pmjs logs for September 1999. Total number of messages for month: 33

list of logs

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The pmjs list was begun in mid-September, with invitations to join sent out to a few dozen scholars. The number of pmjs members grew rapidly, reaching 59 in ten days. As webmaster, I did too much of the talking at first, trying to find the right tone and the appropriate content. Then two topics were raised that stimulated much comment and discussion, and the list gained a momentum of its own:

the pmjs list (Joshua Mostow, Michael Watson) 

a query about Yugao made by Lewis Cook --> for full text see archive 

objections to the term "premodern" raised by Rein Raud- -> for full text see archive 

self-introductions: Chris Drake, Rein Raud, Morgan Pitelka

[Suggestion for a bibliographical archive] (Chris Drake) 

[Suggestion for online directory of those researching premodern Japan] (Morgan Pitelka) 

Other contributors include: Janine Beichman, Elliot Berlin, Karen Brazell, Robert Borgen, Anthony J. Bryant, Karel Fiala, Hank Glassman, Susan B. Klein, Stephen D. Miller, Elizabeth Oyler, Janine Beichman, Anthony J. Bryant, Elliot Berlin, David Pollack, Royall Tyler 

Only the "opening shot" of each has been recorded here in full. See the public archives for a record of the full discussion.

The two contributions from Chris Drake and Morgan Pitelka were very helpful to the pmjs editor in suggesting directions to take in developing the list and associated web resources. Many thanks to them and to everyone who got the list going.

Michael Watson <>

(1) The messages are ordered in which they were sent. The dates reflect the local time zone of the sender.
(2) Messages have been reformatted, announcements abbreviated or omitted. E-mail addresses have generally been removed. Editorial comments are in italics (see "principles").


From: Joshua Mostow 

Date: Sun, 19 Sep 1999 20:00:15 -0700


Subject: PMJS

Premodern Japanese Studies -

I think this is a great idea. Thanks to whoever is starting it. . . the welcome message was not signed.

Will you reveal yourself?



Joshua S. Mostow
Associate Professor and Acting Head
Asian Studies
The University of British Columbia

From: Michael Watson

Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 12:28:02 +0900

Subject: A quorum?

Welcome all. The first few dozen invitations to the Premodern Japanese Studies mailing list were sent out on Sunday night, Yokohama time. It is now Wednesday morning here and we have a total of seventeen members. A very respectable sign-up rate. Thank you all. Here we are in alphabetical order:

Brazell, Karen
Escurriola, Jordi
Harper, Thomas
Horton, Mack
Klein, Susan Blakeley
Lee, William
McMullen, James
Miller, Stephen
Mostow, Joshua
Perkins, George
Pollack, David
Rodd, Laurel Rasplica
Smith, Henry D. II
Strippoli, Roberta
Stubbs, Kendon
Tyler, Royall
Watson, Michael

[The following instructions referred to the listbot system then in use and have been abbreviated.]

To see the current members list at any time, log onto to...
To send messages to this list (i.e. to all members), write to... .
All messages are archived, and you can see the archives by logging on to...
Don't all rush, there's not much there yet.

Only subscribers have access to archives and member addresses. Member addresses will continue to remain private to non-subscribers in this way. However once we have built up a respectable interchange of messages, I would suggest that we make the archives public. In this way, interested colleagues can see what sort of matters are discussed when deciding whether to join the list.

At the moment, when anyone signs up [...] I am sent a message saying "You have a new list member who wishes to join your list. In order to approve this member, you must respond to this message..."

I don't really relish the role as guardian of the sanctuary, clad in waraji and with ferocious expression. However I'll start things this way, for safety's sake. If I'm in any real doubt about a would-be subscriber, I'll ask her/him for a brief self-introduction. This is what Philip Brown does for all would-be members of the Early Modern Japan Specialist Directory

I've tried your patience enough with boring technical matters. Things look simple enough from my point of view, but I welcome any feedback about the way I've set things up.

Now that we have a quorum, let's see if we have anything to say to one another.

I'll start the ball rolling with a few random pmjs announcements of my own, but that is best done in a separate message.

Until then, best wishes

Michael Watson
Faculty of International Studies, Meiji Gakuin University

*P.S. For those of you interested in such matters, the photograph of the woven fence was taken in Saga (Kyoto) in 1997 with a digital camera. I edited in Graphic Converter, adding "pmjs" in Hoefler Text font and "nihon kenkyu" in a cursive Japanese font ("koopasu moohitsu gyooshotai").

Graphic Converter can be obtained from Among other things, I use it to edit and view my collection of scans of "Heike" images.

