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pmjs logs for October - December 2006. Total number of messages: 134
This is an open version of the log. Email addesses have been hidden.
For recent discussions of this list, see the new PMJS listserve

* USC Pre-doctoral fellowships in Japanese history (Elizabeth Leicester)
* Cornell East Asia Series Position open (Karen Brazell)
* Why read the classics? (Gian Piero Persiani, Lewis Cook, Jos Vos, Royall Tyler, Royall Strippoli, Sharon Domier, Lewis Cook, Michael Pye, Stephen Miller, Norma Field, Joseph Sorensen, David Pollack, Robert Borgen, Anthony Bryant, Janet R. Goodwin, Sybil Thornton, Jens Sejrup, Thomas LaMarre, Sean Somers, Richard Bowring, David Eason, Anthony Chambers, Michael Smitka, Morgan Pitelka, Michael Watson, Andrew Goble)
* new members, new profiles (Michael Watson)
* symposia at Rikkyo (10/28)(11/3-4) and Meiji University (12/9) (Michael Watson)
* Asian Forum at ICU, Oct. 23 (Kenneth Robinson)
* events announcement (Greg Pflugfelder)
* Shimizu lecture at Penn, Oct. 26 (Julie Davis)
* Why read the classics? (Lewis Cook, Susan B. Klein, Joseph T. Sorensen, Susan Schmidt, Michelle I Li, David Pollack, Stephen Miller, Michael Wood, Robert Borgen)
* Asian Forum at ICU (Kenneth Robinson)
* a practical side of the classics question (Gian Piero Persiani, James Guthrie, Lewis Cook, William J. Higginson)
* ASCJ Panel Participants (Monika Dix)
*Heian literature & homosexuality  (Gil Schneider, Jeremy Robinson, Stephen Miller, Thomas LaMarre, Alan Cummings)
* ASCJ call for papers (Michael Watson)
* Hyakunin Isshu (Peter McMillan, Alexander Vovin)
* Job Posting (Sarah Frederick)
* Hyakunin Isshu (Lawrence Marceau, Michael Smitka)
* Lecture at Donald Keene Center by  Jacqueline Stone (Max Moerman)
* Heian Painter/Calligrapher Mindset (David Allwright, Lawrence Marceau, Thomas Howell, Joseph Sorensen)
* ASCJ - call for co-panelists (Maria Petrucci, William Lee)
* Pillow Book out (Meredith McKinney, Matthew Stavros, Michelle Li, Dennis Darling, John Wallace, Jos Vos, Richard Bowring, Andrew Goble, James Guthrie, Noel Pinnington, Rein Raud, Adrian Pinnington, William J. Higginson, Michael Pye)
* encoding woes (Matsushita Kazuyuki, Michael Watson, Robert Khan, Thomas Howell, Lewis Cook)
* Translating Japanese Literature (Jos Vos, Michael Pye, Royall Tyler, Sybil Thornton)
* Kyoto Lectures: Kyburz on Maruyama ďkyo on Nov. 28 at 6pm (Roberta Strippoli)
* Japanese translation (Ross Bender, I.J.Parker, Charles DeWolf, Royall Tyler, Robert Borgen)
*  Kyoto Lectures: Iyanaga on sexual heresies  (Nobumi Iyanaga)
* Theatre Nohgaku Writers Workshop (Richard Emmert)
* Translation Question (Philip Brown, Andrew Goble, Michael Pye, David Eason)
* Kagero no nikki in French (Michel Vieillard-Baron)
* (Kanji Message)  Reitaku University Population and Family History Project Seminar Announcement (Philip Brown)
* Pillow Book translations / Translating The Pillow Book (Valerie Henitiuk, Robert Borgen, Miika Polkki)
* Hyakunin Isshu (Peter McMillan)
* A Handbook to Classical Japanese (Michael Watson)
* Copy-editor sought (Ellen Van Goethem)
* Heiji scrolls on the web (Tom Conlan, Helen Moss)
* Studies in Onmyodo (Joseph Elacqua, Joly Jacques, Robert Borgen, Karin L÷fgren, Michael Watson)
* Reception of Chinese Texts in Early and Medieval Japan (Michael Watson)
* Request From Donald Keene regarding Watanabe Kazan (Peter McMillan, Lawrence Marceau)
* Early Modern Japan:  An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume XIV (2006) now available (Philip Brown)
* Position in premodern Japanese history, Leiden University (Ivo Smits)

From: Elizabeth Leicester <___@earthlink.net>
Date: October 4, 2006 2:15:42 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  USC Pre-doctoral fellowships in Japanese history

The Department of History and the Project for Premodern Japan Studies at the University of Southern California invite applications for 2007-2008 Pre-Doctoral Merit Fellowships in pre-1600 Japanese History

    Students holding a bachelor’s degree may apply for a fully funded course of graduate study in pre-1600 Japanese History, leading to the conferral of the Ph.D. degree. Successful candidates will have funding opportunities for five or more years, and receive support for needed summer language study and research travel. Because there are no teaching responsibilities for the first two years, students can devote themselves to the language and disciplinary training required to conduct independent dissertation research on topics in premodern Japan’s history.

    At USC students will have the opportunity to work closely with Japan and East Asia specialists in a wide variety of fields including history, literature, religion, geography, linguistics, art history, and anthropology. USC hosts the Summer Kambun Workshop for intensive study of premodern historical texts. The graduate experience is enhanced throughout the academic year by an ongoing Kambun reading group; a visitor series with guest speakers, workshops, and symposia; and research and exchange opportunities through the LA-Osaka Urban Studies Project. The East Asian Library holds a research collection of over 10,000 volumes pertinent to the premodern Japan specialist. The vibrant East Asian presence in the greater Los Angeles community also provides a rich array of East Asia-based cultural events and institutions, and students are encouraged to take full advantage of this dynamic urban setting. USC is a member of the consortium that operates the Inter-university Center for Advanced Japanese Language Training in Yokohama, Japan, where students can pursue advanced language work. Application deadline: December 1, 2006.

For further information contact:

Professor Joan Piggott

Department of History

Social Sciences Building 153

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California 90089-0034.

Phone: 213-740-1657

email: ___@usc.edu

Information on doctoral study in history at the University of Southern California is available at www.usc.edu/schools/college/history/

Visit the websites for the Project for Premodern Japan Studies at www.usc.edu/ppjusc, and the Kambun Workshop at www.usc.edu/kambun.

-------------------------------------------------
From: "Anne Commons" <___@ualberta.ca>
Date: October 5, 2006 4:42:43 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Call for Papers, University of Alberta

East Asian Studies Graduate Student Conference
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
January 19 - 20, 2007

Conflict, Crisis, and Negotiation in East Asia

The graduate students of East Asian Studies, in cooperation with their
Department at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada are
pleased to invite proposals from a wide range of academic
fields-including: Anthropology, Art History, Cultural Studies,
Education, History, Language Pedagogy and Linguistics, Literature,
Political Science, Religious Studies, Sociology, and Women's Studies-for
their second Conference to be held January 19 - 20, 2007. The
Conference, a dynamic environment for graduate students to present
original work, exploring together the Conference theme of "Conflict,
Crisis, and Negotiation in East Asia", will examine how East Asian
states and societies, both past and present, manage the social and
political complexity of local and global interactions, religious and
ethnic diversity, linguistic and cultural pluralism. In such a forum, we
hope to voice questions of identity in East Asian contexts involving
conflict and dialogue between civilizations, between cultures, between
linguistic groups, between religious and political ideologies, and
between the present and the past.

We aim to look at how ethnic, cultural, and national identity is, or has
been, (re)asserted to compensate for perceptions of loss of, or threats
to, social identity resulting from increasing pressures and trends
towards uniformity of life-worlds brought about by the formation of
nation-states and globalization.  Fully cognizant of the ways in which
identity is being, or has been, exploited to serve as justification for
disputes and conflicts, we also invite papers exploring how culture,
religion, and language, rarely themselves the primary cause of conflict,
become instrumentalised means for conflicts premised not on valid
desires for self-preservation, but instead on increasing an actor's
power over those of competing interests. As well, contrary to current
claims of the inevitability of a "clash of civilizations", there
seemingly also exists a counter-impulse for subtle dialogue between
systems of thought apparently opposed by epistemic differences. Such
dialogues are often given relief by cultural and temporal markers of
disjunction and conjunction-in the present's invocation of the past, for
example-that lay challenge to both traditional and modern constructions
of cultural belief systems. Viewed in this light, the study of the
life-worlds (cultures, histories, languages, literatures, and societies)
of this region can offer us phenomenon both disturbing and rich in
implication.

Papers will be given in English and should be no longer than 15 minutes
(7 - 8 pages double spaced). Abstracts should be submitted to the
conference committee by e-mail (or post-marked) by November 5th, 2006,
and should be no longer than 250 words in length, single-spaced (include
all necessary contact information and affiliations). Notification of the
results shall be no later than November 25th, 2006. We suggest
presenters assemble and submit their own thematically-linked panels of
three- to four-persons. Groups submitting panels in this manner should
send individual abstracts together in the same e-mail or envelope with a
brief panel abstract (also no more than 250 words). The Organizing
Committee reserves the right to restructure papers and panel proposals
it deems necessary.

Selected papers (as chosen by the Conference Committee Review Board)
will be published in a special issue of the Canadian Review of East
Asian Studies dedicated to the Conference Proceedings.

CONFERENCE CHAIRS                   
Brad Ambury        Yoshi Ono        Yukari F. Meldrum

CONFERENCE COMMITTEE
Ross Krekoski        Neill Walker        Yumi Sasaki
Janice Brown        Anne Commons        Jack Lin   

E-mail panel submissions/proposals to: ___@ualberta.ca
-------------------------------------------------
From: Karen Brazell <___@cornell.edu>
Date: October 7, 2006 23:28:02 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Cornell East Asia Series Position open

Dear Colleagues,

We are looking for a full-time managing editor of the Cornell East Asia Series (see URL in my signature).  Clearly an experienced editor with knowledge about East Asia would be our first choice. It is a job with great potential.  If  you know any qualified person, could you please forward the formal position announcement that I am pasting below. We are reviewing applicants as they arrive. Many thanks for your help,

Karen Brazell

MANAGING EDITOR
The East Asia Program at Cornell University is looking for an experienced individual to oversee the design and content of manuscripts from submission to acceptance in a growing publication series. Collaborate with many different authors, copy-editors, formatters, printers and faculty. Overall responsibility for budget. Research, recommend and assist in writing grant and subsidy proposals. Develop marketing plans. Review all material prior to publication to ensure accuracy. Perform a variety of tasks. Lead and direct the work of others. Work with Series Editor (faculty member) and Series Advisory Board (faculty). Report to Program Manager. Requires a Bachelor's degree in a related area and at least 3 years of experience in the field. Graduate work or extensive experience in an East Asia culture is highly desirable. Familiarity with a variety of the field's concepts, practices, and procedures; extensive experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. A wide degree of creativity and latitude is expected. To Apply:  Cornell University has an on-line application process for all Staff (nonacademic) and Librarian employment opportunities. In order to be considered an applicant for this Staff (nonacademic)/Librarian position you will need to access the Jobs at Cornell on-line posting and application system at http://www.ohr.cornell.edu/jobs/ and complete the application process. If you have any questions about the application process, or require additional assistance and/or accommodation, please contact the Recruitment and Employment Center at 607-254-8370, TTY 607-255-4943, or by e-mail at ___@cornell.edu.

Karen Brazell
Goldwin Smith Graduate Professor of Japanese Literature and Theatre
Series Editor, Cornell East Asia Series http://www.einaudi.cornell.edu/eastasia/CEASbooks/
140 Uris Hall, Cornell University
Ithaca NY 14853-7601
___@cornell.edu

From: "Gian Piero Persiani" <___@columbia.edu>
Date: October 16, 2006 9:56:00 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Why read the classics?

Dear list members,

Has anyone on this list published on why read koten (preferably Japanese) today and/or their status in the contemporary academic curriculum? Any pointers would be much appreciated.

Gian Piero Persiani
PhD candidate, Columbia University
----------------------------------------------------
From: Lewis Cook <___@earthlink.net>
Date: October 16, 2006 12:06:04 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?


Odd as it may seem, I'd suggest reading A. Kojeve's _Introduction to the Reading of Hegel_. The English translation (I'm sorry I can't give a precise reference at the moment) includes a footnote, based on Kojeve's experience of visiting Japan as a U.N. official for France, that, indirectly, addresses your question. This pertains, though, only to what Kojeve perceived as the transcendent virtue of what he calls 'samurai' culture, an achieved indifference to death.

Otherwise, I have found, in the course of several years of teaching _Genji_ in translation, that it is possible to persuade students that they are reading the minds of plausibly invented characters with a degree of intimacy not afforded by any other medium (not even, and perhaps especially, lyric poetry, not to mention cinema).

I know this is not enough to answer your question, maybe others will respond with more precision.


L Cook
----------------------------------------------------
From: "Jos Vos" <___@hotmail.com>
Date: October 16, 2006 17:48:24 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Dear professor Persiani,

‘Why read koten today?’ is a fascinating question. If you picture a culture in which virtually none of the Japanese classics have been translated, where everyone still seems to think that ‘Japanese poetry is Nature Poetry (inspired by Zen Moments)’, a few answers can perhaps be given.

If everything goes well, next year (2007) will see the publication of an anthology of Classical Japanese literature in the Netherlands. It’s meant for the ‘general reader’, if such a creature can still be found. Among other things, it includes a number of (longish) excerpts from The Tale of Genji and from Ihara Saikaku’s writings. I agree with professor Cook that it ought to be possible to persuade readers they will be ‘reading the minds of plausibly invented characters with a degree of intimacy not afforded by any other medium’. Furthermore, excerpts from, among others, Kagerou Nikki, ought to convince people they are reading the minds of real human beings. (Of course you could argue that Kagerou Nikki is to some extent fictional, but the same can be said of any literary memoir.) In Dutch, as far as I know, there is no autobiographical writing in prose predating the seventeenth century, and certainly not by women. Surely it’s little short of magic that, as twenty-first century readers, we can get to know the innermost thoughts of a tenth-century Japanese author, no matter how hard it may be to picture her actual lifestyle.

Several other reasons for reading the Japanese classics could be offered. Readers familiar with Montaigne’s Essays, for example, will be fascinated by Tsurezuregusa. People who believe Japanese literature mainly consists of dainty minimalism will receive a shock when they discover Nenashigusa or other exuberant satirical writings by Hiraga Gennai.

Finally, it is hard not to be reminded of Ki no Tsurayuki’s dictum that ‘the seeds of Japanese poetry lie in the human heart’. Surely Hitomaro’s poems, Noh plays such as Atsumori or Sumidagawa, as well as Chikamatsu’s Love Suicides at Amijima, among others, when ably translated, will move the heart of any sensible reader...

----------------------------------------------------
From: Royall Tyler <___@alpaca-s.com>
Date: October 16, 2006 18:05:09 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Among other things, they remind us of how much we've lost--lost ways of seeing, speaking, doing, being. Through the undoubted constants of human experience, they show us the depth of change and time.

Don't know how much of a sales blurb that makes, though.

Royall Tyler

----------------------------------------------------
From: Roberta Strippoli <___@stanford.edu>
Date: October 16, 2006 20:33:07 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Hello Gian Piero and fellow PMJSers,

I am sure you are familiar with Umberto Eco's work on why read the classics,
and what the classics mean to us today.  Too bad it does not deal with
Japanese koten.

Are you looking into the status of Japanese koten in Japan, in the West, or
both?  For what concerns the US you might want to look at two interesting
articles published in the Journal of ATJ on bungo pedagogy: Arntzen 2001
and Shirane 2003.  Steven Carter once mentioned an article on this topic he
wrote for the ATJ Newsletter, but I do not have the reference for it.

Good luck and let us know if you find something interesting.

Roberta Strippoli

Visiting Assistant Professor
Bates College

----------------------------------------------------
From: Sharon Domier <___@library.umass.edu>
Date: October 16, 2006 21:04:52 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Is this for a job interview by any chance? It sounds like the kind of question you would be asked at a liberal arts college if your background is in classical.

Sharon

----------------------------------------------------
From: Lewis Cook <___@earthlink.net>
Date: October 16, 2006 21:46:59 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Can we not, please, have a discussion about the value of reading or teaching the classics without presuming that the motive is getting hired by a potentially skeptical employer? (I happen to know enough about the author of the original post to be certain that no such motive is involved.) No ill will intended, and I apologize if I am over-reading, but the insinuation of your query is (to put it mildly) dismaying.

L Cook

----------------------------------------------------
From: Michael Pye <___@staff.uni-marburg.de>
Date: October 16, 2006 22:22:17 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Dear all,

Why not? If you have the skill and the time.
Sounds like a great idea to me.

...Prefer sutras myself.
Why read sutras (especially if you can just recite them instead)...?

Michael Pye
University of Marburg, Germany
Visiting Professor, Otani University, Kyoto, Japan

----------------------------------------------------
From: Stephen Miller <___@asianlan.umass.edu>
Date: October 16, 2006 22:25:21 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Dear Lewis and others,

I don't find Sharon's question "dismaying" at all.  The person who posed the
question (who I don't know) is a Ph.D. candidate--presumably in Japanese--and
probably knows quite well why we "should" read the classics at this point in his
career.  Perhaps not all the answers to the question are as obvious as others,
but still if you're in a pre-modern field such a literature, you probably have
some answers as to why you do what you do.  (I've had colleagues in modern
Japanese literature ask me--in a somewhat cynical way--why I'm interested in
pre-modern Japanese literature!  Talk about "dismaying"!)

I think Mr. Persiani's question is a good one, but I also don't see any reason
why we can't know if he's asking it for the purposes of an interview.  The
response to that question might very well help responders modulate their
responses.

