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Empire of Texts in Motion
Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese Transculturations of Japanese Literature
Karen Laura Thornber
Harvard University Press, 2009

By the turn of the twentieth century, Japan’s military and economic successes made it the dominant power in East Asia, drawing hundreds of thousands of Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese students to the metropole and sending thousands of Japanese to other parts of East Asia. The constant movement of peoples, ideas, and texts in the Japanese empire created numerous literary contact nebulae, fluid spaces of diminished hierarchies where writers grapple with and transculturate one another’s creative output.

Drawing extensively on vernacular sources in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, this book analyzes the most active of these contact nebulae: semicolonial Chinese, occupied Manchurian, and colonial Korean and Taiwanese transculturations of Japanese literature. It explores how colonial and semicolonial writers discussed, adapted, translated, and recast thousands of Japanese creative works, both affirming and challenging Japan’s cultural authority. Such efforts not only blurred distinctions among resistance, acquiescence, and collaboration but also shattered cultural and national barriers central to the discourse of empire. In this context, twentieth-century East Asian literatures can no longer be understood in isolation from one another, linked only by their encounters with the West, but instead must be seen in constant interaction throughout the Japanese empire and beyond.


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Enlightened Individualism
Buddhism and Hinduism in American Literature from the Beats to the Present
Kyle Garton-Gundling
The Ohio State University Press, 2019
Buddhism and Hinduism have spread in the US largely through texts and are now recognizable facets of American literature and culture. But the US has defined itself through goal-oriented individualism, whereas Buddhism and Hinduism teach that individuality is a delusion and thus worldly desires are misguided. Given this apparent contradiction, what can Buddhist and Hindu influences offer American identities? Enlightened Individualism explores how post-1945 American writers, including Jack Kerouac, Alice Walker, and Maxine Hong Kingston, have tried to answer this question. Playing on enlightenment as both Anglo-American liberalism and Asian mysticism, this book argues that recent American literature seeks to reconcile seemingly incompatible liberal models of individual autonomy with Buddhist and Hindu ideals of transcending selfhood.
This “enlightened individualism” uses Buddhist and Hindu philosophy to reframe American freedom in terms of spiritual liberation, and it also reinterprets Asian teachings through Western traditions of political activism and countercultural provocation. Garton-Gundling argues that even though works by Kerouac, Walker, Kingston, and others wrestle with issues of exoticism and appropriation, their characters are also meaningfully challenged and changed by Asian faiths. These literary adaptations, then, can help Americans reenvision individualism in a more transcendent and cosmopolitan context.

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Erotic Comics in Japan
An Introduction to Eromanga
Patrick Galbraith
Amsterdam University Press, 2021
Comics and cartoons from Japan, or manga and anime, are an increasingly common feature of visual and popular culture around the world. While it is often observed that these media forms appeal to broad and diverse demographics, including many adults, eroticism continues to unsettle critics and has even triggered legal action in some jurisdictions. It is more urgent than ever to engage in productive discussion, which begins with being informed about content that is still scarcely understood outside small industry and fan circles. Erotic Comics in Japan: An Introduction to Eromanga is the most comprehensive introduction in English to erotic comics in Japan, or eromanga. Divided into three parts, it provides a history of eroticism in Japanese comics and cartoons generally leading to the emergence of eromanga specifically, an overview of seven themes running across works with close analysis of outstanding examples and a window onto ongoing debates surrounding regulation and freedom of expression in Japan.

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Ethnic Elites
Japanese, Ukrainians, and Scots, 1919-1971
Aya Fujiwara
University of Manitoba Press, 2012

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Experimental Arts in Postwar Japan
Moments of Encounter, Engagement, and Imagined Return
Miryam Sas
Harvard University Press, 2011

In the years of rapid economic growth following the protest movements of the 1960s, artists and intellectuals in Japan searched for a means of direct impact on the whirlwind of historical and cultural transformations of their time. Yet while the artists often called for such “direct” encounter, their works complicate this ideal with practices of interruption, self-reflexive mimesis, and temporal discontinuity. In an era known for idealism and activism, some of the most cherished ideals—intimacy between subjects, authenticity, a sense of home—are limitlessly desired yet always just out of reach.

In this book, Miryam Sas explores the theoretical and cultural implications of experimental arts in a range of media. Casting light on important moments in the arts from the 1960s to the early 1980s, this study focuses first on underground (post-shingeki) theater and then on related works of experimental film and video, buto dance, and photography. Emphasizing the complex and sophisticated theoretical grounding of these artists through their works, practices, and writings, this book also locates Japanese experimental arts in an extensive, sustained dialogue with key issues of contemporary critical theory.


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Exporting Japan
Politics of Emigration to Latin America
Toake Endoh
University of Illinois Press, 2008

Exporting Japan examines the domestic origins of the Japanese government's policies to promote the emigration of approximately three hundred thousand native Japanese citizens to Latin America between the 1890s and the 1960s. This imperialist policy, spanning two world wars and encompassing both the pre-World War II authoritarian government and the postwar conservative regime, reveals strategic efforts by the Japanese state to control its populace while building an expansive nation beyond its territorial borders.

Toake Endoh compellingly argues that Japan's emigration policy embodied the state's anxieties over domestic political stability and its intention to remove marginalized and radicalized social groups by relocating them abroad. Documenting the disproportionate focus of the southwest region of Japan as a source of emigrants, Endoh considers the state's motivations in formulating emigration policies that selected certain elements of the Japanese population for "export." She also recounts the situations migrants encountered once they reached Latin America, where they were often met with distrust and violence in the "yellow scare" of the pre-World War II period.


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