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ASCJ Executive Committee

Contact the organizers: Asian Studies Conference (ASCJ) c/o Institute of Asian Cultural Studies, International Christian University 3-10-2 Osawa, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181

Inaugural conference
1998 conference
1999 conference
2000 conference

Conference venue
Nearby hotels

1999 June 26 conference

Room 307

8. Individual Papers on Culture and Communication in China and Japan
Chair: Patricia Sippel, Toyo Eiwa University

1) Sarah Cox, Washington University in St. Louis/Kokugakuin University. "Theories of Translation in Meiji Japan

"Western Europe owes its civilization to translators." Though perhaps overstated, this assertion in L.G. Kelly's 1979 outline of translation theory, The True Interpreter, points to growing recognition in literary studies of the importance of literary cross-fertilization, the transfer of both content and form from one linguistic and cultural tradition to another, in the continuing vitality of national literatures. The power of translations has long been recognized in Meiji Japanese literary studies, with modern literary critics claiming "Meiji literature is the history of translations and their influence," or "The significance of the Meiji era rests more fully in translation' (hon'yaku) and adaptation' (hon'an) than in original works' (sosaku)." The numerous translations created in Meiji Japan transformed and revitalized Japanese literature.

This paper examines theories of literary translation and adaptation in Meiji Japan, tracing a growing recognition of the significance of such endeavors. It examines, for example, Tsubouchi Shoyo's ideal of assimilation and appropriation of Western works through adaptations; Wakamatsu Shizuko's concept of translation as a means to import Western ideals of Christianity, particularly concerning the status of women and children; and Mori Ogai's desire to preserve "otherness" in translation. Yet within theories of translation as varied as these runs a unifying thread: namely, that translation is the resurrection of an alien thing in a native body in order not only to revitalize native literature but also to lead readers to a larger world outside of the boundaries of their own geographic or linguistic limitations. Meiji translators perceived themselves variously as not just borrowers and adapters but as creators of a new literature and a new literary consciousness, and as educators about a wider world, not only enriching the literary landscape but also their readers' experience.

2) Ng Wai-ming, National University of Singapore. "The Forgery of Books in Tokugawa Japan"

The forgery of books had a long history in Japan. It became very popular in the late medieval period and reached its peak in the early Tokugawa period (1603-1868). In particular, the seventeenth century was the age of forgery of books in which hundreds of forgeries were made.

This paper is a preliminary study of the forgery of books in Tokugawa Japan from intellectual and comparative perspectives. It aims to provide a historical overview of this important but little-studied cultural phenomenon and to discuss its political and intellectual implications. It consists of five sections. Section one gives an account of political and cultural backgrounds of the forgery of books in Tokugawa Japan. Sections two and three examine the forgery of historical writings and Shinto texts respectively. Section four discusses the forgeries in other genres of writings, such as Confucian texts, literature, and arts. The concluding section pinpoints the characteristics of the forgery of books in Tokugawa Japan by comparing them with those of China.

3) Qin Shao, The College of New Jersey. "Print Culture in a Chinese County: Nantong, 1900-1930"

This study focuses on print culture (the press and the other mass media) as an agent of social change in Nantong county of central China in theearly 20th century, when local elites successfully marketed Nantong as a "model" of modernity nationwide. Local elites in Nantong built a modern publishing house in 1903, the first county-level modern publishing house in China. In the ensuing two decades, hundreds of books on local affairs were printed, and a dozen newspapers and magazines emerged.

Employing an interdisciplinary approach and utilizing theories of social and cultural history, this study examines two aspects of print culture in Nantong: 1) how local elites used the press to publicize the "model" county image and to build their power, and 2) how the popularity of the press in turn gave rise to a reading public and new modes of thought, which consequently challenged the local elite establishment. It shows the role the local press played in shaping social change and power structure in a small town.

In Chinese studies the examination of mass media has been largely confined to major urban locales where the Chinese press first emerged. This study will provide a comparative case study of a localized, rural-centered print culture to the study of print culture in urban China as well as to that of the modern European press.

