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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #105: July 17, 2003

The Journal of Japanese Studies

Journal Name: The Journal of Japanese Studies: Summer 2001, Vol. 27, No. 2


The Creation of the Edo Outcaste Order
During the Tokugawa period (1603-1868) severe sanctions against those usually known as kawata (derogatorily labeled eta by others) and those labeled hinin (literally "nonhuman") were codified in law and backed by state force. This article, focusing on the city of Edo, traces the political and social processes that led to the creation of an outcaste order in Japan. It argues that even though ideologies of "pollution" and "impurity" may have played a role in determining who was targeted for discrimination, the production of a system of prejudice and intolerance was chiefly the result of deliberate political and economic policies of the ruling class.

Regional Diversity in Demographic and Family Patterns in Preindustrial Japan
This article integrates recent studies of population and family history to sketch a new image of preindustrial Japanese society. With historical evidence at macro and micro levels, we demonstrate that diverse demographic-family patterns coexisted before industrialization. Based on the characteristics of northeast, central, and southwest Japan, we conduct a simulation study and show how demographic patterns and family structures are related. We suggest that the varying level of regional socio-economic developments influenced the necessity of maintaining the ratio of working persons in households; and alternatively, shaped the demographic-family patterns. Interpretations are added as to the varying coexistence of norms related to diverse origins of Japanese society.

Saikaku and the Narrative Turnabout
This essay contextualizes Ihara Saikaku's comedy within broader elements of Tokugawa society and critical concepts in literary studies. The complexity of Saikaku's work is examined by employing and altering Mikhail Bakhtin's concept of the "carnivalesque" and rhetorical tropes from Japanese and Western literary traditions. Saikaku's comedy engages elite and lowly as well as social and literary hierarchies in its constant inversions and play.

Culture, Nationalism, and Sakaguchi Ango
Studies of the writer Sakaguchi Ango (1906-1955) conventionally portray him as a staunch opponent of wartime ideology. An analysis of "Nihon bunka shikan" (A personal view of Japanese culture, 1942), however, suggests the iconoclasm prompting this reading is more appropriately attributed to Ango's conception of a spiritual purity antecedent to intellectual contrivances. In pursuit of this purity he constructs, perhaps inadvertently, an ethnic nationalism fully in accord with mainstream wartime ideology and propaganda. "Darakuron" (Discourse on decadence, 1946), Ango's postwar classic, is an extension of his vision, and its popularity suggests this strain of nationalism survived the war intact.

Volume 27, Number 2 (Summer 2001)
©2001 Society for Japanese Studies

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