Sharon Domier happens to be one of the very few librarians who contributes to
this list; I don't see any reason to discourage that contribution by
intimidation.

Stephen Miller

Assistant Professor
Japanese Language and Literature
440 Herter Hall
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003
Phone: 413-545-4953
Fax: 413-545-4975
----------------------------------------------------
From: "Sharon Domier" <___@library.umass.edu>
Date: October 16, 2006 22:47:29 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Apologies -  Why read the classics?

I hereby acknowledge the dope-slap and apologize to Gian for misreading the question. Misreading questions is a serious offense for librarians, and something that I endeavor to limit but I guess I slipped on this one.

Thank you Mr. Cook for the getting me back on track.

Sharon

----------------------------------------------------
 From: Lewis Cook <___@earthlink.net>
Date: October 16, 2006 23:48:17 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Stephen, you presume that Mr. Persiani "knows quite well" why we should read the classics. Why then do you think he took the trouble to ask the question he asked? I assume he had something serious in mind. (How often do we take the trouble to ask ourselves about what we do for a living?)

I think Mr. Persiani's question is a good one, but I also don't see any reason
why we can't know if he's asking it for the purposes of an interview.

The reason is that Mr. Persiani is that doing dissertation research in Japan, supported by a substantial fellowship, and is at least a few years away from job interviews.

The response to that question might very well help responders modulate their
responses.

I'm curious to know what you mean by 'modulate.'

Sharon Domier happens to be one of the very few librarians who contributes to
this list; I don't see any reason to discourage that contribution by
intimidation.

I took what I thought was reasonable care to avoid intimidation. (Librarians are, to my mind, our protectors. I would never knowingly undertake to discourage one.)

L Cook

----------------------------------------------------
From: Norma Field <n-___@uchicago.edu>
Date: October 17, 2006 0:53:02 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Apologies -  Why read the classics?

Dear All,

What a refreshing exchange--refreshing for the seriousness of the original question and Lewis's and Royall's responses and the integrity shown in Sharon Domier's quick apology.

All too rare in our world--much like reflection on why bother with literature at all, premodern or otherwise.

Norma Field
Chicago

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Joseph T. Sorensen" <___@ucdavis.edu>
Date: October 17, 2006 1:30:58 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?


Hi Gian Piero and Fellow PMJS members,
A wonderful short piece that Roberta alluded to is Steven Carter's "My Apologies:  Ruminations
on Teaching Bungo," which I think addresses rather nicely your question about "why study
classical Japanese in the college curriculum?"  Professor Carter delivered the talk March 5, 2004
at the ATJ Classical Japanese SIG meeting in San Diego, and I think the printed version is available
in the subsequent ATJ newsletter.  I have assigned the essay in my bungo class in week 3 or so
when students are beginning to feel bogged down in grammar, and it has led to an extremely
lively discussion.

Cheers,
JS

____________________________________________
Joseph T. Sorensen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Major Advisor of Japanese
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
5th Floor Sproul Hall, One Shields Avenue
University of California, Davis  95616
Phone:  (530) 752-0313
Email:  ___@ucdavis.edu

----------------------------------------------------
From: David Pollack <___@mail.rochester.edu>
Date: October 17, 2006 2:03:56 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

my four cents, for whatever it's worth:

to my mind "the classics" constitute the only context within which, for
better or for worse, contemporary people are able to reflect about
themselves: where did we come from? who are we? what events and choices
made us what we are? how are we different from others -- chinese,
koreans, westerners? other species or ethnicities or races or classes or
genders? what is our relation to deity? the environment? how, in our
ways of living and our answers to such questions, are we the same as
earlier versions of ourselves, how are we different? these are the
questions that form the basis of all the humanities: what does it mean
to be human? there is no end to them, especially in an age where there
are ever new reasons for asking what in fact it means to be "human."

if we read Genji, for example -- and the problems and questions differ
if we read it in an "original" version, or in whatever sort of
translation including gendaiyaku, or even as animÚ -- all of these
questions must be raised for its contemporary writer/audience as well as
for us currently standing at the endpoint of a millennium of the
continuous asking of such questions. who has been in a position to ask
such questions, and why, and to what effect?

we can lose ourselves in emotional response to the story's aesthetic
beauty; or in a more cerebral engagement with the dense social and
political and economic issues at stake in the story, and how these are
worked out in aesthetic terms; we can understand the story as comprising
a complex nexus of various "worlds" already long established in chinese
and japanese literatures, and which in turn would create further
"worlds" of poetry, fiction, drama, and even philosophical and
historical discourse.

but then aren't these the very same questions that are inevitably raised
every time we read revelations, or the illiad, or don quixote, or anna
karenina, or a million little pieces?

finally, speaking of "aesthetic beauty," i had wanted students reading
genji to hear and see a performance of gagaku and bugaku, and faut de
mieux was at least able to conjure up a few minutes of both together on
youtube.com -- one video was captioned "japanese traditional music with
dance," and another of the same performance was captioned "the worst
music in the world." i showed both, and class reaction was divided
pretty much along those lines. digital technology has its advantages,
provided you can keep the students from i.m.-ing each other and
downloading mp3s during class.

david pollack

----------------------------------------------------
From: Robert Borgen <___@ucdavis.edu>
Date: October 17, 2006 2:40:37 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Has anyone else noticed that two quite distinct topics are being discussed under the same rebric?  One is the importance of classical languages and the other the value of classical works, which one might read in translation.  Those on this list who are also on H-Asia will know that the former has entered the world of "current events" because Cambridge has just cut back on the teaching of Sanskrit and Hindi.  It has eliminated the tripos that area, although in my ignorance of the British academic system, I must confess to being uncertain whether that means the languages will no longer be taught or merely eliminated as areas of specialization for undergraduates.  Still, South Asia specialists are expressing dismay, a feeling no doubt shared by the rest of us who believe that distinguished universities are distinguished precisely because they value even areas of study that are unlikely to attract large numbers of students.  Of course, that dodges the question of why the university should bother invest its inadequate funds in maintaining musty old areas of study when trendy new ones are popping up all over the place and demanding attention.  To me, musty old things are very appealing, but that view is not a universally shared.

Robert Borgen

----------------------------------------------------
From: Anthony Bryant <___@cox.net>
Date: October 17, 2006 3:03:36 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Apologies -  Why read the classics?

Sharon Domier wrote:
I hereby acknowledge the dope-slap and apologize to Gian for misreading the question. Misreading questions is a serious offense for librarians, and something that I endeavor to limit but I guess I slipped on this one.

I remember the questions I used to get asked when I worked in a library once (you know the kind -- "I'm looking for a book about American history, it's red, about this big..." -- and the book turns out to be in poli-sci, blue, and about THAT big...) so I can understand the question question. ;)

Tony
--
Anthony J. Bryant
Website: http://www.sengokudaimyo.com

Cool things Japanese for the classroom:
http://www.cafepress.com/sengokudaimyo
----------------------------------------------------
From: "Gian Piero Persiani" <___@columbia.edu>
Date: October 17, 2006 4:11:51 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Dear all,

Many thanks to everyone who has responded to my query, both on and off list. I certainly have no problems saying why I posed the question; I simply have a strong interest in it, as I suppose do most of you on this list. I have always considered offering students compelling reasons to make the effort to read a tenth century collection of Japanese love poems instead/on top of their Battle Royales one of the top items in the koten specialist's bag of tricks. I have most certainly been thinking about this question myself, perhaps even found my own answer, but I was wondering if there is published work out there by my more knowledgeable peers that I could draw on or cite in writing. If all this will one day help me get a job, then so much the better. :)

I regret that my question caused controversy. No doubt I should have been more careful and specify why I was asking. Nevertheless, I hope you will continue to give me your very valuable thoughts on this. And let me publicly thank Prof. Lewis Cook for being such a good friend.

With best wishes,

Gian Piero Persiani
PhD candidate, Columbia University
----------------------------------------------------
From: David Pollack <___@mail.rochester.edu>
Date: October 17, 2006 4:33:28 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

i imagine i might have been with the librarians in thinking that "koten" referred to something different from "bungo" (though the former obviously presupposes the latter). if not, i feel stupid. at the university of rochester we years ago abandoned the fond hope of providing our undergrads with anything more than the rudiments of bungo -- they preferred more "trendy" things like anime to a year-long bungo course that included no film showings (though as it turns out, students do need some background in wenyan or bungo in order to understand the language of chinese or japanese jidaigeki). while we no longer have permanent faculty who specialize in teaching sanskrit (30 years ago there were three!), there is still a strong interest in it at the university of rochester because of two faculty members who specialize in hindu texts, and who have managed to teach four consecutive semesters of sanskrit more of less continuously for years. so if students can't get what they need at one of those british places, they can always come here...

being one myself, i share bob borgen's taste for musty old things.
david pollack

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Janet R. Goodwin" <___@pollux.csustan.edu>
Date: October 17, 2006 8:17:03 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?


Some additional reasons for reading the classics that one might suggest to students:

1.  To explode any notion that people of another time and place are so different from ourselves that we cannot possibly understand them.

2.  To explode any notion that those people are just like us and can be understood without examining contextual factors such as religious beliefs and institutions.

3.  To explode any notion that institutions, behavior, norms, etc. are ahistorical givens (for example, that marriage was defined by God as a permanent union between one man and one woman).

As a historian I find that such factors help justify the study of early and medieval Japanese history as well as the classics.

--Jan Goodwin

----------------------------------------------------
From: SYBIL.___@asu.edu
Date: October 17, 2006 16:34:04 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Hi,

Re Cambridge:  Students read (take classes in) only one subject.  If there is
no tripos in Hindi or Sanskrit, the student is advised to go to the language
lab and hope there's a course on tape there.  I remember the storm in the
sherry glass caused by the elimination of (classical?) Persian some twenty
years ago:  "They can go to the University of London!"

As for reading the classics, it keeps one from making awful grammatical errors
like following a preposition with a nominative(sniff!)and having one's nose
pulled by those who have(read the classics).

Cheers,
SA Thornton
BA Latin

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Jens Sejrup" <___@hotmail.com>
Date: October 17, 2006 19:01:12 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Dear Sybil Thornton,

I suppose the reason you suggested for studying the classics makes sense for Latin (I understand that is your primary field?), but as both modern and classical Japanese possess neither prepositions nor nominatives (no conjugations for case), I doubt that argument would serve mr. Persiani very well in his endeavor to "sell" his course to his own students.

Furthermore, classical Japanese grammar is sufficiently different from the modern language to make it far from certain that study of bungo would eliminate 'awful grammatical errors' in speaking modern Japanese. Phenomena such as kakari-musubi and classical rentaikei would sound extremely odd to the modern ear, I'm afraid... not to mention the many classical keigo-constructions completely inaccessible to modern standard Japanese.

Jens Sejrup

----------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Pye <___@staff.uni-marburg.de>
Date: October 17, 2006 20:23:40 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Dear list-members,
Probably the word "classics" needs to be taken apart, or perhaps even
abolished. It leads to cross-purposes in the discussion. It could just
mean any
ancient or even not so ancient texts which managed to survive with some
kind of
reputation, in any linguistic context. Then all the arguments about
prepositions etc. are irrelevant, as was just pointed out. But what about
ancient texts without much reputation, such as little known sutras,
miscellaneous lists of spells, all those shopping lists on broken bits of
earthernware in the Middle East (may peace be upon them all), etc. etc.?
I'm sorry that my previous contribution may have seemed a bit flippant, but
what I meant was that somehow anything is worth reading, for some reason or
other, if you have the commensurable amount of time. (Whether anybody else
should give you a scholarship, fellowship or salary for it is another
question.) And there is indeed the argument from content: interestingly
similar, or interestingly different. Only experienced people in
particular lots
of "classics" can guide us here.
  Just now I'm "reading" the Lotus Sutra with a small group of people in Kyoto.
There could be various arguments in favour of that, and others against it
(rather for a different sutra, etc.). Are these major Buddhist texts
"classics"? Or do "classics" have to be fiction? (Not that the Buddhist texts
aren't fiction...)

best wishes,

Michael Pye
University of Marburg, Germany
Visiting Professor, Otani University, Kyoto, Japan
----------------------------------------------------

From: "thomas.lamarre" <thomas.___@mcgill.ca>
Date: October 17, 2006 22:35:06 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Dear list-members,

I wonder if the question of "how we read the classics" is not more important
than "why read the classics?"  I am not saying this to bypass the question
of why, but rather it seems to me that the "why" is found through the "how."

As others have noted in this exchange already, that the notion of classics
or of the classical is a slippery one.  In the context of a volume on the
problem of the classical published some years ago ("The Classical Moment:
Views from Seven Literatures"), discussions often turned on the question of
how the classical was defined in relation to the modern or modernity.  Which
is to say, the classical ‹ and some of its avatars, such as the ancient or
the premodern ‹ serves to give historical contrast and depth to modernity.
It might even be said to be constitutive of modernity.  In this respect, the
question of "why we read the classics" implies some relation to the modern.
In which case, the answer to why read the classics might well be, "we read
the classics because we are modern or still have some relation to modernity"
(even if we're entranced by postmodernity).  We are part of a project that
takes historical depth, otherness or difference seriously, even if we're
trying to escape it; and maybe part of a project that makes depth, otherness
or difference fundamental to intellectual and aesthetic inquiry.  I think
such relations are in play in the case of Japanese bungo or koten, whether
we use the term "classical" or not.

Still, if we remain with the question of why we read the classics, we give
the impression that that depth or otherness or difference exists like a
standing reserve within the texts or within a set of linguistic skills.  But
doesn't a great deal depend on how we read those texts and how we use those
skills?   After all, insofar as there is always a historical dimension to
this process of translating and reading, we are always caught up in
questions about how to arrive at a good relation to the past.  Not all
relations to the "classical" are necessarily ethically or politically good
ones.

My sense of this is that, if we really are concerned with creating ethically
good and intellectually significant relations to the "classics," such
concern for the "how" will go far to answer the question of "why."

Obviously, even though I am calling for a good relation to the past, I would
not make so bold as to say what that good relation must be.  For I think
that it has to emerge in exchanges like these. Nonetheless, I do think that
we will not arrive at a good relation to the classics if we do not emphasize
problems of depth, otherness, and difference ‹ not simply assume them but
work with them and highlight them.  We can't assume that because we work
with old texts that we have a good or even relevant relation to the past.

Tom Lamarre
McGill University

----------------------------------------------------
From: Sean Somers <___@yahoo.ie>
Date: October 18, 2006 1:19:17 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Why read the classics?

I don't wish to drag the topic off course, but this
discussion has nicely segued into this morning's
conundrum.  I am currently involved in teaching a
first year (English) literature based on the theme of
the 'Classical Present'.  We spent a fair bit of time
separating the term 'classical', which at least in
western literature has a chronological sense to it,
from more general usage (a classic love story, etc).
Needless to say, we quickly discovered that an
historical overview of Latin and Greek civilisation
was in order . . . and did 'classics' include
Byzantine eras, or ancient Egypt, etc, etc.  My
general point:  it is interesting that there seems to
be functionally pedagogical concepts like 'classical'
(Classical Studies Departments, etc) that actually
don't hold up well under scrutiny.  Watching this
discussion played out in an Asian context, where I
think there the term has less baggage, has been
interesting indeed.  I think, and I hope in some small
way this participates in the original question, that a
discussion of reception history and canonicity, and
all that buzz that goes with it, begins to address the
'why' of study.  In that regard, 'classical present'
was a nice theme to show the continuum of impact from
the past to the present.

Interesting, Moriyama Naotarou's new EP is loaded with
Heian style lexical constructions.

Best wishes,
Sean
-------- - - -  -   -    -     -      -        -
        -
sean somers            | mobile:(+1) 604 9087772
Dept of English, UBC   | (office: brock annex - #2361)

      Centre for Japanese Research
      www.iar.ubc.ca/centres/cjr/
     minna ni deku no bou to yobare
                 called a blockhead by everyone
homerare mo sezu   without being praised
ku ni mo sarezu        without being blamed
sau iu mono ni          such a person
watashi ha naritai    i want to become
-miyazawa kenji
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
----------------------------------------------------
From: Richard Bowring <___@cam.ac.uk>
Date: October 18, 2006 2:21:15 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

I'm beginning to feel thick. What is an EP please?
Richard Bowring
Cambridge

On 17 Oct 2006, at 17:19, Sean Somers wrote:

Interesting, Moriyama Naotarou's new EP is loaded with
Heian style lexical constructions.

----------------------------------------------------
From: David Eason <___@ucla.edu>
Date: October 18, 2006 3:16:33 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?


  I'm pretty sure that "EP" stands for "extended play" and is often used when referring to music releases. I always thought that it was the same thing as a single (i.e. -  a release with a couple of songs on it instead of a full album), but looking the term up online produced a variety of definitions, including quite a few stating that EP's are generally longer than singles by at least a few songs.

  In any case, this latest release by Moriyama Ryoutarou sounds interesting.  Though I wonder how unusual it is to use older grammar constructions in songs...  Although contemporary poetry rather than music, isn't Tawara Machi's "Salad Anniversary" (sarada kinnenbi) as well as her later works (Chocolate Revolution - chokoreeto kakumei) loaded with a  mix of modern and koten phrasing?

ex.

"tama ni suu 'mairudo sebun raito' ni wa nattoku yukanu kemuri mo aran"

:-)

David

-----------------
David A. Eason
PhD Candidate, Early Modern Japan
Department of History, UCLA
___@ucla.edu

----------------------------------------------------
From: anthony.___@asu.edu
Date: October 18, 2006 4:15:41 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

"The classics" seems to assume that everyone agrees on what they are.   As some
responders have suggested, the answer will depend on your definition of classic.
 If it means “musty old stuff,” then only antiquarians will want to read it.  If
you define a classic as “something a lot of widely read people have found worth
their time because it’s moving or engrossing or enlightening, or all three,”
then the definition answers the question.  (If “classic” is meant as the
equivalent of “koten,” revise my definition to “something written a long time
ago, which . . .” etc.)

