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

Newsletter 19


Landscapes Imagined and Remembered

October 22-24, 2004

University of Washington, Seattle

Call for Papers

The organizers invite paper and panel proposals that explore the broad topic of landscape as it applies to Japanese literature. This conference will explore the ways in which landscape is an “annexation of nature by culture,” as Simon Schama has written, focusing on the perceptual relationship between human beings and their environments, both natural and artificial, in texts from earliest times to the present. Such literary depictions, whether rich landscapes or barren anti-landscapes, are never free from the imprint of culture and cognition.

Japanese critics from Fujiwara no Shunzei to Karatani Kôjin have stressed the impossibility of perceiving an unmediated external world. The former insists that “without poetry, one would not know the color and scent” of blossoms, while the latter claims that landscapes involve “an extreme interiorization” through which subjects and objects construct one another. Presenters are encouraged, then, to explore similarly diverse interpretations of landscape in Japanese literature.

Topics that might be addressed include:

•How literary landscapes contribute to the creation of regional and national identities

•How writers fuse the natural world with the subjective world of cultural and historical memory

•Changes in the Japanese relationship to nature wrought by industrialization, modernization, and Westernization

•The concept of kokudo in imagining Japan as a nation

•Japanese literary landscapes in East Asian and Western comparative contexts

•The relation of setting to character and plot in Japanese literary works

•Hokkaido as “frontier”; Okinawa as “periphery”

•Nostalgia and remembered landscapes (pristine, pastoral pasts)

•Fantasy and imagined landscapes (the colonies, the West)

•Shasei and tanka reform

•Environmental literature in Japan

•The ruined postwar cities, especially Hiroshima and Nagasaki

•Seascapes, soundscapes, cityscapes

•Intersections between literature and landscape painting

•The recurring argument that climate (fûdo) determines national character

•The effect of the Great Kantô Earthquake on the “idea” of Tokyo

•The role of poetic places (utamakura) in cultural memory

•Recourse to nature as an alternative, or antidote, to modern civilization

By exploring these and other pertinent topics, this conference will draw attention to the concept of landscapes and their function in Japanese literature. The organizers particularly welcome proposals that reflect a variety of perspectives, and participation from scholars around the world.

Deadline for receipt of abstracts of no more than 250 words is May 1, 2004. To facilitate maximal participation, there will be no formal discussants. Conference languages are English and Japanese.

Proposals should be submitted electronically to the conference website: All other correspondence may be directed to the organizers via the contact information listed below:

AJLS 2004

c/o Department of Asian Languages and Literature

University of Washington

Box 353521

Seattle, WA 98195-3521

Phone: 206-543-4996

Fax: 206-685-4268


2003 Meeting Report

The Twelfth Annual AJLS Meeting, "Hermaneutical Strategies: Methods of Interpretations in the Study of Japanese Literature," was held November 21-23, 2003, at UCLA. This was the first meeting we had on the West coast and the largest one we had ever had (forty-five panelists in fifteen different panels, together with three keynote lectures). The crucial interest we all share regarding theories and their effective uses for better understanding of Japanese literature was truly extensively discussed through a variety of topics and approaches. A lot of insightful comments were added by senior researchers who participated as discussants. The conference was extremely well prepared and meticulously organized by Professor Michael F. Marra and his student and staff members from UCLA. All participants and audience members highly appreciated the organizer’s generous devotion to this exceptionally successful conference.

AJLS Activities

Annual Meeting

An annual meeting is organized by an elected Conference Chair(s) and held at the host institution. A call for papers is announced in the spring issue of the AJLS Newsletter. A program of the meeting is published in the fall issue of the Newsletter.

PAJLS Publication

All papers presented during the annual meeting can be included in an officially registered serial titled PAJLS (Proceedings of the Association for Japanese Literary Studies).


The annual fee is $25.00 for regular, student, and institution members ($35.00 for overseas members outside North America). Membership provides you with:

• Panel participation for our annual meeting (if your proposal is selected).

• Two newsletters

• One copy of our latest proceedings.

• One free copy of a back or additional current issue of the proceedings if you are a student member.

Inquiries and orders (with checks payable to AJLS) should be sent to the AJLS office. All annual meeting participants must become members in order to present.

Call for the 2006 Conference Host

We are looking for people who will be willing to chair our 2006 and later conferences. If you are interested in hosting an AJLS meeting, please contact Professor Ann Sherif at: or 440.775.8827.

Japanese Literature Mailing List

For subscription, send a message, “subscribe jlit-l” to: After being confirmed, you can send your messages to: If you have a new email address, delete your old one to avoid receiving duplicated copies.

New Proceedings and Back Issues

Our apology for the delay of the publication of our 2002 conference proceedings, “Japanese Poeticity and Narrativity Revisited," PAJLS, vol. 4. The volume is scheduled to be out in April, 2004. The following back issues are available. Each copy is $10.00 for AJLS members and $15.00 for non-members. Orders should be sent to the AJLS office. (Add $10 for mailing if you order from outside the North American area.) Tables of contents of our back issues are posted on our web site at:

Poetics of Japanese Literature: vi + 207pp, 1993.

Revisionism in Japanese Literary Studies, PMAJLS, vol. 2: vi + 336pp, 1996;

The New Historicism and Japanese Literary Studies, PMAJLS, vol. 4: xxiii + 432 pp, 1998.

Love and Sexuality in Japanese Literature, PMAJLS, vol.5: vi + 352 pp, 1999.

Issues of Canonicity and Canon Formation in Japanese Literary Studies, PAJLS, vol. 1: vi + 532 pp, 2000.

Acts of Writing, PAJLS, vol. 2: ix + 428 pp, 2001.

Japan from Somewhere Else, PAJLS, vol. 3: vi + 158 pp., 2002.

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AJLS Newsletter Sponsor: SLC, Purdue University


Landscapes Imagined and Remembered


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Please attach your proposal to this form and send to AJLS 2004, c/o Department of Asian Languages and Literature, University of Washington, Box 353521, Seattle, WA 98195-3521

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