In Detective Fiction and the Rise of the Japanese Novel, Satoru Saito sheds light on the deep structural and conceptual similarities between detective fiction and the novel in prewar Japan. Arguing that the interactions between the two genres were not marginal occurrences but instead critical moments of literary engagement, Saito demonstrates how detective fiction provided Japanese authors with the necessary frameworks through which to examine and critique the nature and implications of Japan’s literary formations and its modernizing society.Through a series of close readings of literary texts by canonical writers of Japanese literature and detective fiction, including Tsubouchi Shoyo, Natsume Soseki, Shimazaki Toson, Sato Haruo, Kuroiwa Ruiko, and Edogawa Ranpo, Saito explores how the detective story functioned to mediate the tenuous relationships between literature and society as well as between subject and authority that made literary texts significant as political acts. By foregrounding the often implicit and contradictory strategies of literary texts—choice of narrative forms, symbolic mappings, and intertextual evocations among others—this study examines in detail the intricate interactions between detective fiction and the novel that shaped the development of modern Japanese literature.
Lesser draws on a wide range of sources, including films, oral histories, wanted posters, advertisements, newspapers, photographs, police reports, government records, and diplomatic correspondence. He focuses on two particular cultural arenas—erotic cinema and political militancy—which highlight the ways that Japanese Brazilians imagined themselves to be Brazilian. As he explains, young Nikkei were sure that their participation in these two realms would be recognized for its Brazilianness. They were mistaken. Whether joining banned political movements, training as guerrilla fighters, or acting in erotic films, the subjects of A Discontented Diaspora militantly asserted their Brazilianness only to find that doing so reinforced their minority status.
A fresh take on the dopplegänger and its place in Japanese film and literature—past and present
Since its earliest known use in German Romanticism in the late 1700s, the word Doppelgänger (double-walker) can be found throughout a vast array of literature, culture, and media. This motif of doubling can also be seen traversing historical and cultural boundaries. Double Visions, Double Fictions analyzes the myriad manifestations of the doppelgänger in Japanese literary and cinematic texts at two historical junctures: the interwar period of the 1920s and 1930s and the present day.
According to author Baryon Tensor Posadas, the doppelgänger marks the intersection of the historical impact of psychoanalytic theory, the genre of detective fiction in Japan, early Japanese cinema, and the cultural production of Japanese colonialism. He examines the doppelgänger’s appearance in the works of Edogawa Rampo, Tanizaki Jun’ichiro, and Akutagawa Ryunosuke, as well as the films of Tsukamoto Shin’ya and Kurosawa Kiyoshi, not only as a recurrent motif but also as a critical practice of concepts. Following these explorations, Posadas asks: What were the social, political, and material conditions that mobilized the desire for the doppelgänger? And how does the dopplegänger capture social transformations taking place at these historical moments?
Double Visions, Double Fictions ultimately reveals how the doppelgänger motif provides a fascinating new backdrop for understanding the enmeshment of past and present.
Koyashi Issa (1763–1827), long considered amoung Japan’s four greatest haiku poets (along with Basho, Buson, and Shiki) is probably the best loved. This collection of more than 360 haiku, arranged seasonally and many rendered into English for the first time, attempts to reveal the full range of the poet’s extraordinary life as if it were concentrated within a year. Issa’s haiku are traditionally structured, of seventeen syllables in the original, tonally unified and highly suggestive, yet they differ from those of fellow haikuists in a few important respects. Given his character, they had to. The poet never tries to hide his feelings, and again and again we find him grieving over the lot of the unfortunate – of any and all species.
No poet, of any time or culture, feels greater compassion for his life of creatures. No Buddhist-Issa was to become a monk—acts out the credos of his faith more genuinely. The poet, a devoted follower of Basho, traveled throughout the country, often doing the most menial work, seeking spiritual companionship and inspiration for the thousands of haiku he was to write. Yet his emotional and creative life was centered in his native place, Kashiwabara in the province of Shinano (now Nagano Prefecture), and his severest pain was the result of being denied a place in his dead father’s house by his stepmother and half brother.
By the time he was able to share the house of his beloved father, Issa had experienced more than most the grief of living, and much more was to follow with the death of his wife and their four children. In the face of all he continued to write, celebrating passionately the lives of all that shared the world with him, all creatures, all humans. Small wonder that Issa is so greatly loved by his fellow poets throughout the world, and by poetry lovers of all ages.
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