The production of literature and the effaced realm of the political

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The understanding of literature in Japan underwent an epistemological shift in the mid-1880s, when literature came into being as an ontological category as modern fiction found its identity around the themes ninjō, fūzoku, and setai (emotions, social customs, and manners). By historically contextualizing these three components of modern fiction, first introduced by Tsubouchi Shōȳ's Shōsetsu shinzui (1885-86), I argue that they were posited in opposition to what constituted the political at that historical juncture. I do so by analyzing Shōyō's criticism of Takizawa Bakin, which signifies his rejection of the political discourse and ultimately of the Freedom and People's Rights Movement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-88
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Japanese Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


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