School of Languages and CulturesAssociation for Japanese Literary StudiesCollege of Liberal Arts

Newsletter 6

I Sixth Annual Meeting

Conference Theme

The 1997 conference at Michigan will spotlight the fundamental question of the relationship between literature and history, particularly as that relationship is formulated in the contemporary critical movement called "the new historicism." This approach emphasizes the historical situatedness of literary texts as opposed to the old school that regards them as autonomous entities possessing intrinsic and universal value. In the new historicist formulation, literature embodies the sociopolitical and material circumstances of its production. The objective of the conference is to examine this school's applicability and potential use in the pedagogy of Japanese literature and culture.

To understand Japanese literature as a historically situated sociocultural practice is to recognize its difference as the product, until the nineteenth century, of a non-western, specifically Asian (or Sino-Japanese) cultural development, and thereafter, with Japan's entrance into a still larger Euro-centered world, as a complex field of struggle among competing ideologies. The new historicist approach would locate the Japanese literary text among liberatory discourses challenging the heretofore Eurocentric character of the literary studies institution in the US academy. It would set the Japanese text in dialogue with the global interdisciplinary discourses of gender and sexuality, ideology, colonialism and postcolonialism in the humanities today. And it would reexamine the premodern in the context of the ongoing critique of the postmodern, or Japan's apparent transformation of itself into its western other. The panels will engage these issues both through theoretical discussion and readings of texts in a variety of periods and genres. We are pleased to announce the special participation of nine distinguished colleagues from Japan at this conference.

Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen
Conference Chair


  • Registration Fee: $15.00
    Lunch for Saturday: $12.00
    (registration deadline: October 1, 1997)
  • Accommodations (block of rooms reserved under MAJLS)
    • Cambridge House (on campus)
      541 Thompson; 313.764.0185
    • Holiday Inn North Campus
      (Unuiversity discount rate applies to rooms reserved until September 23, 1997.)
      3600 Plymouth Rd.; 313.769.9800
  • Directions
    Shuttle buses between Detroit Metropolitan Airport and University of Michigan Student Union available every half hour ($25 roundtrip). From I-94, take the State Street exit, #177, and head north and turn right onto N. University. The League will be at the end of the second block on your left.

For registration form and more information, e-mail



October 24-26, 1997 at University of Michigan

The Hussey Room at the Michigan League (911 N. University)

Friday, October 24, 1:00-2:50 p.m. (PRE) (POST) MODERNISM AND AESTHETICS

Spatiality in Teika's Poetry, Rikyu's Architecture, and Heidegger's Polis

Takeyoshi Nishiuchi, Bowdoin College

(Post)modernity and Premodernity: Kasane, Montage, and Dialectics in Haiku

Takao Hagiwara, Case Western Reserve University

Festival and Form in Ichikawa's Film Yukinojo henge (An Actor's Revenge)

Stephanie DeBoer, Indiana University

The New as Violence and the Hermeneutics of Slimness Michele F. Marra, University of California, Los Angeles Friday, 3:00-4:50 p.m. SEXUALITY, GENDER, AND POWER

Izumi Kyoka's Jouissance: Dangerous Women and Deadly Words

Nina Cornyetz, Rutgers University

Staging Female Suicide on Otokoyama: New Historicist Readings of Power and Gender in the No Theater

Steven T. Brown, University of Oregon

The Limits of Sexual Aggression in Heian Literature or, Genji, At Least, Was Not A Rapist

Margaret H. Childs, University of Kansas Meshudo and the System of Sexuality in The Tale of Genji and Other Heian Texts Kimura Saeko, Tokyo University Friday, 5:00-6:30 p.m. REPRESENTATIONS

The Depiction of Non-Japanese in Natsume Soseki's Novels

Handa Atsuko, Tokyo Gakugei University

Counter-Orientalism and Textual Play in Akutagawa's "The Ball" (Butokai)

David Rosenfeld, University of Michigan

Challenging the Field of Classical Japanese Literature Cultural Production: Iwasa Miyoko's "Through the Eyes of a Court Lady" (Nyobo no me)

Lynne K. Miyake, Pomona College Meshudo and the System of Sexuality in The Tale of Genji and Other Heian Texts Kimura Saeko, Tokyo University Saturday, October 25, 9:00-11:50 a.m. Histories IN (OF) THE TEXTS: Panel I

連歌興行に見る一揆精神の変遷 (Reading the Shifting Trends in the Spirit of Popular Collectives in Renga Meetings)

Tsurusaki Hiroo, President, Tezukayama Gakuin University

Reading the Court in "Courtesan": Historicizing the Yuujo in Muromachi Tales

Sarah M. Strong, Bates College

A Wife's Discourse: Dazai's Viyon no tsuma and the Revision of Civil Law

Richie Sakakibara, University of Michigan Saturday, 9:00-11:50 a.m. Histories IN (OF) THE TEXTS: Panel II

貿易史のなかの『源氏物語』及び権力とジェンダーの問題 (Gender, Power, and Continental Trade History in The Tale of Genji)