From: Michael Watson
Date: 22 Sep 1999 10:57:44 -0000
Subject: the onus is on me

Since my last message earlier today, Klaus Vollmer (Munich) and Richard Bowring (Cambridge) have joined PMJS. Welcome to both of you.

The onus would seem to be on me to get things moving here, so let me pass on a few announcements. I'll list the topics here so that you may see if any are of interest.

(1) Kajihara and Yamashita, eds. Heike monogatari (Iwanami bunko)
(2) Shigisan engi emaki at the Suntory Art Museum
(3) home pages of Japanese art museums and galleries
(4) Yahoo! Japan's page for "Traditional Literature"
(5) Chogonka scroll CD-ROM
(6) AJLS Annual Meeting: "Issues of Canonicity and Canon Formation in
Japanese Literary Studies"

Let me begin by expanding a little on two of the examples given earlier in my invitation.

(1) The handy new edition of _Heike monogatari_ in Iwanami bunko fills a gap in that series (the last edition was pre-war, by Yamada Yoshio, I believe). For those looking for Heike in paperback for teaching or travel (?), the choice has hitherto been a rufubon (vulgate) edition in two volumes, bristling with rubi but with little annotation,
Sato Kenzo, ed., Kadokawa bunko, 1959 [text of Kanbun 12=1672]
Takahashi Sadaichi, ed., Kodansha bunko, 1972 [text of Genna 9=
or a twelve volume, well-annotated but pricey edition of a Kakuichi text:
Sugimoto Keizaburo, ed., Kodansha gakujutsu bunko, 1979-1991

Now Iwanami bunko are publishing the Shin-NKBT edition by Kajihara Masaaki and Yamashita Hiroaki in four volumes. The format is unlike other texts in the "yellow" series. The text is on the right-hand page, very readable in 15 uncramped lines, and the generous annotation on the left-hand page, in larger font than the ShinNKBT edition. Reference to textual variants are omitted but otherwise the notes would appear to be the same. The base text is the same as Sugimoto's, the Takano-bon Kakuichi. The Iwanami reference numbers are [yellow] 113-1 to 113-4. Each volume costs 800 yen + tax.

(2) The National Treasure "Shigisan engi emaki" is on display at the Suntory Art Museum until October 24th. Currently showing is scroll 1 ("Yamazaki-chooja no maki"), illustrating the episode of the flying storehouse (until September 26). Edo copies of scroll 2 and 3 are also on show now.The twelfth-century originals of scroll 2 ("Engi kaji no maki") and scroll 3 ("Ama-gimi no maki") will be on display from
September 28 to October 12 and October 12 to 24 respectively. As I'm encouraging a class of non-Japanese students to go on their own to see it, it was useful to find that a very detailed account of the same three episodes is in _Uji shui_ #101. Don't miss it if you are in Tokyo. The originals are still in the Nara temple founded by Myooren.

(3) In preparation for the class just mentioned, I've been checking the web for home pages of Japanese art museums and galleries. Things have certainly improved greatly since I last looked. The information and links can be found at:
[changed to current address]

(4) Yahoo! Japan has finally got around to making a category for pages/sites connected with Japanese classical literature, or as they would have it:
Not all pages here are good, and not all good pages are included, but it is a place to start. Generally, however, I would recommend doing a free keyword search on one of the "robot" type search engines: [Japanese language]

(5) Monumenta Nipponica and other journals have recently begun reviewing CD-ROM's of interest to those in premodern studies, such as the KanaClassic or the Fujitsu "Genji m." and (declaring an interest here) "Heike m.." However I don't recall seeing any reference to a very nicely produced CD-ROM of the seventeenth century Chogonka scroll. It was put out by the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, and has written/spoken commentary in English, Japanese, French, German and (this is the fun part) Irish. No Chinese commentary as such, but you can display the Chinese text of Bo juyi's poem stanza by stanza as you look at the scroll. I've had it for some time and no longer recall how much I paid or where I got it. ISBN 0-9517380-1-1. Hybrid PC/Apple (16 mb RAM required in either case).

(6) I note that a full quarter of PMJS subscribers will participate in the Eighth AJLS Annual Meeting, held November 12-14, 1999 at Boulder,
Colorado. This year's topic is ISSUES OF CANONICITY AND CANON

Most of the rest of us are readers of H-JAPAN and will have seen the announcement already. Anyone wanting more information should write to Stephen Miller, Conference Chair, at Or do you want to announce it here, Stephen?

That's more than enough from me, now. Any announcements, notes or queries?

From: Stephen D. Miller

Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 07:15:46 -0700

Subject: (M)AJLS in Boulder, Co.

