The Japanese Modernist Reading List (Update)

May 5, 2017

Books on Japanese Modernism and Related Subjects

Advertising Tower: Japanese Modernism and Modernity in the 1920s, by William O. Gardner, Harvard University Asia Center, 2006

Modanizumu: Modernist Fiction from Japan 1913-1938, edited by William J. Tyler, University of Hawai’i Press, 2008

Erotic Grotesque Nonsense: The Mass Culture of Japanese Modern Times, by Miriam Silverberg, University of California Press, 2006

Miryam Sas, Fault Lines: Cultural Memory and Japanese Surrealism, Stanford University Press, 2001

John Solt, Shredding the Tapestry of Meaning: The Poetry and Poetics of Kitasono Katue (1902-1978), Harvard University Asia Center, 1999

Hosea Hirata, The Poetry and Poetics of Nishiwaki Junzaburo, Princeton University Press, 1993

Leslie Pincus, Authenticating Culture in Imperial Japan: Kuki Shuzo and the Rise of National Aesthetics, University of California Press, 1996

Leith Morton, Modernism in Practice: An Introduction to Postwar Japanese Poetry, University of Hawaii Press, 2004

Leith Morton, An Anthology of Contemporary Japanese Poetry, Garland Publishing, 1993

Makoto Ueda, Modern Japanese Poets and the Nature of Literature, Stanford University Press, 1983

Naoki Sakai, Translation and Subjectivity: On “Japan” and Cultural Nationalism, University of Minnesota Press, 1997

Seiji M. Lippit, Topographies of Japanese Modernism, Columbia University Press, 2002

 

Donald Keene, Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature in the Modern Era, Vol. II Poetry, Drama, Criticism , Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1984

 

Dennis Keene, The Modern Japanese Prose Poem , Princeton Univ. Press, 1980

 

Harry Harootunian, Overcome by Modernity: History, Culture and Community in Interwar Japan, Princeton University Press (2000)

 

Harry Harootunian, History’s Disquiet: Modernity, Cultural Practice, and the Question of Everyday Life, Columbia University Press (2000)

 

Robert N. Bellah, Imagining Japan: The Japanese Tradition And Its Modern Interpretation, University of California Press (2003)

 

Christopher Goto-Jones, Modern Japan: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press (2009)

 

America’s Geisha Ally: Reimagining the Japanese Enemy, by Naoko Shibusawa, Harvard  University Press, 2006

Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945-1961, by Christina Klein, University of California Press, 2003

Orientalism and Modernism: The Legacy of China in Pound and Williams, by Zhaoming Qian, Duke University Press, 1995

Buddhist Elements in Dada: A Comparison of Tristan Tzara, Takahashi Shinkichi, and Their Fellow Poets, by Ko Won, New York University Press (1977)

Contemporary Korean Poetry, by Ko Won, University of Iowa Press (1970)

Shijin: Autobiography of the Poet Kaneko Mitsuharu 1895-1975, tr. AR Davis, The University of Sydney East Asia Series (1988)

Japanese Hermeneutics: Current Debates on Aesthetics and Interpretation, edited by Michael F. Marra, University of Hawai’i Press, 2002

Mavo: Japanese Artists and the Avant-Garde 1905-1931, by Gennifer Weisenfeld, University of California Press (2002)

Radicals and Realists in the Japanese Nonverbal Arts: The Avant-Garde Rejection of Modernism, by Thomas R.H. Havens, University of Hawaii Press (2006)

Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz in Japan, by E. Taylor Atkins, Duke University Press (2001)

Nippon Modern: Japanese Cinema of the 1920s and 1930s, by Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano, University of Hawaii Press (2008)

The Angel of History: Rosenzweig, Benjamin, Scholem, by Stephane Moses, Standford University Press (2009)

Takeuchi Yoshimi: Displacing the West, by Richard F. Calichman, Cornell East Asia Series (2004)

What Is Modernity? Writings of Takeuchi Yoshimi, by Takeuchi Yoshimi, Columbia University Press (2005)

Contemporary Japanese Thought, edited by Richard F. Calichman,

Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchuria And The East Asian Modern, by Prasenjit Duara, Rowman & Littlefield (2003)

The Aesthetics of Japanese Fascism, by Alan Tansman, University of California Press (2009)

The Culture of Japanese Fascism, ed. Alan Tansman, Duke University Press (2009)

The Search for A New Order: Intellectuals And Fascism In Prewar Japan, by Miles Fletcher, University of North Carolina Press (1982)

Japanese Imperialism 1894-1945, by W.G. Beasley, Oxford University Press (1987)

War Without Mercy: Race & Power in the Pacific War, by John W. Dower, Pantheon Books (1986)

Translation And The Languages of Modernism, by Steven G. Yao, Palgrave Macmillan (2002)

Transpacific Displacement: Intertextual Travel in Twentieth-Century American Literature, by Yunte Huang, University of California Press (2002)

Unspeakable Acts: The Avant-Garde Theatre of Terayama Shuji and Postwar Japan, by Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei, University Hawai’i Press (2005)

Writing Ground Zero: Japanese Literature and the Atomic Bomb, by John Whittier Treat, University of Chicago Press (1995)

Bodies of Memory: Narratives of War in Postwar Japanese Culture, 1945-1970, by Yoshikuni Igarashi

Text and the City: Essays on Japanese Modernity, by Maeda Ai

Experimental Arts in Postwar Japan: Moments of Encounter, Engagement, and Imagined Return, by Miryam Sas, Harvard University Asia Center (2011)

Literary Mischief: Sakaguchi Ango, Culture, and the War, by James Dorsey and Doug Slaymaker, Lexington Books (2010)

Japanese Drama and Culture in the 1960s: The Return of the Gods, by David G Goodman, An East Gate Book, M.E. Sharp, Inc. (1988)

Dreams of Difference: The Japan Romantic School and the Crisis of Modernity, by Kevin Michael Doak, University of California Press (1994)

Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of Modern Japan, Edited by Stephen Vlastos, University of California Press (1998)

Coffee Life in Japan, by Merry White, University of California Press (2012)

Tamura Ryuichi: On the Life & Work of a 20th Century Master, Edited by Takako Lento & Wayne Miller, Pleiades Press (2011)

Modernism and Japanese Culture, by Roy Starrs, Palgrave Macmillan (2011)

History and Repetition, by Kojin Karatani, Columbia University Press (2012)

Translation in Modern Japan, edited by Indra Levy, Routledge (2011)

Japan’s Frames of Meaning: A Hermeneutics Reader, by Michael F. Marra, University of Hawai’i Press (2011)

Philosophers of Nothingness: An Essay on the Kyoto School, by James W. Heisig, University of Hawai’i Press (2001)

Tumultuous Decade: Empire, Society, and Diplomacy in 1930s Japan, Edited by Masato Kimura and Tosh Minohara, University of Toronto Press (2013)

Modern Japanese Thought, Edited by Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi, Cambridge University Press (1998)

Culture and Identity: Japanese Intellectuals During the Interwar Years, Edited by J. Thomas Rimer, Princeton University Press (1990)

Narrating the Self: Fictions of Japanese Modernity, by Tomi Suzuki, Stanford University Press (1996)

Writing Home: Representations of the Native Place in Modern Japanese Literature, by Stephen Dodd, Harvard University Asia Center (2004)

The Undiscovered Country: Text, Translation, and Modernity in the Work of Yanagita Kunio, by Melek Ortabasi, Harvard University Asia Center (2014)

Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering: Japan in the Modern World, by John W. Dower, The New Press (New York 2012)

Japan’s Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1853-1945, by Edward J. Drea, University Press of Kansas (2009)

Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature: Publishing, Prizes, and the Ascription of Literary Value, by Edward Mack, Duke University Press (2010)

Japan’s Orient: Rendering Pasts into History, by Stefan Tanaka, University of California Press (1993)

Modern Girls, Shining Stars, the Skies of Tokyo: 5 Japanese Women, by Phyllis Birnbaum, Columbia University Press (1999)

So Lovely a Country Will Never Perish: Wartime Diaries of Japanese Writers, translated with commentary by Donald Keene, Columbia University Press (2010)

Leaves from an Autumn of Emergencies: Selections from the Wartime Diaries of Ordinary Japanese, Samuel Hideo Yamashita, University of Hawai’i Press (2005)

A Diary of Darkness: The Wartime Diary of Kiyosawa Kiyoshi, Princeton University Press (1980)

A Sheep’s Song, by Katō Shūichi, translated by Chia-ning Chang, University of California Press (1999)

Legacies and Ambiguities: Postwar Fiction and Culture in West Germany and Japan, edited by Ernestine Schlant and Thomas Rimer, Johns Hopkins University Press (1991)

Nationalisms of Japan: Managing and Mystifying Identity, by Brian J. McVeigh, Rowman & Littlefield (2006)

Japan’s Total Empire, by Louise Young, University of California Press (1998)

Certain Victory: Images of World War II in the Japanese Media, by David C. Earhart, M.E. Sharpe (An Eastgate Book, 2009)

The Long Defeat: Cultural Trauma, Memory, and Identity in Japan, by Akiko Hashimoto, Oxford University press (2015)

The Japanese Tradition in British and American Literature, by Earl Miner, Princeton University Press (1958)

The Oxford Handbook of Global Modernisms, Edited by Mark Wollaeger, Oxford University press (2012)

Dreams of Difference: The Japan Romantic School and the Crisis of Modernity, by Kevin Michael Doak, University of California Press (1994)

Modernism in the Global Context, by Peter Kalliney, Bloomsbury Publishing (2016)

Modernism: Evolution of an Idea, by Sean Latham & Gayle Rogers, Bloomsbury Publishing (2016)

Translation and Translation Studies in the Japanese Context, edited by Nana Sato-Rossberg & Judy Wakabayashi

The Modernist Papers, by Fredric Jameson, Verso (2007)

A Singular Modernity: Essay on the Ontology of the Present, by Fredric Jameson, Verso (2002)

The Body in Postwar Japanese Fiction, by Douglas N. Slaymaker, Routledge (2004)

Nagai Kafū’s Occidentalism: Defining the Japanese Self, by Rachael Hutchinson, Suny Press (2011)

Intimate Empire: Collaboration & Colonial Modernity in Korea & Japan, by Nayoung Aimee Kwon, Duke University Press (2015)

Homecomings: The Belated Return of Japan’s Lost Soldiers, by Yoshikuni Igarashi, Columbia University Press (2016)

Japan at War, an Oral History, by Haruko Taya Cook & Theodore F. Cook, The New Press (1992)

Daily Life in Wartime Japan, 1940-1945, by Samuel Hideo Yamashita, University Press of Kansas (2015)

Grassroots Fascism: The War Experience of the Japanese People, by Yoshimi Yoshiaki, Columbia University Press (2015)

 

Books in Japanese:

Senso Shiron 1910-1945, by Seo Ikuo, Heibonsha (2006)

Senchuu Sengou Shiteki Jidai no Shougen 1935-1955, by Hirabayashi Toshihiko, Shichousha (2009)

Shuuroku Toshite no Modanizumu: Nihon Gendaishi no Teiryuu, by Fujimoto Toshihiko, Soubunsha (2009)

Zen’eishi Undoushi no Kenkyuu: Modanizumushi no Keifu, by Nakano, Okisekii (2003)

Modanizumu Shishuu, ed. Tsuruoka, Shichousha (2003)

Kindaishi kara Gendaishi e, by Ayukawa Nobuo, Shichousha (2005)

Sengoushi o Horobosu Tameni, by Kido Shuri, Shichousha (2008)

Kobayashi Hideo Zensakuhin, by Kobayashi Hideo, Shinchousha (2003)

Ueda Tamotsu Chousakushuu, by Ueda Tamotsu, published by Ueda Shizue (1975)

Korekushon Takiguchi Shuuzou, by Takiguchi Shuuzou, Misuzu Shobou (1992)

Shururearisumu no Hako: Shibusawa Tatsuhiko Bungakukan No. 11, by Shibusawa Tatsuhiko, Chikumashobou (1991)

Moderunite 3×3, Kobayashi Yasuo, Matsuura Hisaki, and Matsuura Hisao, Shichousha (1998)

Kindai Nihon no Jigazou, by Teraoka Hiroshi, Shinzansha (2009)

Setsuzoku Suru Chuuya, by Hikita Masaaki, Kasama Shoin (2007)

Tensai Sagawa Chika: Ekoda Bungaku No. 63, ed. Nakamura Fumiaki, Nihon Daigaku Geijutsu Gakubu (2007)

Kido Shuri & Nomura Kiwao, Tougi Sengoushi: Shi no Runessansu e, Shichousha, 1997

Gendaishi Tokuhon: Yoshioka Minoru, Hiraide Takashi (ed.), Shichousha, 1991

Shi no Utage: Waga Jinsei, Ema Shouko , Kage Shobou, 1995

Gengo Kuukan no Tanken, Ohka Makoto (ed.), Gakugei Shorin, 1969

Modaniti no Sozoryoku: Bungaku to Shikakusei, by Nakagawa Shigemi, Shichousha (2009)

Yojou no Shukumei/Shi no Kanata: Sakutaro, Kenji, Chuuya, by Yamada Kenji, Shichousha (2006)

Hagiwara Sakutaro, by Iijima Koichi, Misuzu Shobo (2004)

Umibe no Aporia, by Yasui Kouji, Yuu Shorin (2009)

Shigaku Josetsu, by Yoshimoto Takaaki, Shichousha (2006)

Shi no Gaia o Motomete, by Nomura Kiwao, Shichousha (2009)

Showa Shishi, by Ohka Makoto, Shinomori Bunko (2005)

 

