The Twelfth Asian Studies Conference Japan (ascj) Rikkyo University, Tokyo June 21–22, 2008 abstracts

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The Twelfth Asian Studies Conference Japan (ASCJ)
Rikkyo University, Tokyo
June 21–22, 2008


The abstracts given here are based on versions sent to ASCJ. When participants did not provide revised files of their abstracts, the original proposal abstracts have been used, with minimal changes in formatting. Italics and macrons may be missing. Changes and corrections should be sent in Word format by attachment to as soon as possible.
Information correct as of June 15, 2008. Please check the website for any late changes:
Session 1: Room 5125

Technologies of Alterity and the Production of Cultural Bodies in Contemporary Japan

Chair/Organizer: Baryon Tensor Posadas, University of Toronto/Hokkaido University

Discussant: Toshiya Ueno, Wako University

This panel is organized around the understanding that in the contemporary moment of global capitalist modernity, it is in the constellation of various bodily and material practices constituted in relation to different affective technologies that discourses of alterity are encountered. Manifestations of this appear in several ways. Take, for instance, the cinematic apparatus. Not only are the boundaries between interior and exterior drawn upon bodies in gendered and racialized terms (re)produced in the machine-mediated gaze vis-à-vis the screen, but the spectrality of cinematic images also have the effect of producing different temporalities as Other.

With this as our point of departure, our papers will articulate various symptoms and strategies that engage this context by examining a range of technê—film, performance, visual art, digital media—in contemporary Japan. Baryon Posadas will discuss Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s film Retribution (2007) in terms of the temporality of dead bodies and the trope of haunting they foreground, and through this, sketch out the implications of the spectral Otherness of the past constituted by the cinematic apparatus. Sara Osenton’s paper tackles the image of the cyborg in the art of Yamaguchi Akira as a practice that opens a nuanced understanding of the techno-Orientalist gaze. Finally, Awatani Yoshiji will discuss representations of techno(logy) culture in Japan, with a particular focus on the discourse of techno-Orientalism, digital media, and pop culture.

1) Baryon Tensor Posadas, University of Toronto/Hokkaido University

Dead Bodies: Serial Killers, Specters, Spectators in Kurosawa Kiyoshi

What is immediately striking about Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s film Retribution (Sakebi, 2007) is the extent to which it is haunted by the spectres of previous films from his body of work. With resemblances to the decrepit landscapes in Cure (Kyuā, 1997) or the apocalyptic finale of Pulse (Kairo, 2001), it appears that, at least at first glance, Kurosawa is repeating himself.

Haunting, however, is not a simple repetition, but the reappearance of the dead or disavowed to trouble the temporality of the present. That such a haunting manifests on the formal level of the film is only appropriate given that its narrative revolves around the persistent haunting of the detective protagonist by the ghost of a victim of a crime. This paper will discuss this haunting by examining it in relation with other key motifs and formal strategies that foreground questions of repetition such as serial killing (the crime of repetition) and doppelgangers (the repetition of the subject). Through these, I will argue that the film articulates the limits of conceptions of crime in the detective genre, and by implication, modern narrative forms as such including film, literature, or history. I will then attempt to sketch out the stakes and implications of my reading of the film by way of an engagement with the practices of spectatorship constituted in relation to the technology of the cinematic apparatus, particularly in terms of the spectrality and temporality of its labour within the context of the repetition compulsion of global capitalist modernity.

2) Sara Osenton, University of Toronto

Cyborgs and the Embodiment of Technology: Rethinking the Cyborg Body in Japanese Art

Contemporary artist Yamaguchi Akira blends together past and future, tradition and technology—often directly onto the body—to create elaborate cyborg humans, animals and environments. Why is the cyborg—the half human, half-mechanical technological body—such a prevalent theme within Japanese visual culture? This paper considers the cyborg as one way in which the Japanese imagination struggled to move beyond defeat. The cyborg thus works as a mechanism in which to reconfigure identity through the recovery the imagined and metaphoric whole body from the defeated and mutilated real and national body. The cyborg body as metaphor opens a nuanced understanding of Techno-Orientalism and enables us to see how both Japan and the West have been complicit in the creation of competing constructions of power and to understand why images of cyborgs in Japanese visual culture are so prevalent, and so powerful. While the West has used the technological-gaze to dehumanize, I contend that the cyborg body is used in Japanese images as a site for re-imagining an equalised power relationship as a process of recovery. By taking a close look at Yamaguchi Akira’s use of the body and technology, this paper will elucidate the potential meanings of the cyborg in art production.
3) Yoshiji Awatani, Kansai University

