pmjs logs for December 2000. Total number of messages: 110 messages

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The many changes in topic and subject headings make it difficult to index these messages in a clear and economical way. The "Japanese courtliness" discussion in November would seem to have sparked off the "Farris-Tyler" messages. As this is a long page, equivalent to some 60 printed pages, you may find it convenient to click on the links to go directly to topics.

dissertation abstracts: Randle Keller Kimbrough, Greg Levine 

Tokyo symposia (Michael Watson) 

PMJ Education (George Perkins) 

new members (Michael Watson) 

Japanese history bibliographies (Peter Kornicki) 

Farris-Tyler messages (Wayne Farris, Royall Tyler, Michael Watson, David Pollack, Robert Borgen, Luke S. Roberts, Thomas Hare) 

related headings: Farris-Tyler debate, More on Genji, etc. (see below) 

more on the worth of literary pursuits --> European scholarship (Alexander R. Bay, Kate Wildman Nakai, Michael Watson, Peter Kornicki, Ivo Smits, William Bodiford, Lewis Cook, Anthony J. Bryant, David Spafford, Hideyuki Morimoto, Richard Bowring, Amanda Stinchecum, Rein Raud, Joshua Mostow, Elliot Berlin, Morgan Pitelka, Leith Morton, Mary Louise Nagata) 

related headings: European books in US (David Pollack); European scholarship: An opportunity to publish abstracts and review articles (Philip C. Brown); European scholarship -- Italian KKS (Roberta Strippoli), European demography (Mary Louise Nagata, Wayne Farris, Anthony J. Bryant) 

Amazon links (Michael Watson, Janine Beichman , Monica Bethe, Robert E Morrell) 

dissertation abstracts: Paul S. Atkins, Robert Omar Khan 

Marius Jansen obituary (Haruko Wakabayashi, Matthew Stavros, Philip C. Brown) 

Yanagi and folk (Morgan Pitelka, David Pollack, Royall Tyler, Robert E Morrell) 

note on recent changes in policy (Michael Watson) 

More on Genji, etc.--> Elites, Genji, etc. --> Judging the elite --> Bodart-Bailey comment --> Parting shot --> Reductionism --> value-free history (Wayne Farris, Thomas Conlan, Mikael S. Adolphson, Luke S. Roberts, Beatrice M. Bodart-Bailey, Rein Raud, Mike Smitka, Robert E Morrell, Kai Nieminen, Steven G. Nelson, Alexander R. Bay, Royall Tyler, Anthony J. Bryant) 

ecological ethics & Japan (David Pollack) 

announcement / new members (Michael Watson) 

agency for non-human actors (Michael Wachutka, Alexander R. Bay) 

Logs made from old list-bot archives. Japanese text will be added later if/when possible. Lightly edited (see "principles"). Editorial comments in italics.

Date: Dec 01 2000 08:20:00 EST
From: Michael Watson <>
Subject: dissertation abstracts

A number of pmjs members have recently completed PhD dissertations. I thought it would be interesting to solicit abstracts and circulate them on the list. The abstracts will be placed online, cross-linked with each author's profile, and indexed. Here are the first two received. Others have been promised. I'm sure that I inadvertently missed some of you in the letter sent out. Abstracts of dissertations concerning premodern Japan (early Japan, classical Japanese...) of any vintage are welcome. Send them to me off list, as e-mail or attachment.

In this "issue":

Randle Keller Kimbrough <>
Imagining Izumi Shikibu:
Representations of a Heian Woman Poet in the Literature of Medieval Japan
(Yale University, 1999)

Greg Levine <>
Jukoin: Art, Architecture, and Mortuary Culture at a Japanese Zen Buddhist Temple
(Princeton, 1997)

[Abstracts originally included. See online version.]

Date: Dec 03 2000 07:23:32 EST
From: Michael Watson <>
Subject: Tokyo symposia

Ethan Segal (Stanford) has sent me information about a symposium at Aoyama
Gakuin on "Japanese and the Foreign"
focused primarily on the medieval period. December 11, 2:30 p.m., at Aoyama
Gakuin; free and open to the public. Amino Yoshihito will participate. Ethan
will be one of the speakers. One of the talks will be on the Mongol invasion
and medieval identity
I've been unable to confirm other information as the Japanese sent me
suffered moji-bake in transit.

I have already given details of the Dec. 8th symposium at the Kokubungaku
Kenkyu Shiryokan (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Many of us will be going, working up
an appetite for the pmjs bonenkai. For those unable to come, it will be
broadcast on the internet at
The software RealPlayer is required.
The details of the symposium are online at:
The title is: "21st century literary study and the computer: an evaluation
of the Nihon Koten Bungaku Taikei database [project]"

Anyone interested in coming to the bonenkai in "Shichirin Aguraya" (Gotanda)
should contact me off list. We will be a good crowd this year (9 so far).

Michael Watson

Date: Dec 04 2000 15:46:34 EST
From: George Perkins <>
Subject: PMJ Education

----- Original Message -----
From: Tim P. <>
Sent: Monday, December 04, 2000 9:10 AM
Subject: PMJ Education

> A few months back there was a brief discussion regarding the requirements
> and textbooks used in PMJ education. I've written a questionnaire in
>hopes of gathering some information about that in more detial, which I have pasted below.
> I'm hoping to use this information in a paper for my Classical Japanese
> course, but I will be happy to share the paper with anyone who is
> interested in the results. I have sent another questionnaire to several koguko
> teachers in Japan, which I have posted on the web at:
> I apologize for the length, please write as much or as little as you like
> (not to add demands to the request, but please try and get back to me as
> soon as possible-- the paper is due on December 18).
> Thanks to all who take the time to reply.

> Tim Pennington
> __________________________
> Survey for Pre-Modern Japanese Education in the West:
> 1. How many years of the modern language are required at your institution
> before a student is allowed to take a classical Japanese course?

3 Years.

2. Is PMJ required for an undergraduate degree in Japanese language at your
> university? For a graduate degree?

Yes, undergraduate degree.
> 3. What textbook do you use?
Grammar text: Meikai koten bunpoo (revised from Meiji Shoin. Sometimes
reading texts are from the annotated versions for high schools in Japan.
> 4. How much time do you spend on learning the grammar? Do you ever have
> students write sentences in PMJ? Do you have Kanji or vocabulary quizes?
About half the time is spent on grammar, I guess. I never have them
write in PMJ. I don't have vocabulary or kanji quizzes, but quizzes on
interpretation, grammatical analysis (the old-fashioned kind based on
traditional Japanese grammars). I expect the students to demonstrate
ability to read the characters through in-class exercises, quizzes, etc.
> 5. Do your students use reference materials (grammars, dictionaries, etc)
> that are specifically designed for non-native speakers of Japanese?
A small classical Japanese dictionary, notes in Japanese high school
texts used as texts for the class.
> 6. What language do the students translate to-- modern Japanese or
Both, when there is translation.
> 7. What actual texts do students begin reading?
> 8. What texts soon follow?
Heike monogatari, Oku no hosomichi, Genji monogatari

> 9. What are the goals during the first two years of PMJ? Obviously, there
> are several goals, but some instructors view some as more important than
> others: appreciation of PMJ literature, ability to translate texts, the role
> of PMJ grammar and literature in the modern language and society, etc.

We only have once semester. The goal is for students to be able to use
reference works, charts, etc., to read and understand a little on their own.
Also to expose them to the tradition.

> 10. What do you think the role of PMJ is in modern Japanese?

I think a knowledge of basic pmj grammar helps to understand modern, to
trace its roots, and to make fewer mistakes in grammar.

> 11. How common is it to skip over the major texts that are read in Japan and
> instead explore texts that have not yet been translated into English? It
> seems that students are taught to translate materials for research,whereas
> in Japan, there are several of texts that students must be familiar with
> before moving on.

We are never able to do that.

> 12. Are there differences in the way that native Japanese speakers and
> non-native teachers teach PMJ? What difficulties do you think are faced by
> either one when teaching in the west (at UW-Madison, there are both native

> Japanese and non-natives taking the literature courses)?
I don't know

> 13. What are the major interests in PMJ for the students? For example, an
> appreciation for the literature itself, translating historical documents,
> historical linguistics, Buddhism, desire to improve proficiency in modern
> Japanese, etc. Are any of those interests more prevalent than others?

All are present, depeding on the student. Here, literature remains the
principal emphasis.

> 14. Have the approaches in teaching PMJ changed over the years? I am not
> referring to the resources available on the internet, but to the changes in
> teaching methodology. When I studied Sanskrit several years ago, we had to
> memorize all of the declensions first. While students may have to memorize
> some forms, things are not as strict as they once were.

My approach has changed very little. Not so much memorizing declensions as
learning to recognize, apply grammatical charts, and arrive at basic
understandings of texts. There is also interest in how particular forms
evolved into modern expressions.

> 15. How does the interpretation of PMJ works differ in the U.S. from Japan?
> For example, are there Freudian interpretations of Genji, or other methods
> used in western comparative literary theory that aren't practiced in Japan?

I am certain there are all ranges of variation.

> 16. How has the west influenced PMJ research in Japan? PMJ education in the
> west is obviously influenced by how it is taught in Japan, both in the
> selection of texts and interpretation of those texts. Has there been any
> influence in the other direction?

> If you have any other comments or suggestions regarding PMJ education that
> you think might be helpful, please let me know. A copy of the survey is
> also online at:

Date: Dec 05 2000 07:44:49 EST
From: Michael Watson <>
Subject: new members

We welcome two new members:

Tim Pennington <>

I'm a grad student in Japanese linguistics at UW-Madison, interested mostly
in Japanese pedagogy. I was in Japan for about four and a half years,
working a variety of jobs from day labor to technical translation.

*Tim has just sent the list a questionnaire about teaching classical
Japanese. Feel free to answer him off list if you prefer. He can give us a
summary later. /editor

Scot Hislop <>

Ph.D. candidate, Cornell University.
Field: Edo literature, especially early 19th century haikai texts. Also
interested in pre-modern Chinese colloquial fiction.

*One final note from me. Some of you may have been slightly mystified to see
an answer by Royall Tyler to a message from "wwf1" (Wayne Farris) which
never reached the list. Wayne's message was meant for the list, but went to
Royall personally instead. Usually it is the opposite that happens!

Michael Watson

Date: Dec 05 2000 14:04:12 EST 

From: "Peter Kornicki" <> 

Subject: Japanese history bibliographies

This is to announce that the bibliographies of Japanese history up to the
end of the Meiji period which I made available in a softcover version in
1996 have now been extensively updated and enlarged and are now available at
the following website:
They are subdivided into periods and topics (eg Tokugawa period,
Intellectual history, Ogyu Sorai), and include work published in English,
French, German and Italian, for there is of course much important Western
japanology in languages other than English.
Some parts are still in the process of development and will be gradually
added to. Please look at the site, draw it to the attention of students
studying Japanese history, and let me have any additions or corrections.

Peter Kornicki
Faculty of Oriental Studies
Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge CB3 9DA

Date: Dec 05 2000 16:36:30 EST 

From: Wayne Farris <> 

Subject: Farris-Tyler messages

Dear folks,
Royall and I have been having a very interesting exchange about social
structure and literature, focusing on GENJI and the OWARI GEBUMI. We just
been discussing how and why some societies produce great art, lit., phil.,
etc., while others don't, and the "cost" of these cultural objects to the
populace at-large. Tyler thinks that there's no cost, and I disagreed. In
this short message, I cannot do the discussion justice, and I'm sure Royall
would disagree with my summary, but any thoughts, anybody?
Wayne Farris

P.S. I don't know how many of you listen to PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, but I
heard a funny joke, and the Til Eulenspiegel in me can't resist:
"I awoke last night and suddenly was enlightened as to why the 2000 US
Presidential sweepstakes turned out the way it did. The reason is Viagra.
Until this year, Americans were unable to sustain an election for such a long

Hope I don't offend anyone! Happy holidays!

Date: Dec 05 2000 22:36:56 EST
From: (Royall Tyler)
Subject: Farris-Tyler messages

OK, Wayne, I'm back in (in public!) after a delay caused by various zatsuyoo
in various places. I was going to concede, for the sake of argument, that
literature (the arts, etc.) is after all implicated in the exploitation of t
he people at large by a hereditary aristocracy that has the leisure and the
means to produce the literature. So literature too is complicit in abuse an
d exploitation, and so on. All right. What then are the consequences for h
ow we approach this literature? Is Genji (for ex.) solely a product of abus
e and exploitation, hence morally repugnant and nothing else? If for a mome
nt ignore we that dimension of it, are we too, then, complicit in the same a
buse and exploitation? Or may we with impunity set that dimension of it asi
de in certain ways? May we without risking moral delinquency praise it for
the qualities that elicited the praise and appreciation of its actually or w
annabe aristocratic readers? In other words, may we without moral lapse ac
knowledge, too, the cultivated ideals of an aristocracy, regardless of how t
hat aristocracy treats the people below it? Or may we not?

Royall Tyler

Date: Dec 05 2000 23:11:42 EST
From: Michael Watson <>
Subject: Farris-Tyler messages

I'm glad to see this debate back in the public arena. It reminds me a little
of an argument often advanced recently about Jane Austen. In _Mansfield
House_ she describes a family whose wealth comes from the West Indies yet
does not "problematize" the source of its income--the slave trade, it is
presumed. It is an interesting point, but if we're not careful it will mean
that writers are being held personally accountable for all the sins of their
age--and pillored for not confirming to current standards of political

See the biggest Jane Austen site, for example, for a moderate statement of
this bent:
> Jane Austen only chose to allude glancingly to the slave trade and slavery in her novels
and see
for more online references.

Michael Watson <>

Date: Dec 06 2000 08:33:15 EST
From: David Pollack <>
Subject: Farris-Tyler debate

If I might put in a few words too many here:

The arts have ALWAYS been patronized by the upper classes; without royalty,
aristocracy, nobility, and later the robber barons and other Lords of the
Universe, there would simply be no art. Certainly the upper 5% live by
exploiting the rest. It apparently required that concentration of money and
power to assemble artisans, craftsmen and artists to produce the Tres Riches
Heures or Genji monogatari emaki. Can you imagine a bunch of the ayashiki
fol getting together of an evening to do much more than catch a few hours
sleep and perhaps reproduce? It was ony the leisure time bought by their
exploitation that allowed the yoki folk to spend that time producing their
versions of the Courts of Love and the poetry, prose, art and music that
accompanied them. Your basic peasant never attached a carefully inked and
perfumed poem to a branch of plum blossoms. As Motoori Norinaga might have
put it, your basic peasant was too busy chopping down the plum tree for

This doesn't mean that their lives are collectively without interest. We do
want to know about such things, typically as statistics, pretty much the
way their betters would have known about them, except for those closest to
their own lives, for whom there would have been a sense of noblesse oblige
for good old John or Taro, and perhaps a willingness to overlook his family
out gleaning in the fields after the harvest

Yanagita Kunio's "Tono monogatari" gives us a still literized version of
folk oral production, at about the same time that Yanagi Soetsu was doing
much the same for folk art. They showed that "folk" did produce much of value,
anonymously, and developed a certain level of craftsmanship that, in Japan
as elsewhere, was eventually elevated to the level of fine art. No one cared
very much about the finer qualities of local lacquer production until recent
times, for example, except when it came from the hands of a Rimpa artisan
and commissioned by a wealthy aristocrat, or man of wealth who aspired to
the aesthetic tastes of his betters.

In short, there is a clear distinction between what one might now feel is
owed to those less unfortunate and great art. They are two separate worlds
and have nothing to do with each other. True, one work of art might feed a
small city for a long time; but when the food ran out the city would still
be hungry, and there would be one less work of art. And the question remains
how we are to convert the art to food unless someone can afford to convert
artto money. Somewhere in such grand schemes, the revolutionaries get rich and
the people once again get screwed. Do let me know when the world is

David Pollack

Date: Dec 06 2000 11:16:25 EST
From: Robert Borgen <>
Subject: Farris-Tyler: Earn Your Keep!

I'm sure I'm not the only one on this list who's been awaiting the outcome
of the Farris-Tyler dispute with considerable ambivalence. I know I should
sympathize with the oppressed but I still like my elite culture. Worse,
Genji is just the tip of the iceberg. I hope others on the list will
forgive me when I confess that I also like classical music and I got to art
museums whenever I'm in a city big enough to have one. These too are drains
on the public coffer. Well, they ought to be drains on the public coffer.
The symphony orchestra in nearby Sacramento (the capital of California) went
bankrupt a few years ago for lack of support and was eventually replaced by
one on a more modest scale. Personally, I wish the public coffer had been
more generous, even if the masses clearly were not interested. And that's
still remains close to the tip of the elitist iceberg.

