Thursday, March 25, 2010

日本小説の自己陶酔の傾向についての雑感

This just in from Sally Suzuki:
「社会性」が欠如しているという点で日本の小説は昔からよく批判されて来たが、五年も東京で生活して来た結果、その欠如の所以はなんとなく分かる気がする。

要するに、多くの小説に社会性が感じ難いのは、実世界においても社会そのものが欠如しているからである。もちろん客観的に、たくさんの人間が生活するスペースであればそれを社会とは言えようが、その社会への意識がなければ何の意味もない社会にとどまるのである。(つまり、ものをものにするのはものそのものではなくそのものへの意識なのである、ということだ。)

おそらく、多くの人による「社会」という概念は、マイ家族・マイ学校・マイ会社・マイ配偶者などの小単位に限られており、より広い範囲での社会への意識ではない。国という漠然とした概念はあるにしても、もっと明確な広義での「社会」はない。従って多くの小説に社会性が感ぜられないのは、当然であり現実そのまま反映しているのである。

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Weekly Update, From Sally Suzuki

This just in from Sally Suzuki:
Hello all,

Here are the updates for the week of March 21-28.

First, I have been asked to administer this blog for the next two years while Beholdmyswarthyface is writing his thesis. All emails and submissions should be addressed to me, Ms. Sally Suzuki, and sent to the usual email address, which Beholdmyswarthyface and I now share.

Second, I am pleased to announce that our Encyclopedia of Modern Japan is several steps nearer completion, and that negotiations are underway for it to be posted on the Tokyo University Department of Contemporary Literary Studies website.

Third, as the two of us have been extremely busy these past few weeks (he, with his thesis; I, with dancing), progress on our Aozora Bunko Translation Project has come to a screeching halt. We hope to get the ball rolling again soon. We are still looking for volunteers, so please contact us if interested. Apparently, there will be a short blurb about our project in the magazine edition of Neojaponisme due out this summer.

And finally, on an unrelated note, Mr. Samusi Lanudo informs me that this 1937 gunka was the model for Ishikawa Jun's fictional "Mars' Song."

That is all for now.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The 1918 Shikoku Pilgrimage of Takamure Itsue

This just in from Susan Tennant, retired professor of literature:
Hello Beholdmyswarthyface,

I thought you might be interested to hear that I've just published an English translation of Musume Junreiki, Takamure Itsue's (1894-1964) account of her pilgrimage to Shikoku when she was 24. It's a very interesting tale with lots of information about what rural life was like in the Taishō era.

You are probably wondering about the quality of the translation in this book. Before deciding to self-publish, I submitted the translation to the Kodansha International publishing company in Tokyo and the senior editor there, Barry Lancet, praised it and sent it to their New York office to be evaluated for publication. The New York office rejected publication because they said that the topic lacked mass appeal and the book would not be commercially successful. Because I was determined that Takamure’s pilgrimage account be made available to an English speaking audience, I decided to self-publish. I felt that just as English speakers have been enriched by reading translations of Sei Shonagon's or Murasaki Shikibu's account of Heian court life, so would they be enriched by reading Takamure’s account of her pilgrimage. Her tale deserves to be read by people outside Japan.

The book is titled The 1918 Shikoku Pilgrimage of Takamure Itsue: an English translation of Musume Junreiki and is available through Amazon.com.

Best wishes,
Susan Tennant

Friday, March 19, 2010

Query about Asian Studies PhD‏

This just in from Kips (origins unknown):
Dear Face,

Love your blog-- it's often over my head, but it's exciting anyway.

I have a BA in East Asian Studies (concentration: Japanese Literature), and I'd like to get a PhD. My area of interest is Buddhist cuisine and tea ceremony, particularly in Japan. I realize this is a very specialized field, so I can't expect to find a professor to study with, who focuses on this particular subject matter. I have been compiling a list of Anthropology & Sociology professors to contact, those who are focused on Japan and its culture. I wonder how far I should branch out. Do you think I should approach professors of religion, history, literature, linguistics and things like that, even though they are not in the fields of my primary interest?