Nihon no Autosaidaa, by Kawakami Tetsutaro, Chuokoron Shinsha (1978)

 

Watashi no Shi to Shinjitsu, by Kawakami Tetsutaro, Kodansha Bungei Bunko (2007)

 

Shiteki Modaniti no Butai, by Suga Hidemi (2008)

 

Sengou 60-Nen Shi to Hihyou Soutenbou, Gendaishi Techo Tokushu (2005)

 

Shijintachi no Seiki: Nishiwaki Junzaburo to Ezura Paundo, by Niikura Toshikazu, Misuzu Shobo (2003)

 

Yoshimoto Takaaki Daihyou Shisen, edited by Takahashi Gen’ichirou, Seo Ikuo, and Miura Masashi, Shichousha (2004)

 

Katoh Ikuya-Ron, by Nihira Masaru, Chuussekisha (2004)

 

Modanizumu to Sengo Josei-Shi no Tenkai, by Mizuta Noriko, Shichousha (2012)

 

Katoh Shuichi Sengo wo Kataru, by Katoh Shuichi, Kamogawa Shuppan (2009)

 

Nihon Bunka ni Okeru Jikan to Kuukan, by Katoh Shuichi, Iwanami Shoten (2007)

東京大空襲:昭和20年3月10日の記録、早乙女勝元著、岩波新書(1971)(Tokyo Daikuushuu: Showa Nijuunen Sangatsu Touka no Kiroku, Saotome Katsumoto, Iwanami Shoten)

東京空襲下の生活記録、早乙女勝元著、東京新聞(2013) (Tokyo Kuushuu Shita no Seikatsu Kiroku, Saotome Katsumoto, Tokyo Shimbun)

都市空間のなかの文学、前田愛、ちくま学芸文庫(1992)(Toshi Kuukan no Naka no Bungaku, Maeda Ai, Chikuma Bungeibunko)

幻景の街:文学の都市を歩く、前田愛、岩波書店(2006) (Gen’ei no Machi: Bungaku no Toshi wo Aruku, Maeda Ai, Iwanami Shoten)

カストリ時代:レンズで見た昭和20年代・東京、林忠彦、朝日文庫(1987) (Kasutori Jidai: Renzu de Mita Showa Nijuu Nendai, Tokyo, Hayashi Katsumoto, Asahi Bunko)

羊の歌:わが回想、加藤周一著、岩波新書(1968) (Hitsuji no Uta: Waga Kaisou, Katoh Shuuichi, Iwanami Shinsho)

翻訳と日本の近代:丸山真男・加藤周一、岩波新書(1998) (Honyaku to Nihon no Kindai: Maruyama Masao, Katoh Shuuichi, Iwanami Shinsho)

萩原朔太郎、著者:野村喜和男、中央公論新社(2011)

(Hagiwara Sakutarō, by Kiwao Nomura, Chuo Koronshinsha (2011)

日本の翻訳論:アンソロジーと解題、柳父章編

翻訳語成立事情、柳父章

明治大正翻訳ワンダーランド、鴻巣友季子

日本モダニズムの未帰還状態、矢野静明、書肆山田

ことばで織られた都市:近代詩と詩人たち、君野隆久、三元社

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Minoru Yoshioka: Poems from Monks (1958)

April 25, 2017

Translation and commentary by Eric Selland:

The Dead Child

I

On top of a large bib lies the dead child

Enemy to no one

Nor ally

The dead child is spirit

Inheritor of an immortal lineage

If there is a humanity

This is the crown of thorns

Of its cursed memory

Eternal heart and stench of flesh

Once marked with the seal

Of its mother’s mirror and womb

The fruit of the sweat of its beautiful soul

Cannot be taken away

Wrapped in straw, he goes out to work

With his father

New teeth in earth’s roundness

Firm backside and reliable weight

But starting today

Neither his father’s artificial eye

Nor his mother’s pet tiger

Nor even his siblings

But a new personality

This frozen century has summoned

To a temple of spherical bacteria

With the ring of a bell

A tribute of pure fear

He who judges / He who is judged /

He who sees

An amazing film of identity rotates

The dead child is not to be found

In the flames of a casket

Nor in a muddy grave below the stars

But on the side of the living

Where he keeps watch

 

II

In a strange land covered with withered trees

Mother washes the body of the dead child

It is the command of a cruel, medieval king

His palace is made all of bones

End of flame’s causation

A flock of dead children leaves

The land where mother’s tears were cultivated

Shut away inside a horse’s hooves

Noon is the time for torture

Which the retainer delights in

A mother is assigned to each tree

For every withered tree that grows

A mother is suspended from there

A million dried trees sway

And a million mothers are torn asunder

In the August sky the womb’s precipice

The intense eyes of the world’s mothers

Watch a forest fire

 

And at the same time hear

The approaching flood waters coming to put it out

 

III

By chance the dead child finds

All the beds throughout the world

Have elderly people placed on them

Causing the beds to creak

Then from multiple leaky faucets

Roundworms give up

On the elderly and death

And in the direction in which

They begin to crawl

Vegetables and meat are wrapped up

So that the working stomach

Becomes transparent

Sometimes the barrel of a gun

Is pointed at them

And so we pray for the beatitude of the elderly

Whose screams can be heard

Slowly their blood is carried up the mountain

And poured out at its peak

Lovers of tradition / The marriage bed

The dead child weeps for one reason alone

He does not possess sex

So like the roundworm he is ashamed

It is the dawn of a new friendship

A bed of soft silk

He cannot live in the cool shade

Of a wheat field

In the darkness of his mother’s mourning dress

The dead child repeatedly engages

In a lonely debauchery

He studies the germination of rough stone

Growth of the forbidden

Honor of sterilization

And he studies the knowledge

Of extinction

Now is the season of the forest trampled

In green satin shoes

The fountain of castration glitters

The flowering of the pumpkin

The dead child shares a bed

With the aged dead

Throughout the world

 

IV

As for the dead child’s growth

And his disease

All of the doctors fell silent

A beast running rampant

Exhausting the source of nectar

And sea sponge

The mother’s breast is not to be found

Not even on the horizon

Hidden by an impure climate

And the violence of the brassiere

If one makes an unreasonable effort

To sneak a peek

One may find a young crystalline body

Of sulfur

That is why our time wanders

Below the magical rocks

The merchant who hauled

Too much autumn fruit to the river

The sly old fox’s arithmetic

Produces disease

The dead child’s fingernails

Do not grow outward

But wind their way into an interior

Pregnant with dreams

The dead child’s disease

Has grown steadily worse

Because of malnutrition

And his father’s cowardice

In the end he disappears

In a fog of gun smoke

No records of the dead child

Were kept by the doctors

His story is told by the violets

Growing in the historian’s graveyard

 

V

Mother lifts the dead child onto her back

And leaves on a pilgrimage

To the waxing capital of the world

 

General of pulverized moles

Encampment of night

Around which the intestines

Of a headless horse are coiled

A burned roof displays

The slender thighs of a young woman

Who has committed adultery

The wedding of a soldier

And a dead fish

In the morning swamp

The battleship’s gun turrets

Covered in spider’s webs

It leans toward the ocean

Where the teeth and fingernails

Of the stoker are finely chopped

 

It is a landscape that pleases the dead child

But a mother’s love is quick

She takes the tragic toy

From the dead child’s hand

And disciplines him proper

If he resists he will be punished

Expose his private parts at a table

Of gentlemen and ladies in broad daylight

Let the dead child’s hair hang down

From a height where the crests of countries

With a liking for night warfare

Are ripped apart

Or expose his smooth shaven head

Humiliate him, put him to shame

Disgrace the dead father

The bodies of killed compatriots

Illuminate the melancholy rose of the soul

Till the dead child washes away

The filth of pain

Dead child of the yellow broom

Dead child of marble

Dead child of barbed wire

Dead child of the blonde forest,

Of plentiful sand

Then on the earth in trees filled

With summer cicadas

With a different energy

In a different voice

The wise and clever mother makes

History with that same anger

 

VI

Games the dead child likes to play

Get together in a huddle

Then toss some nets into the Coral Sea

Make resound the heavy testicles

Of the men who sank

Along with their artillery

The anus which sucks the sand

And darkness of the women

Is also colorfully adorned

If it’s for the dead

You can work with peace of mind

Remove the shackles from the salt

And the various metallic fixtures

Bundle up the body in durable glue

Fulfill your public service a second time

In the land of dead trees

You can gather bags full of fish scales

Of gold and silver

Ecstatic days of enmeshing shark teeth

The quiet bones whisper

Standing vigil over water is boring

The dead child overhears them

Let us spread the nets as widely as possible

Once more, from the moon

They’ll catch anything as long as it’s dead

Mother makes a face and refuses to help

You can’t barter the dead

She shouts in the shipwreck which is home

The dead child can’t argue

His voice is so small

He goes where his mother can’t see him

And frozen, lays down on his side

Nearby

That legendary trajectory the sea

 

VII

Once mother has fallen asleep

The dead child creeps and crawls

On the floor

Eventually he completely fills

The sea of spring storms

He gets started above the upturned faces

Of the dead

Then the dead child jumps

From one to the other

In search of his elder sister

Who has been raped

Called by the spirits of the waves

Not only of one sister but all sisters

He holds aloft the melancholy lotus flower

As he goes along his way

To the half breed sea

To purify his pillar-like thighs

Elder sister is pregnant

Festival of night

Of the innumerable dead children

Given birth by elder sister

Opening the way to the shining royal road

In the back-country of ancient times

The dead child looks at the partogram

Of the future

Lightening of mothers torn asunder

Then from the darkness of abundant blood

Dead children with white hair are born

One after the other

 

VIII

The mothers gather together

Holding the dead children

They come from a ruined city

A certain hemisphere

Dragging the bottoms of their

Uniform mourning kimonos

Though rare, they even bring along

The dogs of atonement

They enter the desert

Until it reaches capacity

Another group of chattering mothers

Migrates from the village to the sea

In search of silence

One after another the pious current

Of black obis passes by

In order to govern this transient world

They cradle the dead children

So they will not be reborn

How can they sing a chorus of songs

Of this decaying civilization

In flesh and blood

In repetitive lullabies and nightmares

Like rolling thunder

They twist and gyrate their abundant hips

And in the end half the widowed mothers

Line up on a glacier

To prove beyond a doubt that

Each holds at least one dead child

They slap their shiny bare bottoms

And when it makes the babies cry

Dawn breaks on this journey

A lengthy ordeal of retribution

In a world of mourning dress laid out

The tops of the pyramids

Are just barely visible

So many gather together here

That for the first time

A new sky emerges

In the curled hair of all the mothers

And dyes the zodiac of real numbers

 

Comments on the Poem

Yoshioka’s first collection, Still Life, self-published in 1955, was largely ignored by the poetry establishment, but many poets of his own generation were energized by his work, including Iijima Kōichi, who alerted the editor of Eureka magazine to this talented new poet. The magazine liked what Yoshioka was doing, and asked him to write about his war experience in Manchuria and North Korea. The product of this effort is the long poem sequence “The Dead Child.” But Yoshioka doesn’t write about particular themes. That is not his poetic. The poems in Still Life are essentially self-contained aesthetic objects. Yoshioka was the singular inheritor of Japanese Modernism during Japan’s postwar period, which during the early years just after the war was in the midst of a backlash against the Modernists who were seen as having been complicit with Japan’s Fascism. Yoshioka’s approach is what is often referred to as nonmimetic or non-representative. In other words, the poem does not refer to something outside the poem, but instead creates its own internal formal or linguistic space. Yoshioka writes in an autobiographical essay that he wanted to make something like a sculpture, something with a geometrical beauty. In fact, Yoshioka originally wanted to become a sculptor, and his early poems after the war were influenced by Rilke’s famous book-length essay on Rodin. This does not mean that there is no meaning, but meaning must be organically derived by the reader in an active approach to the reading. The poem does not directly refer to war, nor does it directly symbolize wartime violence, but the images are suggestive enough that Yoshioka’s editors and many other readers at the time were able to derive what they believed to be a symbolic or metaphoric relationship to Japan’s war experience. The long poem sequence “The Dead Child” takes its title from a work by Croatian painter Miljenko Stančić (1926 – 1977), the recurrence of central images provides the reader with plenty material with which to interpret the work. Though Yoshioka’s images are not completely developed allegories or symbols, they are extremely suggestive. There is a rougher edge to the language here than one finds in most of Yoshioka’s other work. Perhaps this too is a comment on the poet’s years in Manchuria.

 

Hagiwara Sakutaro: Translations and Notes on Translation, by Eric Selland

April 19, 2017

The Diseased Face in the Depths of the Earth

From the depths of the earth a face appears,

The face of a lonely invalid.

In the darkness below the surface of the earth,

Everywhere fingers of grass burst forth like a stain,

Then nests of mice sprout up,

The nests entangled hopelessly

In countless hairs quivering as they emerge.

From the lonely diseased earth of midwinter,

Slender roots of green bamboo grow,

Grow and spread.

How absolutely miserable they look,

Like a thickening fog,

How horribly, horribly pitiful they look.

In the darkness below the surface of the earth,

The miserable face of a lonely invalid.

 

Stems of Grass

Behold the stems of grass

Enwrapped in fine, thin hairs

In the winter cold.

The stems, turning a deeper green, are lonely

Encased on one side in thin hairs

But behold! These stems of grass.

Far off in the sky preparing for snow

Stems of grass burst forth.

 

Bamboo

On the shining earth bamboo grows,

Green bamboo grows,

Beneath the earth its roots spread,

Growing thinner, and thinner,

From the tips of the roots emerge fine hairs,

Spreading imperceptibly like smoke,

Faintly trembling.