Were I to risk plunging into the cold and dangerous waters to explore the
base of the elitist iceberg, I would discover the terrible truth that all of
this discussion is no better than Genji itself. It is a pastime for the
exploiting classes. Let's say that in the Heian period, Genji appealed to
5% of the population. What percentage of the population reads it today? I
have done a statistical analysis here at my university and can say with
confidence that this year 50 students out of university's total enrollment
of approximately 24,000 should have read the chapters of Genji that appear
in McCullough's condensed version. They are the students in my early
literature class. Some probably did not even do the reading, and class was
virtually unanimous in declaring Genji to be boring. (The fault is surely
mine for failing to introduce it properly.) So, approximately .2% of the
students here read Genji and far fewer than that actually liked it. Who
pays for me to inflict Genji on reluctant undergraduates? The public
coffer! Worse, it also pays me to write learned essays that surely even
less than .2% of the English-reading world ever looks at. To put it another
way, I personally live in reasonable comfort only because some elitist
thinks it worth paying me to teach and study the finer elements of culture
that flourished by exploiting the Japanese masses 1000 years ago.

Perhaps those on the Farris side of the argument will find solace in the
knowledge that they focus their efforts on the lives of the oppressed
peasantry, not the decadent elite. If that belief makes them feel better,
fine, for I can take both sides of this debate. As it happens, I also teach
early history classes in which we do focus more on the suffering of the
common people. These classes attract about the same number of students as
my literature classes, but, alas, they do not seem to find the suffering of
the oppressed masses any more edifying than Genji. To the best of my
knowledge, none of my history students has abandoned his or her studies to
run off and work for the Farm Workers' Union. No, like readers of this
list, they aspire to earn good salaries and live comfortable lives, farm
workers be damned.

In short, those who have moral qualms about enjoying Genji should have even
greater moral qualms about earning a decent living by pursuing intellectual
interests at considerable expensive, even though these endeavors offer no
demonstrable benefit, or at least none that I know of. In Genji's defense,
clearly some individuals actually read it for pleasure. Can the same be
said of works by those of us who today write in English about any aspect of
early Japan? Probably the only serious book about Heian culture that has
found a voluntary readership is The World of the Shining Prince. We, of
course, do not approve.

Bob Borgen

Date: Dec 06 2000 12:32:12 EST
From: "Luke S. Roberts" <>
Subject: Farris-Tyler messages

I think that the purpose of noting these things such as the choices made by
Jane Austin and Murasaki Shikibu is not to castigate them personally or "hold
them accountable," but rather to illustrate how literature --great "timeless"
literature even--is tied to its times. Careful study of those ties can lead us
to reflect on our present condition and the ties that our present literature has to
current values. Only in this latter step can we begin to enter political debate
and attempt to make people aware of what their choices mean. Insofar as
history is a dialogue between the past and the present the insertion of present values
into the historical narratives is not merely natural but inevitable.
I think the question of Wayne's asking if "it was worth it," is misplaced if
taken seriously. We have no power to change what happened, so why judge? We
can however learn about humanity from thinking about the costs of art. If as I
suspect, the unspoken argument is really that after judging this question,
should we reflect on whether spending say $50,000 to create a statue for a lawn on our
university property is better spent than donating that money to world medical
relief, then this has meaning, and the humanist value of the study becomes

As an aside, I do not think such knowledge ruins the appreciation of good
art. I despise the values of Rudyard Kipling but still delight in reading his
work, and I am uncomfortable with the politics of Lynrd Skynrd but am
transported by their music. Trying to imagine a world in which we cannot address the
historical context in which art is created makes my spots ache.
Luke Roberts

Date: Dec 06 2000 17:48:58 EST
From: Thomas Hare <th...@...and.Stanford.EDU>
Subject: Fwd: RE: Re: [pmjs] Farris-Tyler messages


I've been following the discussion among Royall, Wayne, Bob and all with
interest, and since my wife's a mad Janeite, I forwarded part to my wife
Michael's comparison to Jane Austen. She replies as below vis--vis
"Mansfield Park." It's a bit off topic, perhaps, but I thought it might be
worth throwing into the mix.

In the context of Genji, could we read any sort of doubt about Heian
society's priorities on Murasaki's part from the way Genji's glittering
career doesn't in the end give him unequivocal happiness?

Or, to draw from a far less subtle context, could we see in any of those
countless kabuki plays about self-sacrifice in favor of one's lord's
interests (e.g., Terakoya, Kumagai jinya, Imoseyama onna teikin to ka) an
implicit criticism of Tokugawa ideology?

Just to stir the pot,
Tom Hare

>From: Anne Hare <>
>To: "'Thomas Hare'" <th...@...nford.EDU>
>Subject: RE: Re: [pmjs] Farris-Tyler messages
>Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 10:18:54 -0800
>Austen may not explicitly condemn the source of the wealth, but the family's
>dissection reveals moral flaws that ultimately brings ruin on at least one
>daughter, and the near death of a son. I cannot think of another family in
>the Austen literature with as many explicit and implicit moral
>condemnations. The only member of the family allowed to redeem himself also
>rejects (within 19th c. standards), the family's "money" by joining the
>church and marrying the only unfailingly moral and righteous (read: boring)
>character in the book.

Date: Dec 06 2000 18:37:49 EST
From: (Royall Tyler)
Subject: Re: Fwd: RE: Re: [pmjs] Farris-Tyler messages

Dear me, Wayne and I seem to have stirred up no end of trouble.

Just a word on this:

> In the context of Genji, could we read any sort of doubt about Heian
> society's priorities on Murasaki's part from the way Genji's glittering
> career doesn't in the end give him unequivocal happiness?

No. How many people's careers, any time or anywhere, bring them in the end
to unequivocal happiness? Beside that fact of human existence, the argument
that tales of unequivocal happiness don't make absorbing reading is almost i
nsignificantly small.

Royall Tyler

Date: Dec 06 2000 18:51:10 EST
From: "Alexander R. Bay" <fuge...@...and.Stanford.EDU>
Subject: more on the worth of literary pursuits

Borrowing some of the momentum of the Farris-Tyler exchanges, and in
relation to questions of the worth of literary (scholarly) pursuits,
has anyone from the (though not limited to) European community seen Jeroen
Lamers' "Japonius Tyrannus: The Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga reconsidered"
from Hotei Publishing, 2000? And if so, does it fill the void of Nobunaga
studies in the English speaking/writing world? I.e. If you were a
pre-modern Japanese history grad. student in the US, is it worth ordering
away to the Netherlands for? This may not be a fair forum which to discuss
the pros and cons of books and the like, but we in America are often not
privy to the scholarly works of those in Europe. If I had not attended a
conference that Andrew Goble put on at the University of Oregon in '97, I
would never had heard of (or met) Ivo Smits, and never would have had the
opportunity to get to know him and his work. His book is very hard to get
in the US, and I assume that there are other European scholars and scholarly
works that are not readily available to the greater community of
Japanologists here in the US. So, with this in mind, I would like to hear
about, or be introduced to, the work of Jeroen Lamers and his new book on
Nobunaga. If this is problematic to be shared with everyone on the list,
please email your comments directly to me. Thank you.

Alex Bay
2nd year Ph.D. student
pre-modern Japanese history

Date: Dec 07 2000 02:23:15 EST
From: "Kate Wildman Nakai" <>
Subject: European scholarship

To pick up on one aspect of Alexander Bay's query, although I fully agree
that people in the U.S. should be more familiar with books published in
continental Europe, there are other means through which the work of European
scholars--at least the one mentioned--can be known. If you read MN you will
find two fine articles by Ivo Smits in the last few years (as well as
reviews of various works in German and French--a relevant example that
should be of interest to many on this list is Peter Kornicki's review
article in the most recent issue [55:4] of several volumes by Hartmut
Walravens on the early japanologist Julius Klaproth).

Please forgive the gaden insui.

Kate Wildman Nakai
Kate Wildman Nakai, Prof. of Japanese History, Sophia University,
and Editor, Monumenta Nipponica
Monumenta Nipponica, Sophia University
7-1 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8554
Tel: 81-3-3238-3544; Fax: 81-3-3238-3835
Monumenta Nipponica home page:

Date: Dec 07 2000 03:27:21 EST
From: Michael Watson <>
Subject: European scholarship

There are a number of fine European scholars whose work should be better
known in North America, and surely the reverse is true. Letting people know
of good work done on the other side of the ocean--or globe--is one of the
aims of the pmjs list and website. Not to single Ivo Smits out for praise
(however well deserved) but it just so happens that I recently asked him for
an updated bibliography and he kindly responded. I've been meaning to add it
to his profile but let me send it out here first. I hope others will send me
information about their recent and forthcoming publications--as well as
introducing work by authors who are not members of pmjs. (French scholars,
for example.)

Smits, Ivo. "Song as Cultural History: Reading Wakan roeishu (Texts)" and
"Song as Cultural History: Reading Wakan roeishu (Interpretations)," in: MN
55: 2 and 55: 3 (2000).

With Leonard Blusse and Willem Remmelink, ed., Bridging the Divide: 400
Years The Netherlands-Japan, Leiden: Hotei Publishing, 2000. ISBN:
Also a Dutch edition (Bewogen betrekkingen. 400 jaar Nederland-Japan,
Hilversum: Teleac/NOT, 2000) and a Japanese edition: Nichiran koryu
yonhyaku-nen no rekishi to tenbo, Tokyo: Nichiran Gakkai, 2000.

With M. Forrer, Marcia Yonemoto, and J.J. Witkam, Staatsgevaar of
sierobject: Japanse kaarten uit de Siebold-collectie [Danger to the State,
or Adorning a Plate: Japanese Maps in the Siebold Collection of the Leiden
University Library], exhibition catalogue, Leiden: Universiteitsbibliotheek
Leiden, 2000.

"The Poet and the Politician: Teika and the Compilation of the
Shinchokusenshu," MN 53: 4 (1998).

"Poets in their Place: Reflections on Poetic Salons in Early Medieval
Japan," The Medieval History Journal 1: 2 (1998).

"The poet and the demon: A Kuniyoshi print and its inspirations," Andon 60

"Reading the New Ballads: Late Heian kanshi poets and Bo Juyi," in: Stanca
Scholz-Cionca (ed.), Wasser-Spuren: Festschrift fur Wolfram Naumann zum 65.
Geburtstag, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1997.

The Pursuit of Loneliness: Chinese and Japanese Nature Poetry (Stuttgart:
Steiner, 1995). ISBN 3515066683.

"China as Classic Text: Chinese Books and Twelfth Century Japanese
Collectors" [working title], an essay for a volume edited by Andrew Goble on
Japan's technological, medical and intellectual contacts in East Asia,
1100-1600; // With Michel Hockx, ed., Literature/ Theory/ China/ Japan
[working title]. Offered to Curzon Press. In preparation.

Michael Watson <>

Date: Dec 07 2000 06:57:35 EST
From: "Peter Kornicki" <>
Subject: more on the worth of literary pursuits

Of course Jeroen Lamers' excellent book _Japonius Tyrannus: The Japanese
warlord Oda Nobunaga reconsidered_ is 'worth ordering away to the
Netherlands for' and even worth reading! It was out as a published PhD
thesis (like all Dutch PhD theses) some years ago and is even better in the
revised version. It is a bit depressing to read that even European work in
English seems distant, let alone the superb scholarship coming out now in
French, German, Italian and other languages.

Peter Kornicki
Faculty of Oriental Studies
Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge CB3 9DA

Date: Dec 07 2000 11:10:09 EST
From: Ivo Smits <>
Subject: European scholarship

Dear All,

"There is only one thing worse than being talked about . . .," as
Oscar Wilde wisely taught us. Strange, unsettling but also flattering
as it is to see one's own name used this way, I'll leave whatever
worries about public acknowledgement I might have had for what they

However, the point that European scholarship has problems reaching an
audience in the US is of course a sore point with many European

While Kate Wildman Nakai and "Monumenta" are doing wonderful work to
introduce European studies in other languages than English ("T'oung
Pao" is doing the same for Chinese studies), I must agree with Peter
Kornicki that "[i]t is a bit depressing to read that even European
work in English seems distant, let alone the superb scholarship
coming out now in French, German, Italian and other languages."
I, too, believe that we all should make an an effort to learn other
languages besides Japanese, enough at least to read other scholars.
At the same time, I also realize that it is utopian to expect that
everyone will actually make that effort. I, for one, do not read
Russian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, etc., so most of Central and
Eastern European scholarship passes me by, too.
I must also say, that, although the European Association for Japanese
Studies (EAJS; visit: <>) is doing good work to bring
European scholars together, there is no denying that Europe's
infrastructure for Japanese studies is far less integrated than it is
in the US. An obvious reason for this is the fact that we Europeans
live in different countries and do not always speak the same language.

The real question, then, is how European scholarship in more
accessible languages can reach an audience not only outside one's own
country but also outside Europe. For starters, Europeans themselves
must increase their efforts to create an integrated network to
channel information -- not just for idealistic reasons, but for
pragmatical ones as well. You cannot want to read books and articles
that you do not know are out there. Academic libraries in Europe as
well as in the US (and hopefully in Japan, too) should know what is
available and order those books and periodicals.

Then there is the sensitive issue of language. Personally, I never
had a real problem of choice. No one outside the Netherlands will
read a publication by me in Dutch. (I apologize for listing the Dutch
exhibition catalogue of Japanese maps in my resume, but that was
motivated by letting you know that the Leiden collection of Edo
period maps is one of the more interesting ones). Writing in English
still seems the most obvious thing to do for me, however frustrating
it can be to write in a language not one's own. Other European
scholars publish in English, too. It is also sensible to acknowledge
that the most important journals for Japanese studies are often
published by American universities (and Sophia University of
course!). European scholars can try a little bit harder to offer
their articles to such journals.

But German and French scholars (and of other nationalities) have
their own reasons to publish in their native language -- some of them
have to do with the politics of academia, not merely with
nationalistic ideas. Also, the academic community for these languages
(esp. German) is large enough for scholars not to feel too isolated.
But I do feel that American scholars are doing themselves an
injustice when they miss out on German and French (etc.)
publications. It is disappointing, to say the least, to see some
American publications covering ground that has been mapped already
in, say, German, and not to find any reference to that earlier work.
That is either short-sighted or willfully negligent.
Finally, money is a problem, occasionally. Yes, often European
publishers are more expensive than American ones. There are some
basic economic laws to explain that and I see no real remedy for this
situation, other than e-books. If you don't want to spend the money
on a book from Europe yourself, convince your librarian to do so.

At this point I'd like to do some advertising.
Everyone with an interest in sengoku history should buy AND read
"Japonius Tyrannus: warlord Oda Nobunaga reconsidered" (ISBN
90-74822-22-3) by Jeroen Lamers. It is the latest publication in the
"Japonica Neerlandica series," now published by Hotei Publishing in
Leiden. You can visit Hotei's website at:
<>; click "Books," then "Japonica series."

A recent title in the series is:
Henny van der Veere, "A study into the thought of KÙgy Daishi
Kakuban With a translation of his Gorin kuji my himitsushaku" (2000)
ISBN 90-74822-23-1
[missing macrons]

Anyone with an interest in esoteric Buddhism of the Late Heian
period, or religious history in general, will want to have a look at
this book.

BTW, Jeroen Lamers also plans to publish a truly worthwhile
translation of Joao Rodrigues' treatise on epistolary styles at the
turn of the seventeenth century (to be published with the Center for
Japanese Studies, The University of Michigan).

To quote another European, Schiller (I think) once wrote to a friend:
"I was in a hurry, so this has become a long letter, for which I

Best wishes,
Ivo Smits

Date: Dec 07 2000 13:08:07 EST
From: William Bodiford <>
Subject: European scholarship

At 12/7/00 , Ivo Smits wrote:
> . . . . .the point that European scholarship has problems reaching an
>audience in the US is of course a sore point with many European
. . . . .
>The real question, then, is how European scholarship in more
>accessible languages can reach an audience not only outside one's own
>country but also outside Europe. . . . .

I wish to direct this question toward a practical issue: Does anyone
know of readily accessible sources that can be used by people living in the
United States for purchasing European books?
I have experienced much frustration whenever I have attempted to
purchase a European book. I have on a about a 50% success rate even when
attempting to order books from England. I usually end up writing to friends
living there and asking them to order the book, take receipt, and then ship it
to me. Attempting to order books from France and other place on the continent
has been even more difficult. For this reason I usually ignore European
scholarship unless it relates directly to a topic I am researching. In those
cases I can wait for the library to special order copies. If I could purchase
European publications more easily, I would read more of them.
I would love to know of a bookseller that will accept orders
on-line and
accept payment through my U.S. credit card.

William Bodiford

Date: Dec 07 2000 13:59:05 EST
From: "Lewis Cook" <>
Subject: European scholarship

I sympathize since I've also had trouble ordering books from
Europe (less trouble ordering than receiving shipment, to be precise.)
Although I haven't yet tried them myself, and and offer to ship books purchased via credit card from
Germany, France and the UK, respectively, to the US. (I believe our
webmaster mentioned at least the first of these some time ago?)
I have tried for books from Japan, incidentally, and
find that titles from smaller scholarly presses are generally not
available, or may take weeks to obtain. (For items they do stock,
delivery has been very prompt in my experience thus far.)

