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Beyond Brushtalk

Sino-Japanese Literary Exchange in the Interwar Period

Christopher T. Keaveney

Publication Year: 2009

This book explores interactions between Japanese and Chinese writers during the golden age of such exchange, 1919 to 1937.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

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A Note about Romanization

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pp. vii-viii

In rendering Chinese in this text I have used the pinyin system. All Chinese names, titles, and terms in the document itself have been rendered in pinyin, but in the bibliographic references and in quotations from English language sources I have retained the original romanization system, with the pinyin equivalent in parentheses, where appropriate. In rendering Japanese I have used the standard ...

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pp. ix-x

It is fitting that my own stubborn efforts to see this project through to completion should in some meager way parallel Uchiyama Kanzo’s persevering efforts at sustaining relations between the Japanese and Chinese literary communities. However, I must acknowledge that this book would never have been completed without the help and support of many wonderful people. This is my opportunity ...

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pp. 1-22

The interwar period (1919–1937) was, in a number of significant ways, the nadir of Sino-Japanese relations. The idealistic façade of Jazz Age abandon and “Taisho Democracy” of the twenties masked the systematic expansion of militarism in Japan that ultimately would threaten stability on the continent and stymie efforts at cultural interaction among Chinese and Japanese intellectuals. In China, the ...

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1. The Hub: Uchiyama Kanzo’s Shanghai Bookstore and Its Role in Sino-Japanese Literary Relations

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pp. 23-44

Any attempt to understand relations between the Japanese and Chinese literary communities in the interwar period must begin with Uchiyama Kanzo. Uchiyama, who even in his native Japan has received very little scholarly attention, was the most important single figure in Sino-Japanese literary relations during the 1920s and 1930s. The bookstore, which he established in Shanghai in 1916, became ...

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2. Musings of a Literary Pilgrim: Tanizaki Jun’ichiro’s Discoveries in China and Their Records

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pp. 45-64

Tanizaki Jun’ichiro (1886–1965) visited China on two occasions, once in 1918 at the age of thirty-two and again in 1926 at the age of forty. In both cases, experiences in China were recast in literary works representing a variety of genres.The pieces resulting from the first visit fall neatly into the kikobun (travel diary) and nikki (literary diary) varieties and are representative examples of a body of ...

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3. The Allure of the White Birch School to May Fourth Writers

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pp. 65-84

Although individual Japanese writers of note such as Tanizaki, Natsume Soseki (1867–1916) and Akutagawa Ryunosuke (1892–1927) had followers and ardent advocates among Chinese writers in the interwar period, no coterie of Japanese writers was so openly admired nor so roundly criticized among May Fourth writers as the writers associated with the Shirakaba-ha (White Birch School). ...

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4. Greener Pastures: The New Village Ideal and May Fourth Intellectuals

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pp. 85-96

The attraction of May Fourth writers toward the White Birch School was not confined to the school’s literary or artistic achievements. Those writers among the school’s members who were favored by May Fourth intellectuals were those who were perceived to be men of action, those who put into practice the ideals of the school. No manifestation of Shirakaba idealism had a more immediate and ...

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5. The Art of Wanderlust: Hayashi Fumiko’s Encounters with China

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pp. 97-116

Hayashi Fumiko (1903–1951) made an art of wandering. Along with her more celebrated sojourns to Paris and Moscow, Hayashi also visited Shanghai on several occasions during visits to China in the 1930s and became acquainted with Chinese writers during her visits there. Hayashi was well respected among Chinese writers, which was due in part to the powerful portrayal in her fiction of social inequities ...

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6. Sato Haruo’s “Ajia no ko” and Yu Dafu’s Response: Literature, Friendship and Nationalism

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pp. 117-128

In the March 1938 issue of Nippon hyoron there appeared an essay by Mushanokoji Saneatsu about Zhou Zuoren. In the essay, Zhou is praised as a refined man of peace, espousing the same Tolstoyan creed of nonviolence adhered to by Mushanokoji himself. Despite the enmity between the two warring nations, Mushanokoji expressed his intent to remain loyal to a friend with whom he felt ...

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7. Return to the Brush: The Polarization of the Chinese and Japanese Literary Communities in the 1930s

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pp. 129-156

The vigorous exchange between the Chinese and Japanese literary communities in the interwar period portrayed in this study was destined not to last. As early as 1930, in fact, these relations showed signs of strain. The exacting convergence of factors that made this interaction possible in the 1920s had begun to bend beneath the weight of political and ideological differences. Several events served ...

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Epilogue: Dream of a Dream

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pp. 157-162

The period treated in this study was the age of Taisho Democracy and post-May Fourth idealism; it was an age in which anything seemed possible. There was a naivet


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pp. 163-186

Appendix: Glossary of Selected Terms from Chinese and Japanese

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pp. 187-192


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pp. 193-200


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pp. 201-208

E-ISBN-13: 9789888052066
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622099289

Page Count: 220
Illustrations: 6 b/w illus
Publication Year: 2009