Monday, February 15, 2010

Kawakami Mieko's Breasts and Eggs

This just in from Jill Mowbray:

Hi Beholdmyswarthyface,

So I've finally finished my exam. My interview is Monday, and hopefully after that I'll be an "actual" Masters student (finally).

Anyway, I've been meaning to contact you about your translation project. I noticed you suggested translating Chichi to ran (『乳と卵』, Breasts and Eggs) for Chin Music Press. I'm actually currently working on a translation of that novel, so if they are interested, I'd appreciate being put in contact with them.

Also, I saw the Neojaponisme review of the novel, and was wondering if they'd be interested in me doing a follow-up. I have some scattered notes I could fix up into an article.

Jill Mowbray

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Name-Dropping: The Art and Politics of Referentiality in Modern Japanese Fiction

This just in from Vladimir Kutznutzov:

Dear Beholdmyswarthyface,

Ever wondered why the Japanese have such a penchant for name-dropping? From Mori Ōgai to Murakami Haruki, Japanese writers love sliding in a famous name or two whenever they get a chance. We Russians are notorious name-droppers, but are still no match for the Japanese!

In fact, I'm currently working on a paper that explores this subject of referentiality in Japanese fiction. Here are some questions I've formulated to guide my discussion:

a) Who and what is being referenced?

b) To what extent do the authors refer to "themselves," their contemporaries, and their immediate surroundings?

c) How does the reference function within its embedded context?

d) How have the methods of referentiality evolved since Meiji, and how does this evolution correspond to geopolitical/historical/cultural shifts?

e) What are the various functions of referentiality (eg, didactic, pedantic, aesthetic, parodic, political...)?

f) What is the relation between reference choices and genre/narrative structure/story/subject?

g) What effect do references have on readers? Are they disguised codes, and if so, what messages do they convey?

h) Why are some stories littered with references, while others aren't?

i) Why do some works refer only to Western sources, while others only to Japan/China?

j) Why do earlier works typically refer to "high" culture, while more recent works refer to popular culture?

k) What does an author's use of references reveal about the ideological underpinnings of a work?

l) How and to what effect do authors use references to manipulate, bend, collapse, or exploit binaries like foreign/native and modern/traditional?

As you pointed out a while back, Earl Miner has argued that pre-Meiji Japanese literature is essentially nonmimetic. “Japanese aesthetic," he writes, "rests not on the imitation of discrete agencies but on relation.” In other words, the literary work is not the simulation of external reality, but is rather a "re-presentation" of literary/historical characters and conventions with which the audience is already familiar.

However, in the early Meiji period reformers like Tsubouchi Shōyō sought to distance themselves from this nonmimetic tradition. For them, Edo-era parodies like Tamenaga Shunsui's Umegoyomi served as models for what one shouldn't do when writing the "new novel." Worthwhile art, they claimed, had to be more life-referential (ie, mimetic, with an emphasis on the private psychological interior of the characters) than art-referential (ie, literary pastiche).

Yet despite Shōyō's call for a new novel of "life" over "art," Meiji writers continued to draw from history and art—only now their referential pool had expanded beyond China and Japan to include the West. Furthermore, unlike Shōyō, who drew a clear line dividing "life" and "art," these writers seemed to regard the two terms less as mutually exclusive binaries than as two modes of a dialectical process in which "art" is both product and producer of "life," and "life" is both product and producer of "art."

At any rate, here is the provisional list of references. I plan to expand it in the coming weeks.
Additions/suggestions/related reading lists are most welcome. Oh, and I will eventually fill in where it says *All Japanese and Chinese.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Question for Our Readers

This just in from Jason of South Yorkshire:

Long time reader first time writer. I'm a postgrad student at the University of Sheffield doing an MA in Advanced Japanese. Our next assignment is to do a mini-annotated translation from a 4000-4500字 text. We're free to choose whatever text we like, which ironically has made finding something decent more difficult. So I'm wondering, have you or your readers read any interesting, hard-hitting, even controversial, articles or commentaries lately that focus on social/political issues or current events which would also make a good read in English?

Hope you can help,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Aozora Bunko Translation Project Update

This just in from Sally Suzuki, Beholdmyswarthyface Media Director:

Here are a few more additions. We should now have enough to keep us busy for a good four or fives years.

1. Akutagawa Ryūnosuke: Bungeitekina, amari ni bungekiteki na (1927).

2. Hirabayashi Hatsunosuke: Seijiteki kachi to geijutsuteki kachi (1929); Bungaku no honshitsu ni tsuite (1927): Part I and Part II; Bungaku hōhōron (1926); Bungei undō to rōdō undō (1922); Shōhin to shite no kindai shōsetsu (1929); Shoka no geijutsu kachi riron no hihan (1929); Yuibutsu shikan to bungaku (1921).

3. Miki Kiyoshi: Shobutsu no rinri (1933); Ikani dokusho subeki ka (1938); Haideggeru kyōju no omoide (1939); Nishida sensei no kotodomo; Jiko o chūshin ni (1939); Kiki ni okeru rironteki ishiki (1928).

