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The Christian Century in Modern Japanese Fiction
Christians are a tiny minority in Japan, less than one percent of the total population. Yet Christianity is ubiquitous in Japanese popular culture. From the giant mutant “angels” of the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise to the Jesus-themed cocktails enjoyed by customers in Tokyo’s Christon café, Japanese popular culture appropriates Christianity in both humorous and unsettling ways. By treating the Western religion as an exotic cultural practice, Japanese demonstrate the reversibility of cultural stereotypes and force reconsideration of global cultural flows and East-West relations.
Of particular interest is the repeated reappearance in modern fiction of the so-called “Christian century” of Japan (1549–1638), the period between the arrival of the Jesuit missionaries and the last Christian revolt before the final ban on the foreign religion. Literary authors as different as Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, Endō Shūsaku, Yamada Fūtarō, and Takemoto Novala, as well as film directors, manga and anime authors, and videogame producers have all expressed their fascination with the lives and works of Catholic missionaries and Japanese converts and produced imaginative reinterpretations of the period. In Holy Ghosts, Rebecca Suter examines the popularity of the Christian century in modern Japanese fiction and reflects on the role of cross-cultural representations. Since the opening of the ports in the Meiji period, Japan’s relationship with Euro-American culture has oscillated between a drive towards Westernization and an antithetical urge to “return to Asia.” Exploring the twentieth-century’s fascination with the Christian century enables Suter to reflect on modern Japan’s complex combination of Orientalism, self-Orientalism, and Occidentalism.
A Japanese American Memoir
Originally published in 1932, Kathleen Tamagawa’s pioneering Asian American memoir is a sensitive and thoughtful look at the personal and social complexities of growing up racially mixed during the early twentieth century. Born in 1893 to an Irish American mother and a Japanese father and raised in Chicago and Japan, Tamagawa reflects on the difficulty she experienced fitting into either parent’s native culture.
She describes how, in America, her every personal quirk and quality was seen as quintessentially Japanese and how she was met unpredictably with admiration or fear—perceived as a “Japanese doll” or “the yellow menace.” When her family later moved to Japan, she was viewed there as a “Yankee,” and remained an outsider in that country as well. As an adult she came back to the United States as an American diplomat’s wife, but had trouble feeling at home in any place.
This edition, which also includes Tamagawa’s recently rediscovered short story, “A Fit in Japan,” and a critical introduction, will challenge readers to reconsider how complex ethnic identities are negotiated and how feelings of alienation limit human identification in any society.
Fiction criticism has a long and influential history in pre-modern China, where critics would read and reread certain novels with a concentration and fervor far exceeding that which most Western critics give to individual works. This volume, a source book for the study of traditional Chinese fiction criticism from the late sixteenth to the early twentieth centuries, presents translations of writings taken from the commentary editions of six of the most important novels of pre-modern China. These translations consist mainly of tu-fa, or "how-to-read" essays, which demonstrate sensitivity and depth of analysis both in the treatment of general problems concerning the reading of any work of fiction and in more focused discussions of particular compositional details in individual novels.
The translations were produced by pioneers in the study of this form of fiction criticism in the West: Shuen-fu Lin, Andrew H. Plaks, David T. Roy, John C. Y. Wang, and Anthony C. Yu. Four introductory essays by Andrew H. Plaks and the editor address the historical background for this type of criticism, its early development, its formal features, recurrent terminology, and major interpretive strategies. A goal of this volume is to aid in the rediscovery of this traditional Chinese poetics of fiction and help eliminate some of the distortions encountered in the past by the imposition of Western theories of fiction on Chinese novels.
Originally published in 1990.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
Selected Poetry of Yu Xiang
Yu Xiang comfortably inhabits the negative space between viewer and subject, artist and artwork, the lover and her beloved in this acrobatic, ekphrastic, meditatively-compelling collection. Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s crisp translation invites American readers to experience Yu Xiang’s poetic mastery half a world away from its formative origins in the Shandong province, bringing into focus the voice of one of China’s most celebrated and memorable female voices. “I have a lonely yet / stable life,” Yu admits at one point in the book. “This is my house. If / you happen to walk in, it’s certainly not / for my rambling notes.” Yu Xiang disarms her reader with exacting imagery and pathos in order to tell the aching, unavoidable truth of womanhood in these striking poems. —Dorianne Laux
Banishment in Law, Literature, and Cult
For over three hundred years during the Heian period (794–1185), execution was customarily abolished in favor of banishment. During the same period, exile emerged widely as a concern within literature and legend, in poetry and diaries, and in the cultic imagination, as expressed in oracles and revelations. While exile was thus one sanction available to the state, it was also something more: a powerful trope through which members of court society imagined the banishment of gods and heavenly beings, of legendary and literary characters, and of historical figures, some transformed into spirits.