Images of Techno(logy) Culture in Japan: Representation of Techno Orientalism, Digital Media, and Pop Culture

This paper discusses representation of techno(logy) culture in Japan. Specifically, I will focus on the discourse of techno-orientalism in connection with digital media, and pop culture.

Recent images of Japanese pop culture are infused with “technology.” These images, such as the otaku, or Akihabara, emerged in the 1990’s, marking the era of post-industrial information society side by side with the introduction of the broadband system that has advanced the electronic environment of Japan and the peculiar developments in Mobile phone culture in Japan.

This prominence of techno culture, at the same time, involves various discourses and cultural expressions on technology. To begin with, a significant part of post war Japanese thought is already concerned with such discourses. This is seen, for example, in “Japan that can say No,” which later developed into a form of Techno-Orientalism.

These problems around technology also find representation in popular culture. Anno Hideaki’s Neon Genesis Evangelion or Oshii Mamoru’s (director of Ghost In The Shell) works regularly explore the man-machine relationship, as well as images of war and battle. Although images and representations of war have changed since 1945, these representations do not necessarily result in the glorification of the war. Rather, I would argue that such animations’ representation of war became possible because it is a virtual war. Along with this, I will also take up the image of “Tokyo” as it plays a symbolic role in the story of Eva and Oshii’s works. This convergence of thought, pop culture and technology represents images of Japan (Tokyo) as techno(logy) culture.

Session 2: Room 5222

Roundtable: Risk in Japan

Chair/Organizer: Glenn Hook, University of Sheffield

1) Mark Caprio, Rikkyo University

2) Andrew Dewit, Rikkyo University

3) Yukiko Yamazaki, Tokyo University

4) Harukiyo Hasegawa, Doshisha University

5) Glenn Hook, University of Sheffield

The work of Ulrich Beck has alerted us to the need to examine risk within the new paradigm of Risk Society (1991), where the individual is increasingly charged with the duty of responding to a wide range of risks created by the nature of modern life. True, a substantial amount of scholarly effort has been directed into how to manage risk and how to explain the transition to preemptive rather than evidentially based political, economic and social mechanisms of utility in reducing the potential for risk to give rise to harm. But this work is overwhelming focussed on the advanced industrial states of North America and Europe. I

The literature on risk in Japan remains sparse, despite the Japanese preoccupation with all kinds of hazards and insecurities (both external and internal). The purpose of this panel is to move forward the debate on risk in two respects. First, in terms of geographic focus, the panel will examine the case of Japan, a neglected area of study. Second, in terms of approach, the panel will direct attention to how risk is manifested in three domains: the state, market and society. It will focus on international relations, with a particular interest in Japan`s relations with the United States, as seen through the manifestation of risk in Okinawa (Hook), and Japan’s relations with North Korea (Caprio); on energy and fiscal policy, to demonstrate how risks are being manifest in terms of energy policy (DeWit) and in terms of fiscal crisis (Yamazaki); and on the corporation and labour, to elucidate how risks are mediated by the company and labour (Hasegawa). The panel is therefore interdisciplinary in conception and approach.

Session 3: Room 5223

Magic, Mythical, and Mundane in The Extensive Records of the Taiping Period

Organizer/Chair: Xiaohuan Zhao, University of Otago

Discussant: Hidemi Tokura, University of Tokyo

The Taiping guangji (Extensive Records of the Taiping Period, hereafter TPGJ) in 500 fascicles was compiled during the Period of Taiping Xingguo (976-983) under the reign of Emperor Taizong of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). With nearly 7,000 entries included in this multi-volume anthology, TPGJ boasts the largest collection ever seen of classical Chinese narratives known as “xiaoshuo,”and has long been held in high regard as “the treasure house of xiaoshuo.” Entries in it cover an extreme wide range of subject matter from gods, ghosts, and spirits to birds, beasts and flowers. This panel has three papers each dealing with a different aspect of TPGJ. The first paper is devoted to a general study of the classificatory system of xiaoshuo items in TPGJ, the second one deals with encounters and unions of humans with immortals as manifested in “salvation stories” grouped under the subheading of “Female Immortals” in TPGJ, and the third one has its focus on fox tales with reference to their influence on fox literature and culture in pre-modern China.
1) Xiaohuan Zhao, University of Otago