 

On the hard earth bamboo grows,

Grows straight up from the surface of the earth,

Bamboo grows restlessly,

Dignified the rigid joints,

Beneath the clear blue sky they grow,

Bamboo, bamboo, bamboo grows.

 

Turtle

There is a wood,

And there is a marsh,

And an azure sky,

Its weight felt on the human hand,

The turtle of pure gold sleeps quietly.

This shining

Sad nature’s pain endured,

It sinks into the hearts of the people,

The turtle sinks into the depths of the azure sky

 

Death

From below the ground upon which I gaze,

A queer row of hands emerges,

Feet emerge,

Then necks are thrust out.

Oh my people!

For God’s sake,

What kind of geese are these?

From below the ground upon which I gaze,

With stupid looks on their faces,

Hands emerge,

Feet emerge,

Then the necks are thrust out.

 

Tenderness

Doubtless with your pretty teeth

You’re a woman who’d bite right through the green of this grass,

Woman –

With the pigment from this pale blue grass

Paint your face, get all dolled up,

Inflame your feelings of desire

Let us play secretly in the overgrown thicket,

Look –

The bellflowers are shaking their heads

And over there, the late-flowering perennials are moving softly,

Now I hold your breasts firmly

And with all your strength you press yourself against me,

Then, in this desolate field,

Let us play like snakes,

Let me love you till it hurts,

Let me rub the oils from the blades of blue grass all over your beautiful skin

 

One Who Loves Love

I painted rouge upon my lips

And kissed the branch of a young birch tree.

Even if I were a more handsome man

I have no breasts like rubber balls upon my chest

And there is no scent of fine white powder on my skin

I’m just a shriveled up man with no luck

Ah, what a pathetic man am I

And so in a fragrant field of early summer

In a glistening grove

I fit my hands into pale blue gloves

And slipped a corset around my waist

Then I put white powder on my neck

And secretly put on coquettish airs

Like the young women

I leaned in with both heart and nipples

And kissed the branch of a young birch tree

With rose-colored rouge upon my lips

I embraced the tall white tree.

 

The Blue Cat

It’s good to love this beautiful city

Good to love the buildings of the metropolis

To woo all the sweet women

To pursue all that is exalted in life

It’s good to come to the capital and pass along its bustling streets

In the rows of cherry trees lining the boulevards

There too sing numberless sparrows.

Ah, but the only one who can sleep through these big city nights

Is the shadow of one blue cat

That shadowy cat who speaks of humanity’s sad history

The blue shadow of fortune I pursue ceaselessly.

Even on wintry days of sleet I love Tokyo and think of it

Seeking every kind of shadow

What kind of dreams do beggars like this one dream

Hanging cold to the walls of the back streets.

 

Early poems:

 

Poems of Love and compassion

 

The Midnight Train

Faint glow of dawn shows

Coldly on door’s glass

Mark of finger lingering there

Delicate the whitening of mountains far

Somber like quicksilver

The traveler’s sleep yet undisturbed by

Spent electric lamp whose numberless sighs

And smoke from an imported cigar

Whose smell makes one feel faint

In a midnight train where wearily despair

Kept in so long now speaks in tears –

For she is another man’s wife.

The train has yet to pass through Yamashina

So she loosens the cap on the air cushion

Gently heaving a sigh as from a woman’s heart

Then suddenly the two of them in sadness

Move their bodies closer and embrace

And as daybreak nears gaze out the window

At unknown mountain villages

Columbine blooming white all around.

 

Travelling

I think I’d like to go to France

But France is so far

I should at least buy a new suit

And wander, carefree, on a journey to nowhere.

When the train starts up a mountain incline

I’d lean out the window and stare at the clear blue sky

And think how pleasant it is to be alone here like this

On an early morning in May

The feel of young spring grass in my heart –

I’ll do what I please.

 

Death Poems:

 

Two Haiku (1942)

A pair of horns now appears

From out of the shadow

Of the black curtain

 

The procession ends

In a hell full of

Hungry ghosts

 

Notes on translating Hagiwara Sakutaro:

A poetry which is impossible to translate. That is, impossible to translate completely in a way which successfully brings across the entire effect, the entire experience. It seems one would have to be able to enter completely into the mind of the poet and reify his process, thereby repeating the poet’s own experience and rewriting it in one’s own language. Yet this is a process from which the translator recoils – for Hagiwara takes us to a place where we cannot follow. And even if it were possible, it would mean entering a region from which there is no return.

Modernism’s global zeitgeist

It is well-understood that poetry constitutes a performative utterance. However, Hagiwara Sakutarō’s famous sequence of bamboo poems is so much of a performative nature that translation ultimately robs it of all content. This is of course because its significance is in the event of the utterance itself. The poem has a rhythmical or musical value. Here translating meaning in the conventional sense completely misses the point. Even an approach toward meaning that accepts the need to try innovative translations rather than sticking wholly to the dictionary misses the mark. For Sakutarō’s bamboo poems have nothing at all to do with meaning [i.e. discursive meaning]. Not even a little bit.

Translation reveals the non-semantic nature of Sakutarō’s bamboo poems especially, and this indicates that a translation based on conventional meanings is not possible.

The mirror image in Sakutarō – ground as mirror (Nomura).

“The transition from the elegant literary language to the vernacular as the vehicle of poetry was by no means easy.” [Hosea Hirata, The Poetry and Poetics of Nishiwaki Junzaburō: Modernism in Translation]

“The anxiety one senses in Hagiwara may be called the anxiety of translation, or the anxiety of the language of modernity. I suggest here that the anxiety of translation lies at the nucleus of modernism in Japan.” [ibid.]

(Hirata then quotes the early poem “Travelling” which I have also translated)

“In this conflation of origin and foreign, we must seek the beginning of Modernism, or even the essential constitution of Japanese Modernism.” [ibid.]

“Japanese modern poetry thus begins from an aporia, an impasse, or the anxiety of being unable to reach its origin…” [ibid.]

“It is the modern text itself which demands the author disappear.” [ibid.]

“It is the porous text. Many gaps are opened by the force of translation.” [ibid.]

We also must keep in mind in this comparison that translation both enhances and in certain ways diminishes or undermines our observations. Suffice it to say, therefore, that we must ultimately rely on the awareness that the problem of indeterminacy of meaning resides not only in the translated text, but in the so-called original as well.

Sakutarō’s bamboo sequence tends to make use of the suspended form of the verb. In other words, no verb, and therefore no action, is ever completed. The things described in the poem always remain in process, always active, dynamic, but never complete. The poem and its “meaning” remains completely open at all times. The suspended form of the Japanese verb unfortunately does not translate into English (the verb in English simply remains in present perfect tense) so this fact is not immediately recognizable. But on the level of grammar, this is one of the most important poetic techniques that Sakutarō uses in these poems.

The non-semantic nature of Sakutarō’s bamboo poem works on the level of sound and rhythm. There is ultimately very little provided to the reader in the way of meanings and meaning relationships (which normally would be thought elements communicate to the reader) by the poems in the bamboo sequence, but the reader is “fooled” into feeling that the poem provides a deep or meaningful experience because the rhythm created by meaningless repetition just “sounds right”.

Sakutarō uses rhythmical repetition of simple, fundamental words in the language (i.e. the colloquial language – this would not be possible if the poet were to use difficult kanji compounds with dense meanings).

As for the question of whether or not Hagiwara Sakutarō was a Modernist, it may help to offer a definition of Modernism. This is a term which has been notoriously difficult to define. Moreover, definitions have changed and developed over time. For our purposes here, the writings of Susan Stanford Friedman are most helpful. She argues that Modernism across the arts must be linked to modernity (much as I have suggested by the mentioning of socio-economic conditions contributing to the world of the poet in early 20th century). Modernism, thus, can be seen as encompassing “any cultural response to accelerated societal change brought about by a combination of new technologies, knowledge revolutions, state formations, and expanding intercultural contacts that contribute to radical questions and dismantling of traditional ontologies, epistemologies, and institutional structures.”

Hirato Renkichi and Japanese Modernist Poetry

April 16, 2017

Note: This is the original, non-edited version of my afterward to Sho Sugita’s translation of Hirato Renkichi (Spiral Staircase, Ugly Duckling Presse). I am posting this earlier, and longer version because it relates to the development of Japanese Modernist and avant-garde poetry in general.

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It is impossible to overstate the importance of this book’s arrival, because for the first time ever, readers of poetry in the U.S. are given the chance to encounter the poetry of one of Japan’s pioneers of the Modernist avant-garde. It’s been awhile now since Japan’s own Modanizumu[1] became widely recognized by academics as one of the alternative or global modernisms, but it is still hard to find translations other than those tucked away in the appendices of academic studies. This publication therefore fills the gap in that a general readership can now get a taste of what was going on during the early years of Japan’s avant-garde just after WWI.

 

For poets practicing experimental poetics throughout the 20th century, the basic assumption or belief has been that the process or act of breaking through the barriers of conventional form, meaning, and poetic language, is synonymous with the liberation of human consciousness.[2] Poets felt that they were unveiling an essential human truth by virtue of tearing down literary and social convention. The discovery of the new in an age of rapid change brought on by new technologies was no doubt part of it, but that was not all. The point I would like to make here, and what this publication impressively demonstrates, is that Japanese poets pursuing avant-garde methodologies felt the same way about their activities as did European poets and poets all over the world. This relationship to poetry as discovery or a kind of intellectual enlightenment is one that was largely ignored by scholars and critics in both Japan and the West until the 1990s. American scholars with a certain Neo-Orientalist bent tended to prefer the traditional, and Japan’s avant-garde was usually accused of being merely imitation, not the real thing as it was in the West. Moreover, according to the assessment of some of Japan’s most influential postwar poets and critics, Japan’s early experimental poems were immature, showing a lack of depth and development, as well as the all-important Japaneseness required for acceptance into the canon. Japan’s experimental poets were tainted by direct foreign influence. This stands in contrast to those few poets from the period who were accepted by academia – these poets were seen as having some kind of lyric sensitivity and essential Japaneseness which others did not have. But in order to reposition poets who had their beginnings in Dadaism and Surrealism as uniquely Japanese, their work had to be decontextualized and placed in an ahistorical vacuum, the greatness of their work associated with special personality traits, such as sensitivity and talent in making use of a Japanese language assumed to have a unique beauty and purity. This misinterpretation and refusal to understand the period is profound, but what is truly ironic is how Japanese critics relied on what are basically Neo-Orientalist and neo-colonialist attitudes (precisely the racist imperialist attitudes held by Westerners pooh-poohing Japan’s supposed imitation of the West) in order to prove their point in devaluing these poets.[3]

 

But just what were the historical and social forces in Japan at the beginning of the 20th century that allowed for the appearance of Modernism? Intensive efforts towards modernization began with the advent of the Meiji era in 1868 when Japan first established itself as a nation state along the European model. At first the concern was mainly the import of European institutions and new technologies, but most importantly for literature, changes were made to the language as well. Standardization of the spoken language was gradually taking place through the new nationalized education system, but it was the complex writing system and its distance from how the language was actually spoken which demanded attention. Over time, Chinese characters (or kanji) as used in Japanese were simplified and new words were invented using kanji to express Western concepts and to ease the process of translating Western languages into Japanese. The genbun itchi movement was key in bringing the written and spoken languages closer to together and allowing for the expression of colloquial language in writing. This process of modernization and standardization of Japanese was complete by the end of the 19th century.

 

Once the Meiji period rush to modernize was well underway, poets began to take part in their own way, feeling that it was also important to create a new, more cosmopolitan literary culture. Part of the concern was how to translate Western literary works. This required the invention of a new poetic language and forms which could mime those of European poetic forms. The Shintaishi poets (poetry in new form) then began applying this approach to writing poetry in a new European influenced form. Their poetry was for the most part Romantic and Symbolist in approach. There were three existing genres of poetry in Japan as of the end of the Edo Period – tanka, haiku, and kanshi. Tanka is the oldest form of poetry in Japan using a total of 31 syllables in sections of 5-7-5-7-7, while haiku has 17 syllables in sections of 5-7-5. Kanshi is poetry in classical Chinese forms, which was written and read by the Japanese with the help of a system of diacritical marks which allowed the reader to “translate” the Chinese into Japanese in his head as he read along. Shintaishi poets worked with what they already had available to them, and hence used various syllabic patterns of 5-7-5 and so on. The poetic language they used, though it was called “new”, tended to be classical or neo-classical in form. Hence for Renkichi and other poets of his generation who had available to them a whole new language which was closer to the actual language spoken, the poetry of the previous generation was already old-fashioned, overly formal and unwieldy.

 

Japan was completely modernized by early in the 20th century and had an economy based on heavy industry by the WWI era. The quick pace of industrialization and urbanization, the sudden tearing away from the traditional lifestyle of the rural village to be thrown into the high-paced life of the big city, was an alienating experience for many poets, and is likely a factor behind the development of Japanese Modernism, including the angst-ridden work of poets such as Hagiwara Sakutarō.[4] But it was also a time of great excitement and intellectual discovery. Japanese poets during the Modernist period engaged in intensive correspondence with European intellectuals such as Breton, Marinetti, and Ezra Pound, and initiated their own local versions and interpretations of all of the contemporary avant-garde movements, including Futurism, Dadaism, and Surrealism. In the high-paced urban environment of 1920s Japan, you could listen to Jazz at places like the Zebra Club in Kobe or the Blackbird in Tokyo. A newly affluent middle class dressed in the latest fashions and engaged in “Ginbura” (strolling along the Ginza). There were flourishing avant-garde art movements such as MAVO, and active revolutionary Marxist and anarchist movements.[5] Kitasono Katue was developing what he referred to as “abstract poetry” which would lead to his later “plastic poems.” Nishiwaki Junzaburo,[6] one of the founders of the Modernist magazine Poetry and Poetics (Shi to Shiron), was developing a poetics of translation, appropriation and allusion. Japanese poets during the Modernist period, nearly all of whom were translators and theorists, formed an intensely cosmopolitan society familiar with all the latest intellectual trends in Europe, a society which included intellectual women such as Sagawa Chika,[7] surrealist poet and translator of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. This is the milieu into which Hirato Renkichi leads us as he stands on that corner of Hibiya Park in 1921 distributing his Futurist Manifesto to passersby.

