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Lost Leaves

Rebecca L. Copeland

Publication Year: 2000

Most Japanese literary historians have suggested that the Meiji Period (1868-1912) was devoid of women writers but for the brilliant exception of Higuchi Ichiyo (1872-1896). Rebecca Copeland challenges this claim by examining in detail the lives and literary careers of three of Ichiyo's peers, each representative of the diversity and ingenuity of the period: Miyake Kaho (1868-1944), Wakamatsu Shizuko (1864-1896), and Shimizu Shikin (1868-1933). In a carefully researched introduction, Copeland establishes the context for the development of female literary expression. She follows this with chapters on each of the women under consideration. Miyake Kaho, often regarded as the first woman writer of modern Japan, offers readers a vision of the female vitality that is often overlooked when discussing the Meiji era. Wakamatsu Shizuko, the most prominent female translator of her time, had a direct impact on the development of a modern written language for Japanese prose fiction. Shimizu Shikin reminds readers of the struggle women endured in their efforts to balance their creative interests with their social roles. Interspersed throughout are excerpts from works under discussion, most never before translated, offering an invaluable window into this forgotten world of women's writing.

Published by: University of Hawai'i Press


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p. vii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

I suppose the seed for this study was planted while I was in graduate school, although I was not aware of it then. At the time I was completing my dissertation on the writer Uno Chiyo (1897–1996), a woman whose career spanned the Taishō–Heisei reign years. When attempting to chart the genealogy of literary women ...

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pp. xiii-xiv

I am indebted to numerous people, organizations, and grants. Washington University, my present employer, supplied me with a Grimm Traveling Fellowship for research in East Asia. This grant, buttressed by an AAS–NEAC short-term travel grant, permitted me to begin my original inquiry into Seitō, ...

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Introduction: Recovering Lost Leaves

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pp. 1-6

Mention women writers of the Meiji period (1868–1912), and most enthusiasts of Japanese literature immediately call to mind Higuchi Ichiyō (1872–1896), the promising young author who died at the age of twenty-four.1 Although most studies seek to establish alliances between Ichiyō and her Heian-era (794–1185) foremothers, ...

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Chapter One Educating the Modern Murasaki Jogaku Zasshi; and the Woman Writer

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pp. 7-51

Miyake Kaho’s literary debut in 1888 was the catalyst that roused aspiring women authors from their “centuries of silence.”1 After Kaho opened the gates, works by women trickled out yearly: eleven in 1889; thirteen in 1891; and finally, in a relative deluge of activity, twenty-four in 1895.2 Most notable among these early writers ...

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Chapter Two Through Thickets of Imitation: Miyake Kaho and the First Song of Spring

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pp. 52-98

To suggest that women are discouraged from writing is too simple. Thus Joanna Russ argues in her humorous though revealing look at the role literary criticism has played in silencing, obscuring, and ignoring female authors. They are not discouraged—not directly. But by holding them to gender-determined criteria that set ...

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Chapter Three Behind the Veil: Wakamatsu Shizuko and the Freedom of Translation

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pp. 99-158

Wakamatsu Shizuko, perhaps more than any of her peers, embodies the early Meiji ideal of the woman writer. Born of the tumult that attended the Meiji Restoration, she was left at a very young age to fend for herself. By a stroke of fortune she received a Western-style education. Intellectually gifted, she learned English alongside ...

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Chapter Four Shimizu Shikin: From Broken Rings to Brokered Silence

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pp. 159-214

Wakamatsu Shizuko may embody the ideal Meiji woman writer, but Shimizu Shikin represents the conflicting challenges and expectations that attended the woman writer’s career. Shikin herself is something of an enigma. Raised in the sheltered comfort of a Kyoto bureaucrat’s home, she became an outspoken defender of human rights ...

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Conclusion: In the Shade of the Single Leaf

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pp. 215-230

The December 10, 1895, special issue of the newly established literary journal Bungei kurabu (Literary Arts Club) opened, as had all its previous issues, with a sumptuously colored print. This one, by Watanabe Seitei (1851–1918), depicted a woman in a languid position reading a little book, her tiny mouth parted seductively ...


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pp. 231-264


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pp. 265-274


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pp. 275-285

E-ISBN-13: 9780824863395
Print-ISBN-13: 9780824822293

Publication Year: 2000

OCLC Number: 53895796
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Lost Leaves

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Subject Headings

  • Japanese literature -- Meiji period, 1868-1912 -- History and criticism.
  • Japanese literature -- Woman authors -- History and criticism.
  • Women authors, Japanese -- Meiji period, 1868-1912.
  • Women and literature -- Japan.
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