Michael and others,
Thanks for the opportunity for further advertisement of the upcoming (M)AJLS in November. If you already received this information through J-LIT, forgive me. But there have been a couple of small corrections as well as an addition: the title of Takahashi Mutsuo's paper. I hope you'll all consider attending this exciting conference.
Stephen Miller
Conference Chair

Eighth AJLS Annual Meeting Program


November 12-14, 1999 at Boulder, Colorado

[Details omitted. See program and short report]

From: Michael Watson

Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 18:57:03 +0900

Subject: correction

(1) url correction
(2) help with reference: article by Herbert S. Joseph
(3) German scholars Ehmcke and Reese, book on Heike
(4) new members

(1) [Omitted . Museum page now here.]

(2) I've come across a copy of a nine page article by Herbert S. Joseph entitled "The _Heike Monogatari_: Buddhist Ethics and the Code of the Samurai". Embarrassingly, I've omitted to write down the journal name, number or date. Now that several Heike specialists have joined the list, perhaps someone can help me? (It would seem to be a non-specialist journal, for the next article is about the folklore of Jack-the-Giant-Killer).

(3) One thing I hope this list will provide is a place to exchange information about new books relevant to the field, particularly those appearing from publishers other than Stanford, Princeton and the other usual suspects. I've come across information about a book in German, still not yet published, which deals with the Heike monogatari. Paperback for 23.18 DM so I've taken a chance and ordered it already from (See the link at the bottom of's main page for the German site):
Von Helden, Moenchen und schoenen Frauen
[i.e. of warriors, monks and beautiful ladies]
The authors are Franziska Ehmcke and Heinz-Dieter Reese. From the Web I have discovered only that Ehmcke is professor at Cologne and lectures on Kegon Buddhism and other aspects of premodern culture. Has anyone on the list met either of these authors?

(4) Since I last reported, more than a dozen members have joined the list, bring us to a total of 35.* Here the new members are in alphabetical order. Welcome all.

Bialock, David
Bodiford, William
Cavanaugh, Carole
Cook, Lewis
Donovan, Maureen
Gerstle, Andrew
Khan, Robert
Lurie, David
Matissoff, Susan
Oyler, Elizabeth
Piggott, Joan
Pitelka, Morgan
Ramirez-Christensen, Esperanza
Sarra, Edith
Yang, X. Jie

From: Royall Tyler

Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 19:59:42 +1000

Subject: Re: (M)AJLS in Boulder, Co.

>I hope you'll all consider attending this exciting conference.
Sigh. Wish I could.

Royall Tyler

From: Michael Watson

Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 00:01 +0900

Subject: off-the-wall questions from shirooto

This is hardly a uniquely premodern studies dilemma, but I wondered what you all do with e-mail questions out of the blue. Trash them? Answer them nicely. Tell the writers to do their own research?

As academics, our e-mail addresses are listed here and there on the web (how else do you think I managed to track down some of you?) and those of us with web pages are laying ourselves open to this.

Far be it from me to discourage anyone from going public on the Web, but the longer that pages are around, the more chance there is that search engines will find your page on a keyword search for "Japanese literature" or whatever.

Could we share some of our wierder/more outrageous questions here? Just to break the ice, I mean.

I've told Karen Brazell off-list already about today's gem, from a student
with Chinese name in

> I'm writing to you about a topic which i have problem with. the topic is
> Heike Monogatari. I'm really appreciated if you can help me in this matter.
> I'm looking forwards to hear from you very soon.
That didn't give me much to work with. (I did answer, more fool me, asking for specifics).

I spent ages helping a Texan read what was written on the wartime sword he had. (Decipherment--by JPEG--was easy, trying to convince him it wasn't by Masamune was harder)

But then one gets the nice ones, like the nikkeijin who needed help in tracking down where in the Heike one of her ancestors is mentioned.

Or the would-be writer of a novel about the Genpei War who wanted to know

> 1. What are the mon for Taira no Michimori and the Minamoto leaders?
> 2. What do extant documents from the 12th century look like, e.g. a book"
Or the British composer (genuine, I checked up) who wanted to learn more
about "heikyoku".

I learnt something by answering all of these questions.

What does anyone else do with such questions? Who else keeps a folder of the best and worst?

Michael Watson

From: Michael Watson

Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 10:52:25 +0900

Subject: latest members' list, correction

Welcome to new members Robert Borgen, Jacqueline Stone, Lynne Miyake. The list of all members is below. [omitted]

From: Michael Watson

Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 00:55:40 +0900

Subject: PMJS--first week

(1) H-JAPAN and JLIT-L announcements
(2) Self-introductions
(3) Electronic texts
(4) URL of individuals' pages

(1) H-JAPAN and JLIT-L announcements

Many of you will have seen the brief announcements of this list on two widely-read mailing lists. Some of you had suggested this move. It seems to have had the desired effect. A steady stream of inquiries all weekend, split around 60/40 between faculty and graduate students. Several dozen new members have joined up already to a current total of 57.