Compilation, Classification, and Conception of Xiaoshuo in The Extensive Records of the Taiping Period

This paper aims to investigate the classificatory system of classical Chinese narratives known as “xiaoshuo” [fiction] in the Taiping guangji [Extensive Records of the Taiping Era, hereafter TPGJ] in 500 fascicles compiled during the Period of Taiping Xingguo [Supreme Peace and Nation Restored] (976-983) of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). I will first review the textual history of TPGJ before presenting an overview of xiaoshuo classification in terms of Daoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, shamanism, animism and animatism in this multi-volume anthology. Next, I will analyse the rationale behind the establishment and arrangement of the categories of xiaoshuo, and based on this analysis, I will discuss the ancient Chinese conception of xiaoshuo as revealed through the compilation and classification of classical Chinese narratives in TPGJ.
2) Grace Yin Ping Lau, Lingnan University

Salvation Stories in the “Female Immortals” Section of The Extensive Records of the Taiping Period

Among the items grouped under the heading of”female immortals” in the Taiping guangji [Extensive Records of the Taiping Period], there are 13 “salvation stories.” “Salvation stories” are concerned with the rescue of human beings by female immortals at a critical moment of life and death. These stories fall into two main categories, salvation on a “large scale” and rescue on a “small scale.”

In “large scale” salvation stories, as represented by “Xi Wangmu,” “Yunhua Furen,” and “Fan Furen,” female immortals act as “saviours” to rescue a nation and its people from natural disasters such as fires and floods. Though the immortals come to their rescue at a time of crisis, more often than not it is the human protagonists who win the battle against hostile forces mainly through their own efforts. The emphasis on the importance of human strength conveys an optimistic message.

In the “small scale” salvation stories such as “Taizhen Furen,” “Ma Shiliang,” and “Zhang Yunrong,” immortal ladies save individuals out of “physically” or “spiritually” dangerous situations. In stories of this type, there is often a “sacred marriage” of a man with a female immortal, which can be viewed as a divine favour bestowed on him in his attempt at immortality. “Salvation stories” in the Taiping Guangji reflect an appeal primitive men would make to supernatural beings for aid when confronted with a crisis beyond their control and comprehension.
3) Yu-chen Li, National Tsing Hua University

Reading, Revising, and Rewriting the Taiping Guangji in Ming China: A Case Study of the Taiping Guangji Chao by Feng Menglong (1574–1646)
As the largest collection of classical Chinese xiaoshuo, the influence of TPGJ on story-tellers/writers of later dynasties can never be overestimated. A good example of this is the well-known Ming writer Feng Menglong, who drew heavily on TPGJ for his compilation of the San yan collections of vernacular stories, and even revised and abridged the 500-juan [fascicle] text of TPGJ into an 80-juan Taiping guangji chao [Selections from the Extensive Records from the Taiping Period, hereafter TPGJC]. This study will be centered on Feng’s abridged version of TPGJ on purpose to reveal the process of TPGJ being revised and recreated before being accepted and assimilated into Ming xiaoshuo tradition. Due to the limited space for a conference presentation, I will confine myself in this comparative study to Buddhist and Daoist stories in TPGJ and their adaptations in TPGJC.

