The Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature

The Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature

Kirk A. Denton
Bruce Fulton
Sharalyn Orbaugh
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 700
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  • Book Info
    The Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature
    Book Description:

    This extraordinary one-volume guide to the modern literatures of China, Japan, and Korea is the definitive reference work on the subject in the English language. With more than one hundred articles that show how a host of authors and literary movements have contributed to the general literary development of their respective countries, this companion is an essential starting point for the study of East Asian literatures. Comprehensive thematic essays introduce each geographical section with historical overviews and surveys of persistent themes in the literature examined, including nationalism, gender, family relations, and sexuality.

    Following the thematic essays are the individual entries: over forty for China, over fifty for Japan, and almost thirty for Korea, featuring everything from detailed analyses of the works of Tanizaki Jun'ichiro and Murakami Haruki, to far-ranging explorations of avant-garde fiction in China and postwar novels in Korea. Arrayed chronologically, each entry is self-contained, though extensive cross-referencing affords readers the opportunity to gain a more synoptic view of the work, author, or movement. The unrivaled opportunities for comparative analysis alone make this unique companion an indispensable reference for anyone interested in the burgeoning field of Asian literature.

    Although the literatures of China, Japan, and Korea are each allotted separate sections, the editors constantly kept an eye open to those writers, works, and movements that transcend national boundaries. This includes, for example, Chinese authors who lived and wrote in Japan; Japanese authors who wrote in classical Chinese; and Korean authors who write in Japanese, whether under the colonial occupation or because they are resident in Japan. The waves of modernization can be seen as reaching each of these countries in a staggered fashion, with eddies and back-flows between them then complicating the picture further. This volume provides a vivid sense of this dynamic interplay.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50736-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. PART I General Introduction
      (pp. 3-6)

      The essays in this volume are meant to serve as a guide to those exploring the modern literatures of China, Japan, and Korea. As a guide, each entry aims to give a brief biography of its chosen author or a brief outline of its topic. The essays are designed to show how each author or movement fits into the general development of the modern literature of its respective country, as well as to suggest how significant works by individual authors or in specific movements reflect the larger concerns of the author’s work, the aims of the movement, or the trends...

      (pp. 7-18)

      When speaking of, for instance, “modern Japanese literature,” many critics follow the current fashion of “bracketing” each of the constitutive words of the phrase or of putting them individually in quotation marks (“modern” “Japanese” “literature”) to indicate that each element of the term is under contestation and open to debate. In other words, the meanings of the very terms modern, Japanese, and literature are no longer taken to be self-evident, and any definition of them risks challenge from a number of quarters. To put together a “companion,” then, has become a daunting task—no matter how innocuous and even friendly...

  4. PART II Japan
    • Thematic Essays
        (pp. 21-23)
        Sharalyn Orbaugh

        It is a historical commonplace that Japan was completely isolated for nearly 250 years before U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry forced the shogun’s government to reopen to trade, diplomatic contact, and cultural communication with the West. Although this is not fully accurate, it is undeniable that Japan’s contacts with the Western world at least were remarkably restricted until Perry’s successful mission in 1853. Shortly after the arrival of Perry’s ships, a quick coup and brief civil war returned the country to imperial rule, ending more than five hundred years of military control. The return to imperial rule happened in 1868, the...

        (pp. 24-35)
        Sharalyn Orbaugh

        One of the great problems facing Meiji reformers was the recognition that the concept of modern selfhood or subjectivity—later termed kindai jiga (modern self) or shutaisei (subjectivity)—that appeared to be current in the advanced nations of the West was radically different from that in Japan. The post-Enlightenment (male) subject in England, North America, and most of Western Europe was envisioned as rational, monolithic (not changing identities according to context), and, after the eighteenth-century revolutions in France and the United States, defined by accomplishment rather than birth, repository of the highest form of state sovereignty in a secularized and...

        (pp. 36-42)
        Sharalyn Orbaugh

        The concept of “nation” was one of the innovations of modernity with which Meiji leaders were confronted in 1868. Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate had been a loose and often fractious union of separate feudal domains or fiefs, each headed by a military leader called a daimyō, all owing allegiance to and under the power of the shogun and his government, the bakufu, in Edo (modern-day Tokyo). That this allegiance was at times tenuous can be seen in the fact that after 1634 all daimyō were required to reside half-time in Edo, and leave their families there when they returned...

        (pp. 43-51)
        Sharalyn Orbaugh

        As we have seen, the new Anglo-European sciences of the nineteenth century cast Japan’s inhabitants as inferior to those of the “white” nations of Europe and North America, according to the evolutionary model in which “Whites” were seen as most advanced, most civilized, “Orientals” were next, and “Blacks” were at the bottom of the hierarchy. This model organized gender hierarchically as well: men were more advanced, more intelligent, more rational, and just generally more civilized than were women. It is no surprise that these two domains should be conflated: in the hierarchy of nations, Japan was seen not only as...

        (pp. 52-58)
        Marvin Marcus

        The “miracle” of Meiji Japan (1868–1912), epitomized by the slogan “wakon yōsai” (Japanese spirit, Western know-how), entailed the dismantling of the shogunal establishment and the aggressive pursuit of modernization based on Western models and techniques, with a strong chauvinist component. The old, stable social order was now in turmoil; achievement and ambition were the new watchwords, and acquiring a Western-style education was the sine qua non of success in a competitive social arena.

        Tokyo was the political and commercial hub of the new nation and the seat of higher learning and cultural production. Young people in search of an...

    • Authors, Works, Schools
        (pp. 59-61)
        Atsuko Ueda

        Scholars often forget the existence of numerous works that dominated the literary scene in the first two decades of the Meiji period. The usual historical narrative emphasizes *Tsubouchi Shōyō’s influential essay The Essence of the Novel (Shōsetsu shinzui, 1885–86), allegedly marking the beginning of modern Japanese literature, all the while devaluing the vast majority of texts that preceded it. The translated and political novels of Meiji have remained in the periphery of literary history for this reason.

        Translations of Western works were abundant in the early years of Meiji. Works of political philosophy were considered the top priority, but...

        (pp. 62-65)
        Atsuko Ueda

        In spite of the varying reactions to The Essence of the Novel (Shōsetsu shinzui, 1885–86) by Tsubouchi Shōyō (1859–1935), literary historians generally agree that it is the first work that called for the production of the modern novel. It is considered the manifesto of modern Japanese literature, and Shōyō the founder of that institution. Defining the shōsetsu (novel) as a work of art, it marks the beginning of modern literature, and its originary status is now rarely questioned.

        In fact, however, there is a significant gap in modern Japanese literary history. By virtue of its reputation as the...

        (pp. 66-68)
        Timothy J. Van Compernolle

        Ken’yūsha (Friends of the Inkstone) was a literary group formed in February 1885 by Ozaki Kōyō (1867–1903), Yamada Bimyō (1868–1910), Ishibashi Shian (1867–1927), and Maruoka Kyūka (1865–1927). They were later joined by Kawakami Bizan (1869–1908), Iwaya Sazanami (1870–1933), Emi Sui’in (1869–1934), Hirotsu Ryūrō (1861–1928), Ōhashi Otowa (1869–1901), and others. In May 1885 Ken’yūsha members began the first literary journal in modern Japan, Rubbish Heap Library (Garakuta bunko). The contents of the journal were diverse, ranging across fiction, poetry, and essay. The tone, playful and detached, reflected the ideals of the writer...