Kawazoe Fusae, Tokyo Gakugei University

和学者千蔭と写楽の正体 (The Painting of the National Learning Scholar Katoo Chikage and the Identity of Sharaku)

Suzuki Jun, The National Institute of Japanese Literature

The Textual Condition of Miyamoto Yuriko's "The Family Koiwai" (Koiwai no ikka)

Heather Bowen-Struyk, University of Michigan Saturday, 1:30-2:00 p.m. CONFERENCE DEDICATION

Remembering Robert Lyons Danly, 1947-1997, Professor of Japanese Literature, University of Michigan


Escaping the Impasse of the Discourse on National Identity: Hagiwara Sakutaroo, Sakaguchi Ango, and Nishitani Keiji

James Dorsey, Dartmouth College

Sino-Japanese Writing (Kambun), Japanese Literary Histories, and Japanologists

John Timothy Wixted, Arizona State University

A Historiography of the Blind: The Location of History and Ecstasy in Ooe's Story of the Emperor

Hosea Hirata, Tufts University

Creating A Japanese Literature for the World: The Nobel Prize Speeches of Kawabata and Ooe

Ann Sherif, Oberlin College

Saturday, 4:00-5:00 p.m. KEYNOTE SPEECH

History, Psychoanalysis and the Japanese Script

Karatani Koojin, Professor of Japanese and Comparative Literature, Kinki University/Columbia University Sunday, October 26, 9:00-10:00 a.m. KEYNOTE SPEECH

Literature as History/History as Literature

Komori Yooichi, Professor of Japanese Literature, Tokyo University Sunday, 10:10 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (PRE) (POST) MODERNITY AND FICTION

物語の方法と日記文学:『更級日記』を中心に (Monogatari Narrating and Memoir Literature: The Case of Sarashina nikki)

Itoo Moriyuki, Hirosaki University

Tsubouchi Shooyoo's Negotiations in The Essence of the Novel (Shoosetsu shinzui)

Atsuko Ueda, University of Michigan

Cultural Ambivalence and Sexuality in Shooyoo's The Character of Modern Students (Toosei shosei katagi)

James Reichert, Stanford University Goodbye, Shoosetsu, and Hello Again, Monogatari? The Validity of Restoring Contextuality in Prose Writing Atsuko Sakaki, Harvard University

Authoring Shishoosetsu from left to right

Mizumura Minae, Author

Sponsors of the Conference: The Japan Foundation; The Association for Asian Studies; The University of Michigan (Center for Japanese Studies; College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; Department of Asian Languages and Cultures; Horace H. Rackman School of Graduate Studies; International Institute; and Office of the Vice-President for Research)

II Membership/Subscription

The association's membership provides:

  • privilege of panel participation for the 1998 meeting (if your proposal is selected)
  • two newsletters
  • a copy of the '97 proceedings, PMAJLS, vol. 3 (Summer, 1997).
  • a free copy of one of the back issues for student members

Subscription: $20.00 (North American members); $30.00 (members from outside the region). Please send the membership and your check (payable to MAJLS) to the MAJLS address. All MAJLS annual meeting panel participants must become a member in order to present.

MAJLS Membership Form [Please copy the following form, paste it into your e-mail program, fill it out, and email it to:]

Name: _____________________________

Mailing Address: ____________________________________
City__________________State __________
Zip ________________________________
Tel: ________________________________
Email: ______________________________
Institution: ___________________________
( ) Regular ( ) Student
( ) Institution
If you are a student, indicate the year in which the free copy you would like was published: 19( )

III Oberlin College for '98

Next year's MAJLS annual meeting will be held at Oberlin College, OH and chaired by Professor Ann Sherif. More information will be announced in the next MAJLS Newsletter (Spring, 1998).

IV New Proceedings to be Published

"Ga/Zoku Dynamics in Japanese Literature," PMAJLS, vol. 3 (Summer, 1997) will be published very soon. This volume discusses the issue of the dynamics in the construction of Japanese literary texts represented by the ga/zoku distinction. It includes the following contributors: Ueno Chizuko (keynote address), Watanabe Kenji (major address), Ibi Takashi (major address), Kigoshi Osamu (major address), Rebecca Copeland, Sally Hastings, Elaine Gerbert, Naomi Fukumori, Fumiko Togasaki, Stephen Miller, Carole Cavanaugh, Atsuko Sakaki, Livia Monnet, Yoshiko Yokochi Samuel, Roger Thomas, Lawrence Marceau, Elizabeth Lillehoj, Joshua Mostow, Sarah Strong, Eileen Mikals-Adachi, Margaret Key, Sara Langer, and Aiko Okamoto MacPhail.

This volume, as well as back issues--"Poetics of Japanese Literature," (1993), "The Desire for Monogatari" (1994), "Japanese Theatricality and Performance" (1995), and "Revisionism in Japanese Literary Studies" (1996)--can be purchased at the cost of $10 each by non-members ($7 for members). Inquiries and orders should be sent to the MAJLS office.

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