Lewis Cook

Date: Dec 07 2000 16:28:47 EST
From: "Anthony J. Bryant" <>
Subject: European scholarship

William Bodiford wrote:

> [...] I would love to know of a bookseller that will accept orders
> on-line and accept payment through my U.S. credit card.

The only one I can recommend (and who I know of) is


Date: Dec 07 2000 19:35:48 EST
From: David Spafford <istod...@...rates.Berkeley.EDU>
Subject: European scholarship


For Italy, one can use <>, which is an Amazon-like
operation. I have never tried it personally, as overseas shipping costs
make it not so convenient for general interest books, but friends have
recommended it repeatedly, and since the books would be shipped *out* of
Italy, even the notoriously bad Italian postal system should not pose a

David Spafford

Date: Dec 07 2000 19:40:43 EST
From: Hideyuki Morimoto <>
Subject: European scholarship

Academic libraries have long been using Blackwell for acquiring U.K.
imprints. The company has also been offering on-line order service to
end-users. They now say that further service tailored to the North
American academic community is forthcoming next month.

The following information with regard to the Blackwell service is found at


For French imprints, research libraries in North America have been relying
on Jean Touzot Librairie as well as Aux amateurs de livres. While the
latter provides an on-line order option, their target customers are
university libraries and information centers (cf. URL: ).

Hideyuki Morimoto
Japanese Cataloger
East Asian Library
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000

Date: Dec 08 2000 04:10:35 EST
From: "Richard Bowring" <>
Subject: European scholarship

For books from the UK should be fine for most orders.
is not bad for German books although their lists do not stretch back very far.
For books from somewhere like Brill or the new Hotei the easiest is to go their
web site from which you can place orders. We too in the UK have considerable
difficulty with French material, however, which seems to want to hide itself.
Richard Bowring

Date: Dec 08 2000 04:36:51 EST
From: "Amanda Stinchecum" <>
Subject: European scholarship

I was able to order a book published by Scandanavian Univ Press from (I'm not sure this is the precise URL). When I ordered I was
told it would take 4-6 weeks to reach me, but in fact I received it in less
than two weeks. I believe I tried to order it from, and received
a message stating that it was available through their UK subsidiary.

Hope this is helpful.

Amanda Stinchecum

Date: Dec 08 2000 05:21:42 EST
From: "Rein Raud" <>
Subject: European scholarship

There has been talk in the EAJS that the association could start to publish,
or encourage some publishing house to publish, a journal of European
Japanese Studies which would contain English abstracts of books in other
languages than English, preferably by the authors themselves and thus
quotable, and translations of noteworthy scholarly articles that have
appeared in German, French, Italian, etc. I do not know why this idea has
not received further development, - probably an enthusiastic editor is what
it needs for starts - but this would be a good solution to the problem of
accessibility, especially because one would know what to look for. I can't
really tell what should be needed to foster this idea, though. And how wide
would the conceivable audience be? Enough for the Japanese studies field, or
should it be in conjunction with China and Korea?

Rein Raud

Date: Dec 08 2000 08:24:23 EST
From: David Pollack <>
Subject: European books in US

I suppose one reason that Americans are not more familiar with books
published in Europe -- even those in English -- is that we have been made
rather passive by the American publishers' practice of blanketing us with
specialized book-lists several times a year, and even with one-off ads for
particular books from smaller presses. If I didn't happen to be on Hotei's
list I would have to know to go to their web site to find out what's new.
American publishers apparently get our names from the AAS and other
Asia-related groups. Perhaps I don't get the lists of European publishers
simply because I haven't gone to any regular conferences there where my name
might be put on such lists. But I also wonder if European publishers bother
to market to the American academic audience as aggressively as American
publishers do? Finally, there is the matter of prices; I look over the
offerings from European publishers and have my library order books we need
from them as an institution. I often just don't have the money to spend on
books that are so expensive even before shipping is included.

David Pollack

Date: Dec 08 2000 08:32:06 EST
From: "Philip C. Brown" <>
Subject: European scholarship: An opportunity to publish abstracts and review articles

Regarding Rein Raud's comments:

There has been talk in the EAJS that the association could start to publish,
a journal of European Japanese Studies which would contain English
abstracts of books in other languages than English . . . . preferably by
the authors themselves and thus quotable, and translations of noteworthy
scholarly articles that have appeared in German, French, Italian, etc.
...... And how wide would the conceivable audience be? Enough for the
Japanese studies field, or should it be in conjunction with China and Korea?

The one thing that can be said with certainty is that as long as there are
not readily searchable databases on-line and/or the kind of publication to
which Professor Raud refers, demand will remain low because the presence of
such scholarly work will remain unknown.

There are multiple ways to approach dealing with this of issue. As editor
of Early Modern Japan: An Interdisciplinary Journal, I will be happy to
publish abstracts of scholarly work published in languages other than
English that deal substantially with any aspect of Japanese studies that
treat the period from the 16th through the 19th centuries. Initially, I
will not impose any restrictions on length, and I would also like permission
to publish these abstracts on line (on the assumption that I can work out a
reasonable format/approach in the future).

Early Modern Japan: An Interdisciplinary Journal, has, in the past,
actively sought and published articles that review the state of Early Modern
Japanese Studies (France and Russia). We would be very happy to publish
additional articles of this sort in the future for other scholarly
communities. We are also interested in publishing book reviews of works of
interest regardless of the original language of publication. (We would, of
course, also be interested in receiving scholarly manuscripts, translations,
etc. Scholarly work submitted is peer reviewed.)

Inquiries regarding book reviews should be sent to either Lawrence Marceau
( or David Pollack (
Submissions of abstracts, article manuscripts and other inquiries can be
made by contacting me either in hard copy or via e-mail. My e-mail address
is Snail mail will reach me at the address below.

Philip C. Brown
Associate Professor
Department of History
Ohio State University
230 West 17th Avenue
Columbus OH 43210

Date: Dec 08 2000 18:52:07 EST
From: Joshua Mostow <>
Subject: European scholarship

The following was recently recommended to me for books from academic and
smaller presses in France. I have yet to try it.

Joshua S. Mostow

Date: Dec 08 2000 22:37:30 EST
From: "E Berlin" <>
Subject: European scholarship

Is the list familiar with Schoenhof's foreign-language bookstore in Boson?
Perhaps they can special order items...


Date: Dec 09 2000 08:01:33 EST
From: Michael Watson <>
Subject: European scholarship

For Italian books I use "" Like Amazon, this gives a
unique reference to each book. Here is the page for the translation of
Kokinwakashu that appeared this year. The price is automatically shown also
in euros, yen, pounds and dollars (65,000 lire is $29.54--the page follows
European custom in reversing commas and periods in figures).
Kokin waka shu. Raccolta di poesie giapponesi antiche e moderne. Testo
giapponese a fronte
Prezzo L. 65.000
Dati 688 p., ill.
Anno 2000
Editore Ariele
Collana Lapislazzuli gives the translator's name as Sagiyama Ikuko. Perhaps
Roberta or another reader of Italian with access to a copy can tell me if
the "facing Japanese text" is romanized or not.

I've yet to order the book, but I have found the following good bedtime

Ackermann, Peter, and Angelika Kretschmer. Die vier Jahreszeiten: Gedichte
aus dem Kokin Wakashu. Frankfurt am Main: Insel, 2000. 263 p.

This contains translations of poems 1-342, to the end of the "Winter" book.
Poems are followed by romanized text (unlineated but with slashes
5/7/5/7/7). There are some 50 pages of end notes and commentary. Ordered
through Amazon's German site:
(Disclosure: the PMJS list is an " Partner" as they call
Associates. More about this in a separate message.)

Michael Watson 

Date: Dec 09 2000 07:59:31 EST
From: Michael Watson <>
Subject: Amazon links

We've been talking about so many interesting things, that I am loath to break the mood, but as the Amazon links are now generating small but regular payments, I thought I should let you know the total earned so far, and how it has been used.

I'm referring to bibliographic links to Amazon on the site (above) and the "referral fees" earned through the "Associate" program. Financial accounts are as dull as dishwater, but I want to make sure there are no misunderstandings. I've tried to pack all essential information into this one paragraph. Some of you may remember that when I set up the Amazon Associate system in October 99, I promised to use any income for the benefit of the list. So far, has the equivalent of $59.42 (6601 yen*) in referral fees. The odd sum of 4630 yen has now been spent in a good cause, keeping down the price for the four graduate students present at last night's Tokyo bonenkai (they paid 2500 yen while we older folk paid 3500). PMJS thus ends the year with a balance of 1971 yen, with some $12.33 (1370 yen) so far credited but not paid by Amazon in the fourth quarter. Any future income will be set aside for get-togethers, in Tokyo (ASCJ, June 2001?), or at AAS and EAJS, for example. I trust that this does not seem a frivolous use of the fees: bringing people together is after all one important aim of the list. If more "serious" money is ever earned with the links, then I will ask the membership for advice on how best to use it--and ask for one of you to keep accounts!

Now for the fine print, for anyone who is curious. Otherwise, delete away!

Amazon is not by any means the only online bookseller--as we've recently been reminded. I tried several before deciding to link to Amazon. When making links on bibliographical pages, I chose it first for technical reasons: the ISBN number is part of the url, making it easy to add a link to a book title that leads directly to the unique page for the book. (This also allows the paperback edition to be chosen, if one exists.) Many excellent sites like do not allow pages to be permanently bookmarked. For the translation database, I also wanted to refer to British, French and German publications. The further step of becoming an Amazon "Associate" and adding a "pmjs" ID came only after some hesitation, and off-list consultation with some of you.

Visitors to
and other biblio pages on the site may have noticed that a "pmjs..." suffix has been added to all Amazon links. I have also sometimes added one to links given in e-mail biblio references. The US, British, French and German sites of Amazon have separate "Associate" programs ("Club Partenaires" or "Partner") for webmasters who add links to the Amazon site as a whole, or to individual pages for books. In the case of American publications, the pmjs suffix or "Associate ID" is "pmjsmailinglist."** Thus Mikel Adolphson's The Gates of Power: Monks, Courtiers and Warriors in Premodern Japan. University of Hawaii Press, 2000, has the link:

As explained on the FAQ page, the presence of the suffix in the url means that Amazon (com/ knows that the visitor has come from the pmjs site. If this book or any other item is bought during the visit, then "referral fees"--usually 5%--are paid. For Amazon's explanation see

Since Oct 1999 to date, the total quantity of books bought in this way from US Amazon (the only branch so far to register actual purchases, as opposed to "clicks") comes to a total of $1,317.93 (72 items in all). It is good to know that worthy books can sell with a bit of publicity.

Amazon pays referral fees to me in the form of gift certificates rather than by cheque. I promptly use the certificates toward my own book purchases after crediting the list with the equivalent cash value. As fees are paid quarterly it is not hard to keep accounts, though no doubt this is deplorably casual from a book keeping point of view! There have been just three payments to date:

> Amount: $30.15
> Gift message: 2000 Quarter 1 Payment
> Amount: $15.31
> Gift message: 2000 Quarter 2 Payment
> Amount: $13.96
> Gift message: 2000 Quarter 3 Payment
(If this were a business, I'd be worried at the steady decline!)

In the last quarter (since Oct 1) books sold include:
Tale of Genji (2 copies)
The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon
A Student Guide to Japanese Sources in the Humanities
Bungo Manual : Selected Reference Materials for Students of Classical Japanese (2 copies)
as well as items like the following (none mentioned on the site, but apparently purchased in the course of a "visit" to Amazon that originated from the pmjs site):
Greek Fiction : The Greek Novel in Context
The Book of the Courtier
Readings in Chinese Literary Thought (Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series)
Confucius : Confucian Analects, the Great Learning and the Doctrine of the Mean

"Amazon Associate" is not told who buys what, only what links are "clicked" and which items are purchased. And of course Amazon keeps completely private all personal (payment/shipping) information.

Some of you were surely among those who made purchases in this way. If so, many thanks.

The pmjs web pages are also read by many people who are not members of pmjs, and a good number of items may well be bought by them--for statistical breakdown on the 3300+ visitors so far to the PMJS top page see

I hope I have not put anyone off the idea of these links--it may smack of "commercialism" to purists--but there seems no reason to me why a little money should not trickle in like this, by making it easy for people to buy books in our field.

The system has been in operation for over a year now, with due notice on the list and website, but the only negative feedback I have received was the comment that buying from a place like Amazon endangers local booksellers. I feel it is more important to keep academic publishers alive, and to get good books in the right hands.

You should, of course, continue to make your book purchases in any way you choose.

Michael Watson

*Currency conversions according to:
** irritatingly for the web master, the various branches of Amazon have assigned different Associate ID's. The others are U.K. "pmjs" / German "pmjs01" / French "pmjs05"
There is no need for anyone else to remember this, I'm just explaining this once for your information, lest anyone wonder about the variations.

Date: Dec 09 2000 19:11:38 EST
From: Janine Beichman <>
Subject: Amazon links

Michael, perhaps this should be off-list, but perhaps again others will be
glad if I say what they also feel, which is that I am glad you are doing
the Amazon Associate thing, was interested by your lucid explanation of the
ins and outs of the accounting, etc., and am also glad that you used part
of the money to subsidize the graduate students at the bonenkai, which i am
sorry to have missed--next year, hopefully, I'll make it too. Janine

Date: Dec 09 2000 19:47:01 EST
From: Robert E Morrell <>
Subject: Amazon links

Michael, Another vote for keeping Amazon. Until there is some COMPELLING
reason for change, we should stick with what is universally recognized
(whatever its financial problems) as the major distribution point. We
must keep an open door for the "general reader", in addition to Japan
specialists -- or we isolate ourselves even more.

Bob M

Date: Dec 10 2000 09:31:31 EST
From: Michael Watson <>
Subject: dissertation abstracts

pmjs dissertation abstracts, issue 2

Paul S. Atkins
The Noh Plays of Komparu Zenchiku (1405-?)
Stanford University, 1999
AAT 9943619

Robert Omar Khan
Ariake no Wakare
Genre, Gender and Genealogy in a late 12th century Monogatari
University of British Columbia, 1998
AAT NQ34561

The four abstracts received so far have been put online at:

Dissertation abstracts of any vintage concerning premodern Japan (early Japan, classical Japanese...) are very welcome. Send them to, as e-mail (formatted with italics etc. if possible) or attachment (Nisus or MS Word). Use circumflex for macron, as has been done here. If you have written a Japanese version as Paul has done, this can be also put on line

Do include if possible the seven character AAT code as this facilitates searching on UMI Dissertation Express or UMI ProQuest Digital Dissertations

[Abstracts originally included. See online version.]

Date: Dec 10 2000 12:26:07 EST
From: Roberta Strippoli <rober...@...nford.EDU>
Subject: European scholarship -- Italian KKS

>Kokin waka shu. Raccolta di poesie giapponesi antiche e moderne. Testo
>giapponese a fronte
>Perhaps Roberta or another reader of Italian with access to a copy can tell me if
>the "facing Japanese text" is romanized or not.

Hello Michael and everybody on PMJS,

I got a copy of the Italian KKS last Summer and found it very good.
And handy: all the poems have kanji/kana AND romanized "facing
Japanese text", plus some footnotes. The prefaces are the only parts
with no facing original. There is an author index plus a first line
finding list. Prof. Sagiyama of Universita' di Firenze and her
publisher did a very nice job, I raccommend the book to all the
Italian readers out there.


Date: Dec 10 2000 21:25:04 EST
From: "Sato/Wakabayashi" <>
Subject: Marius Jansen

Dear Colleagues,

I just learned from Ron Toby that Professor Marius Jansen
has passed away yesterday due to heart attack.
He has been a great mentor and a fatherly figure
for countless Princeton graduate students throughout
these years, including myself.

I wasn't sure if it was proper for me to be
passing this news over the list, but I thought it
would be important, especially for those who may
not have direct contacts in the States.

gomeifuku wo oinori itashimasu.

Haruko Wakabayashi

Date: Dec 11 2000 03:37:16 EST
From: Mary Louise Nagata <>
Subject: European scholarship

Dear All,
One solution to knowledge of what is being published in other languages
is the creation of bibliographical lists that can be maintained and
accessed on the web. I know that the fields of demography, historical
demograhpy and family history have been actively attempting to do so. Such
bibliographies do not even need to be consolidated in one place. Some
group in each country could create and maintain one and links could be made
between the different ones. Is there any interest in doing such work? I
know that it would take much effort, but it depends on how much will people
have to do this. I do not know how practical this is, but it is a
direction to consider.

Mary Louise Nagata

Date: Dec 11 2000 13:19:41 EST
From: Morgan Pitelka <>
Subject: Yanagi and folk

Dear PMJS,

David Pollack wrote in his thoughtful response to the Farris-Tyler debate
that Yanagita Kunio and Yanagi Soetsu "showed that 'folk' did produce much
of value, anonymously, and developed a certain level of craftsmanship that,
in Japan as elsewhere, was eventually elevated to the level of fine art."