Session 4: Room 5301

Individual Papers on Japanese Literature and Theater

Chair: Gaye Rowley, Waseda University

1) Jan Leuchtenberger, University of Puget Sound

“Dei, Dei Paraiso”: Tracking the Kirishitan Villain in Early Modern Jōruri and Kabuki

A popular fascination with the foreign during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Japan inspired a variety of maps and texts about faraway places and ‘others,’ including some about the Kirishitan (Christian). Though the ban on the religion made publication of the texts dangerous, they managed to circulate among a wide audience through the lending library system, which carried manuscript copies of both jikki, or “true accounts,” and joruri and kabuki plays. One narrative by an anonymous author, commonly known under the title Kirishitan shūmon raichō jikki (True Record of the Arrival of the Kirishitan Sect), circulated under a large number of different titles through the lending library system, and the significant number of extant copies points to a broad dissemination over a long period of time. The influence of this text and its Kirishitan villain can also be found in joruri and kabuki plays as early as 1719 and continuing into the nineteenth century. Starting with Chikamatsu Monzaemon”s Keisei Shimabara kaeru kassen, staged in 1719, the Kirishitan villain makes an appearance in one form or another in at least six different joruri and kabuki plays, including Tsuruya Nanboku”s Tenjiku Tokubei ikoku banashi, staged in 1804. This paper traces the influence of Kirishitan shūmon raichō jikki on Chikamatsu’s play and the evolution of the Kirishitan villain throughout the eighteen and early nineteenth centuries, examining the character’s significant place in popular narrative at a time marked by both curiosity and anxiety about the world and Japan’s place in it.
2) Matthew Fraleigh, Brandeis University

Through Space and Time: Narushima Ryūhoku’s Travels in Japan

The Confucian scholar, kanshi poet, irrepressible satirist, and pioneering journalist Narushima Ryuhoku (1837–1884) is well-known for his early Meiji overseas travelogue Kosei nichijo (Diary of a Journey to the West), the record he kept of his 1872–73 world tour. When the text was serialized a decade later in Ryuhoku’s literary journal, Kagetsu shinshi, it became a literary model for subsequent overseas travelers, including Mori Ogai and Nagai Kafu. Yet Ryuhoku was also the author of some twenty domestic travelogues that are by turns humorous, poetically evocative, and politically engaged. They depict his biannual stays in Hakone, Atami, and various other resort towns, as well as his travels to more distant locales such as Shikoku and Kyoto, over a period of some seventeen years. In this paper, I consider the impact that changes in the site, character, and context of travelogue publication, as well as the envisioned readership, had upon the form and content of Ryuhoku’s travelogues. I first explain the differences that can be observed in the domestic travelogues before and after his world tour, exploring the changing use of allusion, the nature of poetic expression, and the orientation of the narrating gaze. In particular, I discuss significant shifts in conceptions of temporality and spatiality that emerge in these texts. Taken as a whole, Ryuhoku’s body of domestic travelogues charts the gradual emergence of new ideas not only about time and space, but about the nature and purpose of writing, the work of the author, and the notion of copyright.
3) Galia Todorova Gabrovska, SOAS, University of London

Making Men “Women”? Female Versions of Popular Male Characters in the Japanese Kabuki Theatre

A constellation of prominent male characters has been created on the kabuki stage: Kagemasa from the play Shibaraku, Narukami, Sukeroku, Danshichi, to name just a few. It would not be an exaggeration to contend that the most popular kabuki plays are centered on such a distinct symbols of masculinity. Simultaneously, one of the means of innovation (shukō) in kabuki has been the rewriting (kakikae) of well-known plots by transforming the main masculine hero or a number of male characters into “women”. A usual practice was celebrated female impersonators to have famous male roles rewritten for them. Numerous titles of already popular plays to which the character onna “woman” is added appear in the kabuki repertory over the centuries, such as: Onna Narukami “The Female Narukami”, Onna Wankyū, “The Female Wankyū”, Onna Shibaraku, “The Female Shibaraku”, Onna Sukeroku,”The Female Sukeroku”, Onna Danshichi, “The Female Danshichi”, and many more. Special place among these productions occupies Onna Chūshingura, “The Female Treasury of Loyal Retainers.” The present paper examines in detail the creation and specifics of these female versions of popular male characters and their possible application to the analysis of gender construction in the all-male kabuki theatre. I look both at the male “originals” and their female “counterparts” and explore the ways in which the notions of masculinity and femininity and of the male and female body and sexuality have been represented on the stage of kabuki.
4) Mari Nagase, Kenyon College

