Synopses & Reviews
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.
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
Chapter 1. The Personal Is the Political
1 Comrade Taguchiandrsquo;s Sorrow
3 The Mother
4 A Statement of My Views in Response to Mr. Masamune Hakucho
5 A Chronology of My Life
Chapter 2. Labor and Literature
6 The Prostitute
9 Natural Growth and Purposeful Consciousness
10 Going on a Field Trip?
Chapter 3. The Question of Realism
11 March 15, 1928
12 The Linesmen
13 The Path to Proletarian Realism
14 On the Tendency of Proletarian Works to Become Formulaic
15 Covering Over the Essence
Chapter 4. Children
17 Death of a Cricket
18 Elephant and Mouse
19 Tetsuandrsquo;s Story; Or, a Rope around Whose Neck?
20 The Question of andldquo;Realityandrdquo; and andldquo;Unrealityandrdquo; in Childrenandrsquo;s Stories
Chapter 5. Art as a Weapon
24 The Bulletin Board and the Wall Story
25 A Farmer among Farmers
26 To Qiqihar
27 A Day at the Factory
28 Our Own Literature Course (1): A Guide to Writing Literary Reportage
29 On Wall Stories and andldquo;Shortandrdquo; Short Stories: A New Approach to Proletarian Literature
30 A Guide to Fiction Writing: How to Write Stories
31 The Achievements of the Creative Writing Movement: An Assessment of Works to Date
Chapter 6. Anti-Imperialism and Internationalism
32 Another Battlefront
33 Hell of the Starving
34 On Antiwar Literature
Chapter 7. Repression, Recantation, and Socialist Realism
35 Midnight Sun
36 The Breast
37 Negative Realism: One Direction for Proletarian Literature
38 Proletarian Realism and andldquo;Socialist Realismandrdquo;: A Study of Literary Method (1)
39 Socialist Realism or XXX Realism?
40 Buds That Survive Winter