        (pp. 69-73)
        Rebecca Copeland

        The Meiji Restoration of 1868 inspired a variety of social, political, and religious reforms. Eager to lead the country into the fold of “civilized nations,” progressive-minded politicians and intellectuals encouraged modifications in language, literature, music, theater, dress, national governance, and education. Women, too, were among the targets of reform. Captivated by popular Western rhetoric, reformers believed that the status of a nation’s women was the measure of that nation’s civilization. Though progress was afoot in Japan on many levels, Japanese women, or so these men were convinced, were far from modern. In order to address this wrong, new reforms were...

      • 12 MORI ŌGAI
        (pp. 74-78)
        Marvin Marcus

        The literary career of Mori Ōgai (1862–1922), whose life spans the declining years of Japan’s feudal epoch and its emergence as a world power, in effect recapitulates the extraordinary course of the nation’s cultural modernization. Rising above the hurly-burly of the literary scene, Ōgai enriched the intellectual climate of his age, made pioneering contributions across the literary spectrum, and established a new standard of humanistic discourse. His writings constitute a vast commentary on and critique of Japan’s modernization. Together with his great contemporary *Natsume Sōseki, Mori Ōgai may be said to have laid the foundation for modern literature in...

        (pp. 79-83)
        Sharalyn Orbaugh

        In the 1890s, when Japanese literature was undergoing a modern revolution at the hands of such writers as *Futabatei Shimei, based largely on influences from Anglo-European literatures, a small number of Japanese writers worked to maintain indigenous elements from earlier periods as they created a new form of literature appropriate to the realities of Meiji Japan. Among them were Kōda Rohan (1867–1947), Ozaki Kōyō (1867–1903), and Higuchi Ichiyō (1872–1896). These writers did not work in concert, had differing ideas concerning the modernization of literature, and belonged to different literary coteries. Rohan and Kōyō had both been influenced...

        (pp. 84-86)
        Sayuri Oyama

        Shimazaki Tōson (1872–1943) was a leader in defining the standards of modern Japanese literature and poetry in the first half of the twentieth century. As one of the first Japanese authors to represent “life in the raw” (often modeled on his own experiences), he is associated with the development of Japanese *naturalism and the *shishōsetsu (personal novel). Confession as a means of revealing the private self to society and the strains within family life plays a significant role in many of his works. In essence, his writing focuses on accurately depicting the emotional truth of the individual.

        In 1872...

        (pp. 87-92)
        Sharalyn Orbaugh

        Natsume Sōseki (1867–1916) may be the best known of modern Japanese novelists. That his portrait is now featured on the one thousand-yen bill, the most common denomination, suggests his continuing stature as the most esteemed author in modern Japan.

        Natsume Kinnosuke (pen name Sōseki) was born the year before the Meiji Restoration, which returned power from the shogunal government to the emperor. The reign of the Meiji emperor (1868–1912) was the period of Japan’s astonishingly rapid transformation from an isolated, feudal society into a modern world power on a par with the nations of Europe and North America....

        (pp. 93-98)
        Jan Bardsley

        Seitō, a literary journal initially produced by five young women in Tokyo in September 1911, challenged conventional views of modern Japanese womanhood and achieved notoriety as a training ground for the atarashii onna (“new woman”). The use of the name Seitō, a rendering of “blue stocking” into Chinese characters, marked a kinship with the eighteenth-century English women’s salon nicknamed the Bluestockings, and with contemporary Western use of the term as a pejorative for intellectual women. By assuming this name for themselves and their literary journal, the Bluestockings in Tokyo showed how well they knew that women’s creativity would be no...

        (pp. 99-104)
        Joshua S. Mostow

        Although many English readers may think of poetry as being far removed from the world of power, probably no form of Japanese literature has been as influenced by the political realm as verse in traditional forms. The seriousness with which such works are sometimes taken can be illustrated by two tragic events. The first occurred in 1911, when the socialist leader Kōtoku Shunsui (1871–1911) was executed along with eleven others after being convicted of plotting to assassinate the emperor. Included in the flimsy evidence against him was a poem he had composed on the odai (set theme) “New Year’s...

        (pp. 105-107)
        Burton Watson

        During the Edo period, when the government espoused Confucian doctrine and encouraged the study of Chinese texts, large numbers of Japanese, particularly those of the samurai class, became proficient in the reading and writing of classical Chinese. Many of these tried their hand at composing kanshi or poetry in Chinese, sometimes merely as a pleasant literary pastime, at other times because they wished to treat themes that could not be handled effectively in the traditional Japanese poetic forms. Particularly in the closing years of the Edo period, kanshi became an important medium for decrying social or political ills or voicing...

        (pp. 108-111)
        John K. Gillespie

        The Meiji period brought about radical change in Japanese culture and theater. The virtual flood of Western influence inundating Japan after two and a half centuries of isolation spawned a dizzying atmosphere in the early-Meiji years, which came to be known as bunmei kaika (civilization and enlightenment). Under that rubric, the Japanese wholeheartedly accepted things Western and disdained things Japanese. At times Japanese intellectuals went to extremes of passionate advocacy for ludicrous fads, some even urging, for example, abolition of the Japanese language in favor of English and intermarriage with Westerners to improve the Japanese racial stock. Gradually, by the...

      • 20 UNO CHIYO
        (pp. 112-114)
        Rebecca L. Copeland

        While in her eighties, and shortly after her best-selling, two-volume autobiography I Will Go on Living (Ikite yuku watashi, 1983) was published, Uno Chiyo (1897–1996) was a frequent guest on popular television interview shows. Her eyes glittering with magnified brightness behind thick glasses, Uno would regale her hosts with her insouciant views on life and love. “If ever I had a mind to do something—I would do it without a moment’s thought,” she has bragged. “I have never looked back. Never known a day of pain. Never even had a headache” (Copeland 1984). Uno’s alleged impulsiveness is clearly...

        (pp. 115-120)
        Ken K. Ito

        The work of Tanizaki Jun’ichirō (1886–1965), an extraordinarily imaginative and experimental writer of modern Japanese fiction, is characterized by a thrilling perversity. Although Tanizaki’s cultural sensibilities often followed the trends sweeping through the nation—he showed a preference for things “Western” in the 1910s and 1920s, participated in the “return to Japan” in the late 1920s and 1930s, and emerged relatively unscathed after World War II as a novelist of bourgeois life—the seeming conventionality of his choices was combined with a disturbing critical intelligence that probed the constructed nature of cultural and national ideals. This combination of traits...

        (pp. 121-125)
        Sharalyn Orbaugh

        Shiga Naoya (1883–1971) is the most canonical of modern Japanese writers. His style and literary techniques are considered representative of the best and most “purely Japanese” elements of modern literature. Nonetheless, Shiga has received much less critical attention in English than many of his contemporaries, and much of the criticism that does exist has been lukewarm at best. Even some Japanese writers and critics accuse Shiga of having begun several trends that led to the “stunting” of Japanese literature.

