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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #128: March 3, 2004

The Journal of Japanese Studies

Journal Name: The Journal of Japanese Studies: Winter 2004, Vol. 30, No. 1


Explaining Party Adaptation to Electoral Reform:
The Discreet Charm of the LDP?

This article traces the effects of Japan's 1994 electoral reform on Japan's governing party, the LDP. Factions have lost their central role in nominating candidates and deciding the party presidency but remain important in allocating party and Diet posts. Unexpectedly, koenkai have grown stronger because they perform new functions. PARC remains important but diminished by the enhanced policymaking role of party leaders in the coalition government. A central theme is unpredicted organizational adaptation—"embedded choice"—since 1994. We speculate on how this flexibility of the LDP, adapting old organizational forms to new incentives, its "discreet charm," may affect Japanese politics and the LDP's potential longevity in power.

Translating Prewar Culture into Film:
The Double Vision of Suzuki Seijun's Zigeunerweisen

Stylistically breaking from his 1960s Nikkatsu films, cult director Suzuki Seijun entered Japan's pre-World War II era with Zigeunerweisen (1980). Suzuki forgoes conventional narrative to set up a world of random associations and misleading mismatches and recreates the unevenness and double life of the culturally shifting prewar era. From his position in late postwar Japan, he questions the nature of representation and the discourse of authenticity surrounding history and culture in the 1920s and 1930s. His deliberateness in this comments on the process of representation, the function of nostalgia, and the definition of modernity itself, as Suzuki translates prewar culture into film.

Seeking Sakyamuni:
Travel and the Reconstruction of Japanese Buddhism

The reconstruction of Japanese Buddhism in Meiji, Taisho, and Showa Japan involved not only interchanges with Europe and the United States. A central but overlooked catalyst for change was increased travel to and exchange with other Buddhists in Asia. An examination of travel accounts and other writings of three Meiji-era Japanese Buddhist travelers to South and Southeast Asia—Kitabatake Doryu, Shaku Kozen, and Shaku Soen—reveals how contact with Buddhists in those regions stimulated Japanese Buddhists to rethink the role of the historical Buddha in their tradition and demonstrates the importance of these contacts for Buddhism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Chinese Antiquity and Court Spectacle
in Early Kanshi

This essay argues for closer attention to Japan's active appropriation of Chinese culture and an acknowledgment of the independence of kanshibun from Chinese literature. Obliged to give historical depth to an emerging literature, the compilers of the first kanshi anthologies adopted charismatic moments from Chinese literary history. Poets sympathized especially with courtly settings of Chinese antiquity: they evoked the Zhou court and its vassals at banquets for Korean envoys, performed phrases of the Analects at the Rites for Confucius, or replayed Han rhapsody recitation. The article contributes to studies of the creative use of the Chinese textual canon in Japan.


Kidnapped Japanese in North Korea:
The New Left Connection

This article traces the connections between a Japanese New Left student group from the late 1960s, the Red Army Faction, and the kidnapping of Japanese citizens to North Korea. After hijacking a plane to Pyongyang in 1970, the "Yodogō" hijackers were converted to Kim Il Sung's chuch'e philosophy. North Korean agents lured eight Japanese women to North Korea to marry the men, and several of them later helped to lure three young Japanese travelers from Europe to North Korea. The story became known because of the investigative reporting of a journalist whose career was shaped by his New Left affiliations.

Volume 30, Number 1 (Winter 2004)
©2004 Society for Japanese Studies

(This journal is available online at:
Posted with permission from the publisher.

Copyright © Japanese Institute of Global Communications