This book aims to explore precisely how modern Japanese poetry has remained central to public life in both Japan and its former colony of Taiwan.
Though classical Japanese poetry has captivated the imagination of Asian studies scholars, little research has been conducted to explore its role in public life as a discourse influential in defining both the modern Japanese empire and contemporary postcolonial negotiations of identity. This book shows how highly visible poetry in regular newspaper columns and blogs have in various historical situations in Japan and colonial Taiwan contested as well as promoted diverse colonial imaginaries. This poetry reflects both contemporary life and traditional poetics with few counterpoints in Western media. Methodologically, this book offers a defense of the public influence of poetry, each chapter enlisting a wide range of social and media theorists from Japan, Europe, and North America to explore specific historical moments in an original recasting of intertextuality as a vital feature of active inter-evental material engagements.
In this book, rather than recite a standard survey of literary movements and key poets, the approach taken is to examine uses of poetry shown not only to support colonialism and imperialism, emerging objectionable forms of exploitation as well as the destruction of ecologies (including old-growth forests in Taiwan and the Fukushima Disaster), but also to present a medium of resistance, a minor literature for registering protest, forming transnational affiliations, and promoting grass-roots democracy. The book is based on years of research and fieldwork partially in conjunction with the production of a documentary film, Horizons of the Rising Sun: Postcolonial Nostalgia and Politics in the Taiwan Tanka Association Today (2017).
Introduction: Japanese Poetry and its Publics
Chapter One: Japanese Imperialism and Poetic Matrices – Conventional and Autopoietic Projections of "Nature," Place, and Labor in Early Colonial Taiwan
Chapter Two: Transculturation and Extreme Intertextuality—Taiwanese Poets in the New Year’s Day Poetry Pages of Colonial Taiwan
Chapter Three: Nativist Legacies of Desinicization and Nationalist Sentiment in Poetry During the Second Sino-Japanese War
Chapter Four: The Long View of Colonial Regimes: The Taiwan Tanka Association’s Poetry of Witness
Chapter Five: Postcolonial Affiliation after 3.11: Hyperobjects and Inter-evental Entanglement in the Taiwan Tanka Association
Chapter Six: Poetry Blogs and Posthuman Archives in Postcolonial Taiwan
‘Postcolonial Politics’ is a series that publishes books that lie at the intersection of politics and postcolonial theory. That point of intersection once barely existed; its recent emergence is enabled, first, because a new form of ‘politics’ is beginning to make its appearance. Intellectual concerns that began life as a (yet unnamed) set of theoretical interventions from scholars largely working within the ‘New Humanities’ have now begun to migrate into the realm of politics. The result is politics with a difference, with a concern for the everyday, the ephemeral, the serendipitous and the unworldly. Second, postcolonial theory has raised a new set of concerns in relation to understandings of the non-West. At first these concerns and these questions found their home in literary studies, but they were also, always, political. Edward Said’s binary of ‘Europe and its other’ introduced us to a ‘style of thought’ that was as much political as it was cultural as much about the politics of knowledge as the production of knowledge, and as much about life on the street as about a philosophy of being, A new, broader and more reflexive understanding of politics, and a new style of thinking about the non-Western world, make it possible to ‘think’ politics through postcolonial theory, and to ‘do’ postcolonial theory in a fashion which picks up on its political implications.
Postcolonial Politics attempts to pick up on these myriad trails and disruptive practices. The series aims to help us read culture politically, read ‘difference’ concretely, and to problematise our ideas of the modern, the rational and the scientific by working at the margins of a knowledge system that is still logocentric and Eurocentric. This is where a postcolonial politics hopes to offer new and fresh visions of both the postcolonial and the political.