In a few cases I queried applicants whether this was the really right sort of list for them, and I have asked for further information in a few cases.

A full list will be sent out later, but you can inspect the current list of e-mail addresses online at

I am happy to announce that several Japanese scholars have joined the list, and that we have continued to expand geographically, with additional
subscribers in Europe.

Monday morning will no doubt bring more inquiries, but it also marks the
beginning of the university calendar here, so processing new applications
may take me a few days.

(2) Self-introductions

Recent applicants were asked to send a brief self-introduction (full name, institution, field of research). I have edited these down to three to six lines a person, and propose to send to the list in digest form, in one or two longish messages. This will be preferable to dozens of individual messages, I assume. If anyone would like to see a copy of the edited version of his/her self-introduction, please contact me off-list ( Rest assured, I am not including the telephone numbers or full addresses that some messages contained.

Those who signed up after receiving invitations directly were not asked for self-introductions. It would be an imposition to ask for one now. However I would be happy to receive any that are sent and will include them in a future digest. It would save me time if you followed the following format:
name <e-mail> position, institution, field(s) of research. current project...

The summaries of who's who should provide us with a quick overview of who is on the list and what they do.

(3) Electronic texts

I share an interest with a number of you in electronic texts of the classics. Kendon Stubbs of Japanese Text Initiative is a member of this group as is Lewis Cook, who has been editing _chokusenshu_ for JTI.

Over the last few years more and more texts have become available on the Japanese internet. Links to some of the well-known sites have been added to PMJS home page (see url at top of this mail). I'd be happy to learn of any good sites I have missed.

In the future, I'd like some collaboration on a page summarizing in English what classical texts are available, together with some comments and suggestions on how to use them as a tool for research. (In my experience, many need editing to be user-friendly.)

(4) URL of individuals' pages

Other changes have been made to the PMJS home page in an attempt to make it reflect more our common needs. But of course it still bears my mark, biased toward my particular interests. I would welcome suggestions for what should and shouldn't be there. Those of you who are constructing your pages of links nearer to home may want to borrow chunks of it. Help yourselves and improve on it. Just tell me where I can find your pages. At the bottom of the PMJS page you will find a small list of individual scholars' pages. If you are ready to go public, then share your URL with others in the same field. We can all learn something.

Michael Watson

From: "Michael Watson" 

Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 07:24:21 +0900

Subject: (1) note (2) position in classical Japanese

Premodern Japanese Studies -

A little note first. I'm sorry about the fact that some messages have been truncated. At the end of the "self-intro" mail all that was lost was the number of PMJS subscribers, and this has risen overnight to 86. I'll send the list of members when we reach one hundred. Meanwhile, please keep the the self-introductions coming (if short, to me directly at

It would save me a great deal of time if everyone would put their name and e-mail addresses on the line above their self-introductions, which should normally be in one paragraph. If you would like to let list members know of your recent/significant publications, you are welcome to write directly to the list. Those of you who have lists of publications on line (I've seen them!) might find it easy just to mention one or two publications and refer us for the rest to a URL.

The remainer of this message is copied from JLIT-L where some but by no means all you will have seen it. [position in classical Japanese: omitted]

Michael Watson

From: chris drake
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 03:22:33 +0900
Subject: Re: Self-introduction


I wonder if others would also be interested in the following. I feel like a separate bibliographical archive for the list would be quite valuable. People could list there what they think are their pertinent writings, both in print and in electronic media, and also recommend other works in English, Japanese, and other languages they thought worth noticing. This would be more systematic than making occasional listings and would be a (semi-) permanent resource in alphabetical or some other easy-to-access order. I know that there are a lot of different works scattered around the world in a lot of different places and media, and linking them all would, I think, benefit everyone.

Self intro:

Chris Drake, Faculty of Literature, Atomi College, Niiza, Saitama, Japan. I'm interested in analyzing and translating renga, haikai, ukiyo-zooshi, especially Saikaku, gesaku, kyooka and zappai, 'Omoro-sooshi' songs, and Okinawan shaman songs. I'm also interested in hermeneutics, poetics, and theory of translation.

From: Elizabeth Oyler 

Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 16:27:49 -0700

[information about net broadcast of takigi noh from Sado Island. Details omitted.]

