The Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese Literature provides a comprehensive overview of how we study Japanese literature today. Rather than taking a purely chronological approach to the content, the chapters survey the state of the field through a number of pressing issues and themes, examining the ways in which it is possible to read modern Japanese literature and situate it in relation to critical theory.
The Handbook examines various modes of literary production (such as fiction, poetry, and critical essays) as distinct forms of expression that nonetheless are closely interrelated. Attention is drawn to the idea of the bunjin as a ‘person of letters’ and a more realistic assessment is provided of how writers have engaged with ideas – not labelled a ‘novelist’ or ‘poet’, but a ‘writer’ who may at one time or another choose to write in various forms. The book provides an overview of major authors and genres by situating them within broader themes that have defined the way writers have produced literature in modern Japan, as well as how those works have been read and understood by different readers in different time periods.
The Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese Literature draws from an international array of established experts in the field as well as promising young researchers. It represents a wide variety of critical approaches, giving the study a broad range of perspectives. This handbook will be of interest to students and scholars of Asian Studies, Literature, Sociology, Critical Theory, and History.
SECTION 1: LITERATURE, SPACE AND TIME
1. Space and Time in Modern Japanese Literature, Stephen Dodd
2. Literature Short on Time: Modern Moments in Haiku and Tanka, Jon Holt
3. Kawabata Yasunari’s The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa and Tokyo Space, Alisa Freeman
4. Inner Pieces: Isolation, Inclusion, and Interiority in Modern Women’s Fiction, Amanda C. Seaman
SECTION 2: GENDER, SEXUALITY AND THE BODY
5. Queer Reading and Modern Japanese Literature, J. Keith Vincent
6. Feminism and Japanese Literature, Barbara Hartley
7. Nagai Kafū’s feminist perspective, Rachael Hutchinson
SECTION 3: LITERATURE AND POLITICS
8. The Proletarian Literature Movement: Experiment and Experience, Mats Karlsson
9. Writing and Politics: Japanese Literature and the Fifteen Years War (1930-1945), Leith Morton
10. Expedient Conversion? Tenkō in Trans-war Japanese Literature, Mark Williams
11. Reading Unequal Japan-U.S. Relations in Postwar Japanese Fiction, Kota Inoue
SECTION 4: WRITING WAR MEMORY
12. Critical Postwar War Literature: Trauma, Narrative Memory and Responsible History, David Stahl
13. Writing and Remembering the Battle of Okinawa: War Memory and Literature, Kyle Ikeda
14. The Need to Narrate the Tokyo Air Raids: The Literature of Saotome Katsumoto, Justin AukemaSECTION 5: NATIONAL AND COLONIAL IDENTITIES
15. Abusive Medicine and Continued Culpability: The Japanese Empire and its Aftermaths in East Asian Literatures, Karen Thornber
16. National Literature and Beyond: Mizumura Minae and Hideo Levy, Angela Yiu
17. Listening In: The Languages of the Body in Kim Ch’ang-Saeng’s Crimson Fruit, Catherine Ryu SECTION 6: BUNJIN and THE BUNDAN
18. Kuki Shūzō as philosopher-poet, Hiroshi Nara
19. ‘The Akutagawa/Tanizaki Debate: Reflections on Bundan Discourse, Rebecca Mak
20. The Rise of Women Writers, the Heisei I-novel, and the Contemporary Bundan, Kendall HeitzmanSECTION 7: LITERATURE AND TECHNOLOGY
21. Electronic Literature and Youth Culture: The Rise of the Japanese Cell Phone Novel, Kelly Hansen
22. Narrative in the Digital Age: from Light Novels to Web Serials, Satomi Saito
23. Japanese Twitterature: Global Media, Formal Innovation, Cultural Differance, Jonathan E. Abel
"The Routledge Handbook is particularly refreshing because it does not tackle Japanese literature from an exclusively chronological perspective. Instead, the essays are grouped thematically, creating sections on space and time, gender and sexuality, identity, technology and several others. As Rachael Hutchinson and Leith Morton aptly argue in their introduction, it is this inclusion of significant sections on queer and female fiction that differentiates this handbook from its predecessors and makes it truly up-to-date."
Alice French, The Japan Society