 

Japanese writers and intellectuals in the interwar period negotiated a complex terrain of rapid social, political, and technological change while engaging in important formal and linguistic experiments that would literally redefine the very nature of Japanese literature. This process was one of cultural and intellectual negotiation, involving translation, interpretation, creative thinking and writing, as well as argument and discussion with fellow writers and thinkers. The final end of the process is one of transformation as is all poetry.

 

[1] I use the term Modernism as it is commonly understood by poets and scholars in the U.S. In Japan, Modernism in poetry, or Modanizumu shi, usually refers only to that group of poets associated with the magazine Shi to Shiron (Poetry and Poetics) who called themselves modernists. The magazine was published between 1928 and 1931 edited by Haruyama Yukio, with important input from Nishiwaki Junzaburo and Takiguchi Shūzō.

[2] I refer here to Jeremy Rothenberg’s introduction to the first volume of his anthology of the international avant-garde, Poetry for the Millennium, in which he outlines the qualities shared by avant-garde poetry movements worldwide.

[3] An excellent overview of this situation in Japanese literary studies is to be found in William J. Tyler’s introduction to his Modanizumu: Modernist Fiction from Japan 1913-1938.

[4] See Howling at the Moon, by Hagiwara Sakutarō (trans. Hiroaki Sato) Sun & Moon (2002).

[5] See For Dignity, Justice, and Revolution: An Anthology of Japanese Proletarian Literature, Edited by Norma Field and Heather Bowen-Struyk (University of Chicago Press, 2016)

[6] See The Poetry and Poetics of Nishiwaki Junzaburo: Modernism in Translation, by Hosea Hirata (Studies of the East Asian Institute: Princeton Legacy Library)

[7] See The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa, Trans. Sawako Nakayasu (Canarium Books, 2015)

Japanese Modernist Reading List: Update

October 2, 2016

Books on Japanese Modernism and Related Subjects
Advertising Tower: Japanese Modernism and Modernity in the 1920s, by William O. Gardner, Harvard University Asia Center, 2006
Modanizumu: Modernist Fiction from Japan 1913-1938, edited by William J. Tyler, University of Hawai’i Press, 2008
Erotic Grotesque Nonsense: The Mass Culture of Japanese Modern Times, by Miriam Silverberg, University of California Press, 2006
Miryam Sas, Fault Lines: Cultural Memory and Japanese Surrealism, Stanford University Press, 2001
John Solt, Shredding the Tapestry of Meaning: The Poetry and Poetics of Kitasono Katue (1902-1978), Harvard University Asia Center, 1999
Hosea Hirata, The Poetry and Poetics of Nishiwaki Junzaburo, Princeton University Press, 1993
Leslie Pincus, Authenticating Culture in Imperial Japan: Kuki Shuzo and the Rise of National Aesthetics, University of California Press, 1996
Leith Morton, Modernism in Practice: An Introduction to Postwar Japanese Poetry, University of Hawaii Press, 2004
Leith Morton, An Anthology of Contemporary Japanese Poetry, Garland Publishing, 1993
Makoto Ueda, Modern Japanese Poets and the Nature of Literature, Stanford University Press, 1983
Naoki Sakai, Translation and Subjectivity: On “Japan” and Cultural Nationalism, University of Minnesota Press, 1997
Seiji M. Lippit, Topographies of Japanese Modernism, Columbia University Press, 2002

Donald Keene, Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature in the Modern Era, Vol. II Poetry, Drama, Criticism , Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1984

Dennis Keene, The Modern Japanese Prose Poem , Princeton Univ. Press, 1980

Harry Harootunian, Overcome by Modernity: History, Culture and Community in Interwar Japan, Princeton University Press (2000)

Harry Harootunian, History’s Disquiet: Modernity, Cultural Practice, and the Question of Everyday Life, Columbia University Press (2000)

Robert N. Bellah, Imagining Japan: The Japanese Tradition And Its Modern Interpretation, University of California Press (2003)

Christopher Goto-Jones, Modern Japan: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press (2009)

America’s Geisha Ally: Reimagining the Japanese Enemy, by Naoko Shibusawa, Harvard University Press, 2006
Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945-1961, by Christina Klein, University of California Press, 2003
Orientalism and Modernism: The Legacy of China in Pound and Williams, by Zhaoming Qian, Duke University Press, 1995
Buddhist Elements in Dada: A Comparison of Tristan Tzara, Takahashi Shinkichi, and Their Fellow Poets, by Ko Won, New York University Press (1977)
Contemporary Korean Poetry, by Ko Won, University of Iowa Press (1970)
Shijin: Autobiography of the Poet Kaneko Mitsuharu 1895-1975, tr. AR Davis, The University of Sydney East Asia Series (1988)
Japanese Hermeneutics: Current Debates on Aesthetics and Interpretation, edited by Michael F. Marra, University of Hawai’i Press, 2002
Mavo: Japanese Artists and the Avant-Garde 1905-1931, by Gennifer Weisenfeld, University of California Press (2002)
Radicals and Realists in the Japanese Nonverbal Arts: The Avant-Garde Rejection of Modernism, by Thomas R.H. Havens, University of Hawaii Press (2006)
Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz in Japan, by E. Taylor Atkins, Duke University Press (2001)
Nippon Modern: Japanese Cinema of the 1920s and 1930s, by Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano, University of Hawaii Press (2008)
The Angel of History: Rosenzweig, Benjamin, Scholem, by Stephane Moses, Standford University Press (2009)
Takeuchi Yoshimi: Displacing the West, by Richard F. Calichman, Cornell East Asia Series (2004)
What Is Modernity? Writings of Takeuchi Yoshimi, by Takeuchi Yoshimi, Columbia University Press (2005)
Contemporary Japanese Thought, edited by Richard F. Calichman,
Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchuria And The East Asian Modern, by Prasenjit Duara, Rowman & Littlefield (2003)
The Aesthetics of Japanese Fascism, by Alan Tansman, University of California Press (2009)
The Culture of Japanese Fascism, ed. Alan Tansman, Duke University Press (2009)
The Search for A New Order: Intellectuals And Fascism In Prewar Japan, by Miles Fletcher, University of North Carolina Press (1982)
Japanese Imperialism 1894-1945, by W.G. Beasley, Oxford University Press (1987)
War Without Mercy: Race & Power in the Pacific War, by John W. Dower, Pantheon Books (1986)
Translation And The Languages of Modernism, by Steven G. Yao, Palgrave Macmillan (2002)
Transpacific Displacement: Intertextual Travel in Twentieth-Century American Literature, by Yunte Huang, University of California Press (2002)
Unspeakable Acts: The Avant-Garde Theatre of Terayama Shuji and Postwar Japan, by Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei, University Hawai’i Press (2005)
Writing Ground Zero: Japanese Literature and the Atomic Bomb, by John Whittier Treat, University of Chicago Press (1995)
Bodies of Memory: Narratives of War in Postwar Japanese Culture, 1945-1970, by Yoshikuni Igarashi
Text and the City: Essays on Japanese Modernity, by Maeda Ai
Experimental Arts in Postwar Japan: Moments of Encounter, Engagement, and Imagined Return, by Miryam Sas, Harvard University Asia Center (2011)
Literary Mischief: Sakaguchi Ango, Culture, and the War, by James Dorsey and Doug Slaymaker, Lexington Books (2010)
Japanese Drama and Culture in the 1960s: The Return of the Gods, by David G Goodman, An East Gate Book, M.E. Sharp, Inc. (1988)
Dreams of Difference: The Japan Romantic School and the Crisis of Modernity, by Kevin Michael Doak, University of California Press (1994)
Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of Modern Japan, Edited by Stephen Vlastos, University of California Press (1998)
Coffee Life in Japan, by Merry White, University of California Press (2012)
Tamura Ryuichi: On the Life & Work of a 20th Century Master, Edited by Takako Lento & Wayne Miller, Pleiades Press (2011)
Modernism and Japanese Culture, by Roy Starrs, Palgrave Macmillan (2011)
History and Repetition, by Kojin Karatani, Columbia University Press (2012)
Translation in Modern Japan, edited by Indra Levy, Routledge (2011)
Japan’s Frames of Meaning: A Hermeneutics Reader, by Michael F. Marra, University of Hawai’i Press (2011)
Philosophers of Nothingness: An Essay on the Kyoto School, by James W. Heisig, University of Hawai’i Press (2001)
Tumultuous Decade: Empire, Society, and Diplomacy in 1930s Japan, Edited by Masato Kimura and Tosh Minohara, University of Toronto Press (2013)
Modern Japanese Thought, Edited by Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi, Cambridge University Press (1998)
Culture and Identity: Japanese Intellectuals During the Interwar Years, Edited by J. Thomas Rimer, Princeton University Press (1990)
Narrating the Self: Fictions of Japanese Modernity, by Tomi Suzuki, Stanford University Press (1996)
Writing Home: Representations of the Native Place in Modern Japanese Literature, by Stephen Dodd, Harvard University Asia Center (2004)
The Undiscovered Country: Text, Translation, and Modernity in the Work of Yanagita Kunio, by Melek Ortabasi, Harvard University Asia Center (2014)
Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering: Japan in the Modern World, by John W. Dower, The New Press (New York 2012)
Japan’s Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1853-1945, by Edward J. Drea, University Press of Kansas (2009)
Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature: Publishing, Prizes, and the Ascription of Literary Value, by Edward Mack, Duke University Press (2010)
Japan’s Orient: Rendering Pasts into History, by Stefan Tanaka, University of California Press (1993)
Modern Girls, Shining Stars, the Skies of Tokyo: 5 Japanese Women, by Phyllis Birnbaum, Columbia University Press (1999)
So Lovely a Country Will Never Perish: Wartime Diaries of Japanese Writers, translated with commentary by Donald Keene, Columbia University Press (2010)
Leaves from an Autumn of Emergencies: Selections from the Wartime Diaries of Ordinary Japanese, Samuel Hideo Yamashita, University of Hawai’i Press (2005)
A Diary of Darkness: The Wartime Diary of Kiyosawa Kiyoshi, Princeton University Press (1980)
A Sheep’s Song, by Katō Shūichi, translated by Chia-ning Chang, University of California Press (1999)
Legacies and Ambiguities: Postwar Fiction and Culture in West Germany and Japan, edited by Ernestine Schlant and Thomas Rimer, Johns Hopkins University Press (1991)
Nationalisms of Japan: Managing and Mystifying Identity, by Brian J. McVeigh, Rowman & Littlefield (2006)
Japan’s Total Empire, by Louise Young, University of California Press (1998)
Certain Victory: Images of World War II in the Japanese Media, by David C. Earhart, M.E. Sharpe (An Eastgate Book, 2009)
The Long Defeat: Cultural Trauma, Memory, and Identity in Japan, by Akiko Hashimoto, Oxford University press (2015)
The Japanese Tradition in British and American Literature, by Earl Miner, Princeton University Press (1958)
The Oxford Handbook of Global Modernisms, Edited by Mark Wollaeger, Oxford University press (2012)
Dreams of Difference: The Japan Romantic School and the Crisis of Modernity, by Kevin Michael Doak, University of California Press (1994)
Modernism in the Global Context, by Peter Kalliney, Bloomsbury Publishing (2016)
Modernism: Evolution of an Idea, by Sean Latham & Gayle Rogers, Bloomsbury Publishing (2016)
Translation and Translation Studies in the Japanese Context, edited by Nana Sato-Rossberg & Judy Wakabayashi
The Modernist Papers, by Fredric Jameson, Verso (2007)
A Singular Modernity: Essay on the Ontology of the Present, by Fredric Jameson, Verso (2002)