        Shiga was born in a wealthy family of the elite shizoku (former samurai) class and attended Gakushūin (The Peers’ School)...

        (pp. 126-131)
        Seiji Lippit

        The writings of Akutagawa Ryūnosuke (1892–1927) provide a glimpse into a certain uncanny experience of modernity in Japan—the experience of a culture that is felt to be foreign and exterior and yet, at the same time, irrevocably internalized.

        Akutagawa’s writing career was comparatively brief, lasting from 1914, when he first began to publish his stories while still a student at Tokyo Imperial University, to his suicide in July 1927. During this time he wrote in a variety of genres and styles, engaging numerous themes and historical settings. He was perhaps best known for his historical fiction, which used...

        (pp. 132-136)
        Sharalyn Orbaugh

        In 1927, the last year of his life, *Akutagawa Ryūnosuke engaged in a public debate with *Tanizaki Jun’ichirō over the standards for judging modern Japanese fiction. Both men were highly regarded and popular authors. Each was arguing a position held by illustrious predecessors and contemporaries. Yet, when Akutagawa committed suicide on July 27 of that year, contemporaries attributed it partly to his despondence over having “lost” the debate over this literary issue: the nature and importance of junbungaku (pure literature). The questions that arose in this debate have resonated throughout Japanese literary criticism and are implicated in the larger issues...

        (pp. 137-140)
        Sharalyn Orbaugh

        The literary form known as the shishōsetsu or watakushi-shōsetsu (I will use shishōsetsu throughout) is the most important and most problematic in modern Japanese literature. Usually translated as “I-novel” or “personal novel,” the term was evidently invented as a translation of the German Ich-Roman (I-novel) to describe a genre of writing that flourished in the 1910s and 1920s. One way to begin to understand the problems with this form is to examine the name itself. It is made up of two parts: shi or watakushi, and shōsetsu. The first part is a Chinese character that means “I” when pronounced “watakushi,”...

        (pp. 141-145)
        Sharalyn Orbaugh

        One of the first modern writers to be extensively translated into English, Kawabata Yasunari (1899–1972) was—not coincidentally—the first Japanese writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, in 1968. His unexpected and unexplained suicide four years later ended a life characterized by contradictions: a seemingly shy, withdrawn, and bookish man, from the 1930s until his death he was active in Japanese and international literary societies, literary prize committees, and even local politics; despite extensive and apparently willing cooperation with Japan’s militaristic wartime government, he was hardly taken to task by postwar critics who were extremely harsh...

        (pp. 146-149)
        Charles Fox

        Taishō-era free verse developed from the new-style poetry of the final years of Meiji, and the key figures are Kitahara Hakushū (1885–1942), *Takamura Kōtarō, and Hagiwara Sakutarō (1886–1942). Hakushū did not excel in the genre, but his command and untraditional use of the classical idiom and traditional metrics expanded the new-style form and pointed the way for Takamura and Hagiwara, the two recognized early masters of colloquial free verse.

        Hakushū came to prominence in 1907 while a member of Yosano Hiroshi’s (pen name Tekkan, 1873–1935) and Yosano Akiko’s (1878–1942) Shinshisha (New Poetry Society) and publishing in...

        (pp. 150-153)
        Charles Fox

        Though primarily a sculptor, Takamura Kōtarō (1883–1956) is remembered more for his poetry. Scholars credit him, together with Hagiwara Sakutarō (see “Free Verse in the Taishō Period”), with having produced the first successful colloquial free verse in Japanese, but the common reader would likely point to his 1941 collection Selections on Chieko (Chieko shō) as his highest achievement. Hiroaki Sato, their translator, has described these poems, which chronicle Takamura’s relationship with Naganuma Chieko (1886–1938) from their first meeting and eventual marriage to her death and the years immediately following, as the “longest running best-seller in modern Japanese poetry.”...

        (pp. 154-157)
        John K. Gillespie

        The tone of Japanese theater in the Shōwa era was set by the Jiyū gekijō, or Free Theater, a group established by Osanai Kaoru (1881–1928) with the collaboration of the Kabuki actor Ichikawa Sadanji II (1880–1940) and active from 1909 to 1919. Osanai strove to continue the kinds of reforms already set in motion by *Tsubouchi Shōyō and the Literary Arts Society (Bungei kyōkai, 1906–13), though Osanai was impatient with Shōyō’s gradualist approach. He had traveled to Europe in 1912–13, witnessing the work of Max Reinhardt in Berlin and of Stanislavski in Moscow. (Sadanji had in...

        (pp. 158-163)
        Joan Ericson

        Hayashi Fumiko (1903–1951) was an especially prominent and prolific novelist and poet who at certain points in her career “was the most popular writer in the country” (Keene 1984, 1:1142). Hayashi was best known for her ostensibly autobiographical “diaries” and as the indefatigable chronicler of resilient characters, predominantly women, who occupy the underside of Japanese society. The appeal of her best work today is twofold: by depicting the ever-baffled, ever-resurgent aspirations of those operating largely outside societal norms or, at least, middle-class conventions, she subverted stereotypes associated with female identity; and by adopting a vivid, accessible style, incorporating written-as-spoken...

        (pp. 164-169)
        Anne Sokolsky

        Born in Tokyo to an affluent family as Chūjō Yuri, Miyamoto Yuriko (1899–1950) was a prolific writer whose works reflect the social turbulence of Japan as it grappled with modernization and militarism during the early part of the twentieth century. Her works are compiled in thirty volumes, two of which are devoted solely to writings about women’s issues. Yet despite the copious amount of material she wrote and the significance of her works as literary documents of Japan’s social history, especially pertaining to socialism and women’s rights, to date only four English translations of Miyamoto Yuriko’s works exist. Three...

      • 32 NAGAI KAFŪ
        (pp. 170-174)
        Stephen Snyder

        The work of Nagai Kafū (1879–1959) encompasses two of the principal themes of Japanese modernity: a sincere and enduring interest in Western civilization and a search for an authentic, or at least aesthetically viable, Japanese culture located in the past. For Kafū, this meant an early and decisive encounter with French literature, notably the works of Zola, Maupassant, and Baudelaire, followed by what many critics have described as the classic “Return to Japan” (Nihon kaiki) and a long, eccentric career cultivating the pose of an Edo-period bunjin, or man of letters. Much of the interest of Kafū’s work, however,...

        (pp. 175-178)
        David Rosenfeld

        The most important fact to keep in mind about Japanese literary prose written during the war is that it was written during the war—that is to say, whether or not the war itself was the predominant subject of such works, they were written according to tenets defined by, and under the strict supervision of, the government. The Japanese government, which was dominated by the military beginning in the early 1930s, designated very specific guidelines about what could be written and published in Japan and maintained an extensive censorship regime that not only examined magazine articles and books for acceptable...

        (pp. 179-183)
        John Whittier Treat

        The 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9), together with their related themes of subsequent nuclear weapon development and testing, the Cold War “balance of terror,” and the nuclear power industry, have been important and even urgent topics for Japanese writers from World War II to the present. Although examples of such writing can be found in other countries, principally the United States and the Republic of Korea (where sizeable numbers of hibakusha—that is, atomic-bomb survivors—relocated), the unique deployment of fission weapons on Japanese soil is why only Japanese literary history can legitimately speak...