What do you think I should look for in a professor?

Also, do you know where I could find a ranking of East Asian Studies programs? You made a list of major programs in your 8/19/09 post. Are there any you'd like to add to it, and/or do you have any comments on it?

Thank you for your input and generosity; I value it highly!

-Kips

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Uno Chiyo's "Ohan"

This just in from Wang Xiu:
男の視点から書いた、宇野千代の『おはん』を読んで泣けてくるほど感動した。あれだけ異性の心理をうまく書ける男作家はいるのかな。

Friday, March 12, 2010

Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood to Score Norwegian Wood

This just in from David Boyd:

Beholdmyswarthyface,

It looks official — Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood will provide the film score for the adaptation of Haruki Murakami's 1987 novel Norwegian Wood, now in post-production. This will be the lead guitarist's third film score, after Bodysongs (2003) and There Will Be Blood (2007). The latter, by the incidentally, was based on Greenwood's "Popcorn Superhet Receiver," which was also featured on WNYC's Wordless Music Series. The Norwegian Wood score will apparently be based on "Doghouse."

Greenwood is not the only familiar name associated with the adaptation. The film also stars Rinko Kikuchi, of Babel fame, and Kenichi Matsuyama (Death Note, Detroit Metal City). For more on the score, follow this link to an article in the Guardian. -Boyd

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Akutagawa's Kappa

This just in from M. Claridge:
Dear sir,

I am currently writing an essay on Akutagawa's Kappa and I think
Leopold Adelgonge Hauspie III's piece is fantastic. His opinions, thoughts and secondary readings are outstanding, and I was wondering if it would be possible to reference some of his quotes.

Best Regards,
M. Claridge

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bungaku Through Youtube


This just in from Sally Suzuki:

Here are some bungaku-related Youtube videos I've come across in recent weeks. Be sure to browse the "related videos" for each.

1. Machida Kō reading Nakahara Chūya poem "Yogorechimatta Kanashimi ni."

2. Nakahara Chūya documentary (in 4 parts).

3. Anime of Dazai Osamu's Hashire merosu! (in 11 parts)

4. The film The Ballad of Narayama (Narayama bushikō) (in 13 parts)

5. Author and musician Fukuzawa Shichirō performing the song "The Ballad of Narayama."

6. Author Furukawa Hideo reading original work.

7. Interview with film director Kiyoshi Kurosawa and short documentary.

8. Short documentary about author Kawakami Mieko.

9. Debate between sociologists Ueno Chizuko and Shibuya Tomomi (in 11 parts).

10. Poetry reading by Itō Hiromi and her translator Jeffrey Angles.

11. Novelist Yū Miri discussing the Korean TV drama On Air.

12. Shitte iru tsumori?! documentary on novelist Kōda Aya (in 5 parts).

13. Setouchi Jakuchū and Miwa Akihirō interview novelist Hirano Keiichirō (in 3 parts).

14. Interview with playwright Kara Jūrō (in 2 parts) and short documentary.

15. Ano hito ni aitai episode with Terayama Shūji.

16. Ano hito ni aitai episode with Inoue Yasushi.

17. Interview with Ibuse Masuji (in 5 parts) and reading of Ibuse Masuji's famed short story "Sanshōuo" (in 2 parts).

18. Suzuki Daisetsu lecture (in 5 parts) and outtakes from A Zen Life.

19. Short documentary about philosopher Nishida Kitarō.

20. Rare footage of Akutagawa Ryūnosuke with Kikuchi Kan just before suicide.

21. Shitte iru tsumori?! episode on Natsume Soseki (in 4 parts).

22. Kurosawa Akira's Rashōmon (in 9 parts).

23. Director Katō Tai's version of Mabuta no haha (in 3 parts).