From: Lewis Cook

Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 00:12:02 -0400

Subject: query about Yugao

I have a somewhat vague question about the fatal "specter" in the Yugao chapter of _Genji_ that I hope those on the list who are interested in _Genji_ might help me clarify. It concerns the identity of the apparition of (in Seidensticker's translation) "an exceedingly beautiful women" (Waley: "tall and majestic" -- the Oshima-bon has "ito okashige-naru onna") in Genji's dream, immediately prior to the
death of Yugao.

The narrative certainly seems to invite the reader to make the connection: that this apparition _is_ the 'ikiryou' of the Rokujou Lady. But also seems to suggest that we would be naive to do so, that it's not necessarily quite that simple. The medieval commentators (those I've checked, anyway, beginning from Kanera) hesitate to affirm, suggesting only that Genji's thoughts about the contrasts between the Rokujou Lady and Yugao, just prior to his dream, may have "facilitated" the apparition.

The question my students ask (this is very much a student-driven query) is, if the apparition is that of the Rokujou Lady why doesn't Genji recognize it (there is no hint in the narrative that he does)?
(Given the intimacy of their relationship.) Only answer I can think of to that is that he may very well not have seen her, yet, well enough to recognize her (in spite of course of the intimacy of their relationship).
And if it's not, then what (or who) might it be? I suspect the correct answer, if there is one, may be that the vagueness of the narrative somehow recapitulates the vagueness of the phenomena of ikiryou, mono-no-ke, etc., as the author expected her readers to understand these. Any suggestions for more satisfying answers?

Lewis Cook
Queens College, CUNY

[This was the beginning of the first real discussion on pmjs. For full text see archives. The first three responses were from Hank Glassman, Susan Klein, and Royall Tyler. The discussion continued into October.]

From: Hank Glassman 

Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 

Subject: Re: query about Yugao

Hi All,

I'm new to this list and not sure if I'm responding to all or not. I also will save a self-introduction for next time. (It's late tonight.)

I was just writing in response to Lewis Cook's query about that ghost who killed Yugao. In Doris Bargen's very stimulating book on mono-no-ke in the Genji, she suggests that this spectre could possibly be seen as "a projection of Genji's troubled psyche, a collective image, a composite of his betrayed women." (_A Woman's Weapon: Spirit possession in the Tale of Genji_ Hawaii, 1997. p. 71) She mentions Takahashi Touru as someone who approaches this view, but I think that it is not too far from Bargen's own understanding of mono-no-ke as a form of oblique aggression undertaken by women living under a polygynous system that kept them on always shaky ground. Forbidden by etiquette and socialization from displaying outrage and jealousy at the inconstancy of a Genji, women (whether as writers or as real people) had other avenues of expression open to them. I don't think that I've done Bargen justice here, but I do find her thesis quite convincing.

Also see Bargen's pp. 70-74 for various theories on the identity of that "tall and majestic" woman -- Rokujou, the ghost of Minamoto Touru's villa, ikiryou, shiryou, etc.

(Wrong place at the wrong time if you ask me. . . Now if there had been a little more light or a genja worth his salt in the next room. . . )

Hank Glassman
Religious Studies, Stanford University

From: Susan B. Klein

Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999

Subject: Re: query about Yugao

Lewis --

I'm trying to finish getting ready to go to UofMichigan for a talk on ghosts at the Center for Japanese Studies, so I don't have much time to
answer this (and probably someone such as Royall will do it much better) but very briefly it seems to me that there are a number of anomolies in the way that Rokujo as angry ghost is presented in _Genji_, and I suspect that they are narrative driven, rather than based in the vagaries of ikiryo. Genji's interaction with her during the last stages of Aoi no Ue's possession is pretty atypical of "historical" descriptions of mononoke as
well. (Doris Bargen doesn't appear to even notice how atypical the mononoke attacks in _Genji_ are, which actually makes her argument much less persuasive than it would be otherwise.)

In the case of Yugao, my take on this is simply that it is important that Genji not recognize Rokujo yet, because if he did, the Aoi no Ue chapter
couldn't happen (or would have to happen very differently). If he knew that Rokujo had killed one of his lovers, how could he continue to see Rokujo when his wife was pregnant? Although Genji wasn't above continuing to see Rokujo after Aoi's death, seeing her while Aoi was alive when he knew Rokujo was a killer would be such obvious reckless endangerment of his wife (being pregnant means she's at her most vulnerable to mononoke) that I think it would be beyond what Genji could plausibly be considered capable of doing by readers at the time.

Just my two cents worth --


p.s. I'll do a self intro when I get back --

From: Royall Tyler@

Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999

Subject: Re: query about Yugao

I feel a bit shy, with such people as Norma Field, Haruo Shirane (yes, I know you are out there), and others looking over my shoulder, but anyway, here are my amateur thoughts.