Regarding Yanagi, one of the founders of the Folk Crafts Movement (Mingei
Undo), the story is considerably more complicated. Yanagi was not a very
good historian. Many of the "folk craft" traditions he championed had in
fact been patronized by wealthy or high-status consumers rather than the
unwashed masses. It may have seemed in the mid-twentieth century that
Yanagi was revising the orthodox definition of good art. In fact he was
participating in a distinctly modern 20th century fantasy of primitivism
couched in a rhetoric of functionality and anonymity. Yanagi's "folk"
existed only in the imagination of modernity. Most of the historical
textiles, lacquer, and ceramics that Yanagi claimed were made by and for
"the people" were in fact commissioned by the elite and produced by
successful local artists.

(As a side note, this does not mean that Yanagi didn't have a fine eye.
There is of course incredible beauty in the aesthetic that he created, on
display in the Mingeikan in Tokyo, in countless folk craft exhibits, in
Kawai Kanjiro's preserved house in Kyoto, and in the work of many who today
call themselves "folk artists.")

I would also argue that "fine art" is a distinctly modern category, as is
its opposite, craft. The opposition of "bijutsu" and "kogei" (which is
still endemic on the secondary literature in English and Japanese) is
severely misleading in the attempt to understand the production and
consumption of culture before industrialization and modernization in Japan.
These Enlightenment era concepts certainly played an important part in the
construction of a "civilized" past for modern Japan, but I see no evidence
of the craft-vs.-art distinction in primary sources from medieval or early
modern Japan. Connections with status, lineage, ritual, parody, and region
are probably much more relevant.


Date: Dec 11 2000 13:22:25 EST
From: Morgan Pitelka <>
Subject: Farris-Tyler debate

Dear PMJS,

Regarding the original "Farris-Tyler" debate, it is certainly true that a
lot of time and energy has been spent studying a relatively small group of
books, plays, paintings, sculptures, and buildings, a small fraction of the
total output of the residents of the Japanese archipelago. Studying this
canonized culture is not, however, tantamount to supporting oppressive
regimes. One can investigate the way that literature has been canonized,
for example, to draw attention to the contingent nature of its prominence.
Demystifying canonized culture seems like a pretty effective way of calling
attention to historical structures of power while still allowing people to
enjoy their Jingdezhen porcelains, Pucini operas, Murasaki's Genji , or
Austin yarns.

On the other hand, we do need a lot more research on the wealth of
premodern Japanese culture that falls outside of the canon. Without more
research on the material culture and daily life of premodern Japan, for
example, our vision of the past is rather poor. Reading fiction such as
Genji or seeing objects that are labeled "national treasures" in big
museums creates a vivid but exceedingly narrow picture. We can imagine
flirting courtiers in the Heian court and visualize the most powerful urban
temples, but know next to nothing of how people lived their lives in
fishing villages or castle towns. We can see the continuity between poetic
works of Heian and Tokugawa period Japan, but have inadequate understanding
of continuity in farming techniques, rural ceramic production, or regional
variations in diet. We don't even know half the story.

All of these topics can be researched using data from archaeology and local
history, as well as art historical and literary sources. Like Wayne Farris,
I think these topics demand further study. Not, however, because it is
politically responsible to do so. Rather, because it is intellectually
responsible. These topics inform every aspect of cultural production and
consumption. Knowing more about the city planning of Heian Kyoto, trade
between medieval villages, the kinds of tools used in local monasteries, or
variations in status among woodworkers would help us to put more pieces of
the puzzle together. This is not a matter of throwing out canonized
culture, but supplementing and contextualizing it to better visualize and
understand the Japanese past as a whole.


Date: Dec 11 2000 14:22:13 EST
From: David Pollack <>
Subject: Yanagi and folk

Morgan writes much sooth; the issue is complex beyond words. Since
"folk" has indeed become a problematic term, however, what is to be
done? At some point we are going to have to agree on a name for the
everyday tools and utensils of "ordinary people" -- however that
infinite gradation of more or less washed humanity is to be defined. It
is especially interesting to think of the careers of individual objects
through time, for instance a plain old bowl that is eventually raised to
the level of cultural icon in the tea-world. This is perhaps not unlike
the way an ordinary word is elevated over time by its use in waka until
it is encrusted with all the glory of elite culture? By the time it has
been absorbed into the vocabulary of the noh drama, it is positively
luminous with kotodama.

I recall that one year a show of the work of the great mingei potter
Hamada Shoji was hijacked by gangsters -- was it 1972 or '73? The show
was about to open at one of the great department stores, I think the
Ginza Mitsukoshi, when a bunch of yakuza rushed in, bought up all the
pieces, and re-labeled them for sale at prices that were multiples of
the original ones. I've always thought of this event as a concrete
example of the often rather brutal processes by which "folk" becomes
"elite." It demonstrates what I call the ideological nature of the
aesthetic, how beauty must be understood as a manifestation of power. Of
course Hamada's work had long been so beautiful and powerful that it was
already far beyond the reach of the ordinary person's dinner-table. But
the department store had apparently not recognized how much more elite
than folk it already was. Just another example of the working of the
all-too-visible hand of the marketplace, I suppose.

When Morgan writes that "connections with status, lineage, ritual,
parody, and region
are probably much more relevant," I think of Greg Levine's argument that
the fusuma-e paintings at Juko-in (Daitokuji) have nothing to do with
either "zen" or "art" and everything to do with lineage and ritual. On
the other hand, we have to face the fact that such works are also
treated by most scholars of zen and art in the terms of their own
disciplines. Their basic meaning may indeed lie in sociological or
anthropological terms; but that isn't why tourists flock to see "great
art," or why it continues to be reproduced in $B9k2ZK\(B coffee-table

David Pollack

Date: Dec 11 2000 16:28:55 EST
From: Thomas Hare <th...@...and.Stanford.EDU>
Subject: Re: Fwd: RE: Re: [pmjs] Farris-Tyler messages

I was glad to see Morgan Pitelka's two contributions on art and politics
today,and it encouraged me to carry the discussion a bit further myself,
although not on precisely the same strain as Morgan. More, actuall, in
response to Royall's observation copied below.

>Just a word on this:
>> In the context of Genji, could we read any sort of doubt about Heian
>> society's priorities on Murasaki's part from the way Genji's glittering
>> career doesn't in the end give him unequivocal happiness?
>No. How many people's careers, any time or anywhere, bring them in the end
>to unequivocal happiness? Beside that fact of human existence, the argument
>that tales of unequivocal happiness don't make absorbing reading is almost
>insignificantly small.

Yes, it is difficult to imagine an extended narrative with its telos
in unequivocal happiness being very interesting, although some
readers of Dante might want to contest that (for my part, I find Inferno
a hell of a lot more interesting than Paradiso).

But the point I'm wondering about is, rather, whether a significant
portion of one's appreciation of, say, Genji, doesn't come from its
articulation of a difference between the professed ideals of a
society and the way a subtle and ingenious subject reading that
society accounts its dynamics. Murasaki gives us the subtlest
account available of high Heian in the reading subject of Genji.
That society is undeniably elitist, myopic, politically abhorrent and
so on (although, like Luke Roberts, I wonder why we would want to
make a judgment upon it since there's nothing we can do to change it).

Viewed in such a light, the producers of great narratives in a
pernicious society are not collaborators with the bad guys in that
society, but rather fighters in a transcultural and transhistorical
resistance community that we, as committed readers, can join, noting
contradictions in our own circumstances of existence as we appreciate
those exhibited in the producer's society. (And I suppose it goes
without saying that that those contradictions need hardly be merely
political and economic.)

Is this a way to reconstrue the arguments of cultural capital? Could we
say that Murasaki created a kind of transhistorical cultural capital whose
currency can be converted to ours because of the insistence on difference
(among other things, of course)?

Tom Hare

Date: Dec 11 2000 17:19:50 EST
From: (Royall Tyler)
Subject: Yanagi and folk

In response to Morgan Pitelka--

> Most of the historical
> textiles, lacquer, and ceramics that Yanagi claimed were made by and for
> "the people" were in fact commissioned by the elite and produced by
> successful local artists.

I will never forget many, many years ago visiting Hamada at his home in Mash
iko. Everything was so beautiful, right down to the clothes Hamada wore. I
t was a sort of ultimate Yanagi Soetsu experience. (And how appealing his i
deals were!) This was IT. I wanted it all--which of course helped me to un
derstand that, simply perfect as it all was, it was far, far beyond any mean
s I could even dream of possessing (and besides, I would only have made a me
ss of it even if I HAD had the means to try imitating it). So it goes, alas.

Royall Tyler

Date: Dec 11 2000 18:45:02 EST
From: Wayne Farris <>

Dear Morgan and folks,
I've been in NYC and inundated with finals, and have yet to respond to
many points made by Luke, Bob, and others.
I found Morgan's recent comment very interesting. To ask a question:
what do Morgan and others think about Robert Redfield's "Great vs. Little
Traditions"? He suggests an interplay between the two. Surely, you don't
think the peasants had no culture? I'm no expert, but isn't Noh drama derived
at least somewhat from the "Little Tradition"? And how about Barbara Ruch's
Medieval Jongleurs? I also know of some Heian customs derived from peasant
practices, at least according to Toda Yoshimi.
Let us ponder!
Wayne Farris

Date: Dec 11 2000 19:07:14 EST
From: Wayne Farris <>
Subject: European demography

Dear Mary,
Is there any Japanese historical demography or family history written in
languages other than English or Japanese? Forgive my ignorance.

Date: Dec 13 2000 14:10:14 EST
From: Thomas Hare <th...@...and.Stanford.EDU>
Subject: Re:[pmjs]

My sense is that a simple binary system like Great/Little doesn't get us very far. Regional variations have to be taken into account as well as class distinctions, and, no doubt, a host of other constructions of difference. As Wayne points out, yes, noh had its "peasant" or countryside, little tradition influences, but in the period generally thought of as formative (late 14th-early 15th c.), it may well be that regional differences (between O-mi sarugaku and Yamato sarugaku, say) were more telling than differences between a putative Great and Little tradition.

Tom Hare

Date: Dec 13 2000 15:58:24 EST
From: Matthew Stavros <mstav...@...nceton.EDU>
Subject: M. B. Jansen's obituary

Dear List Members,

I like to offer to pass on a copy of Marius B. Jansen's obituary to those
who are interested.

Please contact me off-list and I will be happy to attach the PDF document
with my reply.

If I receive enough requests, perhaps our editor will recommend a general post.

Best wishes,
Matthew Stavros

(obituary was written by Martin Collcutt)

Date: Dec 13 2000 19:27:33 EST
From: Michael Watson <>
Subject: note

Just a quick note to all of you to assure you that as PMJS list-owner, I am
doing everything I can to deal with the recent changes in
policy. The appearance of advertisements at the top of messages is most
unwelcome. I have asked veteran list managers among you for help and advice.
It may be that the time has come to move to another listserver. In the
meantime, I ask your patience.

Michael Watson 

Date: Dec 13 2000 19:39:59 EST
From: "Philip C. Brown" <>
Subject: Jansen onbituary

From H-Japan:

December 12, 2000

Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2000 13:01:29 -0500
Subject: Marius Jansen obituary


Here is a copy of the obituary for Prof. Marius Jansen that is being
distributed by his family and the Department of East Asian Studies at

David Howell, Princeton University

Obituary for Marius Berthus Jansen, 1922-2000.

Marius Berthus Jansen, of 222 Mt. Lucas Road, Princeton, died on
Sunday, December 10, 2000, at 12:45 A.M. He had been Emeritus Professor
of Japanese History since his retirement from Princeton University in

Born in the Netherlands in 1922, Jansen grew up in Massachuetts and
received his undergraduate education at Princeton, where he majored in
European history of the Renaissance and Reformation eras. He was a
member of the Class of 1944, earning his A.B. degree in 1943. He
graduated Suma cum Laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Following
three years of military service devoted to the study of Japanese, and
including service in Okinawa and the initial year of the Allied
Occupation of Japan, he turned his interests from European to Japanese
history, after which he studied for his doctorate at Harvard University
under the direction of John K. Fairbank and Edwin O. Reischauer, who
was later U.S. Ambassador to Japan.

Jansen began his teaching career at the University of Washington in
1950 and moved to Princeton in 1959 as Professor in the departments of
History and Oriental Studies. He was one of a small group of specialists
in the study of Japan who deepened the American understanding of
Japanese history and helped introduce Japan into college and university
curricula. His students in turn fanned out to develop Japan studies
throughout the United States.

He was also active on committees for learned societies, for the
Fulbright Commission, in the Association for Asian Studies, to which he
was elected President in 1977, and for the Japan Foundation, whose
American Committee he chaired for 17 years. He was a member of the
Council on Foreign Relations and of the American Academy of Arts and
Sciences, and was recognized for his contributions to Japan studies and
Japanese-American relations by the Japan Foundation, the city of Osaka,
the Japan Society of New York, and the Emperor of Japan, who conferred
on him the Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1985. His long service and
many contributions to the study of Japan and its culture were recognized
in his appointment to the Japan Academy in spring 1999 and the award of
the Prize for Distinguished Cultural Merit (Bunka Korosho) later that
year, the first time this award was bestowed on a non-Japanese.

At Princeton, where he received the Howard Behrman Award for excellence
in teaching in the humanities, Jansen was a devoted member of the
History Department as well as Director of the Program in East Asian
Studies (1962-68) and first Chair of the new Department of East Asian
Studies (1969-72). He was a stimulating undergraduate teacher, and a
demanding, incisive advisor for generations of graduate students in East
Asian history.

In addition to many articles in English and Japanese, Jansen was the
author and editor of more than twenty books, including: The Japanese and
Sun Yat Sen (1954), Japan and China, from War to Peace, 1894-1972
(1975), and Japan and its World: Two Centuries of Change (1981). Perhaps
the best known of his books is Sakamoto Ryoma and the Meiji Restoration
(1961). This was devoted to the turbulent period of Japan's turn to the
West in the mid-nineteenth century. It has also enjoyed wide reading in
it Japanese translation, and made him a celebrity on the island of
Shikoku, where Ryoma grew up. Professor Jansen's eyesight had been
failing for some time, but he continued to research, write, and edit.
His latest book, The Making of Modern Japan, Harvard University Press
(2000), was published a week before his death, affording him great

Jansen is survived by his wife of 52 years, Jean Hamilton Jansen, for
many years on the faculty of the Princeton Day School; a daughter, Maria
Christine McGale, and her husband Gerard, of Garwood, NJ; three
grandchildren, Claire, Emily and Mark; a brother Johannes Jan Jansen,
his wife Martha, and their two daughters, Anne and Catherine, of North
Andover, Massachusetts; Mary Cabiness Jansen of Austin , Texas, the
widow of his brother John, and five nephews, John, Tyler, Mark, David
and Andrew; and a sister-in-law, Dorothy Hamilton of Fresno, California.

The funeral service will be held on Saturday, December 16th, 2000 at
Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau St., Princeton, at 1:00 P.M.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to a scholarship fund in
the name of Marius B. Jansen at the East Asian Studies Program, 211
Jones Hall, Princeton, N.J. 08544-1008

A memorial and appreciation of Marius Jansen's work will be held at
Princeton in the new year. Details will be announced later.

MCC. Princeton. 12/12/2000.

Philip C. Brown

Date: Dec 13 2000 19:53:06 EST
From: Wayne Farris <>
Subject: More on Genji, etc.