4) Massimiliano Tomasi, Western Washington University. "The Revival of Oratory in Early 20th Century Japan"

The years following the Meiji Restoration saw the introduction of Western rhetoric, both in its meaning of the art of speech and art of composition. Rhetoric soon became the object of study and discussion among Japanese scholars, who sought to understand the boundaries of this new discipline, and at the same time envision its possible application to the needs of the Japanese linguistic and literary worlds.

During the first years of the Meiji period, several key factors affected the assimilation process of rhetoric and the directions its further research would take in the years to follow. Studies in composition and literary criticism, for example, were slow to flourish and were clearly not as popular as those in oratory. Thus, while almost two decades were needed until Takada Sanae's Bijigaku became the first truly Japanese work to address the application of Western rhetoric to issues of native literature and literary style, the interest in the art of speech brought about a rapid development of studies in oratory, as is proved by the remarkable number of treatises published between the Meiji Restoration and the establishment of the National Diet (1890). Rhetoric, as the art of speech, was particularly acclaimed among the Peoples Rights movement, and became symbol for those social and political forces that were vehemently calling for freedom of expression.

Unfortunately, after two decades during which oratory had enjoyed a growing popularity among scholars, politicians and intellectuals, the years between the Sino and Russo-Japanese wars proved fatal for its later development. Oratory became object of governmental censorship and suppression, and gradually lost its cohesive power and effectiveness in the public and social life of Meiji Japan. However, at the very end of the Meiji era, a new wave of interest in oratory began to take shape, particularly among university students. Such a revival lasted well into the Taisho period and led to a reinvigoration of scholarship in this field and to revitalization of oratory's role in the public life of the nation.

This study will specifically address the Japanese scholarly production on oratory between the turn of the century and the end of the Taisho period.It will seek to provide a long needed historical outline of oratory's final development, with special regard to the stages that preceded it, and within the framework of a general assessment of the role played by Western rhetoric in modern Japan.

5) Noriko Tsunoda Reider, Miami University. "Rhetoric of 'Chrysanthemum Tryst': from 'Fan Chu-ch'ing's 'Eternal Friendship' to 'Chrysanthemum Tryst'"

Ueda Akinari's short story entitled "Chrysanthemum Tryst" in Ugetsu monogatari (Tales of Rain and Moonlight, 1776) is a tale about trust in which a protagonist commits suicide to appear on schedule for a planned reunion with his sworn brother. This story is an adaptation of Chinese vernacular fiction, "Fan Ch
u-ch'ing's Eternal Friendship" in Stories Old and New (1620) compiled by Feng Meng-lung. What Akinari took from the original Chinese text and what he abandoned or added to tailor the story to his Japanese audience reveals societal and cultural differences between China and Japan of the time as well as Akinari's originality and artistic intention. Akinari's borrowings of the original text on theme, structure and plot have been the subjects of scholarly works. But Akinari's rhetoric which is often credited as a source of the story's appeal has not been fully discussed vis-a-vis the original Chinese text. While observing the cultural differences between China and Japan on the basis of the text's transfer, my paper will examine how Akinari crafted his rhetoric to make the story believable and tragic rather than fantastic or absurd. The new historicism investigates the relationship between historical or literary texts and personal life, including the social environment in which a particular work was penned. Chinese vernacular fiction, which was gradually imported to Japan from the beginning of the Edo period, started to gain the serious attention of Japanese intellectuals around the Kyoho period (1716-1736). Some of Japanese were interested in studying the regulations of the Ming Dynasty in China, in practicing the Chinese writing style, and in studying contemporary Chinese society. Chinese vernacular fiction was read to satisfy these demands, as language textbooks, cultural guide books, and for entertainment. Ueda Akinari (1734-1809), a literatus, was well aware of this fashionable trend among intellectuals, and was interested in Chinese vernacular fiction himself. He tailored the text to increase believability and intensity for an audience who would have recognized his skill in incorporating Chinese vernacular text, even its diction.