GLOCOM Platform
debates Media Reviews Tech Reviews Special Topics Books and Journals
Summary Page
Search with Google
Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #256: November 13, 2006

Japanese Studies

Journal Name: Japanese Studies: May 2006, Vol. 26, No. 1
ISSN: 1037-1397 (Paper), 1469-9338 (Online)


Nojima Yasuzō's primitivist eye: 'Nude' and 'Natural' in early Japanese art photography (pp47-68)
Philip Charrier (University of Regina)
This reading of Nojima Yasuzō's nudes explores the relationship between aesthetic form and cultural context in works of pictorialist photography that have attained exalted status in Japan. It argues that Nojima's unconventionally 'straight' and unidealized images of women of more 'ordinary' appearance exoticize the supposed rawness and vitality of the lower class Japanese woman in a manner consistent with broader primitivist fantasies in circulation in Taishō and early Shōwa society. The article shows that Nojima's formal and intellectual influences included modernist yōga, French Impressionist and Postimpressionist art, and mingei, but argues that these only served as starting points in the invention of a subject and visual style that are unique in pre-1945 art photography. Nojima's unusual—and somewhat ambiguous—emphasis upon the subjectivity of the 'nude' sitter is given particular attention in the analysis. It concludes by comparing this approach to that of contemporary Japanese photographer Araki Nobuyoshi.

Girls and the unconscious in Murakami Haruki's Kafka on the Shore (pp69-79)
Maria Flutsch (University of Tasmania)
Murakami's 2002 novel, Umibe no Kafka (translated by Philip Gabriel and published as Kafka on the Shore, 2005), is a psychoanalytical interrogation of the mind of a young, deeply disturbed patricide whose Oedipal crisis culminates in a descent to the pre-Oedipal, Kristevan 'semiotic' level of the unconscious in order to begin the healing process. This paper draws on psychoanalytic literary criticism along Kristevan lines in its focus on the young women in Kafka on the Shore, who, as in many of Murakami's novels, play important roles in the male protagonist's progress. Sakura comfortably belongs to the outside world ruled by the symbolic order, and her presence, along with the other strongly heterosexual character, Sada, provide the outer frame for Kafka's inner journey. The androgynous, uncannily insightful Ōshima, on the other hand, plays a central role in shaping Kafka's progress in his liminal journey towards psycho-sexual health, and is well served by a Kristevan analysis. However, both the liminal stage and the mainstream, 'real' space are dominated by a rather old-fashioned, Lacanian view of heterosexuality as the normal subjectivity, focusing on the male, homogeneous body as the ideal, limiting the applicability of the Kristevan approach.

Antarctica in the San Francisco peace treaty (pp81-97)
Kimie Hara (University of Waterloo, Ontario)
This article examines the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951 and its repercussions on modern international relations. In particular, it focuses on the clause in the Treaty which forced Japan to renounce its claim to Antarctica, together with a number of territories in the Asia-Pacific. Carefully tracing the history of the Treaty, the article shows how its earlier drafts and especially the clause in question were shaped by the political context in which the document was forged. Along the way, it identifies the key players in the Treaty's formulation and the reasons for their respective positions on the renunciative clause.

Reporting the 'comfort women' issue, 1991–1992: Japan's contested war memories in the national press (pp99-112)
Philip Seaton (Hokkaido University)
This paper analyses the nature of war-related reporting in Japanese newspapers through a survey of how the quality national newspapers reported the eruption of the 'comfort women' issue in 1991–1992. It challenges the widespread assumption about the 'homogeneity' of the Japanese press, which is based in critiques of press clubs, and illustrates how Japanese newspapers have developed distinct ideological positions in war-related reporting. The paper also clarifies the contested nature of Japanese war memories, some of the key features of that contestation and the pivotal role that the 'comfort women' and gender issues have assumed in contemporary Japanese war discourses.

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

Copyright © Japanese Institute of Global Communications