Books in Japanese:
Senso Shiron 1910-1945, by Seo Ikuo, Heibonsha (2006)
Senchuu Sengou Shiteki Jidai no Shougen 1935-1955, by Hirabayashi Toshihiko, Shichousha (2009)
Shuuroku Toshite no Modanizumu: Nihon Gendaishi no Teiryuu, by Fujimoto Toshihiko, Soubunsha (2009)
Zen’eishi Undoushi no Kenkyuu: Modanizumushi no Keifu, by Nakano, Okisekii (2003)
Modanizumu Shishuu, ed. Tsuruoka, Shichousha (2003)
Kindaishi kara Gendaishi e, by Ayukawa Nobuo, Shichousha (2005)
Sengoushi o Horobosu Tameni, by Kido Shuri, Shichousha (2008)
Kobayashi Hideo Zensakuhin, by Kobayashi Hideo, Shinchousha (2003)
Ueda Tamotsu Chousakushuu, by Ueda Tamotsu, published by Ueda Shizue (1975)
Korekushon Takiguchi Shuuzou, by Takiguchi Shuuzou, Misuzu Shobou (1992)
Shururearisumu no Hako: Shibusawa Tatsuhiko Bungakukan No. 11, by Shibusawa Tatsuhiko, Chikumashobou (1991)
Moderunite 3×3, Kobayashi Yasuo, Matsuura Hisaki, and Matsuura Hisao, Shichousha (1998)
Kindai Nihon no Jigazou, by Teraoka Hiroshi, Shinzansha (2009)
Setsuzoku Suru Chuuya, by Hikita Masaaki, Kasama Shoin (2007)
Tensai Sagawa Chika: Ekoda Bungaku No. 63, ed. Nakamura Fumiaki, Nihon Daigaku Geijutsu Gakubu (2007)
Kido Shuri & Nomura Kiwao, Tougi Sengoushi: Shi no Runessansu e, Shichousha, 1997
Gendaishi Tokuhon: Yoshioka Minoru, Hiraide Takashi (ed.), Shichousha, 1991
Shi no Utage: Waga Jinsei, Ema Shouko , Kage Shobou, 1995
Gengo Kuukan no Tanken, Ohka Makoto (ed.), Gakugei Shorin, 1969
Modaniti no Sozoryoku: Bungaku to Shikakusei, by Nakagawa Shigemi, Shichousha (2009)
Yojou no Shukumei/Shi no Kanata: Sakutaro, Kenji, Chuuya, by Yamada Kenji, Shichousha (2006)
Hagiwara Sakutaro, by Iijima Koichi, Misuzu Shobo (2004)
Umibe no Aporia, by Yasui Kouji, Yuu Shorin (2009)
Shigaku Josetsu, by Yoshimoto Takaaki, Shichousha (2006)
Shi no Gaia o Motomete, by Nomura Kiwao, Shichousha (2009)
Showa Shishi, by Ohka Makoto, Shinomori Bunko (2005)

Nihon no Autosaidaa, by Kawakami Tetsutaro, Chuokoron Shinsha (1978)

Watashi no Shi to Shinjitsu, by Kawakami Tetsutaro, Kodansha Bungei Bunko (2007)

Shiteki Modaniti no Butai, by Suga Hidemi (2008)

Sengou 60-Nen Shi to Hihyou Soutenbou, Gendaishi Techo Tokushu (2005)

Shijintachi no Seiki: Nishiwaki Junzaburo to Ezura Paundo, by Niikura Toshikazu, Misuzu Shobo (2003)

Yoshimoto Takaaki Daihyou Shisen, edited by Takahashi Gen’ichirou, Seo Ikuo, and Miura Masashi, Shichousha (2004)

Katoh Ikuya-Ron, by Nihira Masaru, Chuussekisha (2004)

Modanizumu to Sengo Josei-Shi no Tenkai, by Mizuta Noriko, Shichousha (2012)

Katoh Shuichi Sengo wo Kataru, by Katoh Shuichi, Kamogawa Shuppan (2009)

Nihon Bunka ni Okeru Jikan to Kuukan, by Katoh Shuichi, Iwanami Shoten (2007)
東京大空襲:昭和20年3月10日の記録、早乙女勝元著、岩波新書(1971)(Tokyo Daikuushuu: Showa Nijuunen Sangatsu Touka no Kiroku, Saotome Katsumoto, Iwanami Shoten)
東京空襲下の生活記録、早乙女勝元著、東京新聞(2013) (Tokyo Kuushuu Shita no Seikatsu Kiroku, Saotome Katsumoto, Tokyo Shimbun)
都市空間のなかの文学、前田愛、ちくま学芸文庫(1992)(Toshi Kuukan no Naka no Bungaku, Maeda Ai, Chikuma Bungeibunko)
幻景の街:文学の都市を歩く、前田愛、岩波書店(2006) (Gen’ei no Machi: Bungaku no Toshi wo Aruku, Maeda Ai, Iwanami Shoten)
カストリ時代:レンズで見た昭和20年代・東京、林忠彦、朝日文庫(1987) (Kasutori Jidai: Renzu de Mita Showa Nijuu Nendai, Tokyo, Hayashi Katsumoto, Asahi Bunko)
羊の歌:わが回想、加藤周一著、岩波新書(1968) (Hitsuji no Uta: Waga Kaisou, Katoh Shuuichi, Iwanami Shinsho)
翻訳と日本の近代:丸山真男・加藤周一、岩波新書(1998) (Honyaku to Nihon no Kindai: Maruyama Masao, Katoh Shuuichi, Iwanami Shinsho)
萩原朔太郎、著者:野村喜和男、中央公論新社(2011)
(Hagiwara Sakutarō, by Kiwao Nomura, Chuo Koronshinsha (2011)
日本の翻訳論:アンソロジーと解題、柳父章編
翻訳語成立事情、柳父章
明治大正翻訳ワンダーランド、鴻巣友季子

Japanese Modernist Reading List Updated

June 26, 2015

Texts in English

Advertising Tower: Japanese Modernism and Modernity in the 1920s, by William O. Gardner, Harvard University Asia Center, 2006

Modanizumu: Modernist Fiction from Japan 1913-1938, edited by William J. Tyler, University of Hawai’i Press, 2008

Erotic Grotesque Nonsense: The Mass Culture of Japanese Modern Times, by Miriam Silverberg, University of California Press, 2006

Miryam Sas, Fault Lines: Cultural Memory and Japanese Surrealism, Stanford University Press, 2001

John Solt, Shredding the Tapestry of Meaning: The Poetry and Poetics of Kitasono Katue (1902-1978), Harvard University Asia Center, 1999

Hosea Hirata, The Poetry and Poetics of Nishiwaki Junzaburo, Princeton University Press, 1993

Leslie Pincus, Authenticating Culture in Imperial Japan: Kuki Shuzo and the Rise of National Aesthetics, University of California Press, 1996

Leith Morton, Modernism in Practice: An Introduction to Postwar Japanese Poetry, University of Hawaii Press, 2004

Leith Morton, An Anthology of Contemporary Japanese Poetry, Garland Publishing, 1993

Makoto Ueda, Modern Japanese Poets and the Nature of Literature, Stanford University Press, 1983

Naoki Sakai, Translation and Subjectivity: On “Japan” and Cultural Nationalism, University of Minnesota Press, 1997

Seiji M. Lippit, Topographies of Japanese Modernism, Columbia University Press, 2002

Donald Keene, Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature in the Modern Era, Vol. II Poetry, Drama, Criticism , Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1984

Dennis Keene, The Modern Japanese Prose Poem , Princeton Univ. Press, 1980

Harry Harootunian, Overcome by Modernity: History, Culture and Community in Interwar Japan, Princeton University Press (2000)

Harry Harootunian, History’s Disquiet: Modernity, Cultural Practice, and the Question of Everyday Life, Columbia University Press (2000)

Robert N. Bellah, Imagining Japan: The Japanese Tradition And Its Modern Interpretation, University of California Press (2003)

Christopher Goto-Jones, Modern Japan: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press (2009)

America’s Geisha Ally: Reimagining the Japanese Enemy, by Naoko Shibusawa, Harvard  University Press, 2006

Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945-1961, by Christina Klein, University of California Press, 2003

Orientalism and Modernism: The Legacy of China in Pound and Williams, by Zhaoming Qian, Duke University Press, 1995

Buddhist Elements in Dada: A Comparison of Tristan Tzara, Takahashi Shinkichi, and Their Fellow Poets, by Ko Won, New York University Press (1977)

Contemporary Korean Poetry, by Ko Won, University of Iowa Press (1970)

Shijin: Autobiography of the Poet Kaneko Mitsuharu 1895-1975, tr. AR Davis, The University of Sydney East Asia Series (1988)

Japanese Hermeneutics: Current Debates on Aesthetics and Interpretation, edited by Michael F. Marra, University of Hawai’i Press, 2002

Mavo: Japanese Artists and the Avant-Garde 1905-1931, by Gennifer Weisenfeld, University of California Press (2002)

Radicals and Realists in the Japanese Nonverbal Arts: The Avant-Garde Rejection of Modernism, by Thomas R.H. Havens, University of Hawaii Press (2006)

Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz in Japan, by E. Taylor Atkins, Duke University Press (2001)

Nippon Modern: Japanese Cinema of the 1920s and 1930s, by Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano, University of Hawaii Press (2008)

The Angel of History: Rosenzweig, Benjamin, Scholem, by Stephane Moses, Standford University Press (2009)

Takeuchi Yoshimi: Displacing the West, by Richard F. Calichman, Cornell East Asia Series (2004)

What Is Modernity? Writings of Takeuchi Yoshimi, by Takeuchi Yoshimi, Columbia University Press (2005)

Contemporary Japanese Thought, edited by Richard F. Calichman,

Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchuria And The East Asian Modern, by Prasenjit Duara, Rowman & Littlefield (2003)

The Aesthetics of Japanese Fascism, by Alan Tansman, University of California Press (2009)

The Culture of Japanese Fascism, ed. Alan Tansman, Duke University Press (2009)

The Search for A New Order: Intellectuals And Fascism In Prewar Japan, by Miles Fletcher, University of North Carolina Press (1982)

Japanese Imperialism 1894-1945, by W.G. Beasley, Oxford University Press (1987)

War Without Mercy: Race & Power in the Pacific War, by John W. Dower, Pantheon Books (1986)

Translation And The Languages of Modernism, by Steven G. Yao, Palgrave Macmillan (2002)

Transpacific Displacement: Intertextual Travel in Twentieth-Century American Literature, by Yunte Huang, University of California Press (2002)

Unspeakable Acts: The Avant-Garde Theatre of Terayama Shuji and Postwar Japan, by Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei, University Hawai’i Press (2005)

Writing Ground Zero: Japanese Literature and the Atomic Bomb, by John Whittier Treat, University of Chicago Press (1995)

Bodies of Memory: Narratives of War in Postwar Japanese Culture, 1945-1970, by Yoshikuni Igarashi

Text and the City: Essays on Japanese Modernity, by Maeda Ai

Experimental Arts in Postwar Japan: Moments of Encounter, Engagement, and Imagined Return, by Miryam Sas, Harvard University Asia Center (2011)

Literary Mischief: Sakaguchi Ango, Culture, and the War, by James Dorsey and Doug Slaymaker, Lexington Books (2010)

Japanese Drama and Culture in the 1960s: The Return of the Gods, by David G Goodman, An East Gate Book, M.E. Sharp, Inc. (1988)

Dreams of Difference: The Japan Romantic School and the Crisis of Modernity, by Kevin Michael Doak, University of California Press (1994)

Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of Modern Japan, Edited by Stephen Vlastos, University of California Press (1998)

Coffee Life in Japan, by Merry White, University of California Press (2012)

Tamura Ryuichi: On the Life & Work of a 20th Century Master, Edited by Takako Lento & Wayne Miller, Pleiades Press (2011)

Modernism and Japanese Culture, by Roy Starrs, Palgrave Macmillan (2011)

History and Repetition, by Kojin Karatani, Columbia University Press (2012)

Translation in Modern Japan, edited by Indra Levy, Routledge (2011)

Japan’s Frames of Meaning: A Hermeneutics Reader, by Michael F. Marra, University of Hawai’i Press (2011)

Philosophers of Nothingness: An Essay on the Kyoto School, by James W. Heisig, University of Hawai’i Press (2001)

Tumultuous Decade: Empire, Society, and Diplomacy in 1930s Japan, Edited by Masato Kimura and Tosh Minohara, University of Toronto Press (2013)

Modern Japanese Thought, Edited by Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi, Cambridge University Press (1998)

Culture and Identity: Japanese Intellectuals During the Interwar Years, Edited by J. Thomas Rimer, Princeton University Press (1990)

Narrating the Self: Fictions of Japanese Modernity, by Tomi Suzuki, Stanford University Press (1996)

Writing Home: Representations of the Native Place in Modern Japanese Literature, by Stephen Dodd, Harvard University Asia Center (2004)

The Undiscovered Country: Text, Translation, and Modernity in the Work of Yanagita Kunio, by Melek Ortabasi, Harvard University Asia Center (2014)

Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering: Japan in the Modern World, by John W. Dower, The New Press (New York 2012)

Japan’s Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1853-1945, by Edward J. Drea, University Press of Kansas (2009)

Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature: Publishing, Prizes, and the Ascription of Literary Value, by Edward Mack, Duke University Press (2010)

Japan’s Orient: Rendering Pasts into History, by Stefan Tanaka, University of California Press (1993)

Modern Girls, Shining Stars, the Skies of Tokyo: 5 Japanese Women, by Phyllis Birnbaum, Columbia University Press (1999)

So Lovely a Country Will Never Perish: Wartime Diaries of Japanese Writers, translated with commentary by Donald Keene, Columbia University Press (2010)

Leaves from an Autumn of Emergencies: Selections from the Wartime Diaries of Ordinary Japanese, Samuel Hideo Yamashita, University of Hawai’i Press (2005)

A Diary of Darkness: The Wartime Diary of Kiyosawa Kiyoshi, Princeton University Press (1980)

A Sheep’s Song, by Katō Shūichi, translated by Chia-ning Chang, University of California Press (1999)

Legacies and Ambiguities: Postwar Fiction and Culture in West Germany and Japan, edited by Ernestine Schlant and Thomas Rimer, Johns Hopkins University Press (1991)

Nationalisms of Japan: Managing and Mystifying Identity, by Brian J. McVeigh, Rowman & Littlefield (2006)

Japan’s Total Empire, by Louise Young, University of California Press (1998)

Certain Victory: Images of World War II in the Japanese Media, by David C. Earhart, M.E. Sharpe (An Eastgate Book, 2009)

Japanese References:

Senso Shiron 1910-1945, by Seo Ikuo, Heibonsha (2006)

Senchuu Sengou Shiteki Jidai no Shougen 1935-1955, by Hirabayashi Toshihiko, Shichousha (2009)

Shuuroku Toshite no Modanizumu: Nihon Gendaishi no Teiryuu, by Fujimoto Toshihiko, Soubunsha (2009)