        (pp. 184-189)
        Sharalyn Orbaugh

        At noon on August 15, 1945, after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9), the emperor of Japan went on the radio to announce to the Japanese people the government’s plans to surrender. On September 2 the documents of surrender were formally signed on a U.S. battleship anchored in Tokyo Bay. From that moment until April 28, 1952, nearly seven years later, Japan was under the control of the Allied occupation.

        The occupation government, SCAP (Supreme Command for the Allied Powers), was headed by U.S. General Douglas MacArthur. Although it was formed by a coalition of...

        (pp. 190-192)
        Richi Sakakibara

        After the defeat in World War II, Japan’s economic, political and social systems were reorganized by the American occupation forces. (See “Occupation-Period Fiction.”) As a result, an entirely new set of values was introduced, and Japanese lives were completely restructured. In the midst of this chaos, a group of young writers called the Buraiha (Decadent School) became very popular. Their novels portrayed the changing lives of the postwar Japanese people, the anxieties, the despair, and the confusions. The term burai, which generally refers to conduct that transgresses social norms, captures the writers’ tendency to describe characters who overtly disregard social...

      • 37 ABE KŌBŌ
        (pp. 193-197)
        Christopher Bolton

        Abe Kōbō (1924–1993) is widely considered one of the canonical Japanese novelists of his generation. But, appropriately for a writer who abhorred boundaries, categories, and stereotypes of all kinds, Abe does not fit neatly into any of these boxes: “novelist,” “canonical,” or even “Japanese.”

        Abe is widely known for his fiction, but his work ranges across the artistic spectrum, from poetry to early experiments with electronic music. He made important contributions to the visual literary genres of film and theater, most notably the Abe Kōbō Studio, an experimental theater group he formed and directed in the 1970s. He also...

      • 38 ŌE KENZABURŌ
        (pp. 198-203)
        Sharalyn Orbaugh

        Ōe Kenzaburō (b. 1935) won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1994, the second Japanese writer to be so honored. (*Kawabata Yasunari was the first, in 1968.) Ōe’s writing is harsh and challenging, always concerned with difficult moral questions arising from the context of life in post–World War II Japan. More specifically, Ōe is concerned with the meaning of being Japanese in a postwar national and international context. The worlds he creates, however, are focused to such a degree on the human, psychological dilemmas of the protagonists that the narratives transcend their specific temporal and national settings.

        Ōe is...

      • 39 IBUSE MASUJI
        (pp. 204-206)
        Gretchen Jones

        Ibuse Masuji (1898–1993), one of Japan’s most acclaimed modern novelists, was born in Kamo, a small farming village nestled in a narrow valley in eastern Hiroshima Prefecture. Ibuse is best known outside of Japan for his novel Black Rain (Kuroi ame, 1965–66), a moving portrayal of a family in the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. However, it is Ibuse’s spare yet evocative style and his portrayal of simple pleasures and everyday people that endears his writing to the Japanese.

        Although Ibuse left his country home at age nineteen and lived in Tokyo for the rest of...

      • 40 ENDŌ SHŪSAKU
        (pp. 207-211)
        Mark Williams

        Following the international acclaim accorded his novel Silence (Chinmoku, 1966), the depiction of Endō Shūsaku (1923–1996) as the “Japanese Graham Greene” gained rapid currency. The epithet was certainly convenient and derived in no small measure from the author’s own accounts of his reluctant conversion to Christianity as a child, his subsequent struggle to come to terms with “the great flow of European culture” experienced during two and a half years spent in France studying French Catholic novels in the early 1950s, and his consequent determination to address in his literature the issues raised by his affiliation to the faith....

      • 41 ENCHI FUMIKO
        (pp. 212-215)
        Marilyn Bolles

        Enchi Fumiko (1905–1986) was born Ueda Fumi in Asakusa, Tokyo. She grew up reading the Japanese classics in the extensive collection of her father, prominent linguist Ueda Kazutoshi, and enjoyed Kabuki, Bunraku, Noh, and Edoperiod fiction (1600–1867) through her paternal grandmother. At age seventeen she quit school to study English, French, and classical Chinese with private tutors. She particularly enjoyed the work of Izumi Kyōka (1873–1939), *Nagai Kafū, *Tanizaki Jun’ichirō, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allen Poe, and E. T. A. Hoffmann, all of whom wrote with a gothic or sensual style that she later incorporated into her own...

      • 42 MISHIMA YUKIO
        (pp. 216-220)
        Ann Sherif

        Mishima Yukio (1925–1970) never won the Nobel Prize in literature, but he did attain celebrity status both in Japan and abroad as has no other Japanese novelist. His unprecedented fame developed partly because of his compelling and controversial novels, films, and plays, but it can be attributed more to his flamboyant personal lifestyle and especially to his shocking and dramatic suicide in 1970.

        Born in 1925 in Tokyo, Hiraoka Kimitake (Mishima Yukio being his pen name) was the eldest son of a middle-class family. He attended Gakushūin, an elite private school, and later Tokyo Imperial University. He published his...

      • 43 THE 1960S AND 1970S BOOM IN WOMEN’S WRITING
        (pp. 221-229)
        Gretchen Jones

        The 1960s and 1970s represent a pivotal period in the history of Japanese women’s writing. Dubbed by critics as the saijo jidai (age of talented women) and as a “Little Heian” after the great Heian period of women writers in the tenth and eleventh centuries, the 1960s and 1970s saw a dramatic increase in the number of women achieving critical acclaim and winning literary prizes. As a result, more women were able to publish their work than ever before. This period represents not only a quantitative change in women’s writing, but also a qualitative change in terms of the subjects,...

      • 44 ŌBA MINAKO
        (pp. 230-232)
        Janice Brown

        Among prominent Japanese writers of the late twentieth century, Ōba Minako (b. 1930) is noted for her provocative female voice, one that combines literary and critical acumen with an uncommon global perspective. Focusing on issues of power, nation, and gender, Ōba creates fictional female figures who, though Japanese, often reside abroad or return to Japan after many years in a foreign country. Through their intercultural experience, these characters examine old ideas and express new viewpoints that challenge long-held assumptions about the roles of women and men in Japan and elsewhere. Although Ōba’s exploration of female subjectivity, sexuality, and cross-cultural experience...

      • 45 MURAKAMI RYŪ
        (pp. 233-235)
        Stephen Snyder

        The career of Murakami Ryū (b. 1952) reflects the late twentieth-century Japanese cultural landscape perhaps as well as any other contemporary novelist. Having published more than thirty works of fiction (only three of which are so far available in English translation), he ranks among the most prolific and popular writers of his generation; yet he has also been a highly visible figure in media culture, hosting a late-night talk show, working as a disk jockey, establishing his own record label, and writing and directing a number of films, including Tokyo Decadence (1991). His work, like that of contemporaries such as...

        (pp. 236-238)
        Matthew Strecher

        Murakami Haruki (b. 1949) is one of the most widely discussed of contemporary Japanese authors. A leading writer of postmodern fiction, Murakami’s works often fall outside the parameters of established categories such as “serious” and “popular” and seem to represent a mixture of the formulaic styles of fantasy or adventure literature and more inventive, artistic fiction.