Tony Chambers

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Jos Vos" <___@hotmail.com>
Date: October 18, 2006 4:51:42 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Surely there is no such thing as a musty classic. There just happen to be certain older documents we don't feel like reading...

P.S. In response to David Eason's query: Shiina Ringo achieves some eerie effects with cod-classical Japanese on her neo-psychedelic album KARUKI ZAAMEN KURI NO HANA (2003)

:-)

Jos
----------------------------------------------------
From: Michael Pye <___@staff.uni-marburg.de>
Date: October 18, 2006 7:07:50 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Dear List,

Tony Chambers writes in brackets:
.....
(If “classic” is meant as the
equivalent of “koten,” revise my definition to “something written a long time
ago, which . . .” etc.)

It would be interesting to know just when the term "koten" came into
use? And at first for what exactly? And was it (is it?) also used in China and Korea and
Vietnam? Did the term have a history before the big modern publishers got hold
of it (e.g. Nihon koten bungaku taikei)? Are there significant precursors to
the great Iwanami series? Do such precursors, and the Iwanami series, then
start to create a (modern) canon of "koten"? What about collections called
sousho? (Just "miscellaneous" as it says in the dictionary, - iro-iro no
shomotsu !)?

I have often wondered abut the conceptual relationship between the Nihon koten
bungaku taikei and the Nihon shisou taikei (also Iwanami). Why are some things
in one and some in the other? Then we have Nihon no meicho (Chuuou kouronsha),
in fifty volumes from the Nihon Shoki to Yanagita Kunio (or Yanagida), whom we
presumably have to regard as a "modern" because he shared in the modern
reflective process. It also has a real mixture of thinkers on the one hand and
writers of creative literature and the other.

In the background to my question is an old (if not very expert) interest in
the relation between the notions of "canon" and "bibliography", and regardless of
the terms, in the mental processes which took place when ancient Chinese
emperors commanded their libraries to be sorted out.... (the ideas mobilised -
jing- etc. were quite a long way from those underlying the misleadingly titled
"Sacred Books of the East" edited by Max MŘller in the nineteenth century).
This was laid out in Kang Woo's Histoire de la Bibliographie Chinoise (Paris
1938), but in spite of the details given there the conceptual significance was
hardly probed.

Tips on any of these subjects would be much appreciated.

Can anybody recommend a wise and informed study on the history of bibliography
in Japan? Or on the history of systematic publishing (taikei etc.)?

best wishes,

Michael Pye
University of Marburg, Germany
Visiting Professor, Otani University, Kyoto, Japan
----------------------------------------------------
From: From: SYBIL.___@asu.edu
Date: October 18, 2006 15:51:42 GMT+09:00
Subject:  [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Hello, Mr. Sejrup!

What I hoped I was suggesting to Mr. Persiani in my own inimitible and sarky
way is that, when speaking to students, one needs to appreciate the fact that
they tend to be interested primarily in the utility of what they are learning.
Beauty, humanity, and the other lofty values of the arcane notwithstanding,
when push comes to shove, an education in the classics (of whatever country,
culture, or civilization) is the education of the elite. 'Ware this
particularly transparent glass ceiling!

Sorry to obtrude this sordid reflection of a sociologist into what has been
otherwise a fastidiously refined and erudite discussion.

As for myself, I am shocked--SHOCKED--that there is someone on earth who has
not read my tome on the Yugyo-ha or my translation of the Konodai senki!  I
hope you will not miss my ground-breaking study of jidai eiga!  Coming soon to
a bookstore near you!

SA Thornton

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Michael Smitka" <___@wlu.edu>
Date: October 18, 2006 10:24:05 GMT +0900
Subject:  [pmjs]  Why read the classics?

On Oct 18, 2006, at 9:19 am, SYBIL.___@asu.edu wrote:

.... an education in the classics (of whatever country,
culture, or civilization) is the education of the elite.


Well, let's remember that many of our students come from our own
elite, and more if not most have aspirations to join it. Being able
to undertake educated discourse is not impractical or without
utility. I know a couple businessmen who've tried writing novels, or
are serious but "closet" musicians (playing the piano well is rather
shy of playing on stage!). Indeed, in the upper levels of business
that sort of "elite" interest is the norm, and someone who can't play
the culture game stands out unfavorably; baseball and beer are fine
in their place, but at high-end business dinners that's a turn-off.
In addition, this sort of interest reflects a wider intellectual
curiosity, and that stands students in good stead. You may be able to
show off a bit in a conversation about Shakespeare, but you are the
center of attention if you start talking about "koten" (which I'll
leave to others to define).

Bottom line for a first day of class: You want to be in the elite?
Well, we'll be studying and reading about elites all term long...

To expand a bit. I'm in a liberal arts college in the States, and
most of my students come from families where both parents went to
college or even have an MA or JD or some such. Since maybe only 25%
of their parents' generation have 4-year degrees, they're much more
in the US elite than they realize, or even sometimes than we realize
[my wife teaches community college, my son attends one, so my
household sees the other end of the higher education spectrum, too,
people who are the first in their family to graduate from high
school, much less attend college].

So another practical challenge, echoed in various ways in these
posts, is rubbing students' noses in the lives of people who've not
grown up in upper-middle-class suburbs. Too many of my students don't
know what the minimum wage is, and have never thought about what that
implies about annual income. The classics aren't the only way to
accomplish that, but coming to grips with an "other" through the
classics is one step in making them more aware of and sensitive to
the world around them. How our particular crop of students got to our
particular class is generally a mystery (and I'd often rather not
know the answer!) but while we have them, hey, we do what we can,
instilling a love of whatever our discipline is, and working on their
ability to think & read & write.

----------------------------------------------------
From: Morgan Pitelka <___@oxy.edu>
Date: Oct 18, 2006 11:55 AM
Subject: [pmjs] why read the classics?: "tradition"

PMJS colleagues,

The discussion of reasons for reading the classics reminded me of Richard Calichman's recent translation and exegesis of selected writings by Takeuchi Yoshimi, who spent more time and energy thinking about this issue (in the context of Chinese literary studies and Japan's violent encounter with modernity) than most.

In a stimulating discussion of Hegel's _Phenomenology_ as a means of understanding Takeuchi's notion of "dialogue" (taiwa), a dialectic method of reading that opens up the connection between reader and text, or perhaps we could say present and past, Calichman and Takeuchi provide some very salient comments on why we must study "the classics":

"Takeuchi's meaning seems to be that tradition . . . is something that one necessarily inherits both passively and actively. Tradition must be reckoned with in order for man to understand his own historicity, i.e., that human existence is essentially historical. This historicity--the fact that man inherits a past that is not of his own making, and which he MUST inherit whether he wants to or not--places man in the primary role of respondent, someone who must answer for who or what he is by answering to that which made him this way. If man's existence is thus one of response, however, this in no way means that he is deprived of all freedom of decision or action, that he has no choice but to repeat the tradition exactly as it has been handed down to him. On the contrary, through the very consciousness of that tradition, its possibilities and limitations, he is given the chance to transform it."

Isn't this a nice way of answering Gian Piero Persiani's question? I might also note that Takeuchi refers to the "classics" using terms that I often encounter in my study of material culture, such as "ibutsu" (relics) and "isan" (inheritance). It seems to me that this puts the study of the swords, armor, and ceramics collected by Ieyasu (my current project), the calligraphy of Hon'ami Koetsu or painting of Kano Tanyu, and the many versions of the great monogatari and poetry collections that many of you study into what I think is a usefully broad and yet still coherent category: that of cultural products that were intentionally (and in some cases contingently) edited, preserved, protected, and reproduced to become part of the canon of traditional Japanese culture.

Morgan

*****************
Morgan Pitelka
Swan Hall S115
Occidental College
1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, CA 90041
OFFICE: 323-259-1421
FAX: 323-341-4940
mailto:___@oxy.edu
*****************
----------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Gian Piero Persiani" <___@columbia.edu>
Date: October 18, 2006 15:53:23 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics? DIGEST

Dear all,

Thank you again for responding to my question. I thought it would be useful
to put together a digest of the responses received so far, so here it is:

References

Steven Carter, "My Apologies: Ruminations on Teaching Bungo," (talk
delivered on March 5, 2004 at the ATJ Classical Japanese SIG meeting in
San Diego; further information can be found here
http://www.colorado.edu/ealld/atj/Newsletter/News27-2/news.html)

Haruo Shirane, "State of the Field Statement,"  Japanese Language and
Literature, Vol. 37, no. 2, Oct. 2003.

Fujiwara Mariko, "Koten kyouiku ni kan suru kousatsu," Waseda Daigaku
daigakuin kyouikugaku kenkyuu-ka kiyou bessatsu, No. 8-2, 2000.

Nishio Minoru, "Koten kyouiku no igi," Kokubungaku kaishaku to kyouzai no
kenkyuu, Vol. 6 No. 2, 1961.

Tokieda Motoki, "Koten kyouiku no igi to sono mondaiten," Kokugo to
kokubungaku, Vol 33, No. 4, 1956.

Why Read the Classics? Opinions

Lewis Cook:

    "it is possible to persuade students that they are reading the minds of
plausibly invented characters with a degree of     intimacy not afforded by
any other medium"

Jos Vos:

    "we can get to know the innermost thoughts of a tenth-century Japanese
author, no matter how hard it may be to picture her actual lifestyle."

    "Readers familiar with Montaigne's Essays, for example, will be
fascinated by Tsurezuregusa. People who believe
    Japanese literature mainly consists of dainty minimalism will receive a
shock when they discover Nenashigusa or
    other exuberant satirical writings by Hiraga Gennai."

    ".....when ably translated, will move the heart of any sensible
reader..."

Royall Tyler:

    "they remind us of how much we've lost--lost ways of seeing, speaking,
doing, being. Through the undoubted constants of human experience, they
show us the depth of change and time."

Robert Borgen:

    Cambridge has just cut back on the teaching of Sanskrit and  Hindi.
[...] Still, South Asia specialists are expressing dismay, a feeling no doubt
shared by the rest of us who believe that distinguished universities are
distinguished precisely because they value even areas of study that are unlikely to
attract large numbers of students. [...]  To me, musty old things are very appealing,
but that view is not a universally  shared.

David Pollack:

    "the classics" constitute the only context within which, for better or
for worse, contemporary people are able to reflect about themselves:
where did we come from? who are we? what
events and choices made us what we are?
how are we different from others?"

Janet Goodwin:

    "To explode any notion that people of another time and place are so
different from ourselves that we cannot possibly understand them."

    "To explode any notion that those people are just like us and can be
understood without examining contextual factors such as religious beliefs and institutions."

    "To explode any notion that institutions, behavior, norms, etc. are
ahistorical givens (for example, that marriage was defined by God
as a permanent union between one man and one woman)."

Sybil Thornton:

    "it keeps one from making awful grammatical errors like following a
preposition with a nominative(sniff!)and having one's nose pulled by
those who have(read the classics)."

Michael Pye:

    "anything is worth reading, for some reason or other, if you have the
commensurable amount of time."
   "the argument from content: interestingly similar, or interestingly
different. "

Anthony Chambers:

  "a lot of widely read people have found worth their time because it's
moving or engrossing or enlightening, or all three"

Thomas Lamarre:

    "My sense of this is that, if we really are concerned with creating
ethically good and intellectually significant relations to the Classics,
such concern for the How will go far to answer the question of Why. [...]
I do think that we will not arrive at a good relation to the classics if we do not
emphasize problems of depth, otherness, and difference < not simply assume
them but work with them and highlight them.  We can't assume that because we
work with old texts that we have a good or even relevant relation to the past.

Michael Smitka:

    "rubbing students' noses in the lives of people who've not grown up in
upper-middle-class suburbs."

Takeuchi Yoshimi-Richard Calichman-Morgan Pitelka:

    "Tradition must be reckoned with in order for man to understand his own
historicity, i.e., that human existence is essentially historical"

    "Takeuchi refers to the "classics" using terms that I often encounter in
my study of material culture, such as  "ibutsu" (relics) and "isan" (inheritance).
It seems to me that this puts the study of the swords, armor, and ceramics
collected by Ieyasu (my current project), the calligraphy of Hon'ami
Koetsu or painting of Kano Tanyu, and the many versions of the great
monogatari and poetry collections that many of you study into what I think is a usefully
broad and yet still coherent category: that of cultural products that
were intentionally (and in some cases  contingently) edited, preserved,
protected, and reproduced to become part of the canon of traditional Japanese  culture.

From: "Michael Watson" <___@k.meijigakuin.ac.jp>
Date: October 18, 2006 15:53:46 GMT+09:00
Subject: Fwd: [pmjs]  Why read the classics?

      An earlier message with a subject line in Japanese gave you all an accidental peek into what happens behind the curtains at pmjs. [OMITTED IN DIGEST]  I trust that most of you have already deleted the message, but just in case you are still wondering what to do with a message beginning in the imperative, it was a letter in Japanese drafted by my co-editor and spouse while I was in class this morning... (teaching a classic, as it so happens--what else is really worth teaching?)

As an apology, please accept the following excerpts of a delightful essay by the Italian writer Italo Calvino (1923-85). The essay is entitled "Why Read the Classics?" and originally appeared in _L'Espresso_ (Rome) in 1983, The translation is from _The Uses of Literature: Essays_ [orig. title Una pietra sopra] translated by Patrick Creagh (Harcourt Brace & Company, 1986), pp. 125-134. Those who read the whole essay will enjoy the examples omitted here. By definition 7, if not before, you might see particular relevance to premodern Japanese classics.

****
Let us begin with a few suggested definitions.
(1) The classics are the books of which we usually hear people say, "I am rereading..." and never “I am reading…"
...
(2) We use the word "classics" for books that are treasured by those who have read and loved them; but they are treasured no less by those who have the luck to read them for the first time in the best conditions to enjoy them.
...
(3) The classics are books that exert a peculiar influence, both when they refuse to be eradicated from the mind and when they conceal themselves in the folds of memory, camouflaging them as the collective or individual unconscious.
...
(4) Every rereading of a classic is as much a voyage of discovery as the first reading.
...
(5) Every reading of a classic is in fact a rereading.
...
(6) A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.
...
(7) The classics are the books that come down to us bearing the traces of readings previous to ours, and bringing in their wake the traces they themselves have left on the culture or cultures they have passed through (or, more simply, on language and customs).
...
(8) A classic does not necessarily teach us anything we did not know before. In a classic we sometimes discover something we have always known...
...
(9) The classics are books which, upon reading, we find even fresher, more unexpected, and more marvelous than we had thought from hearing about them.
...
(10) We use the word "classic" of a book that takes the form of an equivalent to the universe, on a level with the ancient talismans.
...
(11) _Your_ classic author is the one you cannot feel indifferent to, who helps you to define yourself in relation to him, even in dispute with him.
...
(12) A classic is a book that comes before other classics; but anyone who has read the others first, and then reads this one, instantly recognizes its place in the family tree.
...
(13) A classic is something that tends to relegate the concerns of the moment to the status of background noise, but at the same time this background noise is something we cannot do without.
...
(14) A classic is something that persists as a background noise even when the most incompatible momentary concerns are in control of the situation.
...

****
Michael Watson
----------------------------------------------------
From: "andrew edmund goble" <___@uoregon.edu>
Date: October 18, 2006 16:08:37 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Michael,

Bravo.

Andrew
--
Andrew Edmund Goble
Associate Profesor of Japanese History and of Religious Studies
Deparment of History
1288 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1288
(541) 346-4800
FAX (541) 346-4895

----------------------------------------------------
From: Royall Tyler <___@alpaca-s.com>
Date: October 18, 2006 17:53:51 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics?

Loud applause for Italo Calvino and Michael.

On the subject of the big classics, Chateaubriand (1768-1848) wrote in an overview of English literature (Memoires d'outre-tombe, Pleiade edition, vol. 1, pp. 408-409, my quick translation):

Shakespeare is among the five or six writers who have met the needs of human thought and nourished it; these matrix geniuses seem to have borne and nursed all the others. Homer made antiquity fertile; Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Horace, Virgil are his sons. Dante gave birth to modern Italy, from Petrarch to Tasso. Rabelais created French literature; Montaigne, La Fontaine, Moliere are his descendants. England is all Shakespeare, who down to our very own time has lent his language to Byron, his dialog to Walter Scott.
       We often reject these supreme masters. We rise in revolt against them, count their faults, accuse them of being boring, long-winded, weird, or guilty of bad taste, meanwhile robbing them and dressing ourselves in their stolen finery; but beneath their yoke we struggle in vain. All things assume their colors, their traces are are seen everywhere. They invent words and names that swell the vocabulary of nations, their expressions become proverbs, their made-up characters become real people with heirs and lineages. They open horizons whence burst fountains of light and sow ideas that yield thousandfold. They furnish images, subjects, styles to every art. Their works are the mines, the very entrails of the human mind.

I needn't name the koten, the writer, I thought of when I read this.

Royall Tyler

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Michael Watson <___@k.meijigakuin.ac.jp>
Date: October 16, 2006 20:54:20 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  new members, new profiles

Since the last update to the PMJS members' database in early September, quite a few of you have written in with changes to your profiles--everything from changes in email address and affiliation to reports of new books. (Congratulations to Adam Kern.) Profiles of several newly joined members are also included below.

