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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #193: May 13, 2005

The Journal of Japanese Studies

Journal Name: The Journal of Japanese Studies: Winter 2005, Vol. 31, No. 1


Discovering the Japanese Alps:
Meiji Mountaineering and the Quest for Geographical Enlightenment

The landscape known today as the Japanese Alps is a cultural artifact of the mid-Meiji era. During the decade between the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese Wars, as imperial competition thrust mountains into new prominence across the globe, central Honshu's ranges came into focus for the first time. The visionaries who produced the Japanese Alps for the Japanese public during these years, notably Shiga Shigetaka and Kojima Usui, simultaneously imbued the alpine landscape with an exalted purpose. Synthesizing science and aesthetics with practical advice, their writings helped shape a new sensibility toward mountains: one where climbing was yoked to what might be called geographical enlightenment.

Literacy and Literature in Osaka, 1890-1940
Studying Japanese regional literatures and their audiences provides a broader perspective on modern Japanese literature and its readerships. This essay defines the region under discussion, Osaka, from 1890 to 1940 and illustrates the failures of its public school system in promoting literacy. The discussion of the various genres developed in Osaka to appeal to a mass audience demonstrates the vital role literature played in advancing literacy. In conclusion, the essay argues that the popular literature created in response to Osaka's unique readership came to influence the mass media of the rest of the country.

The Production of Literature and the Effaced Realm of the Political
The understanding of literature in Japan underwent an epistemological shift in the mid-1880s, when literature came into being as an ontological category as modern fiction found its identity around the themes ninjo, fuzoku, and setai (emotions, social customs, and manners). By historically contextualizing these three components of modern fiction, first introduced by Tsubouchi Shoyo's Shosetsu shinzui (1885-86), I argue that they were posited in opposition to what constituted the political at that historical juncture. I do so by analyzing Shoyo's criticism of Takizawa Bakin, which signifies his rejection of the political discourse and ultimately of the Freedom and People's Rights Movement.

Mad Scientists and Their Prey:
Bioethics, Murder, and Fiction in Interwar Japan

This essay focuses on "mad scientist murders," a subgenre within the larger stream of Japanese detective fiction during the 1920s and 1930s. Through an overview of the popular sentiment toward science during this period and a discussion of works by Kozakai Fuboku, Yumeno Kyusaku, Oguri Mushitaro, and Unno Juza, I explore the ways these authors used the motif of the "mad scientist" and his uncompromising attitude toward his work to criticize the widespread overconfidence in the possibilities of science and to highlight the potential incompatibility between science and ethics.

Volume 31, Number 1 (Winter 2005)
©2005 Society for Japanese Studies

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