ASCJ 2009
Session 39: Room 11-221

Representations of Travel and Cultural Otherness in Japanese Arts and Literature

Chair/Organizer: Robert Tierney, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign 

1) John Tran, University of Tsukuba
2) Yukari Yoshihara, University of Tsukuba
3) Peichen Wu, National Chengchi University
4) Satoshi Okada, University of Tsukuba
5) Harksoon Kim, University of Tsukuba
6) Melek Kaba, University of Tsukuba

This round table concerns travel and representations of cultural otherness, with a primary focus on Japanese art and literature of the early modern and modern periods. In the first half of the round table discussion, individual members will present on their research topics. In the second half, there will be an open discussion on the topics raised by the presentations and a questions and answer session. Individual members will present on the travel experience of a variety of writers and artists and their representations of cultural otherness in a variety of forms: stories, diaries, travel narratives, performing arts and visual arts. They will also explore how such representations of travel and otherness parallel the tumultuous history of Japan in the 19th and 20th centuries, from the opening of Japan to expansion of the Japanese empire. Changes in representations of nature and of cultural otherness will also mirror trends in thought such as the development of ethnography, of folklore studies and of racial ideologies.

Robert Tierney will chair the panel and moderate the discussion. John Tran will look at literary and photographic construction of Japanese Manchuria. Examining a variety of visual and textual sources from the 20s and 30s, he will show that nostalgia and the aestheticisation of landscape views served to reposition Japan as a civilized centre to a primitive Asian periphery. In her paper, Yoshihara will discuss Masuda Tarokaja (1875–1953), a playwright, founder of Imperial Theatre, COE of Mitsui conglomerate, President of Taiwan Sugar Company. Her presentation will focus on a few of his travel comedies in which Japanese visit England and Taiwan. Peichen Wu will talk about the Masugi Shizue's works describing Taiwan's landscape while traveling to the Japanese colony during the war period. Satoshi Okada will present on the relationship between personal narrative and impersonal description in Ryuuboku (Driftwood). This 1943 diary was written by the amateur ethnographer, Hijikata Hisakatsu (1900–1977) about his life on a small island in Micronesia. Harksoon Kim will examine representations of the Ryukyu kingdom , Korea and Ezo s in Edo period fiction and geography texts. Melek Kaba will discuss the influence of “yellow peril” ideology in the depiction of East Asian characters in the works of Pierre Loti.