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Nagai Kafu's Occidentalism
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Describes how writer Nagai Kafuµ (1879–1959) used his experience of the West to reconcile modernization and Japanese identity. Nagai Kafuµ (1879–1959) spent more time abroad than any other writer of his generation, firing the Japanese imagination with his visions of America and France. Applying the theoretical framework of Occidentalism to Japanese literature, Rachael Hutchinson explores Kafuµ’s construction of the Western Other, an integral part of his critique of Meiji civilization. Through contrast with the Western Other, Kafuµ was able to solve the dilemma that so plagued Japanese intellectuals—how to modernize and yet retain an authentic Japanese identity in the modern world. Kafuµ’s flexible positioning of imagined spaces like the “West” and the “Orient” ultimately led him to a definition of the Japanese Self. Hutchinson analyzes the wide range of Kafuµ’s work, particularly those novels and stories reflecting Kafuµ’s time in the West and the return to Japan, most largely unknown to Western readers and a number unavailable in English, along with his better-known depictions of Edo’s demimonde. Kafuµ’s place in Japan’s intellectual history and his influence on other writers are also discussed.

Table of Contents

  1. Front Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
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  1. Acknowledgements
  2. pp. vii-ix
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-16
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  1. 1. Constructing the "West": Binarism and Complexity in Kafū's America
  2. pp. 17-58
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  1. 2. Imagining Authenticity: Literature and Civilization in Kafū's France
  2. pp. 59-93
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  1. 3. Positioning the Observer: Kafū's "Orient" and Orientalism
  2. pp. 95-132
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  1. 4. Occidentalism: Contrast and Critique in the Returnee Stories
  2. pp. 133-171
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  1. 5. Resistance: Defining and Preserving the Japanese Self
  2. pp. 173-233
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 235-250
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 251-261
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 263-289
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  1. Back Cover
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