In Search of Authenticity: Discussion of Chinese Prosody during the Edo Period

Chinese poetry has its own rules of meter and rhyme that were deeply connected to the language. However, most of the Edo-period Japanese read and composed Chinese verses without learning Chinese pronunciation. Since many of the intellectuals recognized the importance of the auditory effect of poetry, the validity of Japanese way of reading kanshi, namely, kundoku reading, became an issue among the intellectuals. Even more problematic was the difficulty for the Japanese to distinguish tonal differences when composing kanshi by themselves. To compose a proper kanshi that would meet the complex tonal rules, Edo-period Japanese went to great pains. They regularly consulted dictionaries and prosodic manuals called insho (引書) to check the tones of Chinese characters, even though they could not appreciate the auditory effect after all. By examining Edo-period Confucian scholars’ arguments over kanshi composition, this presentation hopes to demonstrate linguistic and literary conflict and the effort necessary in adopting a foreign literary form. My analysis will firstly focus on a discussion by Ogyū Sorai (1666–1728) on reading poetry and then on an argument over Chinese prosody by Nakai Chikuzan (1730–1804). Finally, I will raise the question of why the Japanese composed kanshi albeit the great difficulty. This was also the question made by some of the Edo-period students. I attempt to extract answers in an essay on poetry by Kumasaka Taishō (1729–1788), and a discussion exchanged between Ono Tatsu (1767–1832) and his teacher, Rai San’yō (1780–1832).
5) Pana Barova Ozcan, International Christian University 

The Function of the Utamakura in the Opening Part of the Sarashina nikki

My paper will discuss the function of the poetic toponyms utamakura in the opening part of the Sarashina nikki, which represents a description of a journey to the capital. I will analyze the utamakura as poetic markers functioning on a poetic and meta-poetic level and will trace associations which they create with different waka, in an attempt to present some new aspects of the discourse of the Sarashina nikki.

A major reason which motivated me to trace the associations evoked by the utamakura, is the striking scarcity of poems in the account of the trip to the capital. Their total number comes only to three which is unusual, not only within the context of the Sarashina nikki itself, which comprises a total of eighty-eight waka, but also in the context of Japanese classical travel writings kikōbun in general, which usually feature a large number of waka. This might be a signal that in a way the poetic toponyms replace the ‘missing’ waka and have the function of supplying poetic associations by referring not only to one but to numerous other poems within the literary canon, thus creating a deeper meaning and vaster interpretation possibilities than a single poem would have done. This is one reason for considering that the account of the journey might provide a key to a re-interpretation of the Sarashina nikki by supplying additional meaning to the narrative and helping disprove claims that the diary is somewhat fragmented and incoherent.

Session 5: Room 5302

Art and War in Asia in the Twentieth Century

Chair/Organizer: Aya Louisa McDonald, University of Nevada

Discussants: Phil Hausknecht, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Tokyo

Aya Louisa McDonald, University of Nevada
Since Vietnam the horrors of war have been made graphically and vividly present to the world through the print and electronic media. Images of unspeakable events on and off the “battlefield” from the Balkans to Darfur, to name but two recent flashpoints that have produced images of war and the wounds of war - rape, pillage, mass murder, ethnic cleansing, execution, death and other forms of “collateral damage” ?| provide an opportunity to meditate anew on the historical power and meaning of such images. Public intellectuals like the late Susan Sontag (Regarding the Pain of Others, 2003) and internationally recognized artists like Fernando Botero, whose 2005 suite of paintings was inspired by snapshots of torture at Abu Ghraib, demand that we continue to confront and track the ever-evolving role that images play in establishing the historical record and documenting “reality.” This panel seeks to meet the challenge by initiating a dialogue focused on images of war and the legacy of war produced in Asia during the 20th Century. The individual papers, which discuss Japanese Pacific War art and artists, Japanese self-portraiture set against the background and the legacy of war, and the art of Korean and Taiwanese “comfort women,” represent a broad range of diverse perspectives and theoretical strategies. The issues that they raise: political, cultural, and ethical as well as aesthetic - art as propaganda, the politics of the visual record, artistic “intention,” public reception and responsibility, censorship and censuring ?| have implications far beyond the narrow limits of the panel.
1) Mayu Tsuruya, Denison University

