documented. However, beyond Fukuzawa Yukichi, the publishing sensation of the era, little is known about those who translated works on technology or their motives for doing so. During the 1870s, the heyday of Japan's Meiji enlightenment, over fifty works on technology were translated from Western languages. Although the government often spearheaded this drive, many translators took advantage of inexpensive printing technologies and an accessible book market to publish their own works on Western technologies. This article examines who translated such works and their motives for doing so. It sheds light on how translators exploited traditional means of asserting their authority to ensure the spread of new, “modern” knowledge.

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