Dear all,
Finished with finals and returned from NYC where I watched 5,000 people
demonstrate for one person-one vote (instead of DADDY getting me the
nomination and BROTHER getting me the presidency a la Heian politics!), I have
had time to read the various messages and ponder them.
Let me answer the questions asked of me:
Royall: was Lady Murasaki complicit in the abuses of the Heian
aristocracy? No more than any one else. And I would certainly agree with you
that we can of course acknowledge the ideals of the Heian aristocracy, when we
like them. After all, these aristocrats were also deeply superstitious and
gossips to boot.
Michael: I don't know quite how to respond to you, but I guess that art
produced from the proceeds of slavery would be pretty hard to justify,
although it might be beautiful or otherwise have redeeming value. Your
comment reminded of Athenian democracy, which was a great idea, except that
women were excluded and it was based on slavery. Also, I don't know how
others feel, but to me the term "political correctness" is a conservative's
(try Scalia) definition of the problem. What is wrong with referring to
people the way that they want to be defined, i.e., as native Americans, or
African-Americans, etc.?
David: Indeed would there have been no art or literature without the
aristocracy? I recognize and am embarrassed by the poor support for the arts
in the US (which did not have universal suffrage until 1970, 23 years after
those "backward" Japanese), as Bob describes. But what about Steinbeck and
Copeland and FL Wright, were they also products of an aristocratic society?
Did they have patrons?
Bob: I liked your message a lot. I agree with you about wanting to steal
time to go to a museum or hear Brahms or Mozart. But do you really feel we
reach so few people? Certainly in Japan every school child reads some GENJI,
unlike 1000 years ago. And just think, now thanks to US and I assume European
public education (even with all its problems), Americans and Europeans can
read GENJI, too. Sure most of them don't get it. But some of them do. (By
the way, do you really think Lady Murasaki's audience was even 5% of the
population? If there were 50 people at GENJI's rank, and 10 persons per
family, then that total was 500. The population of Japan around 1000 was,
what, maybe 5-6 million?) I guess I'm misguided, but I think our work does
eventually influence more people than we think, whether through the "low-brow"
programs on the samurai that Tomi and Karl and I did for A&E, or Bill
LaFleur's interview on NPR a few years ago about LIQUID LIFE, or to be grossly
self-promoting, the most recent issue of LINGUA FRANCA, serving the general
public with an article on Japan's ancient tombs, including several references
to Walt Edwards and my book on archaeology. I guess I feel strongly about the
mission of public universities supplying the best course work for the general
public. That's democracy. But I understand it is easy to tire of all of it,
Luke: I agree the issue is context. As an historian, I want my students
to know what kind of society, etc. produced GENJI. And now that my message is
already too long for anyone to read, you all know how I feel about the great
necessity for studying the non-elite. It seems to me that most people are
interested only in the elite and what they did or produced, whether they are
cultural or institutional historians. What a shame! I can name ten topics
off the top of my head that desperately need study that have little or nothing
to do with the elite. And always remember, even if the unwashed masses were
illiterate, their numbers and abilities and actions placed restrictions upon
the elite that the elite often didn't recognize.
To add one more point, about 25 years ago there was a very healthy trend
in historical studies called "history from the bottom up." This concept
completely changed the study of US and European history. It also made its way
to modern Japanese and Tokugawa history, via people like Andy Gordon and Anne
Walthall et al. But I don't think the pre-1600 scholars outside Japan ever
were influenced. Surely Amino is a great example within Japan, whatever you
may think of his work. And I don't believe it's a problem of sources, but one
of what people want to research or think is important to research. It also
may be a problem of understanding how societies and economies work, and seeing
the elite from a different perspective.
I'm exhausted, so I'll quit. Hope my long message provides food for
Wayne Farris

P.S. I heard that George W. was mad at his Daddy because the elder never told
the younger that he would have to learn to count to be President! When Daddy
said yes, George W. asked Colin Powell to fix him a drink.

Date: Dec 13 2000 20:13:45 EST
From: Wayne Farris <>
Subject: European scholarship

Hi folks,
The comments on European scholarship also made me think.
As an old-timer, it is hard to imagine the growth that Japanese studies
must be going through in Europe. I would advise all younger scholars to keep
abreast of developments in their field. But as someone else noted, it seems
awefully much to expect us English-speakers to learn modern Japanese,
classical Japanese, the many varieties of premodern documentary Japanese,
classical Chinese, and maybe even Korean, and then expect us us to learn
German, French, Italian etc. I'm dizzy at the thought! We need some way to
get at least English abstracts of any relevant work.
To be honest, I doubt that there is yet a huge flow of work from Europe in
my field, but of course I would like to read what there is.
All the major journals are making great efforts to include European
scholars, which I think is good, but I wonder: is there not a trade-off here?
Does that mean that some possibly worthy work in English can't be included?
I was thrilled when HEAVENLY WARRIORS was reviewed in ANNALES, although I
had to ask a French historian for help to get the meaning right. On the other
hand, the recent review of SACRED TEXTS AND BURIED TREASURES in JJS by a
German scholar of Nishimura Shigeki was a travesty. She should have never
agreed to review a book beyond her expertise, and the editorial board of JJS
should be lined up and shot for asking her. Where is their professionalism?
Wayne Farris

Date: Dec 13 2000 20:41:48 EST
From: "Anthony J. Bryant" <>
Subject: European scholarship

wwf1 wrote:

> I was thrilled when HEAVENLY WARRIORS was reviewed in ANNALES, although I
> had to ask a French historian for help to get the meaning right. On the other
> hand, the recent review of SACRED TEXTS AND BURIED TREASURES in JJS by a
> German scholar of Nishimura Shigeki was a travesty. She should have never
> agreed to review a book beyond her expertise, and the editorial board of JJS
> should be lined up and shot for asking her. Where is their professionalism?

I haven't seen the review, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book, especially as I'm
fascinated with questions such as Yamatakoku's status and location, and the
nature of Mimana...


Date: Dec 13 2000 21:17:38 EST
From: Robert E Morrell <>
Subject: Yanagi and folk

I confess that I have not been following this thread as carefully perhaps
as I should have. Anyhow, several items interested me, and I will try to
keep this short. Having also met several members of the _mingei_ crowd
some decades ago -- Yanagi, but maybe not Hamada (according to my
wife), but surely Munakata and Bernard Leach -- I guess we were
co-opted (is the word still in use?) into the
_mingei_ perspective. (Where does Serizawa stand?).

I don't quite know how to understand Royall's comment:

". . . .This was IT. I wanted it all--which of course
helped me to understand
that, simply perfect as it all was, it was far, far beyond
any means I could
even dream of possessing (and besides, I would only have
made a mess
of it even if I HAD had the means to try imitating
it). So it goes, alas."

Again, I apologize for not following. . . .I know there is something
here about "folk" and "elite". Royall, I don't understand if you
are being sarcastic or not; and I am still coming to grips with the
problems of ambiguity in web communication. Is this is a straightforward
repudiation of the notion that there are things (e.g., aesthetic
values) which might indeed be valid, but which we cannot rationalize (and
thus neither "possess" nor "imitate"?). Some (at least from A.J. Ayer
on) believe that "aesthetic values" are simply nonsense, since they
cannot be rationalized. I personally (and not from a Judeo-Christian
perspective) feel that there is much in human experience that
surpasseth [rational] understanding. This is not a popular notion -- but
not therefore wrong. Would you mind clarifying? Thanks.

Bob M

Date: Dec 14 2000 09:46:59 EST
From: "Sato/Wakabayashi" <>
Subject: Jansen obituary

Thank you, Philip, for posting the obituary.
And Matthew, can you please send me a copy of

The Asahi Shinbun had an obituary with his
photo on the 12/12 evening paper.
For those who can read Japanese on their computer:

[add link to Japanese text]

Haruko Wakabayashi

Date: Dec 14 2000 09:58:52 EST
From: "Philip C. Brown" <>
Subject: Jansen obituary

That was Martin's obit. It is the same one that now appears on the East
Asian Studies (Princeton) department website. It was signed "MCC", which,
where I grew up, mean "Monroe Community College", but I don't think anyone
there knew Marius as well as Martin! :)

Date: Dec 14 2000 12:15:30 EST
From: "Thomas Conlan" <>
Subject: More on Genji, etc.

Hi All,

I have been reading this discussion with some interest, and thought that I would
add my opinion regarding several matters.

1. Is the dichotomy between 'elite' and 'non elite' useful? I have my doubts
because it forces subtle gradations in society into two procrustean categories.
Such a schemata is misleading, for the simple reason that power relations
a complex negotiation among all aspects of society. And where do you draw the
line? Are provincial governors elites? Their retainers? Members of their house?
Furthermore, such a rigid dichotomy ignores that fact that members of the lower
orders do what they can to raise up in social ranks, while the fortunes of some
at the pinnacle of society could decline precipitously (think of what happened
to the "southern' branch of the Fujiwara, for example.) Indeed, reach back six
generations, and even in the present queen of England's ancestry, you would
a London plumber!

2. Second, enough of the tired paradigm of elite 'exploitation' The main reason
why wealth and power accrued to the Fujiwara, or other members of the court, is
that they could provide some protection for land rights. Sure, a cut of a
particular estate's revenue would go to them, but that would be so that they
could achieve some uniformity of expectations. It is no coincidence that the mob
refers to such funds as 'protection' money, because to a degree it fulfills
expectations. In places where state power is weak, powerful entities can help
enforce contracts and act as guarantors of agreements. Fair? Perhaps not, but to
criticize a system in such a manner may enhance one's sense of moral
but does little to clarify the practices of a particular age.

3. Next, much as we hate to admit it, those at the pinnacle of society,
particularly a 'premodern' society, exercise disproportionate influence in the
culture, politics, and styles of the age. Lets again think of Genji. Sure, the
number of courtiers who read it was small, but the text was widely read, and
increasingly known throughout all of Japanese society. Kanazawa Sadaaki refers
loaning it out of his library (the Kanazawa bunko) early in the fourteenth
century, and as time passes, various (dare I say "non-elite") Otogi zoshi, and
even the writings of Saikaku are aware of Genji although they might parody it as
well. The advantage of studying such culture is that we know who wrote it, who
read it, and can trace its enduring influence in society through time. The great
danger of looking at 'non-elites' is that we have few records pertaining to
and can know relatively little about them. Furthermore, by creating one such
ideal category, we ignore very real distinctions between retainers, independent
warriors, hyakusho, merchants, genin, shirabyoshi ,etc etc etc. To classify them
as 'non-elites' is to create a fictional entity that more often reflects the
perceptions of the historian than the actual reality at hand.

Finally, Wayne, no offense (and of course, maybe I am just speaking for myself
here) but I joined this list to get information about premodern Japan, and not
contemporary politics. Just think--one quarter of the country voted for Gore;
quarter voted for Bush, and half did not vote at all. So some agree with your
comments (jokes?) about Bush, others don't, while most simply do not care at

I hope that everyone has a happy holidays!
Best wishes,
Tom Conlan

Date: Dec 14 2000 12:45:01 EST
From: "Mikael S. Adolphson" <>
Subject: More on Genji, etc.

Perhaps I might add my unworthy opinion to this fascinating, but, it
appears, a little too politicized, debate. In general I agree with Tom
Conlan's comments, although one would have to ignore important aspects of
late Heian and Kamakura Japan to argue that an elite vs. non-elite
distinction is not useful. After all, how was the term "kenmon" used?
Clearly, though, a categorization of elites and non-elites based on our
contemporary observations seems of little help, but that does not mean that
there was not an awareness of highly privileged elites. Someone wrote a book
about this recently....


Mickey Adolphson

Date: Dec 14 2000 14:29:24 EST
From: "Luke S. Roberts" <>
Subject: More on Genji, etc.

I appreciate Wayne's thoughtful response to the various points made by people,
and I
am in thorough agreement with the politics which underlie the perspective.
is still a tremendous amount to be done in history from non-elite
especially in the pre-1600 eras. It is very important to our own culture to
discover the value and meaning of the lives of people with less power, and
plays a role in this. Documents and other resources are scarce but not
I like Thomas Conlan's point questioning the utility of a simple elite vs.
non-elite perspective. Indeed, it all to easily degenerates into the evil
elite vs.
good masses, which is a real misunderstanding of human relations. As Thomas
there are many gradations of power throughout the land, and all people but the
powerless are complicit in the order of inequality. And even the most powerless
have many people who would be complicit if they only had the chance. There can
be a
definable elite, as Mickey points out, but this is clearly definable only when
makes specific the frame of reference. For kenmon this frame is the "Japan" of
courtier assertions. When one makes a province or estate, for example, the
frame of
reference (and viewing history from the bottom up these are legitimate because
were the most meaningful frame of reference for many people) then suddenly many
"commoners" (jigenin--people who would not be allowed to walk on the floors of
imperial palace) are elites who will not permit those they define as commoners
step up onto _their_ floors. Many bushi did this. So elite can be defined
differently depending upon the framing context that one chooses to analyze. I
not think with Thomas (at least I think this is what he is implying) that the
ability to move in and out of the elite invalidates the concept. One can gain
lose it but it is still a form of power when one has it, and it still is gained
most people (like modern day capital) through heredity and not hard work or wit.
And here I come to my biggest disagreement with Thomas. I do not think that
"exploitation" is a tired concept. It is there and it needs to be thought
about and
articulated because most people in all societies try so hard to forget it and
complicity in it. When a kenmon says he needs resources to offer protection and
then spends the money on clothing and food and art that the people in the
could not dream of having then this is to my mind a lie and exploitation. Most
kenmon of course just asserted that they owned tax rights to the land,
protection or
no, because some higher power such as the emperor or notions of the rights of
capital development of shoen authorized it. Any justification of an unequal
distribution of resources which speaks for others and is backed by the threat of
force is exploitation in my regard. Just the same with yakuza who make people
to protect themselves from the selfsame yakuza.
Truly common art can be beautiful. The Edo period which is what I know
well is
replete with examples. As for earlier periods, I recently spent a week of
at a small museum in Awaji which was filled with fired clay pots and bowls
up from the floor of the Inland Sea by modern day trawler fishermen. They
from late Joumon to modern. There were many pieces that were lovely, but one
bowl so beautiful that I gazed at it for long periods almost every time I
that room. It is impossible for me to express the perfection of form and
texture and gray color, and the energy of the traces of hand and fingers that
whipped it off so obviously rapidly.
Yours, Luke Roberts

Date: Dec 14 2000 19:23:04 EST
From: Wayne Farris <>
Subject: Elites, Genji, etc.

Dear Tom, Mikey, and all,
I enjoyed your contributions, although I obviously had problems with some
aspects of your comments.
On Tom's point 1), I think I agree with Mikey (I hope I have the name
correct). Clearly there were gradations in the the social structure, but that
does not mean that the division between the elite and non-elite is not
helpful. Yes, I would consider governors members of the elite, since they
often had high rank. District magistrates were really intermediaries in the
system, although they had declined seriously by Genji's time. As for
retainers, I guess you'd have to go case-by-case. Yet few would doubt that
the overwhelming majority of the population was none of the above--they were
commoners, whether farmers, fishers, hunters, or whatever.
Point 2) I disagree with dispensing with the term "exploitation." I
thought your analysis of what the Fujiwara contributed to the system was
thoughtful, and yet they were living off the labors of others. Have you not
read the Owari gebumi? Surely you would agree that Motonaga was abusing and
exploiting his peasants? Perhaps I'm just a bleeding heart, but I think that
it's important to remember that most of the population in premodern Japan was
stuck living day after day with death tugging at their elbows.
Point 3) I whole-heartedly agree with your assessment that the elite
exercised a disproportionate influence on society, culture, the economy, the
resource base, etc. And I'm not saying "Don't study them." What I'm saying is
that there is a relative lot on the elite while practically nothing on several
valuable topics regarding commoners. For example, somebody ought to study an
industry--could be iron, silk, fishing, salt--doesn't matter what, and look
into technology, labor, wages, marketing, etc. Such topics are begging to be
done, but instead we get more of the same old thing. One thing you said
really disturbed me--about "the danger of studying the non-elite". That
scares me. Sounds like Justice Renquist. But then I believe he was a
Stanford product, was he not?
Best wishes,

Date: Dec 14 2000 21:54:49 EST
From: Michael Watson <>
Subject: notes

Many thanks to all who have written with comments and suggestions about the
possibility of moving pmjs (as painlessly as I can manage it) to another
"listserv." This was in response to a number of questions sent personally to
a highly unscientific cross-sample of the membership. I'm still weighing our
options. With the holidays upon us there is no need to rush the decision.

One widely voiced sentiment was to preserve what one writer described as the
"spontaneity and the rapid give and take" of the list. For an unmoderated*
list of this size to work well requires self-discipline on the part of its
members, both in the mechanics of e-mail and in choice of topic and
expression. That so few problems have arisen is a tribute to you all.
Mechanical lapses are easily forgiven and forgotten. I would argue that a
certain latitude in topic and expression makes for a lively discussion, and
that there is no need to be strait-laced and severely earnest all the time.
If you feel someone has overstepped the bounds of civility or netiquette,
feel free to say so, on-list or off. Just remember that there will always be
differences of perception about what is "inappropriately" off-topic or too
personal/chatty and what is not.

A technical note about something that is causing small but real
communication problems. I've had reports that Japanese text cannot not
always be read. In the cases I examined, the senders used Microsoft Outlook
Express 5 for Windows. Their settings were different, but the problem lies
in the settings for receiving mail.

Mail messages carry a heading, usually not displayed, which contains the
information about character coding. In Kai Nieminen's case it was
charset="ISO-2022-JP" This is apparently the "Japanese (JIS)" coding rather
than the more widely used "Japanese (Shift-JIS)." If you set your mail
browser to "Japanese (Auto-Select) the Japanese text will display properly.
But better still, set to Character Set --> "Automatic" and you will not need
to switch back and forth.

In Haruko Wakabashi's case, the "character set" or language encoding was
utf-8, the new Unicode setting. This will be increasingly common, so it is
worth learning how to receive such mail. If you found this mail appear as
weird and wonderful Chinese characters then you have probably set your mail
software for the character set "Japanese (Auto-Select)". In this case this
will NOT work. Again, you should set your mail software to recognize the
character set automatically (Format -->Character Set-->Automatic on OE for

*a "moderated" list is one where all messages must be approved by the
editor(s) before being sent out.

Michael Watson 

Date: Dec 15 2000 00:47:48 EST
From: Leith Morton <>
Subject: European scholarship

As Philip Brown once reminded me some years ago, many US-based scholars rarely
read work on Japan published in English outside the US (especially in places
Australia), let alone work in other European languages.