        Born in the early years of the postwar era, Murakami belongs to the generation of Japanese who reached maturity at the climax of the student counterculture movement in Japan, known as Zenkyōtō, and who witnessed its subsequent, rapid collapse. This is a crucial point...

        (pp. 239-241)
        Anne McKnight

        Through works of fiction and criticism, Nakagami Kenji (1946–1992) worked to build a counternarrative of modern Japanese literature by redefining the term monogatari (a tale), which had formerly been reserved for premodern narrative texts. Beginning with the 1977 series of essays The Genealogy of the Tale (Monogatari no keifu), Nakagami translates monogatari into an organizing principle for a postwar mode of literary historiography that draws attention to the narrative operations of a historical relation to the past. Monogatari is explicitly counterposed to the sets of texts, reading practices, and institutions that compose the discipline of kokubungaku (literally “national literature,”...

      • 48 KANAI MIEKO
        (pp. 242-245)
        Mary A. Knighton

        Nineteen-year-old Kanai Mieko (b. 1947) saw her first published story, “Love Life” (Ai no seikatsu, 1967), not only come in second place for the third annual Dazai Osamu Prize but also receive warm praise from respected writers Ishikawa Jun (1899–1987) and Yoshida Ken’ichi (1912-1977). The next year she won a poetry prize for “The House of Madame Juju” (Madamu Juju no ie, 1971). From that moment on, Kanai knew that she would be a writer. Subsequently, in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, Kanai moved in the circles of prominent and even infamous figures on the arts scene:...

      • 49 TSUSHIMA YŪKO
        (pp. 246-250)
        Amy Christiansen

        Tsushima Yūko (b. 1947, daughter of *Dazai Osamu) is perhaps best known as a writer of semiautobiographical prose narratives and short stories about single-parent mothers. She has also written nonautobiographical narratives, short essays, and book-length studies of Japanese classical literature. Evincing her tremendous success are the many awards she has won: the Izumi Kyōka Award in 1977, the Women Writers Award in 1978, the Noma New Writers Award in 1979, the Kawabata Yasunari Award in 1983, the Yomiuri Award for Literature in 1986, the Hirabayashi Taiko Award in 1990, the Itō Sei Award for Literature in 1996, and the Tanizaki...

        (pp. 251-255)
        Philip Gabriel

        Shimada Masahiko (b. 1961) and Shimizu Yoshinori (b. 1947) are representative Japanese postmodernist writers, a group that includes, among others, Takahashi Gen’ichirō (b. 1951), Kobayashi Kyōji (b. 1957), Ogino Anna (b. 1956), and *Yoshimoto Banana, all of whom came to prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. No matter how one defines “postmodernist fiction,” critics agree that Shimizu, a master of pastiche, and Shimada, Japan’s own literary enfant terrible, are postmodernist in style, thematic concerns, and overall approach to literature.

        Shimizu Yoshinori was born in Nagoya in 1947 and graduated from Aichi Teachers College. Since his literary debut in 1981...

        (pp. 256-258)
        Ann Sherif

        Although Yoshimoto Banana’s (b. 1964, pen name of Yoshimoto Mahoko) place in the spotlight of literary stardom lasted for only a decade, her career and writings represent an important stage in Japanese cultural history. Banana’s first published work, the novel Kitchen (Kitchin, 1987), propelled her to instant fame and sold tens of millions of copies. In the postwar period, neither youthful fame nor women writers are unusual, but Banana’s entrance onto the cultural scene resulted in no less than the Banana genshō (Banana phenomenon).

        What distinguishes Banana’s success from that of other best-selling authors? First, her novels fueled a widespread...

      • 52 YAMADA EIMI
        (pp. 259-261)
        Alwyn Spies

        Yamada Eimi (b. 1959, pen name of Yamada Futaba) and her fiction are part of a particular phenomenon belonging to the 1980s and early 1990s, known as “the bubble,” that gave rise to stories about young middle-class women who work in the sex trade for large amounts of money and a high-class lifestyle. Eimi, who has herself been a sex worker, started out as a manga (comic book) artist but soon moved into fiction. Her first novel, Bedtime Eyes (Beddo taimu aizu, 1985), won the Literary Arts Prize, and she has been publishing prodigiously since.

        Her stories are famous for...

        (pp. 262-268)
        Hiroaki Sato

        Japan’s “modern poetry” is postwar poetry. The country’s defeat in World War II was not only complete in the material sense but also entailed a seemingly complete reversal in values. Demilitarization replaced militarism, and democratization replaced thought-regimentation. The majority of intellectuals, poets among them, had sided, willingly or under duress, with their country’s militaristic causes during the war. As a result, many were harshly denounced as enemies of the people for their sensō sekinin, or “war responsibility.” And most intellectuals quickly reversed themselves, many trying to erase their wartime pronouncements and writings from the record.

        Symbolic of the material and...

        (pp. 269-273)
        Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei

        A search for national and personal identity unifies the diverse performance and playwriting styles in Japan after World War II. In the wake of traumatic social changes, intellectuals and artists pondered the very foundations of reality. Young theater artists rebelled against Western-style, primarily realistic shingeki (new drama). Shingeki’s ideals had been inspired by Western dramatists such as Ibsen and Stanislavski. Consequently, many postwar Japanese theater artists viewed it as politically corrupt, morally bankrupt, and artistically dead.

        These younger artists identified with the outrageous, sexually ambiguous, outcast actors of early seventeenth-century Kabuki, called kawara kojiki (riverbed beggars). They laced their productions...

        (pp. 274-277)
        Brett Johnson

        Japanese theatrical experimentation began in the late 1950s and flowered in the 1960s, inspired in large part by Hijikata Tatsumi (1928–1986). The frenetic creativity and the manic performances of what he would eventually call ankoku butō (dance of darkness), had a tremendous influence on the experimental theater and dance performances that were to follow.

        The butō movement Hijikata created has become the only true Japanese theatrical export of the twentieth century. The butō performance style, in its truest form never a fixed mode of expression, was initially a number of challenging stylistic experiments performed by Hijikata Tatsumi, Ōno Kazuo...

        (pp. 278-284)
        Michael Molasky

        Okinawa’s modern literature occupies an ambiguous position in relation to the literature of Japan’s main islands. On one hand, there are compelling reasons for viewing it as a subset of Japanese literature rather than as a separate literary tradition. First, Okinawa became part of the Japanese nation in 1879, seven years after the Meiji state forcibly annexed the Ryukyu Islands and abolished the Ryukyu kingdom. Second, the vast majority of Okinawan literary works published since that time have been written in standard Japanese rather than in local dialect, although several of today’s writers incorporate dialect into their works while providing...

  5. PART III China
    • Thematic Essays
        (pp. 287-306)
        Kirk A. Denton

        The question of the origins of modern Chinese literature is very much intertwined with politics and politicized definitions of modernity. The conventional view, initially promoted by May Fourth-movement literary critics and later propagated by their Marxist inheritors before and after the 1949 revolution, is that modern Chinese literature erupted suddenly in 1918 with the publication of Lu Xun’s short story “Diary of a Madman” (see “The Madman That Was Ah Q”). The “birth” of this socially and culturally engaged literature was portrayed as the beginning of a telos that leads to the revolutionary literature of the late 1920s and 1930s...

