Erotic Grotesque Nonsense: The Mass Culture of Japanese Modern Times

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University of California Press, 2006 - History - 369 pages
"A sumptuously documented book, one that makes innovative use of the principle of montage to generate informative historical readings of Japan's myriad mass cultural phenomena in the early twentieth century. Both in terms of its scholarship and its methodology, this is a truly admirable work."—Rey Chow, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, Brown University

"As Miriam Silverberg has brilliantly shown here, the modern times of 1920s and ‘30s Japan were rendered in a cacophony of cultural mixing: a period of consumerist desires and Hollywood fantasy-making but also the rise of nationalist empire-building. Excavating its kaleidoscope of everyday culture Silverberg astutely offers a theory of montage for how Japanese subjects 'code-switched' in juggling the mixed cultural/political elements of these times. Utilizing a montage of media, texts, sites, and scholarship, Silverberg leads the reader into the terrain of the 'erotic grotesque nonsense' in a work that is as scintillating as it is theoretically important."—Anne Allison, author of Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination

"Unlike other scholars who merely view ero-guro-nansensu in its literal meanings, Silverberg brilliantly documents it as a complex cultural aesthetic expressed in a spectrum of fascinating mass culture forms and preoccupations. With great erudition and humor, she traces the sensory and conceptual modes that are animated with potency and sophistication through this cultural metaphor. This book is destined to be a classic in Japan scholarship."—Laura Miller, author of Beauty Up: Exploring Contemporary Japanese Body Aesthetics

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Part I Japanese Modern Times
Part II Japanese Modern Sites
Part III Asakusa HonkyTonk Tempo
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About the author (2006)

Miriam Silverberg is Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles and the author of Changing Song: The Marxist Manifestos of Nakano Shigeharu (1990).

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