David Allwright <___@Yahoo.com>
I am currently a student of Warnborough University working on my Master of Art (M.A.) in Cultural Art History.
My focus for studies is the Tale of Genji Monogatari and Emaki.
The goals of this research will be carried out in a four stage process:
1) Write an original story of fiction based upon the characters in the Tale of Genji.
2) Research the materials and techniques used in the creation of the Tale of Genji narrative scroll.
3) Produce a narrative scroll based upon the written story created.
4) Document observations, discoveries and the determination for choices made.

Heather Blair <___@fas.harvard.edu>
Ph.D. candidate, Harvard University
My research focuses on mountain religion during the Heian period.

Adam L. Kern <adamkern[at]fas.harvard.edu>
Associate Professor of Japanese Literature, Harvard University
*Manga from the Floating World: Comicbook Culture and the Kibyoshi of Edo Japan. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2006).
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0674022661/pmjsmailinglist/

Andrea Landis <___@umich.edu>
 I am a Ph.D. student in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan. My area of interests include late Edo and early Meiji fiction and book history.

Lili Selden <___@umich.edu>
Visiting Assistant Professor, Oberlin College

Jeffrey D. Shaffer <___@gmail.com>

Aaron Skabelund <___@byu.edu>
Assistant Professor, Brigham Young University. Social and cultural historian of modern Japan. Areas of interest include: imperialism, human-animal interactions, and relations between militaries and society.

Jack Stoneman <___@byu.edu>
Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature and Art History at Brigham Young University.Interests include pre-modern and modern Japanese literature, Asian art history, Buddhism, translation, noh, ceramics, 20th century Chinese painting, and Saigyo.

Yui Suzuki <___@yahoo.com>
From September 2006, I have joined the Dept. of Art History and Archaeology, University of Maryland, College Park, as a full-time faculty member teaching Japanese art history. I specialize in the religious arts of Japan, particularly from the Nara, Heian and Kamakura periods. I am currently working on a book manuscript titled, "The Making of an Icon: Medicine Buddhas and Devotional Practices in Early Medieval Japan."
My contact info:
Dept. of Art History and Archaeology
4212 Art/Sociology Bldg.
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
(301)405-1488
___@umd.edu

Molly Vallor <___@stanford.edu>
 I am a graduate student studying premodern Japanese literature in the Dept. of Asian Languages at Stanford University. My current research interests include Buddhism in medieval literature.

The full database is found here:
http://www.meijigakuin.ac.jp/~pmjs/members/db.html
To change your subscription email address, delivery style, or profile, see
http://www.meijigakuin.ac.jp/~pmjs/members/

Michael Watson
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Michael Watson <___@k.meijigakuin.ac.jp>
Date: October 17, 2006 23:07:14 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  symposia at Rikkyo (10/28)(11/3-4) and Meiji University (12/9)

Subscribers to the Japanese-language pmjs digest have asked me to publicize threee upcoming symposia in Tokyo.

Professor Naoko Kojima 小嶋菜温子 has sent information about two conferences at Rikkyo University.

On October 28 (Sat) there will be an international symposium on "Portraits and Personality." Speakers include Barbara Levick, Akira Fujimaki, Kazuaki Komine, Shojiro Kuwase, and Karen Forsyth.

On November 3 (Fri) - 4 (Sat), Rikkyo will hold an international symposium to mark the 50th anniversity of the university's Japanese literature program.  After keynote talks by Ishizaki Hitoshi and Joshua Mostow, there will be a symposium on the subject of "taishuusei to wa nanika" 大衆性とは何か on the 3rd. The third and fourth symposia are held on the 4th: "zushou, jendaa, Genji bunka" 図像・ジェンダー・源氏文化, and the second on "ibunka kouryuu to honyaku to touzai 異文化交流と翻訳の東西. Participants include Haruo Shirane, Thomas Keirstead, Robert Campbell, Tomi Suzuki, Tzvetana Kristeva, and many participants from China, South Korea, and Japan. (No slight intended to those whose names I have not transliterated.)

Professor Kazumasa Hinata 日向一雅 (Meiji University) has sent information about a symposium on "Genji monogatari ni okeru Kanke to Hakushi" 源氏物語における菅家と白氏 (poetry collections of Sugawara Michizane and Bo Juyi in Genji monogatari) to be held on December 9 (Sat) in Meiji University. There will be five papers read.

Here are the Japanese programs. If you have mojibake trouble please see
http://www.meijigakuin.ac.jp/~pmjs/announce/

[The Japanese programs were sent out to the list, but are omitted in the logs, see the link above.]

From: Kenneth R. Robinson <___@icu.ac.jp>
Date: October 19, 2006 15:34:33 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Asian Forum at ICU, Oct. 23

Dear Colleagues (and with apologies for multiple postings),

The next Asian Forum sponsored by International Christian University
(ICU)'s Institute of Asian Cultural Studies will be held Monday, October
23, 2006. Mizuko Ugo, who is a Visiting Researcher at the National
Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo International Center for
Cooperation in Conservation, will present "The Establishment of
Administration for the Conservation of Cultural Properties in Japan".

All are invited to attend. The details of this presentation are below.

Speaker: Mizuko Ugo, Visiting Researcher, National Research Institute for
Cultural Properties, Tokyo International Center for Cooperation in
Conservation, and Research Fellow, Institute of Asian Cultural Studies,
ICU
Title: "The Establishment of Administration for the Conservation of
Cultural Properties in Japan" (Lecture in Japanese)
Location: ICU Cafeteria East Room
Date: Monday, October 23, 2006
Time: 12:50 - 13:50

We look forward to seeing you there.

Kenneth R. Robinson
Director, Institute of Asian Cultural Studies
International Christian University, Tokyo


From: Greg Pflugfelder <___@columbia.edu>
Date: October 20, 2006 1:10:53 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  events announcement

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I'd like to encourage everyone to take advantage of a week of
Japan-centered events that will be taking place at Columbia
University and at the New York Public Library beginning on
Wednesday, October 25.  Some (though not all) of the events are
being held in connection with the Twentieth Anniversary of the
Donald Keene Center.  Below is a digest of the various programs,
with relevant URLs.  I look forward to seeing many of you there.

Best,

Greg Pflugfelder
Director
Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture
www.donaldkeenecenter.org


OCTOBER 25 (WEDNESDAY)

Symposium at the New York Public Library:
"The Japanese Illustrated Book:  Continuity and Change"
NYPL, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street
9:00 am – 6:00 pm

This symposium is being held in conjunction with the Library's
current exhibition, "Ehon:  The Artist and the Book in Japan,"
curated by Roger Keyes.  Speakers include Yumiko Mashima, Henry
Smith, Rachel Saunders, Roger Keyes, Takashi Nakagawa, Veronika
Schaepers, Clemens Tobias-Lange, and Yoko Tawada.  Registration is
required.

http://www.nypl.org/research/chss/ehon/schedule.html

http://www.nypl.org/press/2006/ehonLL.cfm

OCTOBER 27-28 (FRIDAY-SATURDAY)

Donald Keene Center Twentieth Anniversary Symposium:
"The Past and Future of the Book:  Transition and Translation in
Japanese Publishing Culture"
Columbia University

Leading scholars and publishing experts from Japan and the U.S. will
gather at Columbia University to explore the ways in which the
material history of books and the institutions of publication have
changed over time both inside and outside Japan. Through a
multifaceted examination of past as well as present transitions in
Japan's publishing world, the symposium seeks to illuminate the
forces that will shape the production of knowledge in and about
Japan in the future.

http://www.donaldkeenecenter.org/content/view/65/1/

OCTOBER 27 (FRIDAY)

Donald Keene Center Twentieth Anniversary Symposium, Day One:
"Texts and Contexts:  Publishing History and Modern Japanese
Literature"
403 Kent Hall, Columbia University
9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Speakers will include K˘no Kensuke, Yamamoto Yoshiaki, Tsuboi
Hideto, Sari Kawana, Ted Mack, and Jonathan Zwicker, with a
response by Lydia Liu.

http://www.donaldkeenecenter.org/content/view/66/1/

OCTOBER 28 (SATURDAY)

Donald Keene Center Twentieth Anniversary Symposium, Day Two:
"Translating Japan:  The Challenges of Publishing Japanese Authors
Overseas"
301 Philosophy Hall, Columbia University
9:00 am – 3:30 pm

The program includes an introductory lecture by Steve Snyder on
"Some Issues in Publishing Japanese Authors Today," and a
concluding lecture by Koizumi Masashi on "The History and Prospects
of Textbook Publishing in Postwar Japan."  There will also be a
workshop session in which scholars, translators, publishers, and
representatives of a number of organizations that are actively
involved in the enterprise of translation will share their
perspectives with the audience.

http://www.donaldkeenecenter.org/content/view/66/1/

OCTOBER 29 (SUNDAY)

Modern Japan History Workshop
918 International Affairs Building, Columbia University
10:00 am – 4:30 pm

The workshop's morning session will be devoted to a discussion of
issues raised by the 8-volume series _Iwanami k˘za:  Ajia-Taiheiyo
sens˘_. It will include brief reports by three Japanese scholars:
Iwasaki Minoru on "Rekishi shuseishugi to sens˘ kenkyű"; Sat˘ on
"Yasukuni mondai to Nihon no nashonarizumu," and Narita Ryűichi on
"Sens˘ kenkyű no kadai."  Andy Gordon, Franziska Seraphim, and
Daqing Yang will offer brief responses to start off the discussion.
An afternoon session will focus on the crossovers between history
and literature, using literature and non-documentary sources as
historical sources, literary history, etc.--not in the old terms of
history v. literature but in the current mode of disciplinary
bending and blending.  John Treat will moderate.  Provocations for
discussion will be offered by Chris Hill, Melissa Wender, K˘no
Kensuke, and Karen Thornber.

For more information, please contact Caroline Batten at
___@columbia.edu or 212-854-2575.

OCTOBER 30 (MONDAY)

Bettman Lecture:
Timon Screech, "The Voyage of the 'New Year's Gift':  A Cargo of
Paintings from London to Japan, 1614"
612 Schermerhorn Hall, Columbia University
6:15 pm

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/arthistory/html/dept_lande.html

OCTOBER 31 (TUESDAY)

Donald Keene Center Special Event:
"Writing in the Web of Words:  An Evening with Yoko Towada"
301 Philosophy Hall, Columbia University
6:00 – 7:30 pm

http://www.donaldkeenecenter.org/content/view/61/77/

----------------------------------------------------
From: Julie Davis <___@sas.upenn.edu>
Date: October 20, 2006 0:50:20 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Shimizu lecture at Penn, Oct. 26

Dear PMJS Friends,

I'm passing along news of an upcoming lecture at Penn:

Professor Yoshiaki Shimizu, Princeton University

"Copy and Copying in Japan : Cases of Copying in Calligraphy, Painting and Architecture"

The talk will discuss what copies and copying mean in Japan as a cultural practice. Focusing on the historical period, copying and its function will be examined in three cases of cultural practice: calligraphy (Heian kana/onna-de), painting (Kano School) and shrine architecture (e.g., the Ise Grand Shrine).

Thursday, October 26, 4:30PM

Meyerson B13
University of Pennsylvania

Sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies Humanities Colloquium
Free and open to the public

Center for East Asian Studies:  http://www.ceas.sas.upenn.edu/events.htm

Best regards,

Julie Davis

-------------
Assistant Professor of the History of Art
Department of the History of Art
3405 Woodland Walk, Jaffe History of Art Building
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA  19104-6208
tel:  +1.215.898.3247
fax:  +1.215.573.2210

----------------------------------------------------
From: Lewis Cook <___@earthlink.net>
Date: October 21, 2006 14:14:50 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics? DIGEST

On Oct 17, 2006, at 11:16 PM, Gian Piero Persiani wrote:

Dear all,

Thank you again for responding to my question. I thought it would be useful to put together a digest of the responses received so far,
<snip>

I hope the emphasis here may fall on "received so far" rather than "DIGEST"...  It happens all too often with  these list discussions, when unwieldly and provocative questions are raised, that a diversity of opinions is expressed, a range of useful disagreement is suggested, and little if anything ensues, as though it might be indecorous or divisive to engage in serious debate within our little field.

In any case, a few comments on some of the posts thus far...

I found less insight than amusement in Calvino's light maxims, e.g., "In a classic we sometimes discover something we have always known..." Wouldn't that be because much of what we assume 'we have always known' has trickled down from the classical canon, for better or worse?

One way or another, I doubt if we can answer the question 'why read the classics' without first finding a necessary context (one which seems both inevitable and fortuitously adequate, or persuasive, in a word) for reading a given text, en route to "reckoning with tradition ... to understand one's own historicity" (paraphrasing Takeuchi Yoshimi, as cited by Morgan Pitelka), or as David Pollack puts it, for "self-reflection."

Context matters I think because whatever else the classics do they generate the rules required to read them competently, and thus exert enough force to define, with some precision, their legibility, the 'traditions' to which Takeuchi refers. One by-product of ignoring this force is that all too many attempts in the vein of academic cultural studies (taking this term loosely) to re-contextualize or de-contextualize classical canons, efforts to marginalize them by creating ad hoc counter-canons, end up on the losing side of what will always be a territorial battle for control of context.

Thomas LaMarre pointedly raises the difficult question, how to read the classics, given that we cannot answer the 'why' without preparing an answer to the 'how?' One technical answer was supplied by Nietzsche (in an oft-quoted passage from his preface to _Daybreak_): "slowly, deeply, looking cautiously before and aft, with reservations, with doors left open..." This anticipates, indirectly, LaMarre's advice that we not presuppose a "standing reserve" of depth, otherness and difference within the texts themselves, implying, presumably, that it's rather a matter of how we handle them ("with delicate eyes and fingers" to continue the quote from Nietzsche). But how do we persist in reading slowly, or persuading our students to do so, when the trivium of depth, otherness and difference seems to be trumped by a surpassing demand for surface, speed, fusion, the defining motives of postmodern consumer culture and (not to harp on the subject) of its academic spawn, cultural studies? I don't have any good ideas, except perhaps to follow Nietzsche ("I am a philologist still, that is to say, a teacher of slow reading" - this written not long after _Beyond Good and Evil_.)

Anecdotal evidence for tentative optimisim: I screened Ozu's "classic" _Early Spring_ for a class of students of Japanese film who thus far have expressed interest mainly in fast samurai flicks, and they watched patiently and claimed that they enjoyed it, despite the slowness.


L Cook

----------------------------------------------------
From: ___@icu.ac.jp
Date: October 23, 2006 15:39:29 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Asian Forum at ICU

Dear Colleagues (and with apologies for multiple postings),

At the next Asian Forum sponsored by International Christian University
(ICU)'s Institute of Asian Cultural Studies, which will be held Wednesday,
October 25, 2006, Prof. Herbert Plutschow, of Josai International
University, will present "What All Humanity Shares Culturally".

All are invited to attend. The details of his presentation are below.

Speaker: Herbert Plutschow, Professor and Director of the Institute for
Comparative Cultural Studies at Josai International University

Title: "What All Humanity Shares Culturally" (in English)

Location: ICU Cafeteria East Room
Date: Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Time: 12:50 - 13:50

We look forward to seeing you there.


Kenneth R. Robinson
Director, Institute of Asian Cultural Studies
International Christian University, Tokyo

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Susan B. Klein" <___@uci.edu>
Date: October 25, 2006 2:14:25 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics? DIGEST

Great discussion so far. Too bad I'm so frantic teaching classical Japanese
and Premodern Japanese Ghosts that I have no time to participate!

I followed the link to the ATS newsletter on-line, but they said that Steve
Carter's talk was going to be posted in a "future issue." I'm guessing that
never actually happened?

Susan Klein

References

Steven Carter, "My Apologies: Ruminations on Teaching Bungo," (talk
delivered on March 5, 2004 at the ATJ Classical Japanese SIG meeting in San Diego; further information
can be found here
http://www.colorado.edu/ealld/atj/Newsletter/News27-2/news.html)

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Joseph T. Sorensen" <___@ucdavis.edu>
Date: October 25, 2006 2:53:53 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics? DIGEST


Yes, I believe Steve Carter's talk was an insert in a hard copy of the ATJ newsletter, but it never
made it online.  I have sent a pdf copy to a few interested persons off-list, and Michael Watson
should also have a copy now.  Perhaps he could post it at the PMJS site so it is accessible to all?

Joseph

____________________________________________
Joseph T. Sorensen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Major Advisor of Japanese
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
5th Floor Sproul Hall, One Shields Avenue
University of California, Davis  95616
Phone:  (530) 752-0313 
Email:  ___@ucdavis.edu

----------------------------------------------------
From: Schmidt Susan <Susan.___@Colorado.EDU>
Date: October 25, 2006 5:14:18 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Why read the classics? DIGEST

Steven Carter's talk was published as a supplement to the ATJ Newsletter
and is available in printed or PDF form; if anyone who would like a copy
can let me know, I'll see that you get one. I'll also get it posted on our
website as soon as I can.

Susan Schmidt
Association of Teachers of Japanese
Campus Box 279, University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0279
Tel 303-492-5487
Fax 303-492-5856
susan.___@colorado.edu
http://www.colorado.edu/ealld/atj

----------------------------------------------------
From: Michelle I Li <___@stanford.edu>
Date: October 25, 2006 6:22:31 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  a practical side of the classics question

Hi Everyone,
I'm presently teaching somewhere that cut its premodern Japanese classes
because of budget issues. Although I have a PhD in classical literature,
I'm presently teaching modern and contemporary literature (Meiji-present).
Since the department is "Foreign Languages," the reading and classes are
conducted mostly in Japanese. I suggested reintroducing classes in
classical literature (at least one per year), but the argument against mine
was that the students need modern Japanese and don't need classical
Japanese. The focus is on the practical and possible careers of the
students after college. (They won't be professors.) Of course, introducing
classical literature would also mean teaching bungo, which I can do but the
department sees it as a luxury they can't afford. So this idea relates back
to an issue previously raised about the classics being for the elite. I
didn't have a good counter argument. Any suggestions for making the case
for why read the classics or how to read the classics to people focused on
what they see as practical?
Michelle

----------------------------------------------------
From: David Pollack <___@mail.rochester.edu>
Date: October 25, 2006 7:40:26 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: a practical side of the classics question

There are two usual arguments:

1. Not so long ago one didn't sound (and really wasn't) "educated" in Japanese without a basic knowledge of bungo and having memorized all the first paragraphs of the entire classical canon. Maybe today it's just knowing the animÚ equivalent of all the famous lines in Casablanca? ("Watakushitachi wa itsumo Dairen ga aru yo.") Coming up with "Izure no ontoki ni ka ny˘go k˘i amata saburai tamaikeru nakani..." (sorry about the historically incorrect romanization) was once guaranteed to impress Japanese businessmen with the breadth and depth of your knowledge, at least enough to get free drinks.