Personally, I don't find keeping up on what's been published in modern Japanese
on what interests me, or what new archives have been released in my area of
interest in Japanese literature, a problem provided that my library keeps up
subscription to the 6 or 7 Japanese journals on literature that they currently
subscribe to (this is a battle that I and my colleagues fight with our
librarian once every 7 months or so), as all these journals publish long and
short, useful book review sections and also have periodic reviews of scholarly
literature on topics or authors of interest. Once a month I spend a few hours
browsing in the journals (plus I subscribe to a few myself), and that seems to
suffice to order whatever books I need from Japan. I don't know whether that's
the case for journals of Japanese history or whatever.

One issue might be what kind of duty do we have as scholars to cite or report on
scholarship in Japanese on topics of interest (i.e. general, theoretical areas
scholarship, as well as specific scholarship on Japan) for those scholars (in my
case, in literature) who don't read Japanese? This is in addition to our own
ruminations as scholars on topics of interest, and our translations of
significant primary source material.

Leith Morton

Date: Dec 15 2000 01:16:29 EST
From: "B.M. Bodart-Bailey" <>
Subject: Judging the elite

Is it really our task to stand in judgement over past generations?
Personally I prefer to stick with Ranke and will simply attempt to describe
the past "wie es eigentlich gewesen." (how it really was). The problem with
this quote is that most people think Ranke was so naive as to think that he
really could get to the bottom of past events. That is because they haven't
bothered to read what comes before. There Ranke explains that he is not
attempting to write "politically correct" history, but simply history free
from current value judgements.

The problem with value judgements is that they date. Most people involved in
the burning of "witches" a couple of centuries ago, were as convinced they
were doing the "right thing", as we are convinced that they were not.

Next time you squeeze yourself into one of those all-too-narrow airline
seats on a long-haul flight to a conference, feeling morally superior for
putting up with the tedium of long-distance travel to spread the good word
about pre-modern Japan, think about the pollution these conferences cause.
Not just in terms of dioxin emission by the total mileage traveled by all
participants, but also in terms of trees lumbered to produce vast amounts of
paper (at least half of which goes into the waste-paper baskets of hotels
before departure), energy consumed by hotels, the
well-heated/air-conditioned conference venue etc. Ok, so we provide
employment for people ranging from fuel truck drivers, lumber jacks and
cooks, to pilots, accountants and aircraft designers. But so did the Heian
elite provide employment for spinners, weavers, flute makers etc. Figure out
the combined budget of the conference's organizers and all participants, and
imagine what this money could do in terms of restoring polluted and
otherwise devastated environment that is condemning not just present but
also future generations to illness and poverty. We all know (or should know)
that we are exploiting the environment, destroying the rightful inheritance
of future generations, to maintain the life style we have grown accustomed
to. But are we prepared to face the rather uncomfortable consequences in an
effort to stop this exploitation? If we are not, should we expect such
behavior of past generations?

Isn't there a possibility that future generations might consider the Heian
elite morally superior to us? At least they only lived on the backs of their
contemporaries, while we, quite knowingly, live on the backs of future
generations ....

Beatrice M. Bodart-Bailey
Faculty of Comparative Culture
Otsuma Womens University
2-7-1 Karakida, Tama-shi,
Tokyo 206-8540

Date: Dec 15 2000 07:54:21 EST
From: "Rein Raud" <>
Subject: More on Genji, etc.

Another aspect to the elite/oppressed/aestheticist problem: in
pre-liberation Eastern Europe most publications on classical Japanese
culture were immediate bestsellers and were read avidly by the "normal"
people as well, which, needless to say, is no longer the case. (A modest
example: my translation of the Tsurezuregusa, printed in 22 000 copies, was
sold out in perhaps 10 days, the country's Estonian-speaking population
being less than 1 million. The book was admittedly cheap, it cost about
1/750 of an average monthly salary.) The situation was more or less the same
everywhere in the region. As far as I can understand, the aestheticism of
Heian culture was actually a source of moral support to those whose everyday
world had little to offer in that respect - showing that there was more to
being human than the raw power games that were played with them. (Evidently
these works lack the strength to demonstrate that there is more to being
human than buying things.) Still, I do believe that similar considerations
were there in the reception mechanism of the Genji etc. for the lower
nobility in Japan.
On the other hand, claims that we should only study and like the writings of
proletarian writers and the like, because the ramblings of the exploiting
elite are not worthy of our attention (which I have heard elsewhere than in
this list) strangely remind me of the time when I studied Japanese culture
in Russia in the times of Brezhnev, and thus for my ears these are the
repressive views, not the aestheticist ones. We should probably distinguish
between the historian's approach to an age, which rightly has to move beyond
the scope offered by the sources that reflect the views of the elite, and
the literary scholar's, whose task should be to interpret the texts on their
own terms and show what they have to tell us now - admitted that there is an
overlap of the two, but without trying to impose either of these
perspectives as the only correct one. To read Genji just to find out how
courtiers lived in Heian Japan is much less satisfying than to read it in
order to broaden our understanding about the human condition as such

Rein Raud

Date: Dec 15 2000 12:34:24 EST
From: "Thomas Conlan" <>
Subject: Elites, Genji, etc.

All good points, Wayne, Mickey, Luke, and everyone. Just one word of
clarification: don't take my quote out of context. The 'danger of studying the
non-elite' is, above all, an epistemological one, and not a political one. I am
not stating that the endeavor is somehow unworthy, but that the act of defining
'non-elite' and treating it monolithically, can lead to analytical muddle,
rather than clarification. Indeed, the same holds true for the term
To judge from the earlier tenor of debate, I notice that the Heian courtiers'
clearly described as being exploitative. Wayne has brought up the important
that the actions of provincial governors can best be characterized as rapacious
peculation. To label both a provincial governor and a member of the central
nobility as being equally exploitative erases an important distinction.
Provincial governors resorted to all means available to amass as much revenue at
hand, while the creation of shiki acted as a means of protecting certain 'lands'
from a provincial governor's levies. So, the courtiers who received their shiki
at the same time helped ensure the stability of rights to the land, while
provincial governors did not. That is why some provincials willingly commended
their lands to courtiers, although none willingly endured the peculation of
provincial governors.

Well, I have a mountain of final papers coming in and must end my message here.
Please accept my apologies for going on at such length. I hope that everyone has
a happy holidays!

Best wishes,
Tom Conlan

Date: Dec 15 2000 14:49:08 EST
From: Mike Smitka <>
Subject: More on Genji, etc.

On the non-elite side of Genji: my son asked me about it, thanks to
his 10th grade history class! It has penetrated, at least to getting
a mention in non-elite US high schools.

from Rockbridge County in (very) rural Virginia

Michael J. Smitka <>
Professor of Economics
Williams School of Commerce
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, Virginia 24450-0303 USA

Date: Dec 15 2000 15:22:09 EST
From: Wayne Farris <>
Subject: Bodart-Bailey comment

Dear all,
I am so exhausted from all the e-mailing and grading that I will keep my
comments brief.(Ha!)
I really agree whole-heartedly with most of what Luke said. And that
having been said, I do think it is important to realize that the elite can be
defined differently depending upon one's perspective. A person might be a
member of a regional elite and not the archipelago-wide one. So I will
rethink that one.
I also found Beatrice's message extremely stimulating. But (and this is
another old debate) I wonder if there can ever be value-free history? Doesn't
all history take place within a given social and individual context, and thus
is a sign of its times? For example, the "history from the bottom up"
movement I mentioned earlier was truly a phenomenon of the seventies, when
even rich debutantes wore jeans to their parties. All that began to change,
however, in the '80s, with Reagan and Thatcher and Lynn Cheney and the
conservative movement, which demanded more attention for the elites and more
traditional and palatable themes.
I also really like Beatrice's comparison of our age with Heian Japan.
While the Heian elite lived off the often UNRECOMPENSED labor of others lower
down on the social scale, modern Americans are "exploiters of the dead"
through our use of fossil fuels. By 2010 or 2020, our reserves may well be
disappearing, and it is hard to imagine adequate substitutes. By the way, in
a shameless promotion of a good friend's recent book, if you haven't looked at
Conrad Totman's A HISTORY OF JAPAN out of Blackwell (A British press, I
understand), then by all means do so. He addresses many of the issues we have
raised. By the way, it has some HILARIOUS tongue-in-cheek jibes at US
society, the modernization school, and many other points. Bob Wakabayashi
wrote on the cover that it was "the most detailed, sophisticated,
multi-faceted, and insightful account of Japan from earliest times to the
present to be found in English." Totman's admiration for the art and
literature of the Heian capital aristocracy is obvious, too, while at the same
time admitting that they were highly privileged, etc.
To return to Beatrice's comment, maybe we are worse than the Heian
aristocracy. They may have deforested the Kinai and degraded the environment
in other ways, as well as abusing numerous commoners, but contemporary
society--even with the obvious increase in wealth for most--still shafts the
poor and may soon run into environmental problems beyond humanity's capacity
to fix. By the way, Beatrice, I used your article on the "Laws of Compassion"
for a course on the samurai this semester, and the students understood and
loved it.
Best wishes,

Date: Dec 15 2000 19:00:41 EST
From: Robert E Morrell <>
Subject: More on Genji, etc.

Thank you, Rein ---

Very well said! :

". . . We should probably distinguish between the historian's approach to an age, which rightly has to move beyond
the scope offered by the sources that reflect the views of the elite, and the literary scholar's, whose task should be to
interpret the texts on their own terms and show what they have to tell us now - admitted that there is an overlap of the two,
but without trying to impose either of these perspectives as the only correct one." (Bolding mine.)

The clear distinction between socio/economic/political and aesthetic approaches to literature, history, art, etc. has neither been argued, definitively defined, nor is it even proper to raise the issue in discussion even today in the West. I guess we are supposed to wet our fingers, put them to the wind, and see where the "accepted" understanding lies. Graduate students (later professors) rarely recognize that a distinction exists. I think it is a very important that you raise this issue, because otherwise we fall back into the dreary, self-righteous, socio-political reductionism of EVERYTHING, reducing even the aesthetic to these terms. (Hence, my reluctance to join the current discussion.)

Thank you.

Robert E. Morrell

Date: Dec 15 2000 19:58:33 EST
From: (Royall Tyler)
Subject: Yanagi and folk

To Bob Morrell:

Dear me, no, I wasn't being sarcastic. At Hamada's I simply thought how
extremely beautiful everything was. This made me feel covetous, and my
covetous thoughts reminded me that despite the ideal of the anonymous
craftsman, etc., this sort of beauty was rare, hence not in fact something
that I as I was then could make my own. I accepted that, though. It seemed
obvious on reflection that beauty that elegantly concentrated (with all its
natural, casual, enlightenment-in-daily-life look) would be literally
priceless--hence, even fragmented on the vulgar market of our time,
extremely expensive. I was a foolish young man then, of course. (Now I am
a foolish aging one.) There actually are people out there, I am sure, who
through decades of loving patience have managed to emulate in their
domestic surroundings such beauty as I saw at Hamada's. Still, there can
only be few--an elite, shall we say?

>Some (at least from A.J. Ayer
>on) believe that "aesthetic values" are simply nonsense, since they
>cannot be rationalized.
Such people can believe anything they like.

Royall Tyler

Date: Dec 15 2000 21:26:00 EST
From: "kai nieminen" <>
Subject: Vs: [pmjs] Elites, Genji, etc.

Dear colleagues,

Thank you for a very stimulating discussion. The stimuli were so many,
and so effective, that I already twice started to write a carried-away
kind of contribution, only to find out, before mailing it, that new
fascinating stimuli had appeared on the list. I try to comment shortly, if I
forgive me for not giving credits to the authors of original ideas.
My point of view is a translator's & poet's.
1) as a translator of classical Japanese literature and as a writer of
modern Finnish poetry I am a member of elite, I cannot help it; the
definition is not by me, it's labeled by the outside world. As always
was. And will be.
However, in my trade, my one and sole purpose and goal is to
communicate: as a translator, to communicate, say lady Murasaki's
kokoro, to modern Finnish readers, as a poet to communicate a modern
Finnish male poet's kokoro to the readership. As a translator my
readership may be 2000-4000, as a poet around 500-1000 persons.
In the contents of my translations or my poems, I am transmitting what
I believe to be universal -- something that is common to a Japanese
court lady of 1000 years ago, or any poet of any era of any part of
the world -- and a modern Western reader. If Murasaki Shikibu has
something to say for my readers, and if I can help them to understand
her, this in a way transcends the elite vs. the oppressed -problem.
Otherwise, all I do is in vain.
And: when translating eg. Genji, I am translating an individual
writer's subtle and masterly work -- and she in her position was
boldly responding to the times and politics where she was situated, in
a way, in second class (we know how many classes there were...), being
at the same time a woman and of a lineage that couldn't promise her
any further politico-social promotion. What she chose was to write,
and her writing, methinks, was a political act. We cant blame Marx nor
Engels for not being proletarians, can we? They could not choose their
families, either.

2) but in order to be able to interpret Murasaki Shikibu, I must know,
understand & admit (not necessarily appreciate) her position as a
leisure-classed, privileged, politically speaking _parasitic_
existence (albeit, as it to me seems, keenly aware of these
aspects -- which leads us to the roots of existential philosophy, which
again would be an inspiriting topic for studying the premodern
Japanese practise of retiring-into-nunhood -- maybe it already has
been researched? I mean, to find the roots of existentialism _not (only)_
in zen and zen-related buddhism, but in the female elite's abandonment/
taking-refuge -- this is no joke).
I not only must know -- I also have to tell to the readers of my
translation about Genji Monogatari's social setting, and that, to the
chagrin of my publisher, I insist to do in Preface, Afterword,
Notation, Word to my Readers etc. etc. To make the reader to be able
to read what Murasaki Shikibu is writing.
1st: I must become a court lady, 2nd: reader must become via me
possessed by a court lady's spirit. _And at that instant_ know how
privileged she is economically/politically, and how
suppressed/oppressed she is -- how weak in her own surroundings and how
strong in her talents. Hence the politics is not only an unavoidable
factor of the translation and interpretation, but also an inseparable
part of the work.

3) it was really very well done to bring moral/ethic/political issues,
like Messieurs Farris & Tyler brought, into the discussion. It reminds
me (and I feel I have to be reminded every so often) of the question: for
whom am I doing my job? How am I doing it?
And also of the dilemma since 30 years: is it right for me to
work to make Japanese (and to make it grave, ancient) literature
well-known here, when in my own country, in Lapland, there is the Sami
minority people -- am I as a member of elite & majority only conveying
an elite culture to elite audience, when I instead should learn Sami
language and do my best to translate their poetry & advocate their
human rights? This is still a moral enigma.

4) after having translated court poetry, Genji, Tsurezuregusa, haikai,
senry, kouta, n -- both "high" and "low" literature -- I willingly
admit that, as much as I like Genji, Sei ShÙnagon, All the Revered
Masters of Tanka etc., I find my thrill finding some unknown poet who
puts the real thing in unorthodox verses (sometimes not seeming like
poetry, but it still is); the literature of masses only seems so to
us, because we don't know better; no author from the masses never
thought him or her as such, every author always has an individual identity
with a name. The mass media of Heian from our pint of view _was not
unlike the modern mass media_. Surviving with 500 readers makes one
a member of elite, starving with the same audience makes one an
anonymous member of masses. In Heian, in Europe, in USA.
AD 1000, AD 2000. Thus spake one with experience.

5) I got carried away, after all. My meaning was to comment, ask,
rather than to declare. Do not, please, abandon political aspects.
(Nor jokes, we Europeans like it when we get them free...) And: I've
waited for comments on Murasaki's, Sei ShÙnagon's, Abutsuni's and many
others' role as rebels. Janine Beichman (do you remember me? We met at
Toyota symposium 1993, I was the fat bearded one who wrote renshi with
Oooka), wouldn't you comment this from the aspect of Murasaki/Akiko?
What is elitism? How would you compare Genji with Midaregami?

And finally: indirectly I found out that my way of using Japanese font
has caused inconvenience to some colleagues -- I apologize, and ask:
please, don't hesitate to comment on all disturbances caused by me
(including my orthography & lengthy sentence) directly & promptly to
me, too, so I can revise my habits.

Don't let's forget these political & ethical issues during the holiday

Yours Sincerely

Kai Nieminen

Date: Dec 15 2000 22:19:10 EST
From: "kai nieminen" <>
Subject: Bodart-Bailey comment

Dear friends,
yes, as I said: before I mail my comments, you make further and better
Rein Raud was saying in brief and precise way what I also aimed at.
And maybe I should add to the mingei-part: my (Finnish-born) wife is a
ceramist, who has
studied & done her Masters on Japanese mingei-ceramics -- so during the 21 years
together with her I have gained an understanding to what Royall is referring --
I also
sign the
> I was a foolish young man then, of course. (Now I am a foolish aging one.)
and I'm applyig it to (forgive me) poetry, too.

I don't think this in any way disagrees with my agreeing with Wayne's:
> I wonder if there can ever be value-free history? Doesn't
> all history take place within a given social and individual context


Kai Nieminen

Date: Dec 16 2000 03:18:35 EST
From: Wayne Farris <>
Subject: Genji, elites, etc.