Zen’eishi Undoushi no Kenkyuu: Modanizumushi no Keifu, by Nakano, Okisekii (2003)

Modanizumu Shishuu, ed. Tsuruoka, Shichousha (2003)

Kindaishi kara Gendaishi e, by Ayukawa Nobuo, Shichousha (2005)

Sengoushi o Horobosu Tameni, by Kido Shuri, Shichousha (2008)

Kobayashi Hideo Zensakuhin, by Kobayashi Hideo, Shinchousha (2003)

Ueda Tamotsu Chousakushuu, by Ueda Tamotsu, published by Ueda Shizue (1975)

Korekushon Takiguchi Shuuzou, by Takiguchi Shuuzou, Misuzu Shobou (1992)

Shururearisumu no Hako: Shibusawa Tatsuhiko Bungakukan No. 11, by Shibusawa Tatsuhiko, Chikumashobou (1991)

Moderunite 3×3, Kobayashi Yasuo, Matsuura Hisaki, and Matsuura Hisao, Shichousha (1998)

Kindai Nihon no Jigazou, by Teraoka Hiroshi, Shinzansha (2009)

Setsuzoku Suru Chuuya, by Hikita Masaaki, Kasama Shoin (2007)

Tensai Sagawa Chika: Ekoda Bungaku No. 63, ed. Nakamura Fumiaki, Nihon Daigaku Geijutsu Gakubu (2007)

Kido Shuri & Nomura Kiwao, Tougi Sengoushi: Shi no Runessansu e, Shichousha, 1997

Gendaishi Tokuhon: Yoshioka Minoru, Hiraide Takashi (ed.), Shichousha, 1991

Shi no Utage: Waga Jinsei, Ema Shouko , Kage Shobou, 1995

Gengo Kuukan no Tanken, Ohka Makoto (ed.), Gakugei Shorin, 1969

Modaniti no Sozoryoku: Bungaku to Shikakusei, by Nakagawa Shigemi, Shichousha (2009)

Yojou no Shukumei/Shi no Kanata: Sakutaro, Kenji, Chuuya, by Yamada Kenji, Shichousha (2006)

Hagiwara Sakutaro, by Iijima Koichi, Misuzu Shobo (2004)

Umibe no Aporia, by Yasui Kouji, Yuu Shorin (2009)

Shigaku Josetsu, by Yoshimoto Takaaki, Shichousha (2006)

Shi no Gaia o Motomete, by Nomura Kiwao, Shichousha (2009)

Showa Shishi, by Ohka Makoto, Shinomori Bunko (2005)

Nihon no Autosaidaa, by Kawakami Tetsutaro, Chuokoron Shinsha (1978)

Watashi no Shi to Shinjitsu, by Kawakami Tetsutaro, Kodansha Bungei Bunko (2007)

Shiteki Modaniti no Butai, by Suga Hidemi (2008)

Sengou 60-Nen Shi to Hihyou Soutenbou, Gendaishi Techo Tokushu (2005)

Shijintachi no Seiki: Nishiwaki Junzaburo to Ezura Paundo, by Niikura Toshikazu, Misuzu Shobo (2003)

Yoshimoto Takaaki Daihyou Shisen, edited by Takahashi Gen’ichirou, Seo Ikuo, and Miura Masashi, Shichousha (2004)

Katoh Ikuya-Ron, by Nihira Masaru, Chuussekisha (2004)

Modanizumu to Sengo Josei-Shi no Tenkai, by Mizuta Noriko, Shichousha (2012)

Katoh Shuichi Sengo wo Kataru, by Katoh Shuichi, Kamogawa Shuppan (2009)

Nihon Bunka ni Okeru Jikan to Kuukan, by Katoh Shuichi, Iwanami Shoten (2007)

東京大空襲:昭和20年3月10日の記録、早乙女勝元著、岩波新書(1971)(Tokyo Daikuushuu: Showa Nijuunen Sangatsu Touka no Kiroku, Saotome Katsumoto, Iwanami Shoten)

東京空襲下の生活記録、早乙女勝元著、東京新聞(2013) (Tokyo Kuushuu Shita no Seikatsu Kiroku, Saotome Katsumoto, Tokyo Shimbun)

都市空間のなかの文学、前田愛、ちくま学芸文庫(1992)(Toshi Kuukan no Naka no Bungaku, Maeda Ai, Chikuma Bungeibunko)

幻景の街:文学の都市を歩く、前田愛、岩波書店(2006) (Gen’ei no Machi: Bungaku no Toshi wo Aruku, Maeda Ai, Iwanami Shoten)

カストリ時代:レンズで見た昭和20年代・東京、林忠彦、朝日文庫(1987) (Kasutori Jidai: Renzu de Mita Showa Nijuu Nendai, Tokyo, Hayashi Katsumoto, Asahi Bunko)

羊の歌:わが回想、加藤周一著、岩波新書(1968) (Hitsuji no Uta: Waga Kaisou, Katoh Shuuichi, Iwanami Shinsho)

翻訳と日本の近代:丸山真男・加藤周一、岩波新書(1998) (Honyaku to Nihon no Kindai: Maruyama Masao, Katoh Shuuichi, Iwanami Shinsho)

Contemporary Japanese Poets: Kiwao Nomura

June 15, 2014

Kiwao Nomura (1951 – ) is the leading experimental voice in contemporary Japanese poetry. He is also a major critic and theorist. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiwao_Nomura Along with Shuri Kido, he has been responsible for providing a whole new interpretation of Japan’s postwar period in literature, and has also written on French poets, including an analysis of Rimbaud seen through the concepts of Deleuze and Guattari.

 

Nomura’s work dissolves conventional meaning relationships while disrupting many of the formal mechanisms which traditionally have made poetry recognizable as poetry. Chief amongst these, and one which would immediately catch the Japanese reader with a more traditional literary education off guard, is the use of plain speech rather than a more formal poetic language (i.e. poetry as a privileged or heightened language). This dismantling of the frame which, in visual art terms, communicates to the viewer that what they are seeing is a painting, i.e. art, allows the poem to explode beyond its boundaries, producing a trajectory which moves in multiple directions at once.

In Nude Day, Nomura takes us on a tour through hell on earth, much like Dante’s Inferno; accept that for Nomura, hell is birth itself. The parades of flesh winding their way through Nomura’s poem are living creatures both human and non-human, and often subhuman, but ultimately embodying the human condition. The title, Nude Day (The Day Laid Bare), is expressed here in a way to bring out its relationship to Agamben’s concept of “bare life” – human life stripped down to its most basic, biological reality, vulnerable and powerless. Nomura also mentions Burroughs’ Naked Lunch as something relating to what he is getting at. The entire work is overshadowed by the colossal earthquake and tsunami which destroyed much of the northeastern region of Japan in March of 2011. Though expressed in the language of the absurd and the Felliniesque, Kiwao Nomura’s Nude Day (The Day Laid Bare) has an existential urgency. The poem’s constant repetition of lines like “all things are laid bare,” “stripped to the bone,” echoes Heidegger’s insistence that the way in which our lives are ordered  and controlled in modern, capitalist society leads to a “leveling down” of Being.

Note: These poems first appeared on Big Bridge. Selections from Nude Day have also appeared in Eleven Eleven.

 

 

Parade 1

 

 

Nude day

 

Stripped bare

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roadblock 1 (Sand on Lips)

 

 

When disquiet

With its as much as one hundred legs

Puts down roots all around me

 

Who’s voice is this?

 

“You have to go on with your own water

As far as that of which we cannot speak”

 

With water?

All wet and shiny?

Losing all color?

 

A distorted face appears

A monkey wrench for a neck

Sand

On lips

 

 

 

 

 

Parade 2

 

 

The day laid bare

 

Go in pursuit of unknown flesh, of the disappeared

If not, you yourself will become a fugitive

 

 Stripped to the bone

 

Ground of unraveling sutures

Remains of dissolved flesh

Awaken

Go, follow – give chase

 

It’s a parade. The First Flesh arrives. Seems like a mere octopus, or something an octopus has on its exterior. It moves forward, spewing something incomprehensible, but then, as it grows distant, it is revealed, revealing, no doubt, the human. Then it multiplies, from belly to belly, a fetus with only a head seen in perpetual motion.

 

Seen in perpetual motion

 

With the first flesh in front, the Second Flesh undulates. Go in pursuit of that wretched nerve center mimicking animated ashes

 

Because it is equal to the fate of the breast

 

All is laid bare

The stones give off a scent in the confusion “according to internet media rumors, there was a tattoo imprinted on the breast”

 

Third Flesh – of all things, masquerading as sand, or engulfed by sand, in either case, all that can be seen is sand, an enormous amount of sand, its sun-soaked, smug expanse.

 

All is laid bare

Attaboy!

 

“Two pages torn from the latest issue of a comic book, Hunter x Hunter

 

The Fourth Flesh is working. For instance, when you are immersed in afternoon sleep in the eternity of water, that which divides in many fish gathers together and eats the history of your diseased skin, eats it all up nicely.

 

The Fifth Flesh is so smelly you could call it stench itself

 

All is laid bare

Like gum which has lost its flavor, I who am nothing more than myself

 

The Sixth Flesh is the hand, shaking pom-poms all around. How ridiculous. It’s not as if it’s a cheer leader. It should probably be thrown out of the field. It has the limitations of a crustacean.

 

The Seventh Flesh is the shadow of flesh shimmering, giving birth to flesh though it is a mere shadow, raising its young in the hollow of an eye socket. Hold them in your arms when they’re grown – you’ll be covered in blood. Why is it – do you say live out the sullen remainder of your days as a monk?

 

Adenylic acid, guanylic acid

 

“While walking in the Western Market someone stumbled toward me, skin blackened as if they had attempted to burn themselves alive”

 

Like gum which has lost its flavor, I who am nothing more than myself

 

 

 

 

 

Roadblock 2 (Atomic Bomb Brick)

 

 

Of course it’s not as if

An atomic bomb brick

Came flying over nor is it the case that

I brought it home

Placed

Here right out of the blue

This suddenness continuing on forever

Or something

An atomic bomb

Brick

Actually, a screenwriter friend

Came like the wind from Hiroshima to my house

And gave it to me as a gift

Taken

From the Calbee Foods warehouse

Formerly the Hiroshima military supply depot

Its pedigree noted on a piece of paper and again like the wind

He left

But how troublesome

I tried adding it to the objects arranged in the entryway but it just didn’t fit

Then I moved it to the glass case in the living room

With the rock collection

But still it didn’t fit in

An atomic bomb

Brick

Wrested from the depths of the earth

A fragment, filled

With fine scars, a mysterious

Fragment

Or something

So I placed it on the palm of my hand

Nothing to do but gaze fixedly upon it

And then music I’m sure it was

Music I heard coming from somewhere

In the bone at the bottom of the ear

A torrent of metallic blood

Colliding, crushing

Dissipating

The metallic

Rainbow squeaking, made to undulate severalfold

Or something

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parade 3

 

 

Stripped to the bone

 

The day laid bare

 

No one can escape

And yet there are runaways, always runaways, everywhere – it is the real.

 

The Eighth Flesh appears, in every respect its flattened figure a kind of zone – blood zone, knowledge zone, ground zone. Each zone separate, the gaps between their names which matter little are sewn together. A voice is heard from somewhere saying it’s all gas so there’s not much you can do.

 

“The collarbone snaps”

 

The Ninth Flesh – one becomes mesmerized by its swimming around and around aimlessly. Said to have the ability to charm, those who have grown weary are warned against becoming so inactive they end up falling in with a plop, floating next to the ninth flesh.

 

Cytidylic acid, thymidylic acid

 

In this way the Fourth Flesh and the Sixth Flesh run strictly parallel, competing in their hushed silence like cotton. Eventually they are surprised to find they have transformed into the ninth flesh. Similarly, the Seventh Flesh and first flesh collide, thereby forming The Tenth Flesh, while the Fifth Flesh and the Third Flesh merge to form The Eleventh Flesh. Meanwhile the Second Flesh and the Eighth Flesh move along arm in arm, the perfectly harmonious couple, but of course, they produce nothing.

 

The Twelfth Flesh is blind, but it is of course specialized, and is a master at spewing out words, much more so than the first flesh, but obviously it has no reproductive capacity. It is a disposable product.

 

Much like myself

 

If someone asks, it must be The Thirteenth Flesh. The spirit just makes it in, but the two are at cross purposes after all. When the spirit tries to lie down the flesh stands up, and when the flesh needs to rest the spirit gets up, walks around in the arcade of bones and joints, and tries to go outside.

 

The Fourteenth Flesh wears an expression of anger and indignation, so one must hasten to apologize or else one might get clobbered, or draw its profile using quick-drying ink

 

Or something to that effect

 

The Fifteenth Flesh has discarded eyes and ears, even its beautiful legs, and has renounced mathematics, single-mindedly developing the meaning of its existence in a region inundated by sand, but the result is more like an eye socket laughing meaninglessly above a set of kneecaps, or nerves foaming up in order to dream.

 

The Sixteenth Flesh is an old curmudgeon, gradually cozying up once he’s found the meaning of existence. He opens his big mouth, which can only be described as like that of a comic book character, and gulps everything down at once.