2. One can't really understand jidaigeki films and tv shows very well without at least some knowledge of bungo (though the intricacies of kakarimusubi can probably be skipped for this). i remember a scene in a film (could this have been from Chikamatsu?) where someone stood in front of a castle gate and commanded those inside to "Kaimon!" (kojien, "mon wo hiraku koto!"). If you didn't understand that you might never know how he got the gate to open.

David Pollack

----------------------------------------------------
From: Stephen Miller <___@asianlan.umass.edu>
Date: October 25, 2006 8:15:25 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: a practical side of the classics question

And maybe David Pollack's comment about getting free drinks is a partial answer
to Michelle's question.  If the goal of being educated about a subject is to
know only one aspect of that subject, then I suppose a "post-1868" attitude is
legitimate.  But if one wants to show (hopefully from real knowledge rather than
just anime) a more sustained and intimate knowledge of one's subject, it does
seem foolish to leave off the first 1000+ years of Japan's (literary) history.
In a similar fashion, if one only wants to understand Japanese language as its
spoken in contemporary Japan without knowing anything about "kyu kanji" (still
used today sometimes) or expressions with "gotoshi" (common enough in Murakami
Haruki) or a number of other lingering classical forms in the modern language,
then I suppose lopping off those previous thousand plus years is legitimate.
But if one hopes to connect in any real fashion with many Japanese
businesspeople or politicians or bureaucrats, then knowing "yuku kawa no nagare
wa taezu shite, shikamo moto no mizu ni arazu" will not only help with the
drinks, but it will show a deeper side to one's knowledge than having to reply
to someone with whom you're trying to make a connection, "'Heian' wa nan desu
ka" or "Saa, Toyotomi no Hideyoshi wa chotto...yappari kiita koto ga arimasen
yo."

In the same way that we as people are not the sum total of the last 15 minutes
of our lives, countries and the people who live in them are also not the sum
total of only part of their history.  I guess this whole thing really hinges on
what your definiton of "practical" is.

Don't give up, Michelle!  Continue to tell them how short-sighted they are.

Stephen Miller

Assistant Professor
Japanese Language and Literature
440 Herter Hall
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003
Phone: 413-545-4953
Fax: 413-545-4975

----------------------------------------------------
From: Michael Wood <___@darkwing.uoregon.edu>
Date: October 25, 2006 14:32:26 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Status of Classic Japanese

Greetings PMJSers,

I have recently heard of other universities either cutting back or
abandoning their bungo courses altogether, and I imagine that Michelle Li is
not alone in trying to defend the importance of such courses. In some cases
these are programs with separate departments in East Asian Languages and
Literatures, and not simply a smaller sub-division of a Foreign Languages
department. I would be curious to know whether others have noticed a
tendency to move away from course offerings focused on pre-Meiji language
and culture?

Both David Pollack and Stephen Miller have already quite rightly pointed out
that cultural competence (a stated goal of even the most "practical"
language programs) in contemporary Japanese language requires a knowledge of
both pre-modern grammar and the canon classical of texts. My first thought
after reading Michelle's post was who suggested that students only need
"modern" language? Does this person speak Japanese? Where does he or she
draw the line? Will reading Natsume Soseki contribute to students actually
landing jobs? How many Spanish departments have completely eliminated
Cervantes simply because their students do not aspire to be Don Quixote? How
many English departments have tried this logic with Shakespeare? Do not
philosophy departments offer courses in the classical Greek thought? Is that
any more practical for the careers of students?

It seems to me that the logic underlying the call to do away with the study
"old" texts is fundamentally suspect. For one would not be very functional
if they stuck to only studying the language of the most recently published
manga and shosetsu. Just yesterday I interpreted for a speaker who made
reference to Ise monogatari waka. His topic was trends in advertising! On
the grammatical level too, the study of bungo offers the learner great
insight into the mechanics of modern language. The formal letters that
appear in my departmental mailbox are frequently sprinkled with pre-modern
grammatical carry-overs. Finally, to reiterate something that Lewis Cook has
alluded to by way of Nietzsche, perhaps the most valuable aspect of bungo is
the radically different pacing it provides a reader. There is perhaps no
exercise in reading slower than the parsing of an eight-line sentence
constructed in the Heian period. And in reading such seemingly stilted
language, a space opens up for the reader to consider his or her own
language and the nuances of style. At a time when so much is defined by the
instantaneous gratification of consumer culture, is not bungo's most
attractive quality the joy of going slower?


michael wood
Dept. of Law and Politics
University of Hokkaido

----------------------------------------------------
From: Robert Borgen <___@ucdavis.edu>
Date: October 25, 2006 14:59:20 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: a practical side of the classics question

I think we are fooling ourselves if we believe we can argue classical Japanese has a "practical side" in the sense that, say, "business Japanese" does.  Rather, it has roughly the same "practical side" as one might find, for example, in art history, and I would guess that Michelle's university does teach art history.  The difference is that art history probably attracts lots of students, either because they find it interesting or because it has a reputation for being easy (at least it did in ancient times when I was an undergraduate).  A handful of advanced and intellectually curious students will certainly find classical Japanese interesting, but it will be a rare student indeed who finds it easy.

For an administrator, a "practical side" is probably a large number of students enrolled in the class.  So, given a choice between a class in reading yesterday's newspaper that enrolls about 25 students and a class in reading thousand-year-old waka that enrolls about 5 students, a reasonable department chair normally will prefer to offer the former.  If I were the department chair, I would make exceptions only if my department had excess faculty with nothing else to teach, if many of our undergraduates were planning on academic careers that would require a knowledge of classical Japanese, or if those 5 students enrolled were themselves graduate students.  Or maybe if I had had enough of administrative responsibilities and wanted to convince my dean to replace me.

I have heard classicists argue that teaching classical Japanese is useful and wish I could agree with them.  It's very important to those of us who want to read the classics, but hardly essential for the others.

Robert Borgen

----------------------------------------------------
From: David Pollack <___@mail.rochester.edu>
Date: October 25, 2006 20:16:41 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: a practical side of the classics question

i suppose we should ask ourselves where classical japanese and chinese fit into a general languages-and-cultures curriculum. I doubt that undergrad students of french are made to learn the provencal of the troubador poets, or any version of langue d'oc at all. even students majoring in english today probably aren't made to study the language at the time of chaucer, beyond whatever they can pick up from text notes as they plow through their assigned passage of

    whan that aprille with his shoures soote [its sweet showers]
    the droghte of marche hath perced to the roote,   
    and bathed every veyne in swich licour,    [such liquor]
    Of which vertu engendred is the flour....

but perhaps this is equivalent to meiji japanese, in contrast to the anglo-saxon of beowulf. if beowulf is read at all, it won't be in the original. there is now even a nice opera trot available in modern english.

learning such antic languages no longer has any cultural currency, it actually makes its bearer an object of suspicion, in a land as puritanically focused on "show me the money!" to the exclusion of all else (except sports) as the u.s. is.
real language fluency has become suddenly politically suspect ever since a high-ranking member of the state dept gave a speech in fluent arabic a few days ago that spoke unflattering truths about those running the u.s. war in iraq.

it could always be argued that the ford motor company perhaps wouldn't have had to announce another $5.8 BILLION! loss for the last quarter if its executives had enough cultural acumen to be able to recite "hiawatha." I mean, shouldn't they have to show something for their obscenely non-academic salaries? but if they do decide on this step, one imagines it will be required of the workers and not the bosses.

david pollack

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Adrian Pinnington" <___@hotmail.com>
Date: October 25, 2006 21:16:01 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Why Read the Classics?

As someone who teaches waka, tanka, haikai and haiku to American and, increasingly, Japanese students at Waseda University, I wonder if I might make a couple of points about why I think it is worth reading and teaching the classics, points which seem to go down well with my students. (I have not seen all of the earlier comments, so please forgive me if I am repeating things already said.)

1) Reading pre-Meiji Japanese literature gives us access to a culture almost entirely unaffected by European ideas, Christian and Classical. Not only is this intrinsically interesting, but it also helps to put into perspective many European ideas about European cultural development (ideas, for example, about changing attitudes towards nature as we move into 'modernity' or ideas about the history of sexuality.) In a 'globalising' world, I can hardly think of anything more precious.

2) In terms of understanding contemporary Japan -- and here contemporary haiku and tanka are excellent cases -- one needs to be aware of the classical roots of much contemporary culture and at the same time of the profound differences between contemporary 'traditional' forms and the earlier genres which they partly derive from. In that sense, one cannot understand a great deal of modern Japanese culture unless one is able to look at how that culture has preserved and transformed the traditional inheritance.

3) Although it is possible to see the Meiji Restoration as a watershed -- especially because of the dramatic changes in written Japanese -- it is surely a very long time since people thought that it was the only watershed. On the one hand, any student of the Japanese classics must be aware of the transformation in the understanding of classical texts wrought by the spread of classical culture and the publication of woodblock editions in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the links between this, Kokugaku and the growth of national consciousness in Japan. Again, the Meiji Restoration obviously had its strongly archaising side -- think of Masaoka Shiki or Saito Mokichi -- hardly marginal figures in modern Japanese culture. It is hard to understand modern Japanese identity without knowing something, for example, about the relative fortunes of the Manyoshu and the Kokinshu in Meiji and after. And that leads to the point that another watershed was surely the end of World War II and the discrediting of the rather powerful sense of the national essence - in which the classics played a huge role - that had prevailed up to that point. Are we going to stop reading anything written before 1945? A more nuanced view of how Japanese culture became what it is now must be of relevance to anyone concerned with the fate of non-European cultures (i.e. the overwhelming majoirty of cultures.)

It does seem ironic that just when materials that make it much easier for the English-speaking student to study classical Japanese are appearing, that universities should be giving up on teaching it. I myself find, though, that if I can get the students into my class in the first place, then I can usually get them interested.

Finally, I have over the years found Frank Kermode's meditations on the subject, in his 'The Classic', very stimulating,

with best wishes,

Adrian Pinnington

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Jens Sejrup" <___@hotmail.com>
Date: October 25, 2006 22:12:26 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: a practical side of the classics question

I think Bob Borgen and David Pollack have made some very good points here, and I'm really glad to see this discussion encompassing a will to critically examine whether indeed it makes sense to force bungo on students who could care less, rather than the (elitist?) position of those who scruff at manga and popular shosetsu, but would probably defend studies of Edo-jidai vernacular literature and trite post-Heian monogatari till kingdom come.

Dr. Pollack, for better or worse, I think that that "show me the money"-attitude is not at all confined to the US, as here in Denmark we're also constantly confronted with the luxury vs necessity dichotomy, which Michelle I Li also mentioned. Here we converted compulsory bungo into an elective course which means it exists only as a theoretical option for the vast majority of students. As Bob Borgen noted, no student is likely to find it easy, and very few indeed are interested in signing up for a course that will make their lives harder and require much more work than taking only the compulsory modern Japanese courses (that are hard enough to most of them already). I think it's a good point to compare compulsory bungo to forcing English majors to read Beowulf in the original, and we in Denmark certainly do not coerce our Danish majors into reading the sagas or runic inscriptions in Old Norse, either (and that language is actually not even extinct, as I believe it's virtually identical to modern Icelandic). It's simply too much work and only interesting or even bearable to a tiny fraction of students.

I remember a student complaining when bungo was still compulsory for Japanese BA majors that it was like being forced to learn Italian and Latin at the same time - and we don't even force that upon our Italian majors who, presumably, have an easier time learning that European language than our majors have in picking up the completely different Japanese. As for all the arguments that modern Japanese is littered with classical references and that advertising agents hurl Ise Monogatari waka at you whenever they see fit, I find that line of reasoning a little forced. In a country like Japan that prides itself on its ability to disregard social conventions when it comes to foreigners who can't bow in the proper 45 degree angles and use keigo correctly, I'm sure the odd Heian waka lost on a gaijin would be pardoned, as well. (How many Japanese under 50 know their Ise Monogatari, anyway?!) I doubt that would be the reason for a business deal to fall through, anyway...

I'm actually quite content with bungo becoming less important in BA and MA curricula, as long as it's retained as an elective option for the 0,2% or 0.02% of students who are genuinely interested in reading these amazing and fascinating texts in the slow original. Why force it on students who simply have their interests elsewhere? In everything, and humanities not least, nothing good comes from forcing people to work like slaves over something they can't see any point in doing. They'll just memorise translations and opt for barely passing the exams and then forget all the grammatical intricacies the second they're off the hook. Instead, I'd like to see bungo becoming reserved for people who want to learn it and don't mind the extra struggle and effort, indeed, enjoy the thrill of reading these texts for their merits and beauty. Would it really be so terrible if that happens?

Jens Sejrup


----------------------------------------------------
From: Bjarke Frellesvig <bjarke.___@hertford.oxford.ac.uk>
Date: October 25, 2006 23:12:58 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Postdoctoral position in Oxford

Please note the following postdoctoral post (Junior Research Fellowship) in Hertford College, University of Oxford. The post is open to applicants in all of Humanities and Social Sciences, and therefore also in Japanese (or Korean or East Asian) Studies.

HERTFORD COLLEGE, OXFORD
*Drapers’ Company Junior Research Fellowship*

The College invites applications for a Junior Research Fellowship in the Humanities and Social Sciences tenable for three years from 1 October 2007. Hertford intends to provide a basis for career development on the part of those who have recently completed a doctorate or equivalent qualification and are already engaged in independent research. The stipend will be ú15,000 and indexed to academic salary rises, plus free meals and free accommodation or a housing allowance in lieu, together with computer and research allowances.<>

Further details and an application form can be obtained by going to *http://www.hertford.ox.ac.uk/*, or from the Principal’s Secretary, Hertford College, Oxford, OX1 3BW (___@hertford.ox.ac.uk). Applications should be submitted to the Principal’s Secretary by *the closing date of 24 November 2006*. Candidates should ask their referees to send confidential references direct to the Principal’s Secretary to arrive no later than the closing date. It is intended to interview short-listed candidates at the end of January 2007.

The College is an equal opportunities employer.

----------------------------------------------------
From: Aileen Gatten <___@umich.edu>
Date: October 25, 2006 23:45:11 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: a practical side of the classics question

This exercise about finding the practical side of Japanese classics reminds me of the debate some decades ago in American universities about "relevance" in the academic curriculum.  It was never clearly stated what a given discipline was supposed to be relevant _to_, though the implication was "to events occurring in the real world."  The relevance debate may have been more idealistic/ideological than the current money-based focus on practicality (though as always, money was a consideration then too), but in many institutions courses on "dead" languages and ancient literatures were high on the Not Relevant list. There will probably always be a financially- and ideologically-motivated urge among university administrators to cut funding for "impractical" courses in favor of those perceived to yield immediate, obvious benefits.  Let's hope that there will also always be a countermovement toward the nurturing of obscure, irrelevant, elite, impractical, and unfashionable areas of studies.

I'm deeply committed to the teaching of bungo and classical literature--and to the goal of reading classical prose rapidly!--but I cannot think of any way to sell them as practical university courses.  Because the Japanese study bungo and some classics in high school, a Japanese businessman may respond with a smile of recognition (or, possibly, with a shudder) to a gaijin counterpart quoting the opening passage from "Kiritsubo," but he might be happier chatting about baseball or French wines.  There are many ways to bond in a Japanese social situation; a superficial knowledge of the classics need not be one of them.

Serious study of classical Japanese literature has been an elite pursuit for centuries, and so, I suspect, it will stay.  But I do have a suggestion, Michelle, a compromise of sorts. How about reading, say, selections from "Genji" in a gendaigoyaku edition?  If the administrators are interested in "practicality" (a dubious proposition with regard to literature in any case), it may be more practical for a student interested in modern Japanese culture to join the large Japanese readership of the Setouchi Genji instead of struggling through "Ukigumo" or other not-too-frequently-read Meiji works.

Aileen Gatten

----------------------------------------------------
From: Anthony Bryant <___@cox.net>
Date: October 26, 2006 0:57:38 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: a practical side of the classics question

As a bungo junkie myself, I have to throw in a comment.

I can't think of the number of times on Japanese language
fora I inhabit where learners of (modern) Japanese have
asked a question about a linguistic form or a reference of
some sort that a single semester or two of bungo would
already clear up.

As another poster has said, the English department hasn't
dumped Shakespeare. We don't think of it consciously,
perhaps, but we in the West grew up with ancient things like
Aesop in our cultural makeup. Well, the Japanese had their
own ancient literary/cultural elements in their daily
makeup. We need to teach and learn those things to be really
functional.

Just as someone who's only studied the modern English
language will be stymied in a business meeting by a boss
saying "it's all sour grapes," what his Western analogue to
to make of hearing "金蘭之契" [kinran no chigiri]? Likewise, is it unheard of in
Japanese business circles to hear classical allusions? It
certainly isn't unheard of to hear Biblical or Shakespearean
references in the West.

