Izumi Kyoka wrote his novel Nihonbashi in 1914, and published it in September of that year. The cover design and illustrations were done by the Japanese artist Komura Settai. The purpose of this paper is to consider the significance of Nihonbashi as a book through an analysis of both novel and book design. The plot of Nihonbashi develops through the overlapping identities of the women characters, which in turn makes us feel their emotional bonds. Settai's book design initially appears to stand alone, independent of the novel. Yet by viewing his illustrations in the light of the novel, we realize that rather than depicting specific scenes, Settai's art captures the novel's logic as a whole. A joint work by Kyoka and Settai that left its mark on the history of the book, Nihonbashi, embodies the logic, time, and space of the novel in a single object, the book.
The word inju (literally “shadow beast”), which began to appear in journalism on crime around 1930, came to refer to deviant criminals. In this paper I show the connection between this change in the word's usage and detective novels of the period such as Edogawa Rampo's Inju, as well as the shift in the way writers of such detective novels, Rampo foremost among them, were perceived. I also point out that a correspondence can be seen between the narrator of Inju, who seeks to make the detective novelist Oe Shundei into a criminal, and readers of detective novels who identified the writers of these novels with criminals who had committed actual crimes. This shows that Inju was a precursor in showing the connection between journalism and the genre of the detective novel, which was to become increasingly evident after its publication, and that the ways in which such texts were publicized and circulated played an important role in the formation of the detective novel genre.
The reception of Western symbolism into Japan came through the medium of Buddhism during the Meiji era. Okamoto Kanako expressed her own guiding principle for creation as follows: “Life can be embodied through experience, using a symbolic method.” She realized this principle in her story Hana wa Tsuyoshi (“A Floral Pageant”) through the image of the veranda, which is a microcosm of the world. Looking at the flowers and other things on the veranda, illuminated by strong light, the protagonist observes that this is a scene that would please the symbolists, because it is rooted in the Lotus Sutra, which uses many metaphors to tell the reality of life. Were they to read this work, the symbolists would find a universal vision of life, symbolized in this scene. In this story, Kanako shows us life itself, from the viewpoint of a symbolist, using a Buddhist metaphor.
In his essay Don Juan Ron (“On Don Juan”) (1949), Hanada Kiyoteru asserts that modernity cannot be overcome without a paradigm shift from humanism to “mineral-ism.” As if to defy his contemporaries, then in the midst of a heated debate on subjectivity, the aim of which was to reestablish the subjectivity of the alienated postwar individual, Hanada emphasized the need to “perceive one's self as non-ego, an object, a physical entity,” (Waga Buttaishugi). Under the rubric of “mineral-ism” he presents a variety of motifs on this theme, such as the automaton, the moving statue, or the proletariat transformed into objects. In this paper, I use the image of human-into-object, which appears to belong to alienation theory, to fully explore Hanada's vision of revolution, which he constructed through non-ego subjects, such as dolls, and to reexamine the possibilities of his revolutionary vision.
In his essay ‘Amerika’ ni kansuru oboegaki (“Notes on my poem ‘America'”), published in the magazine Junsuishi (Pure Poetry) in July, 1947, Ayukawa Nobuo put forward the concept of “one center.” Like the poem “America” itself, which seems to be compiled from phrases the poet heard various people say, the essay fails to present a defining image of “one center.” Perhaps this is why an adequate analysis of what, exactly, Ayukawa meant by “one center” has yet to appear. In this paper, I reexamine Ayukawa's “one center” in the light of the concept of “self-identity in contradictories,” formulated during the war by the philosopher Nishida Kitaro who, like Ayukawa and many others, was influenced by the historical consciousness of T.S. Eliot. My analysis shows that, by intentionally avoiding logic, Ayukawa fashioned “one center” into a philosophical space that can hold all human paradoxes, just as they are.
The purpose of this paper is to show how images of nonexistence are expressed in the poetic language of Kiyota Masanobu. Influenced by surrealism, Kiyota nevertheless maintained a critical stance toward it, and sought to create images of nonexistence by capturing the point at which reality meets fiction. Expressing nonexistence led Kiyota to lose his poetic voice altogether, but after a three-year blank, he regained his voice through a movement to find a new language through mutual provisionary ties between the Japanese language and Okinawan dialect. In poetry criticism written around the same time, Kiyota proposed solidarity with the war dead as a place for the non-subjective subject, which can find individuality only in absence of community. In this paper I also reconsider this aspect of Kiyota as a critic.