        (pp. 307-314)
        Charles Laughlin

        Modern Chinese literature emerged from a more general, sweeping cultural transformation that spanned the last decades of the Qing dynasty to the aftermath of the World War I (roughly 1841–1921). This transformation was initiated in large part by late Qing literati influenced by Western thought and deeply concerned about China’s survival in a hostile, competitive world. In part because it was traditionally the literati who guided and governed the nation, the responses they offered to this crisis were more often intellectual than practical. The transformation culminated in the May Fourth movement, which in many ways defined the character of...

        (pp. 315-323)
        Michel Hockx

        The texts of modern Chinese literature, as with those of any other modern literature, circulate within a professional community of writers, editors, publishers, booksellers, critics, educators, and readers, all of whom share and uphold the conviction that literature is a significant part of culture. In China, as in the United States, this community began to take shape in the second half of the nineteenth century as a direct result of revolutionary changes in the system of education and in the techniques of printing and publishing. However, the ways in which this community organized itself, produced literary works and defined their...

        (pp. 324-332)
        Yingjin Zhang

        Literary history is a reconstruction of the past in writing, an interpretative practice informed in varying degrees by the literary historian’s chosen theoretical paradigm as well as his (rarely her in modern China) ideological purpose at a specific historical moment (Zhang 1994:348). Different artistic or ideological agendas, as well as changing political circumstances, often determine the model of literary development and the selection of literary writers and works in literary histories.

        The first phase of the formation of a modern Chinese literary history, from the 1920s to the 1940s, I call the “experimental phase.” This phase is characterized by efforts...

    • Authors, Works, Schools
        (pp. 333-340)
        Jianhua Chen

        The shijie geming (poetry revolution), a term that first appeared in Liang Qichao’s (1873–1929) Record of Travel (Hanman lu), a diary of his ocean voyage from Yokohama to Honolulu in December 1899 (Chen 1985:321–340), has been the object of a great deal of attention by Chinese writers and literary scholars. In their pioneering works on the history of modern Chinese literature, Hu Shi (1891–1926) and Chen Zizhan (1898–1990) praised the poetry revolution for its utilitarian and populist vein, and especially for its role in transforming poetic language from the classical to the vernacular, which directly contributed...

        (pp. 341-347)
        Alexander Des Forges

        Liang Qichao (1873–1929) is generally considered one of the most significant theorists of literature in nineteenth- and twentieth-century China. He is credited with the popularization of a literary prose style that was easy to read, a reevaluation of the function and effects of vernacular fiction in the literary sphere and in society more generally, and the establishment in 1902 of one of the earliest fiction magazines, The New Fiction (Xin xiaoshuo). In addition, he began but never completed a novel set in a future China, wrote extensively on his impressions of travels in the United States and Europe, and...

        (pp. 348-354)
        Ying Hu

        The last years of the Qing dynasty were a time of tremendous social and political crisis. The empire had sustained numerous disastrous military and cultural confrontations with the Western powers since the Opium War of 1839–42, as well as internal social strife and mass dislocation caused by the Taiping Rebellion (1851–64) and the Boxer Uprising (1900). The defeat at the hands of the new imperial power of Japan (1895) sent fresh shock waves across the country, further intensifying the sense of national and cultural crisis. This crisis—the Chinese experience of the crisis of modernity—is inscribed in...

        (pp. 355-363)
        Jianhua Chen

        The Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies school (yuanyang hudie pai; henceforth Butterfly) has its origins in the mid-1910s boom in commercial periodicals. Disillusioned with Yuan Shikai’s government and the 1911 Republican revolution, this new wave of popular print culture seemed to continue the reform agenda of the late Qing “fiction revolution” (see “The Uses of Fiction”) advocated by *Liang Qichao (1873–1929), although it was more commercially oriented and better articulated the everyday life of the metropolis (Lee 1999:43–81). In its narrow sense, Butterfly fiction refers to the sentimental romances or love stories that blossomed during the 1910s. Most popular...

        (pp. 364-370)
        John A. Crespi

        In considering the invention of Chinese new poetry (xin shi) in the 1910s, it is well to keep in mind that although early modern poets did indeed come up with something quite new in the context of the long history of Chinese literature, the type of poetic project they envisioned had by that time experienced a distinct global history of its own. This is a history that can be traced from German polymath Johann Gottfried Herder’s revival of native poetics and folk song in the late eighteenth century on through any number of nationalist cultural revival movements that have taken...

        (pp. 371-377)
        Amy D. Dooling

        The “problem” of women has been one of the more enduring hallmarks of Chinese modernity, and the problem of literary women is no exception. Beginning in 1916, with the publication of Xie Wuliang’s pioneering Literary History of Chinese Women (Zhongguo funü wenxue shi), countless discussions have centered on the issue of women as writers. The expanding influence of women’s studies on the field, coupled with the post-Mao fascination with those aspects of the literary and cultural past marginalized by dominant Communist Party historiography, is helping to fuel yet another surge of interest, and the recent proliferation of reprints and reference...

        (pp. 378-384)
        Kirk A. Denton

        One of the principal characteristics of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literature in China is its emotionality, its emphasis on subjective expression. What makes this modern phenomenon different from the premodern tradition of “poetry expresses intention” (shi yan zhi) or “poetry expresses feelings” (shi yuan qing) is primarily the type of emotions being expressed and the lack of restraint with which they are expressed. How do we account for this dramatic and obsessive interest in exposing the self in early modern literature? How do we deal with the sentimental, melodramatic, sometimes maudlin, character of these works? What are the cultural...

        (pp. 385-394)
        Ann Huss

        There is perhaps no better example of the modern Chinese intellectual’s problematic of self than can be found in a comparison of Lu Xun’s “Diary of a Madman” (Kuangren riji, 1918) and “The True Story of Ah Q” (Ah Q zhengzhuan, 1921). The Madman is the modern independent subject: self-conscious, discarnate, a romantic proclaiming his independence from the outside world he aspires to transcend. Ah Q is the May Fourth notion of the trapped traditional self, the unselfconscious self that does not act but reacts to the calamities and consequences of the outside world without memory or vision. The Madman...

        (pp. 395-400)
        Jingyuan Zhang

        Ding Ling (pen name of Jiang Bingzhi, 1904–1986) was one of the major Chinese writers of the twentieth century. She wrote in times of great social and political upheaval, and she and her literary reputation suffered many vicissitudes of fortune during those times. She remains a highly controversial figure.

        Ding Ling is known especially as a feminist and a revolutionary. Yet many critics, especially Western feminists, believe that after Mao’s *“Yan’an Talks” in 1942 she betrayed feminism in favor of the socialist struggle. Indeed, when she emerged again in the early 1980s after more than twenty years of silence...

