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Translation and Subjectivity: On Japan and cultural nationalism

Naoki Sakai
Foreword by Meaghan Morris
Series: Public Worlds
Volume: 3
Copyright Date: 1997
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Translation and Subjectivity
    Book Description:

    In analyses of translational transactions and with a focus on the ethnic, cultural, and national identities of modern Japan, Sakai explores the cultural politics inherent in translation. Topics include post-WWII writings on the emperor system, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s dictée, and Watsuji Tetsuro’s anthropology.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8768-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xxii)
    Meaghan Morris

    In a previous book by Naoki Sakai, Voicesof the Past: The Status of Language in Eighteenth-Century Japanese Discourse,there is a wonderful passage about a subject with which I am entirely unacquainted, the ethics of Itô Jinsai—a seventeenth-century Confucian scholar and critic of Song rationalism—that disconcerts and delights me with a sense of partial familiarity. Expounding the conception of sociality in the Song philosophy of mind, Sakai notes that the primordial agreement of Zhu Xi’s ideal community assumed “a transparency of communication comparable to the face of a clear mirror” secured by subduing the “dust” of materiality,...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  5. Introduction: Writing for Multiple Audiences and the Heterolingual Address
    (pp. 1-17)

    The essays in this volume were written over about a decade with the earliest being “Death and Poetic Language in Postwar Japan” in 1985 and the latest “The Problem of ‘Japanese Thought’” in 1993, and each of them addresses either the problems of translation or of subjectivity, or of both translation and subjectivity. Some were first delivered orally at conferences. Others were prepared for publication in journals and anthologies. All have been translated either from English into Japanese or from Japanese into English at one stage or another, so that they have all been presented to both English- and Japanese-speaking...

  6. 1 Distinguishing Literature and the Work of Translation: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictée and Repetition without Return
    (pp. 18-39)

    It is impossible to undo the consequences of the history of imperialisms no matter how desperately one wishes that imperialisms had never been effectuated. We live in the effects of the imperialist maneuvers of the past and the progressive present, in their pervasive effects in which everyone in today’s world is inevitably implicated. From those effects some may be able to extract almost inexhaustible privileges; because of the same effects, others may be condemned to what appears to be unending adversities. Yet, one should also be reminded that those maneuvers have never failed to generate more than they were designed...

  7. 2 The Problem of “Japanese Thought”: The Formation of “Japan” and the Schema of Cofiguration
    (pp. 40-71)

    Why do we have to call into question “Japanese” thought or Japanese “thought”? Why do we have to regard the being of Japanese thought as questionable? Also, what sort of knowledge are we to pursue in the name of “Japanese thought”? And what should “Japanese thought” designate in the first place?

    It is important to keep in mind that we cannot respond to these questions by first collecting concrete examples of “Japanese thought” and then abstracting the common features that all share; for, unless we have already assumed what is comprehended by “Japanese thought,” we can neither collect its examples...

  8. 3 Return to the West/Return to the East: Watsuji Tetsurô’s Anthropology and Discussions of Authenticity
    (pp. 72-116)

    What did we see in the prolonged and excessively sentimental expression of a nationwide sorrow staged by the Japanese mass media in the fall of 1988? A case of passion, perhaps. Through billions of copies of daily, weekly, and monthly publications and hundreds of programs broadcast by television networks, the look of the entire nation seemed fixed on the body of Emperor Hirohito, which in fact remained completely invisible throughout. Every hour, the emperor’s physical condition was reported by television broadcasting stations as if everyone in Japan were desperately worried about Hirohito’s life and demanded to know about it.


  9. 4 Subject and/or Shutai and the Inscription of Cultural Difference
    (pp. 117-152)

    From the outset, I must insist that the problem of theory and Asian Studies is primarily a political one. It is political in the sense that this problem must be posed in such a way that it can explicitly indicate, rather than conceal or neutralize, the antagonistic nature of the social conditions due to which it is able to be enunciated. That the enunciation of the problem is always foregrounded by antagonism is indeed a truism that need not be repeated here. However, I must venture to mention it since, I think, the apolitical accommodation of “theoretical approaches” has never...

  10. 5 Modernity and Its Critique: The Problem of Universalism and Particularism
    (pp. 153-176)

    Even though I will predictably reach the conclusion that the postmodern, an other of the modern, cannot be identified in terms of our “modern” discourse, it should not be utterly pointless to question what constitutes the separation of the modern and the postmodern—that is, what underlies the possibility of our talking about the modern at all. Similarly, it is essential to deal with another other of the modern, the premodern, with reference to which modernity has also been defined in a great many instances. This series—premodern-modern-postmodern—may suggest an order of chronology. However, it must be remembered that...

  11. 6 Death and Poetic Language in Postwar Japan
    (pp. 177-192)

    Some works of poetry interfere with history rather than preserve and record it. Often the writing or reading of poetry constitutes a historical practice in terms of which the general conception of historical experience itself is altered. The case in point here is Japanese poetry produced within the few decades after Japan’s defeat in the Fifteen-Year War (the Second World War).

    It has been claimed that much of postwar Japanese poetry was prompted by the experience of death and destruction during the war, and that it was, in one way or another, a deferred response to it. It has also...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 193-222)
  13. Index
    (pp. 223-232)
  14. Backmatter
    (pp. 233-233)