Socialist Realism in Public Art for the Empire

This paper examines the imperial art of war campaign documentary painting (sensō sakusen kirokuga) created in Japan between 1938–1945 as a manifestation of the ideal of socialist realism in art. The characteristics of this genre have been under-researched. Despite the fact that the work was created under the auspices of the Imperial military, providing an unprecedented number of state commissions to Japanese artists, the war painting was a short-lived phenomenon. Moreover, the genre has received little critical treatment on its artistic merits. Ultimately it seems to be understood as an ill-informed and immoral effort on the part of Japanese artists who have been criticized for their complicity with imperial aggression in Asia. However, the genre marks a pivotal moment in the modern history of Japan, in which art was enlisted in official service of the nation. The war paintings were conceived and functioned as a public art to evoke patriotism among the Japanese for the war. It was a new kind of public art, which Japanese audiences had not seen before. In an effort to clarify the public characteristics of the genre in terms of monumental form, realistic style and group figural composition, this paper focuses on the pre-war movement of proletarian art as an important source. The paper also analyzes the ideological significance of collectivism and education of the masses in the war painting.
2) Asato Ikeda, Carleton University

Fujita Tsuguharu: Militarist Or Pacifist? A War Painter and His Changing Persona

The 2006 Fujita retrospective held in the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo presented Fujita?\a leading Japanese official war painter of the Second World War, who was despised as a war criminal after the war?\as a modernist genius misunderstood by the public. His war painting Honorable Death on Attu Island (1943) became a topic of debate, and it was suggested that its representation of the war as inhumanizing was at odds with the wartime government’s official ideology. This reading of Honorable Death on Attu Island, which entirely glossed over the context of its production, was offered as the key to “deciphering” Fujita’s “true” persona—that of a pacifist. The intention of this paper is not to present my own construction of Fujita’s “true” persona, but to examine why the representation of his persona has dramatically changed since the early post-war period and what the political implications of this change are for contemporary Japanese society. I will argue that the recent public representation of Fujita victimizes him anew just as it victimizes Japan as a nation at large, the consequence of which is to eliminate Japan’s alternate persona of victimizer. The Fujita retrospective thus raises significant questions not only about Japanese post-war discourse on art, politics, and museums, but about ethical issues as well.
3) Bert Winther-Tamaki, University of California, Irvine

Wartime Self-portraits: Painting Society for the New Man (Shinjin Gakai), 1943–1944

In 1943, in the midst of all-out war, three young Japanese male painters—Ai-Mitsu, Asō Saburō, and Matsumoto Shunsuke—incorporated themselves in a group they called Shinjin Gakai, or “Painting Society for the New Man.” They embraced an affirmation of the self, perpetuating the ideology of much early twentieth-century Japanese modernism. The term “Shinjin,” New Man, was imported from male-centered Japanese discourses of Christianity and Socialism as a rubric of spiritual rebirth and social liberation. But the strained character of self-affirmation by the would-be New Men in wartime is manifest in their self-portraiture. Ai-Mitsu stretches his neck and winces as if the chalky matiére of his painting constricts his body. Matsumoto stands in defiant isolation from a remote and lifeless view of Tokyo. Asō glares at the viewer fearfully while stealing a drink. The palpable tension in these self-portraits reflects their discordant status in the milieu of wartime ideology that demanded conformity to the body politic (kokutai). All young men were subject to mandatory conscript examinations, which ranked them in five categories of mental and physical fitness. The criteria used by military examiners were diametrically opposed to the values that prompted these painters to brood over mirror-reflected features of their bodies that were out of kilter with the hegemonic body politic. These troubled efforts at self-fashioning by may be seen as a bridge to debates about shutaisei (subjectivity) and nikutai (carnal body) in the early postwar years.
4) Ayelet Zohar, Stanford University

The Art of Camouflage: The Jungle Years of Onoda Hirō and Yokoi Shoichi, and Mamoru Tsukada’s Identical Twins Photographic Series (2003)