        (pp. 401-404)
        Charles Laughlin

        Entering into a literary field in the early 1920s in which the slogan of “literary revolution” had become the principal rallying cry, young intellectuals of the time should nevertheless be excused for lacking a clear idea of what a “revolution” (geming) might be. At least it was clear, particularly in the wake of the events leading from the New Culture Movement in 1917 to the May Fourth Movement of 1919, that it meant the introduction of something new and vital and the sweeping away of the old forces and norms of traditional Chinese culture. However, the literary revolution—advocating the...

        (pp. 405-410)
        Hilary Chung

        Mao Dun (Shen Yanbing, 1896–1981) was a leading figure in the development of the modern Chinese novel. By the time he began to write creatively in 1927, he already had a formidable reputation as a literary editor, critic, and translator. He is best known for his reformulation of nineteenth-century European realist theory and for putting this theory into practice in a series of novellas and full-length novels. His Rainbow (Hong, 1929) was among the earliest full-fledged novels in modern Chinese literature, and Midnight (Ziye, 1933), a mature novel of nearly six hundred pages, is conventionally acknowledged as being a...

        (pp. 411-417)
        Nicholas A. Kaldis

        Ba Jin (pen name of Li Feigan, b. 1904) completed his most famous novel, Family (Jia), in 1931. Originally entitled Torrent (Jiliu), it was first published in serial form in the pages of the newspaper Shibao. Later in the same year, the story appeared in book form under its present title. Although his first two novels had been well received, Family established Ba Jin as one of the most popular of progressive Chinese writers of the 1930s and 1940s, second only to Lu Xun (Lang 1967:3). The great success of Family eventually inspired Ba Jin to write a sequel, which...

        (pp. 418-424)
        Steven L. Riep

        The literary revolution that swept through China in the early twentieth century brought with it an openness to new modes of writing that drew on a wide variety of non-Chinese literatures. As writers cast aside old forms and language, they eagerly experimented with new approaches to creative writing found in the literatures of Asia, Europe, and America and introduced by students studying overseas or by translators working in Shanghai and Beijing. One such approach, the modernism represented by the path-breaking New Sensationists (xin ganjue pai), arose in the late 1920s and flourished in the early to mid-1930s. Although initially their...

        (pp. 425-430)
        Jeffrey Kinkley

        Shen Congwen (1902–1988), whose works open a window on modern Chinese rural idealism, was one of the great Chinese writers of the first half of the twentieth century. Proscribed by mainland China and Taiwan after 1949 until both liberalized in the 1980s and exalted him as an independent writer, he was a reminder of how much had been lost of China’s earlier cultural modernity. Revisionist critics in the People’s Republic recast Shen Congwen as an eminent Other of revolutionary writing: a non-*Lu Xun, neither socialist nor realist, treading his own anti-Confucian, pro-Western, yet nonurban and apolitical path. Taiwan, long...

        (pp. 431-436)
        Amy D. Dooling

        Few twentieth-century Chinese women writers have attained the canonical stature Xiao Hong (Zhang Naiying, 1911–1942) now enjoys. Almost all her fiction, including two novels and numerous short stories, and a major autobiographical work, have been translated into English, and she is currently one of only two modern woman writers whose life and writing have been extensively examined in English-language scholarship.

        The Field of Life and Death (Shengsi chang, 1934) was Xiao Hong’s debut novel, written in Qingdao, where she and her lover Xiao Jun, another young soon-to-be literary celebrity, had sought refuge from the Japanese occupation of their native...

        (pp. 437-445)
        Xiaomei Chen

        Early in the twentieth century, when China struggled to emerge from its imperial past and build a new republic, “performing the nation” was a theme shared by both the traditional operatic theater (xiqu) and the emerging modern spoken drama (huaju). The latter was promoted by May Fourth men of letters as an alternative to the former, which they saw as too constrained to express the sentiments and concerns of modern times, and as a vehicle for transforming China into a modern nation. Less known than their peers who promoted modern spoken drama, artists in operatic theaters initiated reforms to free...

        (pp. 446-451)
        Jonathan Noble

        Cao Yu (1910–1966) is conventionally considered by literary historians and critics, in both China and the West, to be one of the leading modern Chinese play-wrights. He is credited with bringing spoken drama to its maturity in the 1930s.

        Born Wan Jinbao, Cao Yu grew up in Tianjin in an aristocratic family whose wealth and prestige was declining. His youthful experiences growing up in this milieu provided the material for most of his early dramas. He received a classical education in a private family school and had access to a large family library. His mother, an aficionado of the...

        (pp. 452-457)
        Thomas Moran

        Camel Xiangzi (Luotuo Xiangzi) appeared in installments in the magazine Yuzhou feng (Cosmic Wind) from September 1936 to October 1937 and as a book in 1939. Editions published in China from 1955 through the 1980s delete sexual references, criticism of Ruan Ming (in translation, “Yuan” is a misreading), the last half of chapter twenty-three, and all of chapter twenty-four. Author Lao She (pen name of Shu Qingchun, 1899–1966) bent with political winds and endorsed these revisions, despite the fact that he was proud of the novel as it was and was not in the habit of tinkering with completed...

        (pp. 458-462)
        Nicole Huang

        Eileen Chang (Zhang Ailing, 1920–1995) began her writing career in the early 1940s in the Japanese-occupied city of Shanghai and went on to become the most prominent author and public intellectual in the besieged city. Chang’s reputation waned significantly after the war ended in 1945. Postwar cultural politics repeatedly scrutinized her connections with the collaborationist forces in the occupied territory. It became increasingly difficult for her to continue pursuing her writing career, a situation that only worsened after the Communist takeover in 1949. Chang eventually left the mainland for Hong Kong in 1952. Official literary histories produced in the...

        (pp. 463-469)
        Kirk A. Denton

        It may seem odd that Mao Zedong (1893–1976), head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), would give lectures on art and culture to cultural workers in Yan’an in the midst of the War of Resistance against Japan (1937–45) and an ongoing conflict with their erstwhile allies, the Nationalists or Guomindang (GMD). But just as Mao developed during the war major ideological writings that would become known as “Mao Zedong thought,” he also felt a need to forge a cultural policy. The “Talks at the Yan’an Forum on Art and Literature (Yan’an wenyi zuotanhui de jianghua),” given in the...

        (pp. 470-475)
        Ban Wang

        To generalize a style of fiction from the period between the founding of the People’s Republic of China (1949) and the beginning of the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), one may resort to the phrase “revolutionary romanticism combined with revolutionary realism,” a phrase sometimes deemed equivalent to “socialist realism.” The slogan was instituted in 1958 by Mao Zedong (1893–1976) during the 8th Party Congress as the guiding principle for artistic work (Wang Geding 1992:170). In that year, China was poised to make a “great leap forward,” striving to catch up overnight with Great Britain and the United States in industrial,...

        (pp. 476-480)
        Richard King

        The twin slogans “let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend” (bai hua qi fang, bai jia zhengming) were introduced by Communist Party chairman Mao Zedong in May 1956. The call for a “hundred flowers” was designed to inspire greater variety in the arts, and the “hundred schools” to encourage initiative and expertise, particularly on the part of scientists. This appeal by Mao to the nation’s intellectuals, articulated on his behalf by propaganda minister Lu Dingyi, prompted vigorous debates over Communist Party policies in the arts and led to a brief outburst of literary works portraying...