I think it is a mistake to take all the possession or quasi-possession or it-might-have-been-possession events in Genji equally seriously, all on the
same plane. The big ones are the two of Rokujo's, Aoi and Murasaki, and they are clearly meant to be taken completely seriously--not as
anthropological documents, but as dramatic inventions. The others fall into various kinds of twilight zone. I doubt that they are systematically
connected with one another.

One of these twilight zome events is the one in "Yugao". I agree completely with the medieval commentators referred to by Lewis Cook:

>The medieval commentators
>(those I've checked, anyway, beginning from Kanera) hesitate to
>affirm, suggesting only that Genji's thoughts about the contrasts
>between the Rokujou Lady and Yugao, just prior to his dream, may have
>"facilitated" the apparition.

I think that is all anyone can say. There is no other event like this in the book. I think one should simply accept it with a gothic shiver and not
try to find consistency where there probably is none. It is another of the author's inventions, though I suspect that it has nothing in particular to
do with the big scenes I just mentioned. Speaking merely as an inevitably close reader of the book, I think "Yugao" is an obvious candidate for a
piece of writing done before the author ever knew she was going to write a "Tale of Genji" and then edited in afterwards. Not only is the mood of the chapter unusual, but the unbridgeable discrepancy between Yugao's forwardness, in sending out that first poem to Genji, and her utterly meek personality after that (well, all right, she did tease him just once) suggests a more complicated textual history than one first imagines.
(Years ago I heard Fujii Sadakazu take roughly this line on the strangeness of the "Yugao" opening.)

Royall Tyler

From: Morgan Pitelka
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999
Subject: self-intro and question

Dear PMJS list,

My name is Morgan Pitelka and I am a fifth year ph.d. student in Japanese history at Princeton University, writing my dissertation on Raku ceramics and the development of tea culture in early modern Japan. My broad area of interest is medieval and early modern Japanese cultural history. My current research interests, reflected in my dissertation topic, are tea (chanoyu) history and East Asian ceramics.

I wanted to mention a website I have maintained for the past 2 years that is related to the subject of this rapidly growing list. The page ( is a directory of graduate students working on topics related to premodern Japan, meant to facilitate interaction between students who are often isolated in distant departments. It seems it would make sense to start a similar online directory of individuals who have completed their graduate studies and are teaching/researching premodern Japan. My dissertation prevents me from embarking on such a project now, but the information already gathered on the PMJS list could easily form an initial framework. Is there any chance Michael, or someone else, might be interested in beginning such a directory, perhaps as a part of the larger PMJS site? And would it then be appropriate to merge in the grad student directory as well?



Morgan Pitelka
Ph.D. Candidate
Princeton University
Japanese History

From: Michael Watson

Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 22:40:21 +0900

Subject: here we are

The latest count of members says ninety-nine but I think it's time to let you know who's who. Some e-mail addresses are so cryptic. So here you are. Check your names, spelling and form. If you read this mail and you are not here, then tell me. Thanks to you all for getting us this far in so short a time. The panel on mono-no-ke is now assembled.

[list of names omitted]

From: Mindy Varner 

Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 

Subject: Re: Doris Bargen, mono no ke

Sorry to drop a plug, but wanted to mentioned to those of you who may be interested that Professor Bargen (mentioned by Mr. Glassman in his
response to a query regarding the Yugao chapter of Genji monogatari), will be a guest speaker at a conference happening at Yale Feb. 25-26. Her
selection as a keynote was largely driven by the excellent book Mr. Glassman has mentioned (A Woman's Weapon: Spirit Possession in the Tale of Genji, 1997).

For more information, or to view the call for papers, please visit our
conference website:

Mindy Varner
Master's Candidate, East Asian Studies
Yale University

From: Anthony J. Bryant

Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 

Subject: Re: here we arel

Janine Beichman wrote:
> (a parenthetical proposal: I propose that on email we dispose of macrons
> for widely known words, i.e., make it like the vowels in Hebrew, and just
> assume we all know which should be long and which short!)

[Janine's original message seems to have gone astray]

Not always.... deciding that we'll only use them when it matters... who will know? If I refer to the Mori daimyo, do I mean Mouri or Mori? <G>
Note, however, I left it out of daimyo. I think words that have entered English (shogun, daimyo, etc.) we can ignore, but to be safe, we
should... well, be safe. I usually hit the circumflex (Môri) instead of hitting the extra vowel (Mouri) cause the extra vowel just looks

BTW, did you see the wonderful article by G.G. Rowley in last year's HJAS, "Textual Malfeasance in Yosano Akiko's 'Shin'yaku Genji
Monogatari'"? I assume you did, but it was great!