 

With frightening speed

Actions take hold of the human

 

Blood drips

From the hands of people become like empty shells

 

Like testimony

 

To the here

 

And the now

 

 

 

 

 

Roadblock 3 (Oh la la Piece ‘a Meat)

 

 

Oh la la

Piece ‘a meat

 

Crushed to the toes by the crowd the nonperson

Heads toward the chaos of a foaming polar region

 

The nonperson laughs from the knees

While streets and more streets surge forth in a coma

 

The nonperson devours thighs

And the bruise of love floats there like a dirigible

 

The nonperson hurries toward the backside

While longing resounds like the roar of the sea

 

The nonperson swings its hips

And the structure of woman becoming water without end becomes visible

 

The nonperson shuts itself up inside its navel

Mother, soon a casket will dance in midair

 

The nonperson climbs up the back

And bones grow from the bed, flowers blooming from their tips

 

The nonperson scratches its belly

While the metallic grass demonstrates mental telepathy, making a mechanical noise

 

The nonperson raises a racket in the heart

Is that forested place the door to the other world, begun to decay?

 

The nonperson sits on one’s shoulders

That there is no end is a frightening wand I should think

 

The nonperson slits someone’s throat

Only the freedom of being cut to pieces screams at the top of its voice

 

The nonperson runs through one’s mind at the last minute

It is the dazzling glare in which at any moment the skin is peeled away to reveal another head

 

Piece ‘a meat

Oh la la

 

 

Nude Day: The Day Laid Bare, by Kiwao Nomura

June 15, 2014

Notes Toward an Introduction

It is in the context of this crisis of experience that modern poetry finds its place.

                             – Giorgio Agamben

The day when mad laughter will erupt in the world in the nameless marriage

                 – Gherasim Luca

There is always a certain element of the unknown in translation – of the incomplete. There are always latent possibilities present, meaning that there is some kind of excess in each translation in the form of what was not done, of decisions not made. The translation remains always in the liminal stage… on its way toward transforming into something else. Something other. But this condition begins even before the act of translation itself, at the level of reading, where multiple interpretations are always possible. Even before the question of how best to translate a particular poetic line there is already the question of what that line actually means. How to read and interpret a line. This remains a question for which there is no answer. Even the poet does not know.

This is of course especially true in the case of a poetry with a high level of indeterminacy. Nomura’s work takes place as an event (performance) between the fields of the semiotic and the semantic. (See Giorgio Agamben’s Infancy and History for a detailed discussion of this question.) In this sense it helps to relate the work to another art form, such as dance, rather than to how it ought to appear in another language. The poem already has an uncomfortable relationship with its own language (i.e. normative language, language for communicative or utilitarian purposes) even before the question of how it might interface or intersect with another, “foreign,” language arises.

There is the question of meaning in the poem, or of meaning formation. Repeated lines in Nomura work in the same way as musical motifs or as gestures in dance. This means that we do not translate “meaning” so much as gesture or function. The question is what is the function of repeated gestures or lines in Nomura. And if they cannot be translated in the normal sense, i.e. for their meaning, how may they be translated? What is their function and what will function (in English) in their place?

So is Nomura’s language the language of Babel, or of silence?

 “Thus between pure language and human language, between semiotic and semantic, [we are given] a new way of understanding the meaning of a body of work.” – Giorgio Agamben, Infancy and History

“Language appears as the place where experience must become truth.” [ibid.]

It is the split between language and speech, between the semiotic and the semantic, which makes Nomura’s poetry work, and which gives it its significance outside the norms of accepted discourse. It is the place where conventional narrative breaks down, and ultimately fails.

The spoken as it appears in Nomura’s Nude Day is not so much literally something spoken as it is a gesture performed outside speech. A gesture which returns to the most basic elements of existence or pre-existence… it is bare life, totally exposed.

Nomura has a sense of the Felliniesque. His poetry is filled with absurdities, humor, and even silliness. The absurd or silly tone is affected with the use of colloquial expressions, verb forms and tag phrases which are common in daily speech patterns. For some readers, this may create a sense of closeness to the speaker of the poem, but it is actually one of the major ways in which Nomura brings conventional poetic language into question. The problem for the translator lies not only in the fact that many of these expressions or grammatical forms are impossible to translate into English, but that even where translatable they simply do not work in the same way. Perhaps this is more of a cultural sensibility, but it is difficult in English to be silly and absurd, yet dead serious at the same time. This mixture of styles or modes of speech can make Nomura difficult to pin down, and it means that the translator is forced to make some difficult choices.

This odd juxtaposition of modes becomes further complicated when one considers the importance of Celan to Nomura. Nomura sees a certain relationship to language and poetic form, a certain poetic strain in a line which he sees running directly from Celan to more recent experimental poetics. It becomes increasingly difficult to accept the tongue-in-cheek tone which can often occur right in the midst of the horrors of the Dantesque scenes in this book. Again, the translator is forced to make choices. Here we are obliged to look back at what it is about a certain work which asks for translation (harkening back to Benjamin). Assuming there is something in Nomura that is wanted or needed by American poetry, just what might that be?

Since not only the act of translation, but the choice of what to translate is an interpretation, something unavoidably ideological, we inevitably find ourselves picking and choosing from different aspects of the work. Here we return to the question of interpretation, which we find has already occurred even before grappling with the problems of language itself. Perhaps that which wants to find its way from Nomura’s Japanese into English does not, cannot include virtually everything going on in the poems. Nor is that necessary – there is plenty going on to choose from. For as it proceeds to unfold in its unique performance of the event of language, the book digs deeper and deeper, reaching more heightened complexity.

It is misleading to speak of that which gets “lost in translation.” Instead, it is more a question of what is gained through the engagement with the work and its language. What results is essentially a new work. It is a process which at its end finds the translator himself transformed, perhaps more so than language as such. And hopefully, the reader of the new work in translation will have been transformed as well.

Translation in general is of course a highly complex, time-consuming, and often frustrating process, but even in this context, translating Nomura is an extremely intensive, all-consuming activity. It requires much more than the usual daily regimen of the professional translator – one has to give oneself to it body and soul. In a sense one is obliged to become a medium, allowing the soul of the poet, the spirit of the poetic process itself to enter one, and to reenact the process of original poetic production. But here, rather than attempting something along the lines of a completely new “version,” I have engaged with the difficulties of the original Japanese text in a way so as to strike a balance between elements of Japanese I would like to keep and which produce interesting affects in English, and aspects of the language which cannot be reproduced. Michael Hamburger, one of the original translators of Paul Celan, calls the type of translation he practices “mimetic translation.” According to Hamburger, it is “aimed at the totality of the text.” Neither literal nor interpretive, it attempts to track the way of thinking of a poem as it unfolds. This is, essentially, how I have approached this work.

In his acceptance speech for the Rekitei Prize, which he received for Nude Day, Nomura relies on Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben in explaining what his poetry attempts to do. Nomura is interested specifically in Agamben’s retelling of the riddle of the Sphinx, in which Oedipus glibly resolves the riddle’s mystery by virtue of pointing to what its metaphor represents – in other words, by choosing content over form – “the enigma disappears as soon as its utterance is reduced to the transparency of the relation between the signified and its form.” According to Agamben, by doing so Oedipus ignores the power of the symbolic, as well as the power of the originary abyss opened between the signifier and the signified. What Agamben also suggests is that this originary abyss is the very definition of poetry

Nomura claims that what his poetry does is attempt to restore the original mystery to the Sphinx, in other words, not only to restore the gap between signifier and signified, but to make active use of it in poetry, to write out of the gap, the original rupture present within language. Again, to quote Agamben, “this is the originary apotropaic stage of language in the heart of the fracture of presence.”

The parades of flesh winding their way through Nomura’s poem are living creatures both human and non-human, and often subhuman, but ultimately embodying the human condition. The title, whose literal translation is “Nude Day,” is expressed here in a way to bring out its relationship to Agamben’s concept of “bare life” – human life stripped down to its most basic, biological reality, vulnerable and powerless. Nomura also mentions Burroughs’ Naked Lunch as something relating to what he is getting at. The entire work is overshadowed by the colossal earthquake and tsunami which destroyed much of the northeastern region of Japan in March of 2011. The poem is literally a tour through hell on earth. But at the same time, as in Blanchot’s The Writing of the Disaster, it points to the deeper meaning of that term. Like all good poetry, it is not limited by time or place, its poetics are not dependent on the specificity of event or any other limiting identification. This is a poetry which expands outward, infinitely, in concentric circles.

“The silence of the mystery is undergone as a rupture, plunging man back into the pure, mute language of nature.” – Giorgio Agamben, Stanzas

Much like the Agamben quote at the beginning of this introduction, Nomura locates the very source of modern Japanese poetry in crisis – “without crisis, there would be no modern Japanese poetry. This is true beginning with Hagiwara Sakutarō in 1916 and it is true for the postwar poets and those writing just after the end of the Showa period (1989).” (Nomura Kiwao, Shi no Gaia wo Motomete, 2008) Equally important is Nomura’s insistence that “difficulty” is a necessary aspect of poetry, particularly in our own time where life itself has become increasingly complex.

Kiwao Nomura’s Nude Day (The Day Laid Bare) has an existential urgency. The poem’s constant repetition of lines like “all things are laid bare,” “stripped to the bone,” echoes Heidegger’s insistence that the way in which our lives are ordered and controlled in modern, capitalist society leads to a “leveling down” of Being.

Many of Nomura’s detractors accuse him of destroying poetry, when in fact, he has merely cleared the way for a return to the very origins, the very source of poetry, in all its mystery, contradiction, and spontaneity. It is, in a word, the joy of language itself.

A Reading of Minoru Yoshioka for IJET 25

June 15, 2014

Still Life and Monks are the poems that launched the career of one of Japan’s most important and unique poets of the postwar period. Self-published in 1955, Still Life gained the attention and admiration of other poets of his generation, while the collection Monks, published in 1958, gained him a major prize for younger poets and the recognition of critics. Yoshioka went on to become the most influential poet of the avant-garde, embraced by counter-cultural circles in the 1960s such as the Butoh dance of Hijikata Tatsumi and the oppositional theater of figures such as Kara Jūrō and Terayama Shūji, while virtually all of the major poets of the generation following him were profoundly influenced by both his work and friendship, including Shiraishi Kazuko, Yoshimasu Gōzō, Kawata Ayane, and Hiraide Takashi.

Yoshioka Minoru was born in 1919 in the Shitamachi district of Tokyo. He received no formal education, but was instead self-taught, and began writing traditional forms of Japanese verse such as waka and haiku during his teens. He was inspired to begin writing himself after reading experimental haiku by Tomisawa Kakio. Later Yoshioka would be greatly influenced by the early Japanese modernists, and introduced to surrealist methods through the work of Kitasono Katue and Sagawa Chika. When drafted into the Imperial Army, he carried a number of books with him to the recruiting center, including a translation of Rilke’s famous writings on Rodin. (The books were promptly confiscated by the military officer in charge, as all foreign literature by this time had been banned by the militarist government.) Yoshioka was sent to Manchuria for the duration of the war, and avoided the fate of other Japanese soldiers sent to prison camps in Siberia after the Imperial Army’s surrender only by chance – he was transferred to another unit on a small island off the coast of North Korea as punishment for putting on a humorous play for the other soldiers with some friends, a parody of Cyrano de Bergerac with mildly erotic themes, involving word play and cross-dressing.
In the prose poems of Monks, Yoshioka engages in the most originary of Modernist exercises, one which speaks back to Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and Mallarme, as well as the originators of Japan’s own homegrown version of the tradition, including Surrealist Takiguchi Shūzō. All of these sources can be said to be feeding into Yoshioka’s poetry, the only poetry truly upholding and continuing the Modernist tradition in its pure form in Japan’s postwar period when most poets and critics tended to respond to Japan’s earlier experimentalism with a visceral repugnance, due to its perceived over-dependence on foreign sources and its association with a time best forgotten. But Yoshioka presents somewhat of an enigma, not only in his choice to continue in the Modernist vein when it was no longer popular, but by the fact that he is an avant-gardist without a theory. Unlike his Modernist predecessors, Yoshioka never produced any writings on poetics, and though widely admired, never became the official “leader” of a movement or school of poetry. His singular volume of prose writings consists mainly of remembrances of poets and certain poems, and of his own early life and influences. He writes only once, and briefly, of his own poetic process. When he writes of the work of other poets he writes mostly of haiku rather than the type of poetry with which he himself was involved. And the one time he writes more extensively about another artist it is not a poet at all, but Hijikata Tatsumi, the founder of the avant-garde dance form Butoh. In many respects it is outside the genre of poetry where Yoshioka finds his true peers, in the violent psychic disruptions of Terayama Shūji’s theater of spectacle, or in the shamanic madness of Hijikata Tatsumi’s Butoh dance. Yoshioka’s poetry shares with these artists a sense of the erotic and the grotesque, the beautiful and the strange, and the carnivalesque exposition of archetypal themes, at once comic and horrible, but which dig deeply into the Japanese psyche. The importance of the prose poems is in their narrative discontinuity, how the poem sets up certain narrative expectations in the opening lines and then sets out to undermine those expectations. According to critic Suga Hidemi, Yoshioka’s poetry destroys the monologic nature of poetry, putting into question the idea of the poet as a fixed, integrated consciousness with a recognizable voice. Suga goes on to insist that Yoshioka’s poems fail to attain the state of an integrated whole. The lack of any punctuation in the prose poems, as well as the use of spaces or gaps (breaks) in the text, not necessarily occurring in places where one expects there to be a natural pause in the narrative, contributes to the disjunctions and interruptions in conventional meaning formation. Most importantly is Yoshioka’s pushing of the Japanese syntax, already extremely flexible, to its limit. Quite often there is no clear subject/object relationship at all, due to the ability of Japanese to either dispense with the subject altogether, or to allow it to attach itself to any number of possible objects. This all means that in structural terms, the direction of meaning relationships actually reads backwards through the text or in both directions at once. Not only are there multiple meanings in Yoshioka, there are meanings or images which gradually metamorphose, giving the poem a filmic quality. Compare this to the traditional Surrealist method of estrangement, in which two unlike images are juxtaposed (Breton’s famous umbrella on an operating table). In contrast, Yoshioka’s images are constantly changing, one image morphing into the next, taking on a new meaning and subject/object relationship in the moment the reader assumes she has finally managed to grasp the last. Yoshioka’s poetry has often been compared to sculpture, a comparison which the poet does not deny. (Yoshioka himself suggests viewing his poems as if they were Picasso paintings, cubist images in which the figure appears to be looking in many directions at once. Yoshioka was a great admirer of the paintings of Paul Klee and Francis Bacon, as well as Japanese avant-garde painters.) Perhaps the measure of the greatness of Yoshioka’s poetry is in how it transcends language, doing something that poetry normally does not do, hence leading readers to resort to comparisons with other arts in order to describe it.