The stories of Hiroo Onoda, Shoichi Yokoi and other Japanese soldiers who were found after hiding in the forests of the Pacific islands for decades after World War II are famous and usually linked to certain aspects of Japanese Bushidō. I offer an alternative reading of their personal experiences that centers upon their skills of survival during the decades lived in the forest. I consider their survival as an act of long-term camouflage and look at the impact of their being away from human society while assimilating into the natural environment. My theoretical reading of these years draws from Roger Caillois’ “Mimicry and the Legendary Psychasthenia” which considers this position in the natural world as a schizophrenic phenomenon; from Sun Zi’s “The Art of War,” which argues that the ability to deceive the eye of the viewer is the most important war skill; and from Derrida’s “Spectres of Marx” which elaborates on the relationship between the spectre, the spirit and the ghost. I will specifically discuss these soldier survival stories in relation to Mamoru Tsukada’s Identical Twins series (2003), which consists of photographic self-portraits posed together with another person, seemingly a Japanese soldier, on a scene staged in a tropical jungle location. Tsukada’s work brings forward the spectres, ghosts and spirits of war, the power of presence/absence performed as the art of camouflage and deception. The series also recalls the meeting between Suzuki Norio and Onoda Hiroo in 1974, thus positioning a moment of simultaneous disappearance and exposure.
Session 6: Room 5323

Individual Papers on Japanese History and Religion

Chair: Kate Wildman Nakai, Sophia University
1) Michael Burtscher, University of Tokyo

Nakae Chōmin and Schopenhauer

Nakae Chomin, as is widely known, established his political and intellectual reputation as the first translator of Rousseau’s “On the Social Contract” into Classical Chinese. Not widely known, on the other hand, is that he marked the conclusion of his political career, after resigning his seat in the First Diet under the Meiji Constitution in protest, with a translation of Schopenhauer’s “On the Basis of Morality” into Japanese. The aim of this presentation is not to demonstrate that this translation of Schopenhauer, which students of Chomin’s thought have pointedly ignored, was widely read. It will argue that Chomin’s choice of this book for translation presents a key to his thought as a whole. The common explanation that Chomin did this translation for no other reason than to make money is, for plural reasons, unconvincing. It is better understood as a well-targeted, if not equally well understood, attempt to place a full stop at the end of everything he had written to that point, a defiant gesture as he exited the public stage. Chomin’s choice of this book was intimately linked to his understanding of the political and intellectual situation in which he found himself placed, his high regard for both Confucianism and Rousseau, and the style of his widely read deathbed writings, “One Year and a Half.”
2) Yoko Isse, Osaka University

Postwar Debates on Japan’s Ancient History and the Anti-Emperor Movement for a Classless Society

Japan’s identity is considered to have been marked by vicissitudes, e.g., from National Learning scholars’ nativism in the Tokugawa period to the Auto-Orientalism of the early Meiji period, and to the uniqueness of the land of the gods. Such a mutable nature presents difficulties in interpreting Kojiki and Nihon-shoki. For historiographical interest, one can examine the postwar discourses on Kojiki and Nihon-shoki by Japanese right/left historians. Postwar debates on the emperor system as a curse of feudalism or of samurai bureaucracy, polemics on the Age of Heroes, and debates on the preface of Kojiki cannot be done without reading Kojiki and Nihon-shoki. My paper expatiates on the Japanese history of class struggle; the postwar anti-emperor movement and its cultural hegemonic function; and, above all, the function of Tsuda Sokichi (1873–1961), or his theory, as a symbol of “modern” historical science, in terms of Japan’s national identity. Tsuda’s works influenced the postwar debates mentioned above in many ways. I consider several aspects of Tsuda’s theory that were sometimes contradictory to each other, e.g., Marxist/non-Marxist or modern/non-modern. Ienaga Saburo, who was disappointed Tsuda for criticizing Marxism in the postwar era, claimed that Tsuda’s theory demanded the following only on account of his prewar works. Ienaga supported Tsuda as an archetypal “modern” intellectual who was “anti-premodern” and a supporter of anti-samurai bureaucracy and the anti-modern myths of the emperor system. However, Tsuda’s discourses, sometimes described as similar to those of the history of class struggle, were not always the crystallization of “modern” values.
3) Patrick Shorb, University of Minnesota, Morris

Ruling Through “Eyes” and Not “Hands”: Urban Poverty, Urban Shopkeepers, and the Japanese State, 1918–1943

