Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

Natsume Sōseki and Modern Japanese Literature

Natsume Sōseki (1867–1916) is one of a handful of individuals who both symbolized Japan’s emergence as a modern nation and helped mold an understanding of the modern condition through his life’s work. Literature was Sōseki’s creative vehicle, but his significance in the context of a broader national identity is greater than the sum of his individual works. In short, his stature is akin to that of Mark Twain, a consensus American icon. Born at the end of Japan’s final shogunal epoch, ...

Columns, Resources

Japanese Literature: From Murasaki to Murakami

In recent years, interest in Japan has focused on the nation’s post-Fukushima social and economic circumstances, dire demographic forecasts, and the often-strained relations with its East Asian neighbors. In strong contrast is the powerful allure of Japanese entertainment— media such as manga, anime, J-pop, and video games—that has been a dominant presence on the global pop culture marketplace. “Traditional Japan,” too, is alive and well, thanks to the staying power of its familiar ico...

Book Review, Resources

The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan

SUZANNE KAMATA, ED., INTRODUCTION BY DONALD RICHIE BERKELEY: STONE BRIDGE PRESS, 1997 As the subtitle proclaims, The Broken Bridge is a collection of writing by resident foreigners in Japan. The thirty-six stories in this lively and eclectic collection, which range from several-page vignettes to stories of some twenty pages, span the first fifty years of the postwar period— 1945 to 1995—although the great majority are of recent vintage. In his excellent introduction, Donald Richie, who s...

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