From: chris drake
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999
Subject: Re: Self-introduction Re: online database of members

I'd just like to say that I agree with Rein Raud that "premodern" has teleological overtones and is, strictly speaking, inappropriate for
inclusion in the name of this list. Moreover, a lot of people refer to the Edo period as the 'early modern' period, though this is still
teleological. 'Classical' also has many problems associated with it. It's not perfect, but how about changing 'premodern' to 'pre-Meiji'? The
initials of the list wouldn't even have to be changed....


Chris Drake

From: E Berlin

Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 

Subject: Re: here we are

This soon-to-be-published book has recently been brought to my attention
( listing):

Yosano Akiko and the Tale of Genji (Michigan Monograph Series in Japanese Studies, 28)
G. G. Rowley / Hardcover / Published 1999 Our Price: $32.95 (Not Yet Published; due in November '99)

E Berlin

From: Michael Watson

Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999

Subject: online database of members

First, many apologies to all those members inadvertently left off the list of members:

Oliver Aumann
Elliot Berlin
Charo B. D'Etcheverry
Norma Field
Christina Laffin
Eric Rath

There were others, I am sure. You can help me by pointing out omissions to me off-list (

We are soon to be joined by: Wayne Lammers <> and others

Apologies also to Lawrence Marceau and others whose self-introductions have not been sent out. So much to do, so little time.

From: Elliot Berlin

Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 22:02:25 -0400

Subject: Re: here we are


Sorry, your message wasn't quite clear to me. Are you requesting that "books of interest" referrals go directly to you but not to the list, or just encouraging people to send messages about newly published works?


From: Janine Beichman
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999
Subject: Re: here we are

[responding to Anthony J. Bryant]

I just wish they would figure out a way to do macrons on email. I guess what to do until that day has to be suki-shidai. Any other ideas out there?

>BTW, did you see the wonderful article by G.G. Rowley in last year's
>HJAS, "Textual Malfeasance in Yosano Akiko's 'Shin'yaku Genji
>Monogatari'"? I assume you did, but it was great!

I thought it was great too, and wrote to say so. Her husband is on the list so please let Gaye know the good press she's getting here,Tom!


From: Michael Watson
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 12:59:31 +0900
Subject: books of interest

I responded to Elliot Berlin as I was dashing out of my office on my way to class. I should have written a more considered reply.

I believe that one useful function of the list could be to publicize new and noteworthy work (books, articles, whatever) of interest to our members. Jisen tasen, as they say in Japan. Your own work or things that you would like to recommend. Especially when the work might otherwise be overlooked--published outside the usual journals, in ronbunshu/collections of papers that are not primarily premodern in focus, etc.

I'm certainly encouraging people to send messages about newly published works in our various fields.

If I didn't make myself very clear about the "how" it is because I'm in two minds myself about how this information is best distributed. On one hand there is an argument in favour of keeping down the volume of small messages to the list, but on the other I would hate to stifle free speech. For this reason I leave it entirely up to members whether to post such announcements directly to the list, or via the editor (as I've taken to calling myself). If sent to me, I will include it with your byline in the next digest of announcements.

In either case, I propose to add it to a running list of "new publications in PMJS" that will be on a Web page, thereby open to searches. As I mentioned earlier, I've opened a page at...

[bibliographical information is found on various places on the current pmjs site:
pmjs-db.html -- pmjs-db2.html -- biblio/byyear.html ]

Michael Watson

From: Rein Raud
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 09:48:01 +0200
Subject: Self-introduction: online database of members

Rein Raud, Professor of Japanese Studies (University of Helsinki, Finland) and Acting Professor of Asian and Cultural Studies (Estonian Institute of Humanities, Tallinn, Estonia). The "cultural studies" mean what the words initially meant and not what they have come to mean. Main research interests: classical literature, worldviews and history of ideas, general theory of culture. My book "The Role of Poetry in Classical Japanese Literature" (Tallinn 1994) deals with the poetic language of the Kokinshuø and with its influence on the
initial stages of development of Japanese prose.

I would also like to use this occasion to invite everybody to the next conference of the European Association of Japanese Studies (EAJS) to be held in Lahti, Finland in August 2000. This conference seems to be one of the few forums that, at least in the field of literature, are not biased for the post-post in their subject matter. Ivo Smits (also on this list, I noticed) is the convenor of the literature section, and the deadline of abstracts is the end of October.

