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The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Matsuo Taseko and the Meiji Restoration (Women in Culture & Society)

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The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Matsuo Taseko and the Meiji Restoration (Women in Culture & Society) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In 1862, fifty-one-year-old Matsuo Taseko left her old life behind by traveling to Kyoto, the old imperial capital. Peasant, poet, and local political activist, Taseko had come to Kyoto to support the nativist campaign to restore the Japanese emperor and expel Western "barbarians." Although she played a minor role in the events that led to the Meiji Restoration of 1868, her actions were nonetheless astonishing for a woman of her day. Honored as a hero even before her death, Taseko has since been adopted as a patron saint by rightist nationalists.

In telling Taseko's story, Anne Walthall gives us not just the first full biography in English of a peasant woman of the Tokugawa period (1603-1868), but also fresh perspectives on the practices and intellectual concerns of rural entrepreneurs and their role in the Meiji Restoration. Writing about Taseko with a depth and complexity that has thus far been accorded only to men of that time, Walthall has uncovered a tale that will captivate anyone concerned with women's lives and with Japan's dramatic transition to modernity.

Book News Annotation:

A biography of the poet, mother, silkworm farmer and revolutionary Matsuo Taseko (1811-1894). Walthall (history, U. of California at Irvine) offers the first full biography in English of a peasant woman of the Tokugawa period, providing perspective on the practices and intellectual concerns of rural entrepreneurs and their role in the Meiji Restoration. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews@booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Fiction created by and for the working class emerged worldwide in the early twentieth century as a response to rapid modernization, dramatic inequality, and imperial expansion. In Japan, literary youth, men and women, sought to turn their imaginations and craft to tackling the ensuing injustices, with results that captured both middle-class and worker-farmer readers. This anthology is a landmark introduction to Japanese proletarian literature from that period.

Contextualized by introductory essays, forty expertly translated stories touch on topics like perilous factories, predatory bosses, ethnic discrimination, and the myriad indignities of poverty. Together, they show how even intensely personal issues form a pattern of oppression.and#160; Fostering labor consciousness as part of an international leftist arts movement, these writers, lovers of literature, were also challenging the institution of modern literature itself. This anthology demonstrates the vitality of the andldquo;red decadeandrdquo; long buried in modern Japanese literary history.

About the Author

Norma Field retired in 2011 as the Robert S. Ingersoll Distinguished Service Professor in Japanese Studies at the University of Chicago. Her books include In the Realm of a Dying Emperor.
Heather Bowen-Struyk is the coeditor of Red Love Across the Pacific and the guest editor for Proletarian Arts in East Asia, a special edition of the journal positions.and#160;

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Foreword by Catharine R. Stimpson

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Pt. I: Life in the Ina Valley

1: The Making of a Poet

2: Taseko's Political Heritage

3: Married Life

4: The Farm Family Economy

5: The Nativist Encounter

6: Nativist Texts and the Female Reader

Pt. II: Kyoto, 1862-1863

7: Autumn in Arashiyama

8: A Peasant Woman at the Emperor's Court

9: Beheading Statues

10: Going Home

Pt. III: Taseko and the Meiji Restoration

11: On the Sidelines

12: Kyoto, 1868

13: Famous Friends

14: Political Intrigues and Conflicting Visions

Pt. IV: Taseko in Modern Japan

15: Taseko in Old Age

16: Remembering Taseko

Epilogue

Notes

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226872377
Author:
Walthall, Anne
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Author:
Bowen-Struyk, Heather
Author:
Field, Norma
Location:
Chicago, Ill :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Biography
Subject:
Women
Subject:
History
Subject:
Asia - Japan
Subject:
Japan
Subject:
Japan History Restoration, 1853-1870.
Subject:
Women poets, Japanese -- Biography.
Subject:
Matsuo, Taseko
Subject:
World History-General
Edition Description:
1
Series:
Women in Culture and Society Series
Publication Date:
19981131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Illustrations:
10 halftones
Pages:
488
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
History and Social Science » World History » Asia » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Matsuo Taseko and the Meiji Restoration (Women in Culture & Society) New Trade Paper
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Product details 488 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226872377 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Fiction created by and for the working class emerged worldwide in the early twentieth century as a response to rapid modernization, dramatic inequality, and imperial expansion. In Japan, literary youth, men and women, sought to turn their imaginations and craft to tackling the ensuing injustices, with results that captured both middle-class and worker-farmer readers. This anthology is a landmark introduction to Japanese proletarian literature from that period.

Contextualized by introductory essays, forty expertly translated stories touch on topics like perilous factories, predatory bosses, ethnic discrimination, and the myriad indignities of poverty. Together, they show how even intensely personal issues form a pattern of oppression.and#160; Fostering labor consciousness as part of an international leftist arts movement, these writers, lovers of literature, were also challenging the institution of modern literature itself. This anthology demonstrates the vitality of the andldquo;red decadeandrdquo; long buried in modern Japanese literary history.

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