4. Miyamoto Yuriko: Fuyu o kosu tsubomi (1934); Burujoa sakka no fasshoka ni tsuite (1932); Bungaku seishin to hihan seishin (1940); Bungaku to seikatsu (1950); Watashi no mita beikoku no shōnen (1920); Ashita no kotoba (1937); Atarashii teikō ni tsuite (1947).

5. Sakaguchi Ango: Darakururon (1946); Zoku darakuron (1947); Sensōron (1948); Nikutai jitai ga shikō suru (1946); Nihon seishin (1936); Yokubō ni tsuite (1946).

**Also bear in mind that not everything I want to include in this project is available through Aozora Bunko. Essays that are not available include:

Ōya Sōichi's "Bundan girudo no kaitaiki"; Tanizaki Jun'ichirō's "Jōzetsuron"; Kurahara Korehito's "Puroretaria Rearizumu e no michi" (1928); Nakamura Murao's "Dare da? Hanazono o arasu mono wa!" (1928); Masamune Hakuchō's "Torusutoi ni tsuite"; Nakano Shigeharu's "Jun ni gatsu nijūku nichi"; Takami Jun's "Byōsha no ushiro ni nete irarenai"; Hagiwara Sakutarō's "Nihon e no kaiki"; Miyamoto Kenji's "'Haiboku' no bungaku" (1929);Yasuda Yojūrō's "Nihon no hashi," "Hōryūji shūzen no koto nado," "Bunmei kaika no ronri no shūen ni tsuite"; Itō Sei's "Shin-shinrishugi bungaku"; Sugiyama Heisuke's "Bungei hyōronka gunzō"; Haneda Kinoteru's "Sakuran no ronri"; Nakamura Mitsuo's "'Kindai' e no giwaku";Kawakami Tetsutarō's "Haikyū sareta 'jiyū,'" "Ongaku to bunka"; Hirano Ken's "Hitsotsu no hansotei"; Fukuda Tsuneari's "Ippiki to kyūjūkyūhiki to"; Tamura Taijirō's "Nikutai ga ningen de aru"; Kawabata Yasunari's "Jūshōsha no kyōki"; Takeda Taijun's "Metsubō ni tsuite"; Takeuchi Yoshimi's "Kindai shugi to minzoku no mondai"; Yoshida Ken'ichi's "Tōyō bungakuron"; Takeuchi Yoshimi's "Kindai no Chōkoku";Katagami Noboru's "Genjitsu bakuro no hiai" (1908); Tayama Katai's "Rokotsu naru byōsha"; Kobayashi Hideo's "Samazama naru ishō," "Sensō ni tuite," "Shishōsetsuron," "Hitotsu no nōzui," "Mujō to iu koto," "X e no tegami," "Soshū," "Taema," "Manshū no inshō," "Giwaku," "Sakka no kao," "Hittoraa no waga tōsō," "Hittora to akuma"; Shiga Shigetaka's "Nihon fūkeiron" (1894); Yanagi Sōestu's "Bi to kuni to mingei," "Buddhist Idea of Beauty" (*Note: JL has informed me that a translation is available here.); Watsuji Testurō's Fūdo (1935) (*Note: Jarvis32 has kindly informed me of this 1961 translation.); and Hirato Renkichi's "Watashi no miraishugi to jikkō."

Monday, February 1, 2010


This just in from Tom:

HPによれば、Democracy Now!は「北米650局以上で放送されている非営利の独立系ニュース番組です。
大資本による「マスメディア」とは異なり、各種コミュニティ・ラジオ局 や衛星放送、ケーブルのパブリック・アクセスTVチャンネル、インターネットなど、さまざまな形態の非営利の公共放送が協力した全国配信ネットワークのさ きがけであり最大のものです。」

DNの日本語版が最近できたとはもちろんうれしいことだが、日本語化されていない独立系メディアはまだまだ沢山ある。マスコミへの信頼を失ってい くにつれて、国民(常民?我々?同志共?)は「デモクラシー・ナウ!」のような独立系メディアに頼るようになり、DNのようなサイトがなくてはこの転換期となる時代を理解することはもう無理だろう。従って日本人の政治(無?)意識を高めるべくさまざまなサイトの日本語版の作成に取り組む必要はあると思います。





This just in from Beholdmyswarthyface:
この間、日本関係の本を専門とする在米の出版会社、Chin Music Press からメールが来た。2013年までにいくつかの欧米で売れそうな現代小説を英訳し出版したいので何か勧めてくれ、と頼まれた。



2.深沢七郎、『楢山節考』(1956) or 『みちのくの人形たち』(1981)
3.町田康、『告白』(2005) or 『くっすん大黒』(1996) or 『きれぎれ』(2000)
4.石黒達昌、 「最終上映」(1989) or 『平成3年5月2日、後天性免疫不全症候群にて急逝された明寺伸彦博士、並びに……』(1994)
5.小野正嗣、 『にぎやかな湾に背負われた船』(2002) or 『森のはずれで』(2006) or 『マイクロバス』(2008)
6.黒川創、『もどろき』(2001) or 『かもめの日』(2008)
11. 川上未映子、『乳と卵』(2007)
12. 古川日出男、『13』(1998) or 『アラビアの夜の種族』(2002) or 『ベルカ、吠えないのか?』(2005) or 『LOVE』(2006)