Another remark: I know I am fighting windmills, but "pre-modern" indicates that "modernity" is inevitable and that "pre-modern" is a kind of a preparatory stage for it. The word "classical" may have unpleasant connotations also, but these have, for most part, been taken over by the word "canonical". The pre- and truly-modern framework (which in the case of Japan is seemingly based on the year 1868, as if eras could change overnight) also poses some problems in a larger context. Would we normally refer to Goethe as a "premodern German author"? Thus to my ears, "pre-modern Asia" is an orientalist term.

With best wishes,

Rein Raud

[This message set off the second discussion on pmjs: see publicly archived page:

Other discussants were Karen Brazell, David Pollack, Robert Borgen, Chris Drake, Janine Beichman, Elizabeth Oyler, Lewis Cook, David Lurie, Peter Kornicki, Joshua S. Mostow, Elliot Berlin, Michael Watson, Morgan Pitelka, Philip C. Brown, Gary Cadwallader.

From: Karel Fiala
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999
Subject: Re: query about Yugao -- see arch01

From: David Pollack
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999

Ah, our first ideological spat! "Pre-modern" presumes modernity, "traditional" is orientalist, and let's face it, "pre-Meiji" is just crypto-orientalism since everyone knows what it's really a code-word for. It all reminds me of Masao Miyoshi's well-known attack on each word of the phrase "modern Japanese literature." Also, what does this mean for the current practice of tanka and haiku (ahem) poetry? For current experiments with noh drama, etc? Well-meaning and talented people have run aground on the shoals of "early" vs "original" vs "authentic" musical performance. What the heck, maybe it's all part of the fun, but it does make for ruptures and unpleasantness.

How about we just accept the current appellation, opinions noted, and get on with it?

From: Karen Brazell 

Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999

I agree whole heartedly with Rein Raud's remark. The problem is the alternative. I once tried "Early Japan Studies", once pre-1600 etc., but nothing seems to fit the bill. Please someone come up with a good idea.

Now that I'm here I had better do a self-introduction.

Karen Brazell, I teach literature and theater at Cornell. Once translationed Towazugatari and am still interested but not active in
aspects of women's literature (another term I don't like much). Have been doing noh for years. Now I am involved in various exciting web-based
projects on world theater and traditional japanese theater. You will all be hearing more about these as soon as they are a bit more presentable.

From: Robert Borgen 

Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999

I'm pleased to discover that already this list has addressed two topics that interest me, the term "premodern" and Heian ghosts.

I never liked "premodern," too "modern-centric," but, like Karen Brazell, could never come up with a good alternative. Sometimes I've used "traditional Japan," which seems acceptable only if you don't think about it too much. The beauty of the "modern"/"premodern" dichotomy is that it conveniently divides all of history into two meaningful periods, recent events that normal people care about and old stuff, of interest only eccentrics. As one of those eccentrics, I believe we ought to retain that scheme's virtue, its simply, but correct is bias. The way I do this is to divide history into the period that I study, "ancient" and that which I don't, "post-ancient." The only problem with this arrangement is that it may offend the medievalists. Others may object that the terms "ancient" and "medieval" are too Eurocentric. So, we're back to David Pollack's sensible proposal that we drop the matter.

As for ghosts in Genji, I was waiting for someone to come up with what might be termed the historian's approach to the problem. In the Heian period, ghosts appeared not only in writings that meant to be fictional but also those that were regarded was factual. I can think of at least one extremely murderous ghost whose lethal activities were recorded in works of historical rather than literary character. Before attempting to interpret the ghosts that wander in Genji, we might first consider the broader question of Heian ghosts, goblins, and spooks in general. At the very least, we must remember that the people of ancient (premodern?) Japan did not regard ghosts as phantoms of the mind but rather as very real and potentially dangerous beings. A more general study of the issue would be very interesting and probably already exists in Japanese, although I haven't checked. In English, one might also look at Jolanta Tubielewicz's Superstitions Magic and Mantic Practices in the Heian Period (Warsaw, 1980), if you can find a copy, in addition to Bargen's study.

Robert Borgen

[second paragraph incorporates changes later sent to list]

From: David Pollack 

Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999

Subject: Re: Pre-modern Ghosts


"Post-Ancient" -- I love it! Only you.

You're right, how odd of people to forget Michizane, the Fat Boy of all shiryo*

Can we even begin to reconcile the way the nasty things are shown in the Gaki no so*shi and their apparently less ET-like manifestations in Genji and other works? Those are our only visual referents, no? I can't really picture poor Rokujo* hanging around people's rears waiting for a meal.... perhaps the spirits of the aristocracy looked and acted rather less vulgar, as we might expect, even if the entire class doesn't come off so well in the Gaki scrolls.

David Pollack

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