A while back, Matt Treyvaud suggested that we do a series of articles on some of the major contemporary Japanese literary critics. So far our list includes: Karatani Kōjin, Ōda Makoto, Fujita Makoto, Fujita Shōzō, Sakamoto Yoshikazu, Isoda Kōichi, Maeda Ai, Komori Yōichi, and Kamei Hideo.
Before posting these articles, however, I thought it’d be a good idea to give a little background information about the history of modern Japanese literary criticism, which dates back to the 1880s. Lucky for us, Sally Suzuki has offered to give a crash course in the subject. Writes Ms. Suzuki:
I like your idea about doing a crash course in modern Japanese literary criticism. My first thought was to do it in epistolary form, in the manner of your recent “Letter to Mother (Or, Crash Course in Modern and Postmodern Literary Theory”). However, I could never hope to outdo you as an epistler, so I thought I would instead take a stab at the dramatic form, which I hear you’re no good at.
And so I've composed a little play in two parts, called The History of Modern Japanese Literary Criticism. The first part covers the Meiji (1868-1912) and Taishō (1912-1926) periods, while Part Two covers the Shōwa period (1926-1989). All the big names are in it-- Tsubouchi Shōyō, Mori Ōgai, Tayama Katai, Natsume Sōseki-- as well as some others you might not be familiar with. I’m hoping that it will prepare your readers for your upcoming series on contemporary Japanese critics. What do you say? If you’re willing to post it, I’ll send it in my next mail.