The difficulties are numerous in attempting to translate Japanese poetry of any kind, and Yoshioka’s work is famous for being especially difficult. But the primary difficulty the translator runs up against is precisely the major advance over the previous generation of Modernists and Surrealists mentioned earlier. As a young man, Yoshioka turned his interest from haiku to poetry after happening across a book of poems by Kitasono Katue. The young poet was surprised and moved by a beauty having a kind of “solidity” or “spatiality.” What is unusual about Yoshioka is that at such a young age, he does not merely imitate the poetry he admires, but goes a step beyond it. In his earliest collection of poems, Liquid, self-published in 1941 after receiving his draft notice from the Imperial Army, he extends the Surrealist pattern by causing the image to gradually metamorphose, making use of the highly flexible Japanese syntax and its capacity for infinitely long sentences. It is this way of structuring the poem that is impossible to imitate in English. The reader is lead through a series of phrases whose meaning is always inherently indeterminate. The syntax works like a movie – its images always moving and changing. In order to translate a Yoshioka poem, you have to stop the movie and splice the film in just the right places. But where do you stop the film? It is a dangerous balancing act, in which the translator, balancing on a tightrope like a circus performer, could easily fall into the void. Perhaps it is this gap, this void at the heart of language which is the true significance of poetry.
Yoshioka considered his work as a poet to be like that of a worker or craftsman working with his hands, an awareness which he arrived at through his reading of Rilke’s famous work on Rodin, which he was finally able to return to after the war. While at the same time holding aspirations to become a sculptor, Yoshioka went back to “building” poems with this as his inspiration. What he arrived at were the carefully controlled, quiet poems of Still Life, which in painterly terms could be compared to the eerie, empty Surrealist cityscapes of de Chirico. Critics like Suga point to the discontinuities of Yoshioka and the absence or failure of conventional narrative meaning, but it is precisely in this gap where traditional meaning fails that the truth value of Yoshioka’s poetry resides. Poetic meaning in Yoshioka functions in much the same way as the paintings of Francis Bacon – it is only through the distortion of normative reality that we are capable of reaching its underlying truth.

Translations of Yoshioka have appeared in anthologies over the years, and a selection of his poems translated by Hiroaki Sato was published by Chicago University Press in the 1970s. My translation of his later work, Kusudama, utilizing methodologies of appropriation and collage, appeared on a small press in 1990. However, all major publications of his work are now out of print and have been so for years. His two earlier, highly influential collections of the 1950s, which I have discussed here, have never been published in full for an English language readership.

A Japanese Modernist Reading List (Update)

September 4, 2013

References in English:

Advertising Tower: Japanese Modernism and Modernity in the 1920s, by William O. Gardner, Harvard University Asia Center, 2006

Modanizumu: Modernist Fiction from Japan 1913-1938, edited by William J. Tyler, University of Hawai’i Press, 2008

Erotic Grotesque Nonsense: The Mass Culture of Japanese Modern Times, by Miriam Silverberg, University of California Press, 2006

Miryam Sas, Fault Lines: Cultural Memory and Japanese Surrealism, Stanford University Press, 2001

John Solt, Shredding the Tapestry of Meaning: The Poetry and Poetics of Kitasono Katue (1902-1978), Harvard University Asia Center, 1999

Hosea Hirata, The Poetry and Poetics of Nishiwaki Junzaburo, Princeton University Press, 1993

Leslie Pincus, Authenticating Culture in Imperial Japan: Kuki Shuzo and the Rise of National Aesthetics, University of California Press, 1996

Leith Morton, Modernism in Practice: An Introduction to Postwar Japanese Poetry, University of Hawaii Press, 2004

Leith Morton, An Anthology of Contemporary Japanese Poetry, Garland Publishing, 1993

Makoto Ueda, Modern Japanese Poets and the Nature of Literature, Stanford University Press, 1983

Naoki Sakai, Translation and Subjectivity: On “Japan” and Cultural Nationalism, University of Minnesota Press, 1997

Seiji M. Lippit, Topographies of Japanese Modernism, Columbia University Press, 2002

 

Donald Keene, Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature in the Modern Era, Vol. II Poetry, Drama, Criticism , Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1984

 

Dennis Keene, The Modern Japanese Prose Poem , Princeton Univ. Press, 1980

 

Harry Harootunian, Overcome by Modernity: History, Culture and Community in Interwar Japan, Princeton University Press (2000)

 

Harry Harootunian, History’s Disquiet: Modernity, Cultural Practice, and the Question of Everyday Life, Columbia University Press (2000)

 

Robert N. Bellah, Imagining Japan: The Japanese Tradition And Its Modern Interpretation, University of California Press (2003)

 

Christopher Goto-Jones, Modern Japan: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press (2009)

 

America’s Geisha Ally: Reimagining the Japanese Enemy, by Naoko Shibusawa, Harvard  University Press, 2006

Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945-1961, by Christina Klein, University of California Press, 2003

Orientalism and Modernism: The Legacy of China in Pound and Williams, by Zhaoming Qian, Duke University Press, 1995

Buddhist Elements in Dada: A Comparison of Tristan Tzara, Takahashi Shinkichi, and Their Fellow Poets, by Ko Won, New York University Press (1977)

Contemporary Korean Poetry, by Ko Won, University of Iowa Press (1970)

Shijin: Autobiography of the Poet Kaneko Mitsuharu 1895-1975, tr. AR Davis, The University of Sydney East Asia Series (1988)

Japanese Hermeneutics: Current Debates on Aesthetics and Interpretation, edited by Michael F. Marra, University of Hawai’i Press, 2002

Mavo: Japanese Artists and the Avant-Garde 1905-1931, by Gennifer Weisenfeld, University of California Press (2002)

Radicals and Realists in the Japanese Nonverbal Arts: The Avant-Garde Rejection of Modernism, by Thomas R.H. Havens, University of Hawaii Press (2006)

Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz in Japan, by E. Taylor Atkins, Duke University Press (2001)

Nippon Modern: Japanese Cinema of the 1920s and 1930s, by Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano, University of Hawaii Press (2008)

The Angel of History: Rosenzweig, Benjamin, Scholem, by Stephane Moses, Standford University Press (2009)

Takeuchi Yoshimi: Displacing the West, by Richard F. Calichman, Cornell East Asia Series (2004)

What Is Modernity? Writings of Takeuchi Yoshimi, by Takeuchi Yoshimi, Columbia University Press (2005)

Contemporary Japanese Thought, edited by Richard F. Calichman,

Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchuria And The East Asian Modern, by Prasenjit Duara, Rowman & Littlefield (2003)

The Aesthetics of Japanese Fascism, by Alan Tansman, University of California Press (2009)

The Culture of Japanese Fascism, ed. Alan Tansman, Duke University Press (2009)

The Search for A New Order: Intellectuals And Fascism In Prewar Japan, by Miles Fletcher, University of North Carolina Press (1982)

Japanese Imperialism 1894-1945, by W.G. Beasley, Oxford University Press (1987)

War Without Mercy: Race & Power in the Pacific War, by John W. Dower, Pantheon Books (1986)

Translation And The Languages of Modernism, by Steven G. Yao, Palgrave Macmillan (2002)

Transpacific Displacement: Intertextual Travel in Twentieth-Century American Literature, by Yunte Huang, University of California Press (2002)

Unspeakable Acts: The Avant-Garde Theatre of Terayama Shuji and Postwar Japan, by Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei, University Hawai’i Press (2005)

Writing Ground Zero: Japanese Literature and the Atomic Bomb, by John Whittier Treat, University of Chicago Press (1995)

Bodies of Memory: Narratives of War in Postwar Japanese Culture, 1945-1970, by Yoshikuni Igarashi

Text and the City: Essays on Japanese Modernity, by Maeda Ai

Experimental Arts in Postwar Japan: Moments of Encounter, Engagement, and Imagined Return, by Miryam Sas, Harvard University Asia Center (2011)

Literary Mischief: Sakaguchi Ango, Culture, and the War, by James Dorsey and Doug Slaymaker, Lexington Books (2010)

Japanese Drama and Culture in the 1960s: The Return of the Gods, by David G Goodman, An East Gate Book, M.E. Sharp, Inc. (1988)

Dreams of Difference: The Japan Romantic School and the Crisis of Modernity, by Kevin Michael Doak, University of California Press (1994)

Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of Modern Japan, Edited by Stephen Vlastos, University of California Press (1998)

Coffee Life in Japan, by Merry White, University of California Press (2012)

Tamura Ryuichi: On the Life & Work of a 20th Century Master, Edited by Takako Lento & Wayne Miller, Pleiades Press (2011)

Modernism and Japanese Culture, by Roy Starrs, Palgrave Macmillan (2011)

History and Repetition, by Kojin Karatani, Columbia University Press (2012)

 

Japanese References:

Senso Shiron 1910-1945, by Seo Ikuo, Heibonsha (2006)

Senchuu Sengou Shiteki Jidai no Shougen 1935-1955, by Hirabayashi Toshihiko, Shichousha (2009)

Shuuroku Toshite no Modanizumu: Nihon Gendaishi no Teiryuu, by Fujimoto Toshihiko, Soubunsha (2009)

Zen’eishi Undoushi no Kenkyuu: Modanizumushi no Keifu, by Nakano, Okisekii (2003)

Modanizumu Shishuu, ed. Tsuruoka, Shichousha (2003)

Kindaishi kara Gendaishi e, by Ayukawa Nobuo, Shichousha (2005)

Sengoushi o Horobosu Tameni, by Kido Shuri, Shichousha (2008)

Kobayashi Hideo Zensakuhin, by Kobayashi Hideo, Shinchousha (2003)

Ueda Tamotsu Chousakushuu, by Ueda Tamotsu, published by Ueda Shizue (1975)

Korekushon Takiguchi Shuuzou, by Takiguchi Shuuzou, Misuzu Shobou (1992)

Shururearisumu no Hako: Shibusawa Tatsuhiko Bungakukan No. 11, by Shibusawa Tatsuhiko, Chikumashobou (1991)

Moderunite 3×3, Kobayashi Yasuo, Matsuura Hisaki, and Matsuura Hisao, Shichousha (1998)

Kindai Nihon no Jigazou, by Teraoka Hiroshi, Shinzansha (2009)

Setsuzoku Suru Chuuya, by Hikita Masaaki, Kasama Shoin (2007)

Tensai Sagawa Chika: Ekoda Bungaku No. 63, ed. Nakamura Fumiaki, Nihon Daigaku Geijutsu Gakubu (2007)

Kido Shuri & Nomura Kiwao, Tougi Sengoushi: Shi no Runessansu e, Shichousha, 1997

Gendaishi Tokuhon: Yoshioka Minoru, Hiraide Takashi (ed.), Shichousha, 1991

Shi no Utage: Waga Jinsei, Ema Shouko , Kage Shobou, 1995

Gengo Kuukan no Tanken, Ohka Makoto (ed.), Gakugei Shorin, 1969

Modaniti no Sozoryoku: Bungaku to Shikakusei, by Nakagawa Shigemi, Shichousha (2009)

Yojou no Shukumei/Shi no Kanata: Sakutaro, Kenji, Chuuya, by Yamada Kenji, Shichousha (2006)

Hagiwara Sakutaro, by Iijima Koichi, Misuzu Shobo (2004)

Umibe no Aporia, by Yasui Kouji, Yuu Shorin (2009)

Shigaku Josetsu, by Yoshimoto Takaaki, Shichousha (2006)

Shi no Gaia o Motomete, by Nomura Kiwao, Shichousha (2009)

Showa Shishi, by Ohka Makoto, Shinomori Bunko (2005)

 

Nihon no Autosaidaa, by Kawakami Tetsutaro, Chuokoron Shinsha (1978)

 

Watashi no Shi to Shinjitsu, by Kawakami Tetsutaro, Kodansha Bungei Bunko (2007)

 

Shiteki Modaniti no Butai, by Suga Hidemi (2008)

 

Sengou 60-Nen Shi to Hihyou Soutenbou, Gendaishi Techo Tokushu (2005)

 

Shijintachi no Seiki: Nishiwaki Junzaburo to Ezura Paundo, by Niikura Toshikazu, Misuzu Shobo (2003)

 

Yoshimoto Takaaki Daihyou Shisen, edited by Takahashi Gen’ichirou, Seo Ikuo, and Miura Masashi, Shichousha (2004)

 

Katoh Ikuya-Ron, by Nihira Masaru, Chuussekisha (2004)

 

Modanizumu to Sengo Josei-Shi no Tenkai, by Mizuta Noriko, Shichousha (2012)

 

Katoh Shuichi Sengo wo Kataru, by Katoh Shuichi, Kamogawa Shuppan (2009)

 

Nihon Bunka ni Okeru Jikan to Kuukan, by Katoh Shuichi, Iwanami Shoten (2007)