Dear Tom,
I simply don't agree with your point that the records and data are not
there to study non-elites. How would you and most of the other Mass people
know, since you never study them. (Perhaps Keirstead and Tonomura might be
exceptions here.)
Also, I think your unwillingness to embrace broad terms such as peasants,
or other large groups of the non-elite suggests a general unwillingness to
conceptualize. For you, history is not about ideas, it is about documents.
Finally, I agree that there may have been a distinction between the
exploitation carried out by the zuryoo and the sekkanke, but first of all, the
sekkanke were complicit in the zuryoo's actions because they accepted bribes
and appointed men like Motonaga and the many others. Second, the idea that
the sekkanke was just protecting property rights seems naive--after all it was
THEIR income rights that they they were guarding. Analyses such as the one
you offer show the dead end that institutional history has become.
Sorry to be so blunt,
Wayne Farris

Date: Dec 16 2000 03:37:25 EST
From: Wayne Farris <>
Subject: Parting shot

Dear all,
I felt bad about the Rehnquist comment as soon as I sent it. To all you
Stanford grads out there, I offer my sincerest apologies. Stanford is a great
school. (I have never been there and don't know many faculty there, but I
greatly admire Peter Duus.) By the way, did Brett Walker accept the Edo
position? If so, another reason to admire your Japanese history and studies
Moreover, my own school has had its share of troglydytes. After all,
Daniel Pipes was an advisor to Reagan, and in my day most of the Americanists
were well-known for their aversion to students and right-wing tendencies.
Wayne Farris

Date: Dec 16 2000 03:48:12 EST
From: Wayne Farris <>
Subject: Reductionism

Dear Rein and Bob,
I wrote early on in part of the debate written in private to Royall that
it was important to realize that one could read Genji as an historical text
and for aesthetic pleasure. Both are equally valid. I wouldn't like to see
Genji, or any literature for that matter, reduced to just social/political
values. That's not what I'm saying and don't implicate me in that position.
Best wishes,
Wayne Farris

Date: Dec 16 2000 07:15:30 EST
From: "Steven G. Nelson" <>
Subject: Genji, elites, etc.

on 00.12.16 5:21 PM, wwf1 at wrote:

> Dear Tom,
> I simply don't agree with your point that the records and data are not
> there to study non-elites. How would you and most of the other Mass people
> know, since you never study them. (Perhaps Keirstead and Tonomura might be
> exceptions here.)
[snip snip]
> Sorry to be so blunt,
> Wayne Farris

And we get an apology for this after we've all seen it. I'm sorry, but I
find it all very petty, and don't really want to see it. Perhaps we do need
a little 'moderation' after all.

Steven Nelson

Date: Dec 16 2000 09:11:24 EST
From: David Pollack <>
Subject: ecological ethics & Japan


Conrad Totman's interest in Japan's ecological history is well-known but
also unusual. THe history of the land is an extremely important subject that
lies at the intersection of politics, economy, sociology, technology and of
course geography and geology -- but it also has profound implications for
the humanities as well. The prooposition can be boiled down to this
statement: who has shaped the earth and to what ends? It may not be enough
to say that the peasants were responsible for much of the land's evolution
since farming on a large scale was controlled by elites to whom the peasants
owed taxes, usually ruinous, often murderous. Cultivation is not in itself
destruction, though "taming" the "wilderness" can be called into question in
much the same way that bringing wild animals under domestication has been,
with the assumption that the cultivated or domesticated product is then
viewed as "naturally" under man's domination and therefore "naturally"
eligible for whatever role man wishes for them, whether that be hamburgers
or shopping malls. The cultivated landscape has served as a major topos in
art and literature, harkening to romantic ideas of an earlier unspoiled
primeval and pre-lapsarian condition on the one hand, and on the other to
those of a bucolic and pastoral condition presided over by good shepherds,
fair nymphs, and in the case of Japan (which never had much truck with the
idea of an unspoiled primeval landscape ro for that matter nymphs), bountiful
fields of rice wrapped in gentle verdant mists and heartfelt peasant song, a
Mizuho no wagakuni that usually points in one direction to a mi-presence of
kami (mediated by emperors), and in the other to all of art, song, and

In this sort of mythic structure, it is simple enough then to understand the
function of the court nobilitiy, as viewed backward from its own point of
view, as that without which the land would simply be without human meaning
and humans would be without art. It's a rationalization after the fact, of
course, but a pretty neat one, and one that has had great importance for the
evolution of both the land and its arts, as well as for our present
understanding of them. I understand that this all sounds rather more like
Northrop Frye than Marx, but it does have the virtue of helping to bridge
the two.

There's a great deal more than should be said, but I've run out of breath.

Date: Dec 16 2000 11:05:29 EST
From: Michael Watson <>
Subject: announcement / new members

I have upgraded the list to "gold status" for $99/annum. This will reduce
but not entirely eliminate advertisements as it works by a monthly "credit
system" based on the number of messages sent and number of members. Consider
this an experiment while I'm working out our next move. Do make your
messages count!

It has been so busy recently that I have held off the introduction of three
new members, bringing us to a total of 237.

Mary Dusenbury <>

I am an art historian with an interest in literature. My dissertation
focused on the use and perception of color at the Heian court [Radiance and
Darkness: Color at the Heian Court] (University of Kansas, 1999), using
fascicle 14 of the Engishiki and women's literature of the early to mid
eleventh century as primary documents. I am currently the acting curator of
Asian art at the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas.

Sudeshna Sen <>

Ph.D candidate, University of Oregon.
My dissertation focuses on a study of Sarashina Nikki and issues of
textual performativity and female subjectivity. I am also interested in
theoretical discussions regarding the status of the body, agency and minor
literature particularly from a post-colonial or Deleuzian perspective.

Guinevere Tapley <>

I am currently in the 4th (final year) of a BA Japanese at SOAS,
having worked previously as a translator (Spanish) and as a literary
agent. I hope to continue to postgraduate studies in Japanese
literature, and have a strong interest in translation. For my
graduation thesis I am researching the use of supernatural
phenomenon as a literary device in both premodern and modern
Japanese literature.

Michael Watson 

Date: Dec 16 2000 14:31:45 EST
From: "Alexander R. Bay" <fuge...@...and.Stanford.EDU>
Subject: Genji, elites, etc.

I, as a Stanford graduate student, must make a few points here:

Farris writes, "For you, history is not about ideas, it is about documents."

This may be redundant in the light of Farris's follow-up mail, but we all
know that history is about ideas AND documents.

Also, Tom Conlan has no problem with conceptualizations. His Ph.D.
dissertation rethinks military and warfare practices in the 14th century
based on the inventive use of battle-field wound reports. Fresh ideas, for
who (in the West) has thought about using these kinds of SOURCES before?
And his article in "Origins of Japan's Medieval World" also
re-conceptualizes the nature of chusetsu, formerly understood as "loyalty"
but rethought by Conlan (based on ideas and documents) to mean "service."
And this helps to shed light on an area of warrior studies that has not been
explored before, and it does address how non-elite warriors fit within the
sociopolitical frame-work of the time. However, this article received no
mention in the Farris review of "Origins of Japan's Medieval World." Was it

No offense to Wayne, "Heavenly Warriors" is one of the reasons why I chose
to study pre-modern Japanese history, so your contributions to the field are
not being attacked.

I appreciated your follow-up message, and I hope you realize there really is
no such thing as "Mass people," we are an eclectic group. For example, my
research these days focuses on medieval Aomori prefecture, and the Nanbu
family. There is nothing farther removed from central elites than the
medieval Tsugaru (except probably Ezochi). The Nanbu were horse breeders,
not rice-field landlords, so the study of the Nanbu will have to incorporate
horses. This will go beyond the elite vs. non elite dichotomy to address
the human vs. non-human one. There may be place in my research to give the
horse agency. In US and European scholarship, no one has attempted to give
non-human actors historical agency (of note is Brett Walker's study in
progress concerning ecological history). This type of work does not fit
within a "Mass people" stereotype, and again, we truly are an eclectic

Take care and happy holidays
Alex Bay

ps- Shall we change the subject from elite vs. non-elites, and ask the
question, which I find more interesting, of giving non-human actors agency
in pre-Meiji Japan studies?

Date: Dec 16 2000 18:24:23 EST
From: Wayne Farris <>
Subject: Bay comment

Dear Alex and all,
I really have no desire to continue this discussion as it is taking an
enormous amount of my time and leading to bad feelings.
Again, I apologize for any offensive remarks about Stanford, as it is
indeed one the world's great universities, but I stand by my remarks
otherwise. Alex, you might do well to look at an old article by Totman in JAS
on pre-1600 historical studies in the US. I don't think much has changed
since then (about 1979).
As for Conlan's article in the volume you mention, I thought it belonged
in the same category as Mass', Seno's, Nelson's, and others, in that it really
added very little new to the corpus. I think, as one member of the conference
put it, the volume had lots of "bushi this and bushi that." It's been
overdone, at least from an institutional perspective. There are so many other
much more valuable topics to be done, why beat a dead horse?
But I will confess, as I wrote to Tom recently, that I liked his study of
weapons and battle tactics and wounds for the Nanboku-cho Wars.
It's the holidays, so maybe we can just drop this and go on about our
Wayne Farris

P.S. Did Brett Walker accept the offer for Stanford? Maybe he can
counterbalance some of the other emphasis.

Date: Dec 16 2000 23:52:05 EST
From: (Royall Tyler)
Subject: Re: Vs: [pmjs] Elites, Genji, etc.

Dear Kai,

Thank you and everyone else for the most brilliant discussion ever seen,
surely, on the e-waves. May I ask you whether you have completed your
Finnish Genji, or, if not, how far you have gotten with it? I feel
especially like asking because I am so glad to know that you are doing it
and because today I will finish my last editorial pass through my Genji
manuscript, which will go off definitively to the publisher tomorrow.

You speak of communicating Lady Murasaki's kokoro, and so on--"an individual
writer's subtle and masterly work." How well I understand that feeling!
That is why I am so surprised to find that by now I do not feel anything of
the kind. Of course, what we feel as a translators--the reasons we think
we have for keeping going--matter much less than our simply getting on with
it. Tatiana Sokolova-Delyusina wrote in Tatiana no Genji Nikki of feeling
as you do (I have not read her book, only an extract from it). I fully
sympathize, and I understand why a great many readers, too, see the work as
a direct utterance from the author's heart or even, so to speak, as the
author herself embodied in words.

For what it's worth, though, I have no sense of conveying to the reader
Murasaki Shikibu's kokoro, message, viewpoint, politics, or anything else
personal to her. Some passages or characters can certainly be interpreted
more plausibly than others as representing her more or less directly, but
on the whole, the forces of taste, experience, interest, patronage, and so
on that acted on her writing are bound to have been strong and complex, and
they will remain forever unknown. She is no doubt present in her writing,
but I feel that I just do not know where or in what form, since a great
deal else is present there too.

And I do not know what is her writing. I cannot believe by now that
Murasaki Shikibu is the sole author of the tale, although when I started I
certainly took it for granted that she was. In fact, the more I think
about the idea, the less plausible it appears. In general, the better I
come to know the tale (perhaps I am now at the stage where I could begin to
study it seriously, if I were young), the more mysteries it suggests.

You write, "Don't let's forget these political & ethical issues during the
holiday season." Alas, I'm not good at--not attuned to--either political
or ethical issues. I don't believe that Genji is "about" mono no aware
(not that I could say what it IS about), but I have a good deal of sympathy
with Norinaga anyway. Maybe I read the tale anthropologically, in a
simple-minded way. The text is full of evidence about how these people saw
their world, how that world was shaped, what they thought of each other,
what their interests and values were. All that is very interesting, and
all too often often it is very cruel. Sometimes I think their world is a
lot more like ours than we usually imagine, even to the strangenesses that
I know I myself will never understand. Still, I am glad that I do not live
in it.

Well, for the time being I had better get back to work.


Date: Dec 17 2000 01:35:36 EST
From: "Anthony J. Bryant" <>
Subject: Re: Vs: [pmjs] Elites, Genji, etc.

Royall Tyler wrote:
> And I do not know what is her writing. I cannot believe by now that
> Murasaki Shikibu is the sole author of the tale, although when I started I
> certainly took it for granted that she was. In fact, the more I think
> about the idea, the less plausible it appears. In general, the better I
> come to know the tale (perhaps I am now at the stage where I could begin to
> study it seriously, if I were young), the more mysteries it suggests.

My major problem is the Uji chapters. The whole *flavor* seems so different
from the rest of the book, ranging from the blatant clergy bashing to the total
devolution of successful relationships... Plus there is what seems to me a
totally media res ending; I want to know where the final chapter(s) is/are.

I'd love to hear your theories on what Murasaki may have written vs. what you
think someone else had a hand in.

My heartiest congratulations on finishing the job! How long was the whole
process? And how long do you think it'll be before I can relegate Seidensticker
to the Waley Memorial Cobwebbed Bookshelf?


Date: Dec 17 2000 08:40:43 EST
From: "Bodart-Bailey" <>
Subject: value-free history

Wayne wrote:

..But (and this is another old debate) I wonder if there can ever be
value-free history? Doesn't all history take place within a given social and individual context, and thus is a sign of its times? ...

Naturally there is no such thing as value-free history. And that is lucky
for us historians, for it keeps us in business "re-appraising" the events of
the past. (With animal rights and the right of the unborn moving into the
focus of attention, it seems some students are even interested in the
so-called Laws of Compassion ... thanks Wayne.) All I am asking is, in line
with Marc Bloch, that we confine ourselves to the role of the detective,
establishing, to the best of our ability, what happened in the past (keeping
in mind that we most probably will never get to the bottom of things ...)
and not assume the role of the Almight Judge, deciding who should go to
heaven and who to hell.

And, by the way, now that the grime and bad smells are gone, and their
records are as hygienically clean as those of the highest aristocracy, don't
let's feel morally superior for studying the down-trodden. Let's admit it,
it is in the study of the downtrodden (add:masses/gender/minorities etc.)
where the job opportunities, research grants and conference monies are. But
then we historians need to live, need someone who likes what we teach and
write, and is prepared to pay us for it.

Come to think of it, not that great a change from when our colleagues of
past ages wrote about those things that were of interest to the people who
held the purse strings ...



Date: Dec 17 2000 12:13:19 EST
From: Robert E Morrell <>
Subject: Yanagi and folk

To Royall Tyler,

I am delighted by your response. Increasingly, I am alarmed by the direction of literary/historical reductionism in the "West" (e.g., see my positive response to Rein Raud's recent comments). The current elitist/peasant discussion seems to consider no other perspective than the social/political. And this eventually gets translated into who will be hired to teach -- guess what? And then there are the endless panels and articles about the same "guess what." So, in the end, where are we?

Since so many seem to view the aesthetic approach to Japanese events (literature, art, etc.) as little more than an appendage to socio-political-economic [neo-Marxist] explanations, perhaps it is time for us to reexamine the issue. At least since Thomas Hobbes, the West has been obsessed with vindicating his materialist model. But among ivory-tower philosophers, Descartes' model was dominant at least into the 20th century. Is there a way to reconcile these two opposites? I think so -- but only if we make a conscious effort.

Thanks for the clarification. All the best.

Robert E. Morrell

Date: Dec 17 2000 18:48:50 EST
From: "kai nieminen" <>
Subject: Elites, Genji, etc.

Dear Royall,

Thank you for your kind comments, and very warm and sincere
congratulations for finishing your job. I also congratulate myself for
being able to profit by your work -- and feel sorry that I at least at
this phase don't have anything in exchange, because:
> May I ask you whether you have completed your Finnish Genji? I
haven't, yet -- but as it happens, I on friday had a meeting with my
publisher, agreeing that I'm to finish it "within my own schedule".
The already published parts include chapters from start to Fuji no
Uraba; years ago I already started from Wakaba on, but at that moment
the publisher made a commercial halt and said they're delighted to
publish the rest -- but after Yoshimoto Banana. As I after 2 Bananas
said I'm not going to do a third one, it appeared they don't have any
hurry with Genji -- as a matter of fact no hurry this time, neither,
but a positive will to publish it.
The publisher also had a surprise for me: they want to publish
the rest in one volume, reprinting-printing the existing parts in one volume,
too. So, we agreed of a very liberal schedule of 3--5 years. This also
gives me the welcome possibility to edit & correct the earlier parts
-- and in that task, luxuriously to rely on your translation's

Speaking of communicating Murasaki's kokoro etc. I think I know what
you refer to with "That is why I am so surprised to find that by now I
do not feel anything of the kind." -- I don't know exactly why I feel
like I do, but I can guess a couple of reasons:
First, in the beginning of the task, I was only commissioned to
translate the waka; another translator -- whose name may be known to
pretty many, he is the present Japanese citizen, politician Marutei
Tsurunen, then he was an ex-missionary translator Martti Turunen --
translated the prose. So, my first contacts with translating Genji
were with poetry -- which I believe is Murasaki's (whoever she/they
is/are; I'll come to that later) *honne* or at least contains much
more of *honne* than most of the describing prose. For me the waka
became a window into what I believe to be the "author's" mind and
through them I feel I can glimpse what is left hidden or unsaid in the
prose narration -- which, of course, often is more like prose poem, at
least technically speaking. But this all is only too familiar to you.
Secondly: during this halt I also translated Tanizaki's
Sasameyuki, which opened another window -- while writing it, Tanizaki
was under such influence of Genji that his book for me became a kind
of "How to Appreciate Genji" -- What I mean is reading "Jun'ichir
Shinshin'yaku Genji Monogatari" was how to read & understand,
Sasameyuki is how to put it in practice... After reading it I cannot
undo that reading, and that may also have brought the presence of
Murasaki more obvious to me: Tanizaki in a way is testing what is
common to Heian ladies and 'saka bourgeoisie. But as you say, "a great
deal else is present there too." -- both in Sasameyuki and in Genji.
At this phase of the job I cannot state anything definitive, I'm in
the happy situation where I only can gain from all comments and
criticism. I also don't as now have a fixed opinion of the authorship.
The more research I read, the more unconvinced I become. But: while
I'm working on a text that anyway has a nom-de-plume author, I feel a
little bit similar to facing the enigma of Lao-tzu, "Old Master": "Tao
Te Ching was not written by Old Master but by another Old Master".
This is not the same situation, I know, but not entirely different,
neither. When I come nearer to the happy day you are facing now, I
certainly shall have reconsidered the thing again and again, but
presently I tend to postulate the problem more like "Genji Monogatari
is not by definition a book by Murasaki Shikibu; Murasaki Shikibu is
by definition the author of Genji Monogatari" -- anyway I know so
little of the person(s) whose role name was Murasaki Shikibu that it
interests me more to seek the kokoro of the poet inside the text than
the facts about the author outside of it.