The student of Japanese who doesn't learn at least the
basics of bungo is, in my mind, risking crippling his
Japanese language learning experience.

Tony
--

Anthony J. Bryant
Website: http://www.sengokudaimyo.com

All sorts of cool things Japanese and SCA:
http://www.cafepress.com/sengokudaimyo

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Robert E Morrell" <___@artsci.wustl.edu>
Date: October 26, 2006 2:16:21 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: a practical side of the classics question


----- Original Message ----- From: "Aileen Gatten" <___@umich.edu>

This exercise about finding the practical side of Japanese classics reminds me of the debate some decades ago in American universities  about "relevance" in the academic curriculum.

<cut>

Right on!

What we are hearing today with respect to the Japanese classics are simply "Variations on an Old Positivist Theme: 'Why the Humanities?' "  I can personally attest that the melody is at least a half-century old, but I suspect its origins to be much earlier.  Some may find some clues in William Barrett's highly-readable _Irrational Man_ (1958) and _The Illusion of Technique: A Search for Meaning in a Technological Civilization_ (1979); and, from a different perspective, Stephen Jay Gould's  _The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister's Pox: Mending the Gap between Science and the Humanities_ (2003).  .  . Or maybe not.

REM

----------------------------------------------------
From: Richard Bowring <___@cam.ac.uk>
Date: October 26, 2006 3:14:34 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  The classics question

Dear All.
I am slightly bemused at the chit-chat aroused by this topic, so I shall make my own contribution short.
If you think the term 'classical' is the problem try calling it 'literary Japanese' and then say you would like your students to be literate.
Richard Bowring
Cambridge

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Jeremy Robinson" <___@wlu.edu>
Date: October 26, 2006 3:38:45 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: a practical side of the classics question

I always feel the same depression when confronted with the question of
what "use" it is to read the classics that I feel when I see
advertisements promoting music in public schools because it helps kids
with "real" subjects such as math.  The fact that many people don't
value music for its own sake is a larger problem than whether or not it
has an impact on kids' math ability, and a problem that can only be
solved by more exposure to music rather than by attempting to tie its
value to "more useful" fields of study.  And if the only use you can
find for reading the classics is that it might help you close a business
deal, then that is an indicator that the goal of a liberal arts
education is not being achieved.  But, as Robert Morrell pointed out,
that is a problem of defending the humanities in general rather than one
specific to classical Japanese literature.

As for the value of studying the classical language as opposed to the
"classics," I am happy that Anthony Bryant finally brought up the fact
that even a basic understanding of bungo tremendously enriches one's
understanding of the modern language.  There was a conversation during
the ATJ bungo special interest group at the most recent AAS meeting
regarding the possibility of incorporating basic bungo into advanced
modern Japanese courses.  I would certainly consider it more useful to
the development of linguistic competence, and with less of a possibility
to be learned by students on their own outside the classroom, than the
memorization of additional vocabulary.  Of course, I would hope that
such a move would be as an additional gateway to more concentrated study
of the classical language, but I am not so naive as to pretend it might
not become a replacement for those courses.  There is also the problem
of the perception, shared by many teachers of modern Japanese and
unfortunately encouraged by the way in which bungo is taught in the
Japanese public school system, that modern and classical Japanese are
fundamentally different animals.

Unfortunately, the analogy with axing Cervantes from the Spanish
curriculum breaks down with the simple fact that it requires far more
study of Japanese than it does for European languages to reach a level
of competence sufficient to understand even relatively simple modern
literary works in the original language.  If students are unable to read
even fairly accessible modern works until the fourth year of study, it
is difficult to make the case that concentrated study of bungo is
crucial to all undergraduate students of Japanese, regardless of their
specific area of focus.  So while I am hopeful that the increasing
numbers of students who come to college having already studied some
Japanese will change the situation, as a young premodernist on the job
market I have resigned myself to the unfortunate reality that bungo is
still a niche within a niche, and I will only be teaching it if I find a
position at a school with a Japanese graduate program.

Jeremy

Jeremy Robinson
East Asian Languages & Literatures
Washington & Lee University
The Red House
Lexington, VA  24450
540-458-5310

----------------------------------------------------
From: anthony.___@asu.edu
Date: October 26, 2006 4:54:45 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: a practical side of the classics question

We (at ASU) are apparently members of a small minority that not only offers
bungo to undergraduates but requires all our majors--some 75 of them at last
count--to take a one-semester introduction to bungo.  In my experience, most of
them enjoy the course, not least because it greatly enhances their understanding
of modern Japanese structures, conjugations, vocabulary items, idioms, proverbs,
etc., not to mention the fact that it gives them access to a vast body of
fascinating material.  Comparisons with Latin, Beowulf, and Chaucer seem off the
mark to me, because bungo was widely used in Japan well into the 20th century.
Would English departments allow their students to graduate without being able to
read 19th-century texts?  If Mark Twain had been Japanese, he would have written
in bungo.

Tony Chambers

----------------------------------------------------
From: Anthony Bryant <___@cox.net>
Date: October 26, 2006 5:56:02 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: a practical side of the classics question

anthony.___@asu.edu wrote:

Comparisons with Latin, Beowulf, and Chaucer seem off the
mark to me, because bungo was widely used in Japan well into the 20th century. Would English departments allow their students to graduate without being able to read 19th-century texts?  If Mark Twain had been Japanese, he would have written
in bungo.

A very good point.

I am eternally frustrated that I have very little grasp of kanbun, for example. What little I know is self taught, as despite repeated requests (I was a nuisance, I know...) it was never offered to us at grad school.

I've been doing some translating recently involving some WWII documents -- that's only 60 years ago -- and if I didn't know bungo, I'd be totally unable to do them; if I knew kanbun, I'd be in better shape.

Tony
--

Anthony J. Bryant
Website: http://www.sengokudaimyo.com

Effingham's Heraldic Avatars (...and stuff):
http://www.sengokudaimyo.com/avatarbiz.html

All sorts of cool things Japanese and SCA:
http://www.cafepress.com/sengokudaimyo

----------------------------------------------------
From: Gian Piero Persiani <___@columbia.edu>
Date: October 30, 2006 0:17:03 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: a practical side of the classics question

I think the question of what to tell administrators who seem eager
to shut down existing courses in premodern and/or are reluctant to
create new ones is secondary, in the literal sense of coming in
second. If there were a demand for these courses, schools and
departments would be more than happy to offer them. This leads back
to the initial question: are there any convincing reasons for
persuading prospective students that they should read this stuff?
Or better still, can we think of ways to make them arrive at
university with any idea at all of why studying 'old stuff' is
worth the effort? I think discussion among academics can answer the
problem only up to a point. What is most needed if the situation is
to change at all is a large-scale educational (marketing?) campaign
in favor of the study of the past in society at large.

Gian Piero Persiani

Michelle I Li <___@stanford.edu> wrote:
I'm presently teaching somewhere that cut its premodern Japanese
classes because of budget issues. Although I have a PhD in classical
literature, I'm presently teaching modern and contemporary literature
(Meiji-present). Since the department is "Foreign Languages," the reading and
classes are conducted mostly in Japanese. I suggested reintroducing classes
in classical literature (at least one per year), but the argument
against mine was that the students need modern Japanese and don't need
classical Japanese. The focus is on the practical and possible careers of
the students after college.
<snip>

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Dix Monika" <___@hotmail.com>
Date: October 30, 2006 0:37:19 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  ASCJ Panel Participants

Dear Members,

I am interested in submitting a panel proposal for next year's ASCJ conference which will be held June 23-24, 2007 at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo. The panel is entitled  "Gender Politics and Textual Visuality in Pre-modern Japan,"and I am looking for two participants who would like to join this panel. If you are interested, please contact me off-list at  m.___@sainsbury-institute.org. Thank you.

Monika Dix

Robert & Lisa Sainsbury Fellow
Sainsbury Institute
B 404 Brunei Gallery, SOAS
University of London
Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG
United Kingdom
T: +44 (020) 78984465
F: +44 (020) 78984499
m.___@sainsbury-institute.org
www.sainsbury-institute.org

----------------------------------------------------
From: "James Guthrie" <___@hotmail.com>
Date: October 30, 2006 4:47:45 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: a practical side of the classics question

This entire debate over the "utility" of the classics has been very well punctuated, I think, by Gian Piero's message.  It reminds me of a conversation that I was fortunate enough to be a part of a few years ago with Joan Piggott.  The topic was: how did we as specialists in the humanities compete against the hard sciences for funding?  Obviously, the hard sciences quite often end up with a "solid" product at the end of their research while we end up with "soft" ones.  The beauty of "solid" products is that they are tangible, marketable, and very often sellable to corporations who will in turn give those scholars more money for more research with (hopefully) similar results.  Even soft scientists like psychologists, sociologists, and business reseachers can occassionally develop a new idea or approach to a problem which, if successfully marketed, whould have commercial appeal to the business realm.  More often than not, all we end up with is a book or article which sells about 10,000 copies if we are really lucky, becuase we have written for a specialist audience.

The brick wall that we run into over and over again is two-fold.  First, as scholars of the humanities we have a limited pool for funds for research: our students (and those with similar interests) and the governments which our research in theory benefits.  Certainly, there will be students who buy the books we write, take our courses at schools, and therefore keep enough interest afloat for universities to continue to offer some of us employment.  But at the same time there is always competition, whether we acknowledge it or not, from other areas of the humanities for funds and students.
Our second obstacle is who we perceive as our market and how we perceive the fruits of our labor.  I have found over the course of my admittedly limited years of exposure to academia that we (and I include myself in this group) tend to consider that research for the sake of research itself is academia's greatest goal.  Admittedly, we occassionally bend the direction of research for the sake of audience or funding, but rarely does our research break into a completely new direction for the sake of chasing funding.  As classicists/historians/etc. we might have to teach modern language or culture in order to stay employed, but the direction of our research is largely up to us.  Moreover, when we write books and articles we write for each other.  The widest audience many of us write for is other people in our department (i.e. other historians, archeologist, literature specialists).  Many times over the course of my graduate education I was chastised for writing using broad strokes, and when writing for a scholarly audience that advice is appropriate.  However, if you want to write for a large audience you must use broad strokes because the average person really doesn't care about the nitty-gritty.  If we want a larger audience (and therefore, more support) we must create product for that larger audience.  If we as scholars want to change the direction of our field we need to change the way we do things, not continually ask the world to change for us.

I'm sure all of you (in America at least) have heard of the University of Phoenix.  I can almost hear many of you scoffing, "The University of Phoenix is not a real university!  It's an on-line university, it can't compare to our institutions!"  And it is certainly not a "high class university" or a venerable institution of higher education.  But it has over 50,000 students enrolled right now and it has only been around for 30 years!  Schools like this are successful because they recognized that the market for education changed and they changed to profit from it.  I'm not suggesting that we all run off to join on-line universities; honestly the way many of us teach probably wouldn't fit into that particular mode of education.  But we can recognize that our job market and the market for our research is changing and we have to change too or become extinct.

So how do we change?  First and foremost, we accept the fact that education is a business with customers, supply and demand, limited resources, and image concerns.  Gian Piero was right, we do need a marketing campaign; but it can't just be directed at our universities and it can't rely on the old stand-by of "learning about the past is important because we can learn from the mistakes of the past."
Instead, we need to ask ourselves, who is our audience?  To what do they best respond?  How have other fields been sucessful, what can we do to emulate that sucess, and how can we go beyond their success by utilizing our own strengths?

We as Japanologists should not be having a hard time selling ourselves to universities.  Only a truly stubborn administrator would turn a blind eye to the fact that Japanese culture is white hot with American youth now; and if we are willing to adapt to that market (like a good flexible business would), we could be very successful (enrollment =$ = success for the university).  If you don't think it's true consider this: I'm teaching Heian history to high school students now and they love it because it reflects what they read about in their manga and what they play in their video games.  Moreover, I can connect it to modern Japanese culture which they are totally into.  My class enrollment rate is set to soar for next year, even though there are parties within the administration of my schools that want to push out Japanese in favor of Chinese.  I have accepted the challenge to my field of study and am ready to adapt and overcome because that is how I will succeed.

Every single one of you reading this posting is an intelligent and flexible person, otherwise you most likely wouldn't be in this field of study.  As intelligent and flexible people, we need to clearly define our challenges at both the individual and universal field level and then overcome them.

Best Regards,

James P. Guthrie
Chesterfield County Schools
Virginia Commonwealth University
----------------------------------------------------
From: Alan Cummings <___@tashiro.demon.co.uk>
Date: October 30, 2006 6:00:40 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Heian literature & homesexuality

An undergraduate student of mine has expressed an interest in writing about
lesbianism as expressed in Heian literature. My initial reaction was to
encourage a widening of the topic to look at relationships between women
through their exchanges of poetry, but I also have a vague memory of once
reading something on this topic in English (apart from Liza Dalby's
imagining in The Tale of Murasaki), perhaps in a review or article, but
can't for the life of me locate the reference. Any ideas?
Many thanks for any replies.

Alan Cummings
SOAS

----------------------------------------------------
From: Michael Watson <___@k.meijigakuin.ac.jp>
Date: October 30, 2006 19:52:25 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  ASCJ call for papers

The request for co-panelists for ASCJ reminds me that I have been amiss in not reminding members of pmjs about the "Asian Studies Conference Japan" to be held June 23-24, 2007, at Meiji Gakuin University--not at my campus in Yokohama but at the more convenient Shirokane campus in Tokyo.

We are now accepting proposals for panels, roundtables, and individual presentations. Explanation and online proposal forms are given on the website:
http://www.meijigakuin.ac.jp/~ascj/

Please note that the deadline for us to receive completed applications is November 25.

This will be the eleventh annual meeting of ASCJ, but the first hosted at my university.
I hope to see many of you there.

Michael Watson
Faculty of International Studies
Meiji Gakuin University, Yokohama
___@k.meijigakuin.ac.jp

From: Gil Schneider <___@swissonline.ch>
Date: October 30, 2006 23:38:05 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Heian literature & homesexuality

The following websites, although not directly relating to the topic in question, may be helpful to find more resources:

http://www.pitaka.ch/gay.htm
http://www.buddhanet.net/homosexu.htm
http://www.westernbuddhistreview.com/vol3/homosexuality.html
http://www.aasianst.org/absts/1996abst/japan/JTOC.htm (cf. session 9)

Also, Prof. Paul G. Schalow (http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~schalow/cv/), published some articles on gender studies.

Mark J. McLelland published a book called "Male Homosexuality in Modern Japan: Cultural Myths and Social Realities" some time ago. It may have some references to lesbianism (not sure, did no read this book myself).

Gil Schneider
Padova

Alan Cummings wrote:
An undergraduate student of mine has expressed an interest in writing about
lesbianism as expressed in Heian literature. My initial reaction was to
encourage a widening of the topic to look at relationships between women
through their exchanges of poetry, but I also have a vague memory of once
reading something on this topic in English (apart from Liza Dalby's
imagining in The Tale of Murasaki), perhaps in a review or article, but
can't for the life of me locate the reference. Any ideas?
Many thanks for any replies.

Alan Cummings
SOAS
----------------------------------------------------
From: "Jeremy Robinson" <___@wlu.edu>
Date: October 30, 2006 23:59:24 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Heian literature & homesexuality

Although I was not present and thus can not speak to the content, I know Edith Sarra gave a presentation at the 2005 EAJS entitled "Homosocial, Homoerotic Heroines and the Undoing of the Hero as Irogonomi"  Her abstract can be found here: http://www.univie.ac.at/eajs/sections/abstracts/Section_3b/3b_5.htm

Jeremy

Jeremy Robinson
East Asian Languages & Literatures
Washington & Lee University
The Red House
Lexington, VA  24450
540-458-5310
----------------------------------------------------
From: Stephen Miller <___@asianlan.umass.edu>
Date: October 31, 2006 0:24:15 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Lesbianism in Heian literature

"Lesbianism"--or same sex acts of sexuality between women--is of course a
misnomer when applied to the Heian period.  "Lesbian" is a modern term for one
type of sexual self-identity that would not have been relevant to Heian women.
As for same-sex acts between women described in Heian literature, I am not aware
of any obvious ones.  But a "queer" reading of female friendships in that
period--which I have not done--might lead to some different interpretations of
what that friendship meant.  But this is only a suggestion; I don't know if it's
actually the case or not.

The only book-length study in English of lesbianism in modern Japan (that I know
of) is by Sharon Chalmers and is called "Emerging Lesbian Voices in
Japan."  (Glancing through her bibliography, I noticed a couple of works that
might be useful to look into [an issue of the magazine "imago"--1991--called
'Rezubian' and Kakefuda Hiroko's "Rezubian de aru to iu koto"], but I have not
read these myself.)

Best,
Stephen Miller

Assistant Professor
Japanese Language and Literature
440 Herter Hall
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003
Phone: 413-545-4953
Fax: 413-545-4975
----------------------------------------------------
From: "thomas.lamarre" <thomas.___@mcgill.ca>
Date: October 31, 2006 0:30:05 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Heian literature & homesexuality

Alan,

The book that caused something of a scandal in Japan for its presentation of
lesbianism among court women in Genji monogatari and Murasaki Shikibu nikki
(and scholars are still somewhat leery of its scholarship, it seems) is:
Komashaku Kimi, 'Murasaki Shiki no messeeji' Asahi sensho 422 (Tokyo: Asahi
shinbunsha, 1991).

Tom
----------------------------------------------------
From: "William J. Higginson" <___@att.net>
Date: October 31, 2006 2:56:08 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: a practical side of the classics question

As a writer (poet/translator/critic) who makes the majority of his living from carrying poetry (mine and others') into schools, workshopping students in their writing and oral presentation of poetry, I have been following "the classics question" with great interest. So far, I've seen no need to add my two cents, but with the latest digest (30 Oct) and the wonderfully provocative messages of Gian Piero Persiani and James Guthrie, I think I might add something useful.

