Obsessions with the Sino-Japanese Polarity in Japanese Literature

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University of Hawaii Press, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 269 pages
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Using close readings of a range of premodern and modern texts, Atsuko Sakaki focuses on the ways in which Japanese writers and readers revised or in many cases devised rhetoric to convey Chineseness and how this practice contributed to shaping a national Japanese identity.

The volume begins by examining how Japanese travelers in China, and Chinese travelers in Japan, are portrayed in early literary works. An increasing awareness of the diversity of Chinese culture forms a premise for the next chapter, which looks at Japan s objectification of the Chinese and their works of art from the eighteenth century onward. Chapter 3 examines gender as a factor in the formation and transformation of the Sino-Japanese dyad. Sakaki then continues with an investigation of early modern and modern Japanese representations of intellectuals who were marginalized for their insistence on the value of the classical Chinese canon and literary Chinese. The work concludes with an overview of writing in Chinese by early Meiji writers and the presence of Chinese in the work of modern writer Nakamura Shin ichiro. A final summary of the book s major themes makes use of several stories by Tanizaki Jun ichiro.


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From the Edifying to the Edible Chinese Fetishism and the China Fetish
Sliding Doors Women and Chinese Literature in the Heterosocial Literary Field
The Transgressive Canon? Intellectuals on the Margins and the Fate of the Universal Language
Folding the Subject into the Object

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Page 6 - Historicism contents itself with establishing a causal connection between various moments in history. But no fact that is a cause is for that very reason historical. It became historical posthumously, as it were, through events that may be separated from it by thousands of years.
Page 6 - History is the subject of a structure whose site is not homogeneous, empty time, but time filled by the presence of the now...
Page 9 - When talking about historians and other students of the human sciences it is important to note that this subject is both the object of inquiry— the person one studies in the present or the past— and the investigator him- or herself— the historian who produces knowledge of the past based on "experience" in the archives or the anthropologist who produces knowledge of other cultures based on "experience
Page 19 - knows in advance what he will find; the concrete experience is there to illustrate a truth already possessed, not to be interrogated according to preestablished rules in order to seek the truth.
Page 12 - Classical folds. ... Yet the Baroque trait twists and turns its folds, pushing them to infinity, fold over fold, one upon the other.
Page 10 - Subjects are constituted discursively, experience is a linguistic event (it doesn't happen outside established meanings), but neither is it confined to a fixed order of meaning. Since discourse is by definition shared, experience is collective as well as individual.

About the author (2006)

Atsuko Sakaki is a professor in the Department of East Asian Studies and associate member of the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto.

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