This paper contributes to the ongoing scholarship exploring the nature of state-society interactions in prewar Japan. Building off the work of Sheldon Garon and Sally Hastings, it examines the broader ramifications of interwar urban shopkeepers’ relationship with the Japanese state. Japanese petty tradesmen’s attitudes towards state power defy pat dichotomies of collaboration or resistance. On the one hand, shopkeepers enthusiastically participated in such Home-Ministry-supervised institutions as the district welfare commissions (houmen iinkai) and neighborhood associations (chounaikai). Through these ubiquitous local institutions, urban shopkeepers became de facto “eyes” of a diffuse “disciplinary gaze” that sought to mold the urban underclass into productive, “modern” citizens. On the other hand, shopkeeper’s utilized this relationship with the Home Ministry to increase their political influence and heighten the power of their trade-organizations, the dougyou kumiai. By the mid–1920s, local police often turned a blind eye towards these institutions’ many informal (and illegal) cartel activities. Shopkeeper’s close ties to government also enabled them to voice dissent when their interests were threatened. During the Pacific War, shopkeeper protests helped blunt the extremes of wartime economic controls. Finally, this closer relationship with the state changed the nature of shopkeeper politics. In order to appear more respectable and politically “serious,” shopkeeper organizations swore-off the raucous, iconoclastic political activism characteristic of previous eras. Interwar Japanese shopkeepers might not have been, as in Europe, direct contributors of “fascism” per se, but they helped create a society easier to mobilize for the war efforts of the 1930s and 1940s.
4) Garrett Washington, Keio University/Purdue University

Reconciling Faith and Country: Tokyo Protestant Pastors’ Discourse on Christianity and the Japanese Nation, 1890–1910

Despite an intrusive and coercive national government, Japanese individuals were actively imagining their national community and their roles within it, both in accordance with and in opposition to government prerogatives, during the Meiji and Taisho periods (1868–1912; 1912–1926). Numerous historians have described the development of a Japanese national consciousness and various nationalisms in the private, semi-public, and public spheres. The physical place of Meiji and Taisho Tokyo’s Protestant churches, however, has not been sufficiently analyzed as a semi-public space where both national consciousness and nation-views were propagated and debated. What was occurring in this non-state space, where some of Meiji and Taisho Tokyo’s most well-known social, political, and cultural figures spent a good part of at least one day each week has not, as such, interested historians of Japan or Japanese Christianity. Yet many sources as well as social anthropological theories on religion suggest that it should. The essay proposed here takes a closer look at the words of Meiji and Taisho Tokyo’s Protestant pastors, spoken within the walls of their churches between 1890 and 1910, and treats them as one influential vector in the formation of Japanese national identity and nationalisms. This paper will analyze selected sermons by two of pre-World War II Tokyo’s most prominent pastors; Reinanzaka Church Pastor Kozaki Hiromichi (1856–1938) and Hongo Church Pastor Ebina Danjo (1856–1937). This research also draws on relevant biographical and autobiographical works, and these churches?f individual published histories to enhance our understanding of the dynamic space of Tokyo’s Protestant Christian churches.
5) Jonathan Stockdale, University of Puget Sound

Sutoku, Saigyō, and the Margins of Japanese Religion

In Heian Japan, perhaps nowhere was the prestige of the courtly center more visible than in narratives tracing the banishment and return of notable exiles. In the Heian imagination of exile, the desired result of estrangement from the capital is exactly the kind of triumphant return imagined in tales involving both fictional and historic figures. Yet even as narratives of exile underscored the prestige of the Heian capital, a contrary yet equally important cultural theme was the trend toward renunciation, a centrifugal movement that was at once political, religious, and aesthetic. It’s therefore necessary to distinguish between the figure of the courtier in exile and that of the renunciant who leaves the world and abandons the capital, even while there may be important links between the two. At times, in fact, the two figures my overlap and intertwine, as can be glimpsed in the poetic pilgrimage taken by the renunciant priest Saigyo to the exiled emperor Sutoku’s grave far from the capital, a visit narrated in the Hogen monogatari and later picked picked up in the medieval imagination in both monogatari and noh drama. In this paper, I analyze the entwined figures of Sutoku and Saigyo as illustrating two models of religious orientation toward the courtly center?¥one locative and the other utopic?¥while reflecting on our contemporary disciplinary boundaries that preserve the two apart.

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