Prof. Guthrie concludes: "Every single one of you reading this posting is an intelligent and flexible person, otherwise you most likely wouldn't be in this field of study.  As intelligent and flexible people, we need to clearly define our challenges at both the individual and universal field level and then overcome them."

Sometimes, it's as simple as finding a hook. In the field of poetry, normally a groaner in our high schools, a new development has begun to radically alter the landscape. As with Prof. Guthrie's presentation of Heian culture in a way that ties in with our young-people's interest in hot Japanese cultural phenomena, from anime to video games, here in  the US a poetry movement, based on the current popularity of SLAM poetry and rap music, is growing. The US National Endowment for the Arts, now headed by poet and critic Dana Gioia, and the Poetry Foundation, publishers of the formerly stodgy Poetry Magazine but recently gifted with millions of dollars by bequest, have teamed up to capitalize on this interest. By building a national competition for poetry recitation, with serious rules and multi-tiered contests that begin in high-school English classrooms, with a $20,000 scholarship top national prize and other rewards along the way, the NEA and Poetry Foundation have guaranteed that a certain percentage of English teachers will devote serious attention to poetry. They now encourage students to understand poems on a personal level, to memorize and recite those poems, and so on. The hook may be SLAM and rap, but the payoff comes when students select *poems authorized for the competition*, which may be found in an anthology and on a web site published for the purpose. These are highly regarded classic and modern poems which express a wide range of understandings of the human condition.  Details may be found online at http://www.poetryoutloud.org.

In my home state of New Jersey, the state council on the arts and others involved in sending artists into schools have teamed to send poets and performing artists into schools who request them, to assist teachers and students in preparing for the Poetry Out Loud contests. Granted, we are not delighted to be dealing with contests--yet another form of "testing" and, for us, "teaching to the test". However, along the way, students in participating schools are required to identify and memorize poems that they find meaningful, poems from a canon selected on the basis of merit by experienced poets, critics, and teachers. And, while only one or two students from any given class of 20-30 will be selected to go beyond their own classroom competitions, every student involved discovers the possibility and pleasures of memorization and presentation, and ultimately gains knowledge of our culture and builds their own abilities. And we have dramatically shifted the classroom discussion of poems from deadly analysis to living meaning in the lives of the readers and their audience, while reviving the sense of poetry as an oral art. As a result, we have helped all participating students to improve their skills and self-confidence in the area of public speaking, one of the highest pay-offs available in our culture.

As educators, what else do we want to sell?

I suspect that Prof. Guthrie's h.s. students will be well prepared to look for and enroll in classics courses in college. Hopefully, the same will be true for the winners at the various levels of Poetry Out Loud competitions, as well as for some of their classmates, who attend said competitions with the fervor and passion of h.s. football or basketball audiences.

Who needs the classics, and why? If we find the hook that works for our student-clients and capitalize on it by helping them develop understanding and skills they appreciate, we won't be asked.

Best to all,
Bill Higginson

From: "Gian Piero Persiani" <___@columbia.edu>
Date: November 1, 2006 11:36:09 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: a practical side of the classics question

Thank you,  Mr. Higginson, for sharing information on these wonderful
initiatives. Looking around on the web I came across another very
interesting initiative by the Classics Faculty at Oxford University. It is
an outreach program that aims to "raise the profile of Classics at Oxford in
schools and to alert school children of all educational backgrounds to the
opportunities offered by a Classics degree." The group offers school talks,
distributes information about Classics-related events, and engages in a
range of other similar "promotional" activities:

http://www.classics.ox.ac.uk/outreach/about.html

It also runs a website with valuable resources on many of the issues that
were brought up in this thread:

http://www.classics.ac.uk/index.html


I hope you will all find it interesting.

Best wishes,

Gian Piero Persiani

----------------------------------------------------
From: Lewis Cook <___@earthlink.net>
Date: November 1, 2006 14:31:06 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: a practical side of the classics question


On Oct 29, 2006, at 2:47 PM, James Guthrie wrote:

This entire debate over the "utility" of the classics has been very well punctuated, I think, by Gian Piero's message.  It reminds me of a conversation that I was fortunate enough to be a part of a few years ago with Joan Piggott.  The topic was: how did we as specialists in the humanities compete against the hard sciences for funding?  Obviously, the hard sciences quite often end up with a "solid" product at the end of their research while we end up with "soft" ones.  The beauty of "solid" products is that they are tangible, marketable, and very often sellable to corporations who will in turn give those scholars more money for more research with (hopefully) similar results.  Even soft scientists like psychologists, sociologists, and business reseachers can occassionally develop a new idea or approach to a problem which, if successfully marketed, whould have commercial appeal to the business realm.  More often than not, all we end up with is a book or article which sells about 10,000 copies if we are really lucky, becuase we have written for a specialist audience.

May I assume "about 10,000" above is a typo? I would guess that the decimal point should be moved at least one place to the left, even on an optimistic calculation.

And at the risk of sounding like a fossil (not to say coprolite, to raise the risk to near certainty), let me respond to the broader question of the marketability of all things classical by quoting a statement from _The Trivium_, a wonderfully contrarian textbook of Aristotelian logic, grammar and rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph, C.S.C., Ph.D., itself a hoary classic first published in 1937 (yet still in print): "The utilitarian or servile arts enable one to be a servant - of another person, of the state, of a corporation, or of a business - and to earn a living. The liberal arts, in contrast, teach one how to live; they train the faculties and bring them to perfection; they enable a person to rise above his [sic. - think 1937] material environment to live an intellectual, a rational, and therefore a free life in gaining truth."

Wide-eyed idealism has its place, of course, but there's no reason for not using whatever expedient means we have - pop culture, anime, manga, all is fair game - to seduce our future customers, maybe even a few recruits, while they are young and malleable.

Then again, I can't help but recall how over-the-top the joke seemed, a mere 10 years ago, when novelist Jane Smiley had the hard-nosed economics professor (or was it the provost?) at her fictional Moo University insist on referring to students as "the customers" (_Moo_). You gotta feel sorry for our satirists when reality is never more than a step or two behind parody...

L Cook

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Peter McMillan" <___@parkcity.ne.jp>
Date: October 31, 2006 23:40:05 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs] Hyakunin Isshu

Dear Subscribers of the List:

I would be most grateful if subscribers could let me know if there is a consensus as to what is the most authoritative Japanese edition of the _Hyakunin Isshu_.

Also if subscribers could suggest where I might find the earliest manuscripts and editions written in hentaigana and earliest illustrations and paintings based on the text.

Thank you.

Peter McMillan
___@parkcity.ne.jp

----------------------------------------------------
From: Sarah Frederick <___@bu.edu>
Date: November 2, 2006 0:12:22 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Job Posting

Members of this list may be interested in this newly-created position in
Japanese literature in my department.  Applications before December 1 would
be appreciated, but applications will be accepted until the 15th because of
the AAS Newsletter distribution date.  Please share the information with
colleagues or students who might be good candidates.  B.U. has a vibrant
undergraduate program with over 600 in enrollments in Japanese language and
literature courses each year, with a classical Japanese literature survey
that draws a large number of students every year.  Boston area Japanese
studies library and cultural resources as well as membership in the Kyoto
Consortium for Japanese Studies are additional strengths of the program that
I enjoy. For more information about the department please see
www.bu.edu/mfll or feel free to contact me directly with any questions you
might have.


JAPANESE LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE

Boston University seeks a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Japanese
language and literature to begin September 2007. Expertise in pre-modern
literature or comparative literature preferred. Native or near-native
fluency in Japanese language and PhD at time of appointment. Send cover
letter, CV, recent teaching evaluations, and three letters of recommendation
to T. Jefferson Kline, Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, Boston
University, 718 Commonwealth Av, Boston, MA 02215. Closing date 12/15/06.

Sarah Frederick
Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature
Boston University
___@bu.edu

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Alexander Vovin" <___@gmail.com>
Date: November 6, 2006 9:27:43 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Hyakunin Isshu

I do not know much about the history of the textual transmission of
the Hyakunin Isshu, as it is outside of my period of specialization,
but I vaguely remember that one of the earliest (if not the earliest)
surviving manuscripts is held in Kunaichoo and dates back to late 14th
c. Its name escapes me for the moment, but there is another relatively
early manuscript attributed to Kensai (兼載), who lived in the late 15th
-- early 16th c. This manuscript also belongs to Kunaichoo, but its
facsimile with transliteration and commentary is readily available
from  新典社 for an incredibly low price of 700 yen:

百人一首 (兼載筆)
有吉保、犬飼廉、橋本不美男 校注
新典社
ISBN 4-7879-0204-4

Hope this helps,

Best wishes,

============
Alexander Vovin
Professor of East Asian Languages
University of Hawaii at Manoa

From: Lawrence Marceau <l.___@auckland.ac.nz>
Date: November 6, 2006 11:30:13 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Hyakunin Isshu

Dear Peter,

    To follow up on Alexander Vovin's comments, I would suggest the first place for you to go in researching the collection is Joshua Mostow's _Pictures of the Heart: The Hyakunin isshu in Words and Images_ (Honolulu: U of Hawai'i P, 1996?).  I don't have the book nearby right now, but I'm sure it provides all of the bibliographical information you are looking for.

    I should mention, though, that searching for "original" texts and "most authoritative" examples of manuscripts is usually not as meaningful (or interesting) as considering texts as fluid entities that change and transform according to tastes in readership.  The card game that we enjoy today only appeared after the introduction of playing cards from European merchants in the 16th century.

    (Higuchi Yoshimaro mentions, though, in the Iwanami bunko collection, _Ocho shuka sen_王朝秀歌選, that one of the shikishi portrait/poems from the series, believed to have been done by Teika himself, survives.  It is of the poem by Cloistered Emperor Go-toba.)

    Best,

    Lawrence Marceau

Peter McMillan wrote:
Dear Subscribers of the List:
I would be most grateful if subscribers could let me know if there is a consensus as to what is the most authoritative Japanese edition of the _Hyakunin Isshu_.
Also if subscribers could suggest where I might find the earliest manuscripts and editions written in hentaigana and earliest illustrations and paintings based on the text.
Thank you.
Peter McMillan
___@parkcity.ne.jp
----------------------------------------------------
From: "Michael Smitka" <___@wlu.edu>
Date: November 6, 2006 12:42:27 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Hyakunin Isshu

One place that ought to have such information is the newish hyakunin isshu museum in Kyoto, quite a spectacular high-tech exhibit that at the height of fall colors should have a magnificent garden and view of hills of Arashiyama. They have on exhibit karuta from lots of different eras.

   http://www.shigureden.com

It is the "Ogura Hyakunin Isshu Hall of Fame Shigure-den".

(My regular email is down so this may be mojibake)

小倉百人一首殿堂・時雨殿
===============
Michael Smitka
Fulbright Fellow and Visiting Researcher
Chiba University Faculty of Law and Economics
1-33 Yayoi-cho, Inage-ku
Chiba, Japan 263-8522

tel: 080-5440-3702
skype: jidoshasangyo [free from US]
home affiliation:
Professor of Economics, Washington & Lee University, Lexington VA 24450-0303 USA
===============================
----------------------------------------------------
From: Max Moerman <___@barnard.edu>
Date: November 6, 2006 23:13:55 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Lecture at Donald Keene Center by  Jacqueline Stone
The Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture is pleased to announce a third lecture in the "Spiritual Matters: Material Culture and Japanese Religion" series.

Nichiren's "Great Mandala": Practice, Community, and Lineage

Lecturer: Jacqueline Stone (Professor of Japanese Religions, Princeton University)

The "great mandala" (daimandara) devised by the Buddhist teacher Nichiren (1222-1282) depicts the assembly of the Lotus Sūtra on Sacred Vulture Peak. Inscribed entirely in characters, it is at once both sacred text and sacred object. In Nichiren's lifetime, it not only served as a personal object of worship for his followers but united them as a community; in the later Nichiren tradition, it has also played a key role in lineage transmission and as a marker of sectarian identity.

Date: Thursday, November 9th

Time: 6:00 - 7:30 PM

Location: 403 Kent Hall, Columbia University (116th and Amsterdam)

Map: http://www.columbia.edu/about_columbia/map/kent.html

 Please visit www.donaldkeenecenter.org for additional information.
The Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture
507 Kent Hall
Columbia University
New York, NY 10027
Tel: 212-854-5036
Fax: 212-854-4019
----------------------------------------------------

From: David Allwright <___@yahoo.com>
Date: November 7, 2006 0:25:17 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Heian Painter/Calligrapher Mindset

As part of my thesis, I am creating a small section of a narrative scroll based upon the Tale of Genji emaki. Currently I am looking at the decorative elements that were used, like the use of marbled paper, gold leafing and stencilling that complemented the cursive calligraphy. Right now I am stuck on finding a way to duplicate the apparent randomness that was used with some of these decorate elements.

I am less concerned with the exact techniques that were used during the Heian time period but have a keen interest in the spirit of the artist. It would be very beneficial to understand the overall goal that the artist was aiming at and the mental steps or processes that were used for getting there. More of the "do".

I have seen some references to the spirit of the calligrapher. For example, the process of sitting in seiza and clearing the mind prior to working with the brush. I have also read how one of the goals of ikebana is to create a random or natural display. Another author has mentioned that the Japanese artist was less concerned with creating an object than finding the truth through his/her method.

I would be interested if anyone has run across references to this artistic mindset or has any thoughts on the subject.

Many thanks,

David Allwright

----------------------------------------------------
From: Lawrence Marceau <l.___@auckland.ac.nz>
Date: November 8, 2006 4:55:50 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Heian Painter/Calligrapher Mindset

Dear David,

    I can't help you with "the spirit of the artist" much, but with regard to actual materials and techniques, a series of DVDs exists that covers the process of creating replicas of the Tale of Genji scrolls.  The series goes into great detail both into the physicality of the paper, pigments, and other materials employed in creating the scrolls, and some detail into the decisions made by artists when they are reconstructing parts of the scrolls for which no evidence survives as to what was originally there.

    The reconstructed scrolls are stunning, and very different from what we imagine when we look at the originals today.

    The series is called, "Yomigaeru Genji monogatari emaki," and is in a set of 5 DVDs marketed by NHK.  No subtitles, unfortunately.  (It's also expensive.)

    Lawrence Marceau

David Allwright wrote:
As part of my thesis, I am creating a small section of a narrative scroll based upon the Tale of Genji emaki. Currently I am looking at the decorative elements that were used, like the use of marbled paper, gold leafing and stencilling that complemented the cursive calligraphy. Right now I am stuck on finding a way to duplicate the apparent randomness that was used with some of these decorate elements.
 I am less concerned with the exact techniques that were used during the Heian time period but have a keen interest in the spirit of the artist. It would be very beneficial to understand the overall goal that the artist was aiming at and the mental steps or processes that were used for getting there. More of the "do".
 I have seen some references to the spirit of the calligrapher. For example, the process of sitting in seiza and clearing the mind prior to working with the brush. I have also read how one of the goals of ikebana is to create a random or natural display. Another author has mentioned that the Japanese artist was less concerned with creating an object than finding the truth through his/her method.
 I would be interested if anyone has run across references to this artistic mindset or has any thoughts on the subject.
 Many thanks,
 David Allwright
---------------------------------------------------
From: Thomas Howell <___@earthlink.net>
Date: November 8, 2006 6:31:34 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Heian Painter/Calligrapher Mindset


On Nov 6, 2006, at 7:25 AM, David Allwright wrote:
Right now I am stuck on finding a way to duplicate the apparent randomness that was used with some of these decorate elements.

Just out of curiosity: I know this might be hard to do without resort to illustrations, but can you describe what you mean by apparent randomness -- some examples? Any why is that randomness harder to duplicate, I assume using material techniques, then areas you might consider non-random?

Tom Howell
---------------------------------------------------
From: "Joseph T. Sorensen" <___@ucdavis.edu>
Date: November 8, 2006 7:18:41 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Heian Painter/Calligrapher Mindset


Just to follow up on Professor Marceau's contribution:
There is a relatively affordable book (2100 yen) published earlier this year based on the series.
The book has extremely vibrant pictures of what the paintings might have originally looked like
(off-putting to some I'm sure, like the cleaned-up Sistine Chapel ceilings).

http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/4140810882/ref=pd_sim_b_4/249-8123506-2416346

The 5-DVD box set is "only" 23,625 yen at amazon japan (don't forget to follow the link through
the PMJS site if you do purchase, so Michael can get a small return!).

http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/B000EBFP4G/sr=8-2/qid=1162936650/
ref=sr_1_2/249-8123506-2416346?ie=UTF8&s=dvd

____________________________________________
Joseph T. Sorensen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Major Advisor of Japanese
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
5th Floor Sproul Hall, One Shields Avenue
University of California, Davis  95616
Phone:  (530) 752-0313
Email:  ___@ucdavis.edu

---------------------------------------------------
From: "Maria Petrucci" <___@telus.net>
Date: November 8, 2006 6:02:28 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  ASCJ co-panelist search

Dear All,
 I would like to find co-panelists for ASCJ for a  panel dealing broadly with “Piracy in Pre-modern Japan and its repercussions in East Asia: privateers, buccaneers and illicit trade”. My specialization is Sengoku Jidai’s Christianity and Piracy and currently I am a PhD student in the University of British Columbia, History Department.