About the political and ethical issues, I think we don't forget them
in the translator's job if not deliberately trying to forget them.
And no, neither I don't think Genji is "about" mono no aware -- but
this leads us to another interesting topic: what is poetry, is it X or
does it describe X. And this may not be the forum for that discussion.

I see this has become a lengthy one, but I hope some points might be
of general interest, too. From now on I try to be more concise -- it
is difficult, though, in a tongue not one's own.
Speaking about tongues: the Finnish version of the mailing
program unfortunately has "Re:" translated as "Vs:" (from Finnish
"vastaus", meaning "an answer"), and every now and then I forget to
manually change it when replying to mail -- it definitely doesn't
implicate I am *versus* the topic I'm referring to.

Warm regards.

Kai Nieminen

Date: Dec 17 2000 19:16:21 EST
From: "kai nieminen" <>
Subject: short P.S.

Dear colleagues,
1. Forgive my grammatical mistakes (I just felt my old teacher turn in her
2. I know there was an interesting, lengthy discussion on the authorship of
Genji last year on the list. I've downloaded it and I'll just have to retrieve it
from my old computer.
Enjoy your holidays!
Kai Nieminen

Date: Dec 17 2000 22:14:26 EST
From: "Michael Wachutka" <>
Subject: agency for non-human actors

After reading many interesting and highly stimulating debates in the last
few weeks, I just want to ad a small praise to -- the often unnoticed and,
as at least one recent comment (NOT Alex Bay) seemed to show, sometimes even
condescendingly treated -- European scholarship.

Alexander R. Bay wrote:

The Nanbu were horse breeders, not rice-field landlords, so the study of
the Nanbu will have to incorporate horses. This will go beyond the elite
vs. non-elite dichotomy to address the human vs. non-human one. There may
be place in my research to give the horse agency. In US and European
scholarship, no one has attempted to give non-human actors historical

Dear Alex,

Maybe not for the Nanbu-horses, but in a more general way at least in European (German) research there indeed was already a quite interesting "attempt to give non-human actors historical agency"!

I recommend you have a look at the following work, which might be helpful for your research as well.

Michael Wachutka

Thiede, Ulrike: _Auf Haustierspuren zu den Urspr¸ngen der Japaner. Vor- und
fr¸hgeschichtliche Haustierhaltung in Japan_ [On animal-tracks to the origin
of the Japanese. The keeping of domestic animals in Japan's pre- and early
history], M¸nchen: Iudicium 1998. [pp. 152, DM 38,--, ISBN 3-89129-429-8]

To put it simple, the author (who holds a doctorate in both, Japanology and
Zoology) tries to trace back the paths of migration to early Japan (and the
development of the Japanese population) by looking at the animals these
people brought along from a zoological-historical point of view, and
comparing the results to similar knowledge from other East Asian regions.

(From the contents):
*Einleitung [Introduction]
*Forschungsgeschichte der Bevlkerungsentwicklung Japans - die einzelnen
Theorien in zeitlicher Folge [The history of research into the development
of Japan's population - the different theories in chronological order]
*Ergebnisse der neuesten anthropologischen Forschungen in Japan [Results of
the newest anthropological research in Japan]
*Wegbegleitende Pflanzen und Haustiere im Fokus der Besiedelungserforschung
[Accompanying plants and domestic animals in the light of research into
*Aktueller Stand der vergleichenden Haustierforschung in Japan [The present
state of comparative research on domestic animals in Japan]
*Die Haustiere im einzelnen: Rinder, Pferde, Hunde, Katzen, H¸hner,
Schweine, Ziegen, Schafe und andere Haustiere [The individual animals: cows,
horses, dogs, cats, chicken, pigs, goats, sheep and other domestic animals]
*Von Musen, Menschen und Viren [About mice, men and viruses]
*Zusammenfassung und Diskussion [Summary and discussion]

Date: Dec 18 2000 01:47:49 EST
From: "Alexander R. Bay" <fuge...@...and.Stanford.EDU>
Subject: agency for non-human actors

Dear Michael-

Thanks for the introduction to the German source. I obviously spoke
prematurely and haphazardly. I did not mean to be demeaning to European
scholarship in any way, I used "US and European scholarship" as a phase to
avoid using the term "Western" which could be viewed as problematic (i.e.
west of where?). Again, thanks for introducing me to the German work, I
appreciate the English translation of the basic theme of the book and the
contents as well. I look any other such introductions.
Also, I should note that Farris's 'Population, Disease and Land in Early
Japan" is a US scholarly look at the agency of microscopic (i.e. non-human)
agents (sorry Wayne).

Again Michael, thanks for the tip.

Alex Bay

Date: Dec 18 2000 04:01:49 EST
From: Mary Louise Nagata <>
Subject: More on Genji, etc.

The discussion on Genji has gone on so long and developed in various ways
that I hesitate to say anything, but Wayne has encouraged me to add my two
cents worth.

I have been following the Genji discussion with interest. However, I am surprised that nobody gave one of the more obvious arguments against criticizing it on political grounds. After all,suppose someone like Lady Murasaki had written a novel that explicitly criticized the exploitation of the lower classes and the social order.

Chances are that we would not know of it since it would have been torn up and burned or entirely forgotten in some storehouse. I doubt that it would have achieved the popularity of Genji and spoken so well to later audiences. Certainly art that is unacceptable to contemporaries sometimes manages to be discovered later--witness J. S. Bach or even "Towazu Gatari"--but
this does not happen very often.

One more side note. Genji has recently become a best seller in Japan through a new modern language translation by a Buddhist nun ( I cannot remember her name). The nun received an award for making this literary classic more accessible to the modern public. NHK also took up
Genji for their "Tiger Drama" series a year or two ago (since I came to Switzerland, anyway). I don't know when or if it was shown, but I saw the previews. So the appeal of Genji to a modern audience in spite of its elitism should not be underestimated. Perhaps this is one of the
signs of great art, that it can speak to people across time and space. Too often even our own
explicit opinions are painful to read or hear after a decade or so has passed. I must repeat, however, that I have enjoyed reading the discussion.

Mary Louise Nagata

Date: Dec 18 2000 04:29:51 EST
From: "Anthony J. Bryant" <>
Subject: More on Genji, etc.

Mary Louise Nagata wrote:

> One more side note. Genji has recently become a best seller in
> Japan through a new modern language translation by a Buddhist nun ( I
> cannot remember her name). The nun received an award for making this
> literary classic more accessible to the modern public. NHK also took up
> Genji for their "Tiger Drama" series a year or two ago (since I came to
> Switzerland, anyway). I don't know when or if it was shown, but I saw the
> previews.

It may be planned for *next* year's Taiga Drama (note: [KANJI "great river"] , but
it's not been the theme since before 1986 (when I started paying attention to

This year has been Aoi, Tokugawa san-dai; 1999 was on the Ako Roshi; 1998 was
Tokugawa Keiki; 1997 was Mori Motonari; 1996 was Hideyoshi; 1995 was on
Yoshimune; 1994 was on the Onin War ("Hana no Ran"); 1993 was "Homura Tatsu"
after a novel of the Nara period...

Actually, I'm surprised they never did it! A look at the taiga site lists the shows; they've done
Hideyoshi twice, Chushingura twice, but no Genji!

Might it not have been previews for the next drama, or perhaps some other past
TV show, like one of the shinnen bangumi?


Date: Dec 18 2000 04:50:59 EST
From: Alan Cummings <>
Subject: More on Genji, etc.

Setouchi Jakucho, probably.

Alan Cummings

Mary Louise Nagata wrote:

> One more side note. Genji has recently become a best seller in
> Japan through a new modern language translation by a Buddhist nun ( I
> cannot remember her name).

Date: Dec 18 2000 07:13:03 EST
From: Janine Beichman <>
Subject: Elites, Genji, etc.

I don't have time to really follow this debate but something in Wayne's
latest letter caught my eye, to wit:
For example, somebody ought to study an
>industry--could be iron, silk, fishing, salt--doesn't matter what, and look
>into technology, labor, wages, marketing, etc.

For a long time I have wanted to know more about the salt industry in Zeami
and his father's time, because the two heroines of Matsukaze, the "fisher
girls", who are actually salt-producing workers, are part of it. I can't
even figure out how they really made the salt: burned the seaweed, boiled it?

and then there is the rongi, that list of places famous for producing salt,
which clearly seems to me to be based on a work song. i would really love
to know more about this or get some suggestions about where to look. please
anyone with ideas, contact me, off-list or on!

Date: Dec 18 2000 10:24:44 EST
From: "kai nieminen" <>
Subject: Re:[pmjs] salt

Dear Janine Beichman,
20 years ago I visited the Shiogama jinja in Shiogama-shi near Matsushima, Miyagi-ken, and they had a very illustrative pamphlet on the history and practices of salt-producing. I guess the information bureau of Shiogama-shi would have something of the tradition on the Internet, nowadays.
Warm regards,
Kai Nieminen

Date: Dec 18 2000 21:46:53 EST
From: "B.M. Bodart-Bailey" <>
Subject: salt

There are several Japanese books on this subject such as one titled simply
Shio, another Shio no nihonshi, Shio to nihonjin etc. If you go into you will find a good selection.

Beatrice M. Bodart-Bailey

Date: Dec 18 2000 22:04:57 EST
From: Peter David Shapinsky <>
Subject: salt

A comprehensive multi-volume compilation of documents on salt-manufacture
throughout Japan with some accompanying essays can be found in _Nihon
Engyo Taikei_ organized very much like kenshi into kodai, chusei, kinsei,
etc. shiryo-hen and tokuron, etc. Extremely useful for places like

Peter D. Shapinsky
Department of History
University of Michigan

Date: Dec 18 2000 22:30:46 EST
From: Nobumi Iyanaga <>
Subject: Diacritical fonts and Unicode

Hello, [this is mainly for the Mac users]

This is to announce a new web page and downloadable files that I just uploaded:

As you know, now that Unicode begins to be used very largely in personal
computing environment and Internet, it becomes important to be able to
convert to Unicode files that have been created using "legacy codes". In
general, this is not very difficult -- for the Mac, we can use utilities
like Cyclone or TEC OSAX to do such tasks. It is even possible to convert
to Unicode files of multilingual text (written using Apple's different
language kits), if we use TEC OSAX (on these issues, please look at my web
page "Unicode and MacOS, and Code converters:
But this becomes very hard when the texts to be converted use non standard
fonts for transliteration of Asian languages, such as Times_Norman or
Hobogirin, which have vowels with macron, etc.

This is why I created a number of tables of correspondences for some of the
most used fonts among scholars: Times_Norman
,Normyn and MyTimes [] (these two have the
same glyphs: Normyn is a Roman font, and MyTymes is an Italic font), and
Hobogirin [] (you
will find many links to other Indic fonts at "Indic language fonts" page at
McGill University []).

These fonts are specialized for transliteration of Indian languages, and of
Japanese language. Times_Norman and Normyn/MyTimes don't have the LATIN
CAPITAL LETTER O WITH MACRON, while Hobogirin has it.

If you use a special font with diacritical characters similar to those of
Times_Norman, Hobogirin, etc., you may be able to make yourself a
conversion table for it. Or, if you want, you can send me the font you
use, and I may be able to make the needed table

I also wrote some converting scripts in Perl and AppleScript. They can
convert multilingual, multi-font texts to UTF-8. These are not very fast,
but one script at least, to be used with the editor named "Style"
(, is fast enough for practical use.

All this is still experimental, but I hope it will be useful or interesting
for you.

Best regards,

Nobumi Iyanaga

P.S. I will cross-post this message to Budschol mailing list.

Date: Dec 19 2000 04:59:21 EST
From: Klaus Vollmer <>
Subject: Re:[pmjs] salt

Dear Janine Beichman,
in addition to sources mentioned in Kai Nieminen's and Beatrice
Bodart-Bailey's messages there is a very good survey on various aspects
of salt production, trade and salt producing techniques from medieval
until modern times in Vol. 2 of the (Kouza) Nihon gijutsu no shakaishi
(Nihon hyouronsha 1985) written by Amino Yoshihiko and other
specialists. It might have been mentioned already, but there is an
article on 'Salt' in MN (Vol. 14, pp. 61-90) written by U.A. Casal
almost 40 years ago (1959). I dealt with salt production as a topos
drawn into the realm of waka poetry in my book (in German) on the
Shokunin Utaawase where the profession is represented by an ama and
paired with a peddling tradesman (akibito).
Best regards,
Klaus Vollmer
Prof. Dr. Klaus Vollmer
LMU, Japanologie
Oettingenstrasse 67, D-80538 München, Germany

Date: Dec 19 2000 05:27:54 EST
From: Johannes Harumi Wilhelm <>
Subject: salt

Dear Janine Beichman, dear subscribers,

[Janine Beichman wrote]
[...] I can't even figure out how they really made the salt: burned the seaweed, boiled it?

Yes, as far as I know they boiled Hondawara (Sargassum spp.). You may find this still in the ceremony of the Moshioyaki no shinji in Shiogama (lit. "Saltpot")
near Sendai. See also: (in Japanese)

Maybe a part of the Hitachi no kuni fudoki is the oldest written source for making salt by boiling algae: "shio o yaku mo ou" [---].

Intesesting aspects on the relationship between salt and marine algae can be
found in: MIYASHITA, Akira [---]. (1974): Kaiso [---]. (Mono to ningen no bunka-shi [---]. Tokyo: Hosei daigaku shuppan kyoku.

For the ergologic aspects you may consult:
AKIYAMA, Takashi et al. [---]. (1991): Zuroku. Sangyoson seikatsu-shi jiten [---].. Tokyo: Kashiwa shobo kabushikigaisha.

Johannes Wilhelm / Bonn

Date: Dec 19 2000 08:53:43 EST
From: Janine Beichman <>
Subject: Re:[pmjs] salt

Dear Claire, William, Kai, Peter, Beatrice, Johannes, Klaus (and if I've left anyone out, my apologies) --this is wonderful, having so many references so quickly--thank you one and all! Janine

Date: Dec 19 2000 10:11:57 EST
From: David Lurie <>
Subject: salt

To PMJS members who live in or visit Tokyo, I highly recommend the Tobacco and Salt Museum (Tabako to shio no hakubutsukan), which is about five minutes from Shibuya station. There is an entire floor devoted to salt production past and present, foreign and domestic; displays include intricate dioramas, maps of production sites and transportation routes, and a
model ship made of salt.

David Lurie

Date: Dec 21 2000 11:46:41 EST
From: Wayne Farris <>
Subject: Value-free history

Dear all,
I felt a need to say somethings in reply to Beatrice's excellent comments
about "value-free" history.
I liked your reference to Marc Bloch, one of the founders of the ANNALES
school and a great historian of medieval Western Europe (both elites and
I agree that we are somewhat like detectives, and usually can't get all
the way to the bottom of things. I think all we can do is lay out the facts
or story as we see them/it, and then, to use a comment made by a much wiser
man than me, let each reader find his or her own moral compass. The author's
sentiments may be evident sometimes, but I don't think one's serves his own
cause too well by sitting in judgment blatantly. We must trust our readers to
make their own minds up, even in extreme cases like Nazi Germany, the Nanjing
massacre, or the slaughter of the Navaho by Kit Carson.
And I have always felt Marc Bloch combined the right blend of scholarly
authority and political awareness. His FRENCH RURAL HISTORY and FEUDAL
SOCIETY are classics and still influential. And I believe, did he not die
fighting for the French Resistance against the Nazis?
Vive la France!
Wayne Farris

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