This compelling and well-researched volume is the first in English to explore the rich resonance of exile in the cultural life of the Japanese court. Rejecting the notion that such narratives merely reflect a timeless literary archetype, Jonathan Stockdale shows instead that in every case exile emerged from particular historical circumstances—moments in which elites in the capital sought to reveal and to re-imagine their world and the circulation of power within it. By exploring the relationship of banishment to the structures of inclusion and exclusion upon which Heian court society rested, Stockdale moves beyond the historiographical discussion of “center and margin” to offer instead a theory of exile itself.
Stockdale’s arguments are situated in astute and careful readings of Heian sources. His analysis of a literary narrative, the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, for example, shows how Kaguyahime’s exile from the “Capital of the Moon” to earth implicitly portrays the world of the Heian court as a polluted periphery. His exploration of one of the most well-known historical instances of banishment, that of Sugawara Michizane, illustrates how the political sanction of exile could be met with a religious rejoinder through which an exiled noble is reinstated in divine form, first as a vengeful spirit and then as a deity worshipped at the highest levels of court society.
Imagining Exile in Heian Japan is a model of interdisciplinary scholarship that will appeal to anyone interested in the interwoven connections of early and classical Japan.
Translation, Exoticism, and the Long Nineteenth Century
At the heart of every colonial encounter lies an act of translation. Once dismissed as a derivative process, the new cultural turn in translation studies has opened the field to dynamic considerations of the contexts that shape translations and that, in turn, reveal translation’s truer function as a locus of power. In Imperial Babel, Padma Rangarajan explores translation’s complex role in shaping literary and political relationships between India and Britain._x000B__x000B_Unlike other readings that cast colonial translation as primarily a tool for oppression, Rangarajan argues that translation changed both colonizer and colonized and undermined colonial hegemony as much as it abetted it. Imperial Babel explores the diverse political and cultural consequences of a variety of texts, from eighteenth-century oriental tales to mystic poetry of the fin de siècle and from translation proper to its ethnological, mythographic, and religious variants._x000B__x000B_Searching for translation’s trace enables a broader, more complex understanding of intellectual exchange in imperial culture as well as a more nuanced awareness of the dialectical relationship between colonial policy and nineteenth-century literature. Rangarajan argues that while bearing witness to the violence that underwrites translation in colonial spaces, we should also remain open to the irresolution of translation, its unfixed nature, and its ability to transform both languages in which it works._x000B_
Ise monogatari is one of classical Japan’s most important texts. It influenced other literary court romances like The Tale of Genji and inspired artists, playwrights, and poets throughout Japanese history and to the present day.
In a series of 125 loosely connected episodes, the Ise tells the story of a famous lover, Captain Ariwara no Narihira (825–880), and his romantic encounters with women throughout Japan. Each episode centers on an exchange of love poems designed to demonstrate wit, sensitivity, and "courtliness."
Joshua Mostow and Royall Tyler present a fresh, contemporary translation of this classic work, together with a substantial commentary for each episode. The commentary explores how the text has been read in the past and identifies not only the point of each episode, but also the full range of historical interpretations, many of which shaped the use of the Ise in later literary and visual arts. The book includes reproductions from a version of the 1608 Saga-bon printed edition of the Ise, the volume that established Ise iconography for the entire Edo period (1600–1868).
Short Stories by Leung Ping-kwan
In this kaleidoscope of stories, translated from the Chinese, P.K. Leung, one of Hong Kong's most celebrated literary figures, presents his personal vision of the city, evoking in his inimitable voice the local and international dimensions of this extraordinary place, capturing its poignant ambivalence as a postcolonial territory on the fringe of China.
The Antiestablishment Art of Terayama Shuji
Current Debates on Aesthetics and Interpretation
Japanese Hermeneutics provides a forum for the most current international debates on the role played by interpretative models in the articulation of cultural discourses on Japan. It presents the thinking of esteemed Western philosophers, aestheticians, and art and literary historians, and introduces to English-reading audiences some of Japan's most distinguished scholars, whose work has received limited or no exposure in the United States.
In the first part, "Hermeneutics and Japan," contributors examine the difficulties inherent in articulating "otherness" without falling into the trap of essentialization and while relying on Western epistemology for explanation and interpretation. In the second part, "Japan's Aesthetic Hermeneutics," they explore the role of aesthetics in shaping discourses on art and nature in Japan. The essays in the final section of the book, "Japan's Literary Hermeneutics," rethink the notion of "Japanese literature" in light of recent findings on the ideological implications of canon formations and transformations within Japan's prominent literary circles.
Contributors: Amagasaki Akira, Haga Toru, Hamashita Masahiro, Inaga Shigemi, Kambayashi Tsunemichi, Thomas LaMarre, John C. Maraldo, Michael F. Marra, Mark Meli, Ohashi Ryosuke, Otabe Tanehisa, Graham Parkes, J. Thomas Rimer, Sasaki Ken'ichi, Haruo Shirane, Suzuki Sadami, Stefan Tanaka, Gianni Vattimo.