Best Regards,

Maria Petrucci

___@telus.net

---------------------------------------------------
From: "William Lee" <___@ms.umanitoba.ca>
Date: November 9, 2006 3:36:02 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  invitation for co-panelists

I am interested in submitting a proposal for a panel on Japanese theatre/performing arts for next year's ASCJ conference to be held June 23-24, 2007 at Meiji Gakuin
University in Tokyo. My interest is primarily in kabuki, and the tentative title for the panel is "Kabuki as History and the History of Kabuki."  The title could be changed, however, it those working on other performance genres are interested, in which case I would suggest as an alternative title: "The Play of Genres/Styles:  Cross-fertilization in the History of the Japanese Performing Arts."
If you are interested in being part of this panel, please contact me at:
___@ms.umanitoba.ca

Thanks.

William Lee
Asian Studies Centre
University of Manitoba
Tel. (204)474-6427 Fax. (204)474-7601
___@ms.umanitoba.ca
----------------------------------------------------
From: Meredith McKinney <___@braidwood.net.au>
Date: November 18, 2006 19:16:02 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Pillow Book out

Just to let everyone know that the new translation of Makura no Soshi is now out from Penguin Classics UK at last (under the title THE PILLOW BOOK).  It's the first complete translation in English, and I hope provides a fresh take on the work. I gather it will be a few months before it's published by Penguin Classics in the US, but you can order the UK edition from Amazon etc. meanwhile.

Meredith McKinney

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Matthew Stavros (private account)" <___@gmail.com>
Date: November 18, 2006 20:45:43 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Pillow Book out

Bravo. And just on time for a class I'm developing on early Japan ("Traditions and Aesthetics"). Expect a big order from the University of Sydney next fall (March!).

Matthew Stavros
----------------------------------------------------
From: Michelle I Li <___@stanford.edu>
Date: November 18, 2006 22:31:21 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Pillow Book out

It's exciting to have a new translation of Makura no Soshi out. I'm looking
forward to seeing it. However, wasn't the translation by Ivan Morris
originally complete in a 2 volume set? Afterwards, an abridged version came
out . . . . I remember searching for the complete translation as an
undergraduate a long time ago. Michelle

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Dennis Darling" <___@hotmail.com>
Date: November 18, 2006 23:18:38 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Pillow Book out

According to Wm. Theodore De Bary's foreword to Ivan Morris's translation, published in two volumes by Columbia University Press in 1967, it is indeed a complete translation.Vol. 1 consists of an introduction and the translation; vol. 2 is notes, appendixes, bibliography and index-glossary.

Regards,

Dennis Darling

----------------------------------------------------
From: John Wallace <___@berkeley.edu>
Date: November 19, 2006 0:44:20 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Pillow Book out

Yes, I think Morris's two volume set should be considered complete though he switched sections around. There are 326 sections in his two volume set. There are of course a number of versions of Makura, and I don't know what text is the teihon for the new complete translation, but you are right, Michelle.

John Wallace

On Nov 18, 2006, at 5:31 AM, Michelle I Li wrote:

It's exciting to have a new translation of Makura no Soshi out. I'm looking
forward to seeing it. However, wasn't the translation by Ivan Morris
originally complete in a 2 volume set? Afterwards, an abridged version came
out . . . . I remember searching for the complete translation as an
undergraduate a long time ago. Michelle

----------------------------------------------------
From: "Jos Vos" <___@hotmail.com>
Date: November 19, 2006 17:33:08 GMT+0000
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Pillow Book out

Congratulations with your new translation!

It will be fascinating to see your 'fresh take' on the Pillow Book. Like
many others, I originally got to know this text via Ivan Morris'
translation, and I innocently assumed that the voice of the original author
was similar to Morris's voice. But as soon as I 'had a go' at some sections
of the Japanese text, I discovered that things were not quite that simple.
For one thing, Ivan Morris is thoroughly British, not just in the way he
uses titles ('Lady Saisho', 'the Lady of the Shigei Sha' etc.) but also in
his vocabulary and in the overall tone of his sentences.

Compare these two translations of the opening paragraph of 'Katawara itaki
mono' (Section 101 in the 1974 NKBZ edition, p. 216):

Translation A: 'EMBARRASSING THINGS'

While entertaining a visitor, one hears some servants chatting without any
restraint in one of the back rooms. It is embarrassing to know that one's
visitor can overhear. But how to stop them?
(from MORRIS; section 92 in his original two-volume edition)

Translation B: 'THINGS THAT MAKE ONE UNCOMFORTABLE'

While conversing with a guest whom one has received, one hears people inside
the house saying all sorts of indiscreet things. It is irritating to have no
way of shutting them up.
(from HELEN CRAIG MCCULLOUGH, CLASSICAL JAPANESE PROSE - AN ANTHOLOGY,
p.178)

Although I am not in a position to compare the ACCURACY of these fragments
(Helen McCullough certainly provides an accurate translation of the NKBZ
text, but Morris made use of earlier Japanese editions which I do not have
in front of me), it seems undeniable that, in McCullough's hands, Sei
Shonagon generally sounds drier and more level-headed (more American,
perhaps?) than in Morris's.

We all know that Sei Shonagon was a woman with strong opinions. I can't wait
to find out with what kind of voice she speaks in Meredith McKinney's new
translation!

With kind regards,
Jos Vos

----------------------------------------------------
From: Richard Bowring <___@cam.ac.uk>
Date: November 19, 2006 4:16:48 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Pillow Book out

I was interested in this comment. I'm not sure I agree. She comes across as a woman of strong opinions in the English translations, perhaps, but I shall be interested in whether the new translation has in fact managed to reduce the insistent 'I' of previous attempts. The classical Japanese is more often than not entirely devoid of a narratorial/authorial voice.
Richard Bowring
University of Cambridge

We all know that Sei Shonagon was a woman with strong opinions. I can't wait to find out with what kind of voice she speaks in Meredith McKinney's new translation!

With kind regards,
Jos Vos

----------------------------------------------------
From: "andrew edmund goble" <___@uoregon.edu>
Date: November 19, 2006 4:47:35 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Pillow Book out

I'm quite interested in these comments that seem to type-cast and stereotype English translations based upon an assumed national character. Is there then to be a preferred type of translation, or an assumed inadequacy of translation, becaus eof assumed national origin of the translator? I am under the impression that different translators not infrequently render Japanese slightly differently, even if those translators are known to be from the same country. Are we then to note regional differences in English use,

And in any event, what is the point of the comment?

Andrew Goble

Jos Vos" <___@hotmail.com> wrote:

It will be fascinating to see your 'fresh take' on the Pillow Book. Like
many others, I originally got to know this text via Ivan Morris'
translation, and I innocently assumed that the voice of the original author
was similar to Morris's voice. But as soon as I 'had a go' at some sections
of the Japanese text, I discovered that things were not quite that simple.
For one thing, Ivan Morris is thoroughly British <....>

Andrew Edmund Goble
Associate Profesor of Japanese History and of Religious Studies
Deparment of History
1288 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1288

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From: "Jos Vos" <___@hotmail.com>
Date: November 19, 2006 8:49:27 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Pillow Book out

The point of my comments was, above all, to express feelings of joy and curiosity about the new translation of  MAKURA NO SOSHI.

I totally understand that I have been rash in calling Sei Shonagon a woman 'with strong opinions' and I thank Richard Bowring for calling me to task. He is, of course, correct in pointing out that "the classical Japanese is more often than not entirely devoid of a narratorial/authorial voice"

Nine or ten years ago there appeared a new English translation  of  KAGERO NIKKI which aimed at being more faithful to the original Japanese text than previous versions. Among other things, this new translation clearly attempted to "reduce the insistent I". Many readers must have experienced this version as a revelation; I certainly did, and as soon as Meredith McKinney's message reached me this afternoon, I wondered if her new translation of the Pillow Book could have a similarly powerful effect.

My remark about the possibility of Helen Craig McCullough's version of the Pillow Book sounding "American" was merely tongue-in-cheek. I assumed this would be obvious from the context, and I am sorry if I have caused confusion. In fact I am a great admirer of Professor McCullough's work, which, as far as I can tell, does not bear any regional stamp at all.

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From: John Wallace <___@berkeley.edu>
Date: November 19, 2006 8:58:04 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Pillow Book out

I also wonder about the "strong opinions." I think of her as speaking from the ascendent status of her, Teishi's, salon.

John Wallace


On Nov 18, 2006, at 11:16 AM, Richard Bowring wrote:

I was interested in this comment. I'm not sure I agree. She comes across as a woman of strong opinions in the English translations, perhaps, but I shall be interested in whether the new translation has in fact managed to reduce the insistent 'I' of previous attempts. The classical Japanese is more often than not entirely devoid of a narratorial/authorial voice.


Jos Vos wrote:

We all know that Sei Shonagon was a woman with strong opinions. I can't wait to find out with what kind of voice she speaks in Meredith McKinney's new translation!

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From: "James Guthrie" <___@hotmail.com>
Date: November 19, 2006 13:14:25 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Pillow Book out

I think Jos is dead on in assessing Sei Shonagon as a woman of strong opinions.    When you read the message as well as the voice that comes across in McCullough's translation, it is one that does not pull punches and is very straight forward in its expressions.  When you compare that to the voice that comes across when reading the works of her contemporaries (also translated by McCullough), there is an obvious difference.  Now we could certainly attribute some of this to a predisposition by McCullough in her translation with regard to her own feelings towards Sei Shonagon, but not all of it.
Also, we shouldn't forget that English tends to be a very "I" centered language; sentences simply aren't complete without a subject in English, right?  But of course, Japanese doesn't suffer from that limitation, so translators are bound to put more "I" (by which I mean emphasis on the individual's voice) into their translations than the orginal author.

Best,
James Guthrie

P.S. For what it is worth, whenever my high school students read the Pillow Book, they think that Sei Shonagon is beyond just strong opinions and is a bit of a witch (obviously not their original choice of words).

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From: Noel Pinnington <___@u.arizona.edu>
Date: November 19, 2006 14:13:15 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Pillow Book out

Mmm, well it is a bit more complex than that isn't it. She keeps saying:
this is okashi, that is okashi. So you can understand what she was doing as
participating in the poetic tradition, ie keeping notes on things thought to
be okashi. In that case these are not so much expressions of her opinions,
rather records of the aesthetics of her milieu. (Indeed, looking at the more
biographical passages, one could interpret her as a person far from
opinionated, but rather cravenly longing to be "right on" in her aesthetic
sense, profoundly conventional).  But if you translate these as "I find the
morning in spring to be absolutely charming," (ie haru wa okashi to
omoimasu) etc., it all comes across rather differently. This is not to say
that there are realms outside the questions of proper etiquette and
aesthetic taste where she does not have strong opinions.

After a few glasses of red wine,
Noel Pinnington

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From: Meredith McKinney <___@braidwood.net.au>
Date: November 19, 2006 17:06:59 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Pillow Book

Apologies for the confusion! Yes indeed, the 2 vol. Morris Pillow Book IS 'complete', of course. I should have added 'of the Sankanbon' to my statement. (Sankanbon now generally treated as the preferred version. Morris' is an odd amalgam of Noinbon and Sankanbon .) And, of course, first complete in Penguin.

Meredith McKinney

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From: "Rein Raud" <rein.___@helsinki.fi>
Date: November 19, 2006 17:59:12 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Pillow Book out


There are more issues here than one. First of all, a completely adequate translation of the Pillow Book would be unreadable for a Western reader, because of the continuous repetitions of ito okashi, ito medetashi, ito this, ito that. So a translator inevitably has to compromise and we really cannot blame earlier translations for adopting the texts to the cultural codes of their time, even if they seem inadequate to our eyes. But reading the Japanese text, one somehow gets used to the constant repetitions, and they even start to provide the text with a background rhythm, a continuity in the context of linguistic indeterminacy that couldn't possibly happen in any English (or probably Indo-European) text, where the reader feels uncomfortable if s/he does not know precisely who and what is where and how. Secondly, a similar urge for overdetermination is probably also the reason why "I's" abound in translations of all classical texts, even waka, where personal pronouns, especially of the first person, are extremely seldom used in the originals. And perhaps the degree of determinacy also distinguishes  between the "Britishness" and "Americanness" of translations. In British English, it seems much more permissible to translate for example "miwataseba..." as "when one looks..." while American translators more often render it by "when I look..." because the indeterminacy is stylistically less acceptable to the reader.

As to Sei and strong opinions, I tend to agree that this is at least the impression she wanted to convey of herself. This is fairly obvious from the last chapter on how the manuscript entered circulation, and there are numerous other episodes in the book where she opposes her higher degree of sensitivity to the other ladies of Sadako's retinue, for example my personal favourite dan 100 (NKBT) on looking at "aki no tsuki no kokoro". It is a more interesting question, to paraphrase Noel, of whether her "strong" opinions also necessarily had to be somehow "correct" for the text to gain the status it did. I'd say yes. In a situation where there were simultaneously several competing groups of ladies around and sensitivity was a source of status, it seems to have been necessary, in order to "succeed", to make statements that are both (slightly) divergent from the norm, but in accordance with its "inner logic" or aesthetic principles (dwellings that are not properly taken care of are somehow superior to clean and orderly ones, dan 178 - hardly the general practice of successful inhabitants of the court?). So, in a way, to have idiosyncratic opinions was probably also a normative practice (as "dressing differently" is in youth subcultures), but these opinions had to accord with the code to be accepted. The "mushi mezuru himegimi" - the girl who preferred playing with caterpillars to conventional social interaction (Tsutsumi dainagon monogatari) - certainly did not earn very high marks for her much more eccentric style than Sei's ever was.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the translation - it is already available over our local Estonian internet bookstore:)))

Best regards,

Rein Raud

From: "Adrian Pinnington" <___@hotmail.com>
Date: November 20, 2006 0:10:45 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  re Pillow Book Out

I actually wrote a brief article on all the English translations of the Pillow Book for the 'Encyclopedia of Literary Translation into English' (Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000), -- the earliest being that by Aston and Purcell made in 1873 -- but when I was doing the work for that article, I remember noticing that all the versions seemed rather different from the Japanese text I was looking at. In fact, it seemed to me that all of the English translations up to that date had been by a coincidence based on texts from the Noinbon family, making them different in many ways from the majority of scholarly Japanese texts available today. Morris, I remember, used the same edition as Waley, a printed edition with copious notes and paraphrases into modern Japanese and basically incorporating the text standard in the Edo Period. I was certainly under the impression that the NKBZ text used by Helen McCullough is also based on a Noinbon text, making her translations much closer to Morris than they would have been if she had used the Iwanami or the Shinchosha texts for example. (Mark Morris' famous article on the Poetic Catalogues is also based on the NKBZ, as far as I remember.) All my books are at the university (and anyway buried under piles of other books) and I am at home, so I cannot check. If I am wrong about this, I am very willing to be corrected. I am also looking forward to the new translation and hoping that it is based on a Sankanbon text. Recently, however, I took part in a committee which was awarding a prize for a thesis submitted to the literature department at Waseda. The originality of the thesis, I was told, was that it argued with regard to the Pillow Book, rather as Shakespearian scholars have been arguing for some time about King Lear etc, that none of the different families of texts is clearly superior, and that they all have equal validity, representing the different purposes of the different people who put them together. This is probably a hint of things to come in Japanese textual scholarship.

Adrian Pinnington

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From: "William J. Higginson" <___@att.net>
Date: November 20, 2006 14:19:41 GMT+09:00
Subject: [pmjs]  Re: Pillow Book out

I've very much enjoyed this modest thread on the Pillow Book, and certainly look forward to the new translation. Anyone undertaking such a magnum opus has my gratitude.

Perhaps I overstep the bounds of reason, to bring a somewhat different point of view based on haikai literature to the discussion of pronouns in Heian writings, so please forgive the rashness of this attempt:

One of Bash˘'s disciples, Tachibana Hokushi (d. 1718), categorized haikai stanzas in a brief work called _Yamanaka mond˘_, apparently based in part on a haikai renga he had composed at Yamanaka with Bash˘ and Sora toward the end of the _Oku no hosomichi_ journey. In the words of Hiroaki Sato--my source for this information--Hokushi characterized haikai verses as "landscape-pieces" when they describe landscapes "more or less impersonally"; "self-pieces" when they describe "the speaker's own action, sentiment, or condition"; "other-pieces" when they describe "someone else's action, sentiment, or condition"; and "self/other-pieces" when they "may be interpreted as either of the last two".

Sato cites Hokushi's example of a "self-piece" thus: _suzuri ni mukahi sudare agetsutsu_, which he translates in his usual one-line style as "I face my inkstone and raise the summer blind". Since Hokushi himself has identified this as a "self-verse", we must, it seems to me, accept the "I" in Sato's translation.

However, would the same phrase in a Heian work, assuming for the sake of argument that it might appear in one <grin>, be taken better as something like "facing the inkstone and raising the summer blind" and represented typographically as if it were a sentence or at least a complete clause? (Clearly, it's no complete clause in English, but we have such things in translations of haiku, I'm afraid, and they have spawned a whole generation of people writing haiku in English with floating present participles, unhitched to any subjects or even, as in the present example, auxiliary verbs.)

When Cid Corman, the American poet then resident a decade in Kyoto, published his translation of the _Oku no homichi_ with the assistance of Kamaike Susumu, he took no little pride in stating that the work contains the first person pronoun only twice, as does his translation. In the hands of a master poet, such a feat may be possible. But I wonder if such English actually misrepresents the tone of the Japanese. Spanish, too, often makes do without pronouns (which, in that case, of course, are at least nominally indicated by verb inflection, and so "not needed"), but that doesn't stop Spanish-speakers from making strong, pronoun-less assertions which can only be rendered in sensible English with "I".
of a master poet, such a feat may be possible. But I wonder if such English actually misrepresents the tone of the Japanese. Spanish, too, often makes do without pronouns (which, in that case, of course, are at least nominally indicated by verb inflection, and so "not needed"), but that doesn't stop Spanish-speakers from making strong, pronoun-less assertions which can only be rendered in sensible English with "I".