        (pp. 481-487)
        Christopher Lupke

        Owing to translations, close relationships with the American academy, and the high quality of their work, the fiction of the Taiwan Modernists is some of the best known of modern Chinese literature to English-speaking audiences. The Modernists emerged through a critical engagement with more ideologically motivated literature, for fiction writing in the immediate postwar period in Taiwan was dominated by lengthy historical romances laden with anticommunist political rhetoric. Wang Lan’s (b. 1922) popular novel The Blue and the Black (Lan yu hei, 1958) typifies this period, while Peng Ge’s (b. 1926) Setting Moon (Luo yue, 1956) functions as a transition...

        (pp. 488-495)
        Thomas Moran

        Queer criticism, which aims to show how literature influences and reflects our ideas about homosexuality, can provide surprising insights (for an overview of lesbian, gay, and queer criticism, see Tyson 1999:317–361). For example, a queer reading of A Cheng’s “The Chess King” (Qi wang, 1984) would begin by emphasizing the novella’s theme of male-male friendship: there are no women in the story, and the emotional ties that matter are between the male narrator and his male friends. Chinese culture is accepting of open expressions of friendship between men, and it is unremarkable when a Chinese story foregrounds male homosocial...

        (pp. 496-501)
        Di Bai

        Revolutionary model theater (geming yangbanxi) first appeared in the Chinese cultural scene in 1966, the year the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution started. The term model theater was coined to describe, loosely, a collection of revised performing arts productions guided by Mao Zedong’s wife Jiang Qing (1914–1992). The earliest official source proclaiming the existence of the model theater was a special news report entitled “Carrying Out Chairman Mao’s Line on Literature and Art: Brilliant Models.” A short editorial on the same page celebrated the birth and significance of these works:

        Since 1964, under the brilliant radiance of Chairman Mao’s line...

        (pp. 502-508)
        Christopher Lupke

        *Lu Xun and *Mao Dun introduced the term xiangtu wenxue, or “nativist literature,” to Chinese literary circles in the 1920s. Interest in the term, a loose translation of the German Heimat Roman (homeland novel), stemmed from a desire for writers from the provinces to express the local color of the places from which they originated (see “Shen Congwen and Imagined Native Communities”). In Japan, anthropologists adopted the term kyôdo bungaku, or “nativist art,” to describe works that epitomize the national character of Japan by crystallizing the essence of particular localities. Nativism is a term of layered ironies, for what has...

        (pp. 509-514)
        John Christopher Hamm

        Wuxia xiaoshuo, here loosely translated as “martial-arts fiction,” more literally means fiction (xiaoshuo) whose subject matter is the intersection of the martial arts (wu) with altruistic ideals and the figure of the “Chinese knight-errant” (xia). Martial-arts fiction refers specifically to extended prose narratives on these themes written in vernacular Chinese during the twentieth century. Histories and “encyclopedias” of martial-arts fiction generally trace the genre’s roots to the classical tales of the Tang dynasty or even the historical records of the Han period (Liu 1967), and martial-arts novels themselves often draw on such texts or cite them as predecessors.

        There is...

        (pp. 515-519)
        Miriam Lang

        From 1949 until the late 1980s, Chinese-language romantic fiction (like other popular-entertainment literary genres, such as *martial-arts fiction) was dominated by writers from outside mainland China. The most famous of these, the Taiwanese romantic novelist Qiong Yao, whose novels have sold steadily for more than three decades, is one of the most widely read authors in the Chinese-speaking world. Her contemporary, San Mao, had a similar measure of fame. Although San Mao’s classification as a romance writer is not unproblematic, and although there are substantial differences in the kinds of literature produced by these two writers, Qiong Yao and San...

      • 89 MISTY POETRY
        (pp. 520-526)
        Michelle Yeh

        Menglong shi, also known as Obscure Poetry and translated here as Misty Poetry, was originally used in a derogatory sense to describe the poetry that emerged in 1979–80 during the period of “thaw” following Mao Zedong’s (1893–1976) death and the arrest of the Gang of Four. First appearing in August 1980 in a short essay published in Poetry Monthly (Shi kan), the largest official poetry journal in China, “misty” (menglong) was defined by the critic Zhang Ming as a poetic style of opaqueness (Bi 1984:151–153). The term quickly caught on and was—and still is—commonly used...

        (pp. 527-532)
        Deirdre Sabina Knight

        In November 1977, the official literary journal People’s Literature (Renmin wenxue) published the first of a series of stories about suffering during the Cultural Revolution and about the spiritual state of the Chinese people who had survived it. In Liu Xinwu’s “Class Counselor” (Ban zhuren, 1977), a devoted teacher, Zhang Junshi, chooses to help a youth whose delinquency he sees as a casualty of his upbringing during the reign of the ultraleftist Gang of Four. As Zhang confronts his students’ resistance to accepting the boy, he realizes the harm that “fascist cultural tyranny” (157) has done to even the exemplary...

        (pp. 533-540)
        Mark Leenhouts

        The current of “roots-seeking literature” (xungen wenxue) dominated China’s literary scene between 1985 and 1988. Although it is sometimes referred to as a literary movement guided by a manifesto, “roots-seeking” (xungen) is perhaps better seen as a pervasive theme that has preoccupied writers during a certain period of time—a theme that stirred up lively debates in literary circles of the time. The main characteristic shared by these writers is that they have all in some manner stressed the importance of their cultural identity for their creative work; in other words, they considered their Chinese or ethnic minority identity as...

        (pp. 541-545)
        Yomi Braester

        Mo Yan, born Guan Moye in 1955, has often been mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize, and his prolific output and innovative style have earned him nearly every national award in the People’s Republic of China since he started publishing in 1981. He has also won international fame, notably for the film script Red Sorghum (Hong gaoliang, 1987), and many of his works have been masterfully translated into English by Howard Goldblatt, in a close collaboration that has at times influenced Mo Yan’s writing.

        Mo Yan has contributed to shaping the course of Chinese fiction by introducing a...

        (pp. 546-553)
        Shuyu Kong

        Diaspora, literally meaning “the scattering of seeds,” is a term that originally referred to the exile of the Jews from the Holy Land thousands of years ago. However, the recent boom in studies of various kinds of diasporas has broadened the use of this term to include the modern condition and experience of transnational and intercultural dispersal. This may be externally enforced or selfimposed and may involve people of any race or nation.

        It is in this broader sense that I use the term diaspora literature to refer to modern Chinese literature written by Chinese overseas about their experience of...

        (pp. 554-560)
        Andrew F. Jones

        Perhaps no other fictional moment epitomizes the sheer audacity and self-consciously provocative spirit of the literary avant-garde that transfigured the Chinese literary scene between 1987 and 1992 so well as the final scene of Yu Hua’s “One Kind of Reality” (Xianshi yizhong, 1989). The story depicts a shocking and seemingly inexplicable spiral of domestic violence between two brothers, Shanfeng and Shangang, in a nameless provincial town. When Shangang’s son Pipi accidentally kills Shanfeng’s infant son, Shanfeng retaliates by killing Pipi. Shangang, in turn, ties his brother to a tree, coats him with stew, and allows him to be tickled to...

        (pp. 561-569)
        Michelle Yeh

        An island is a paradox: it is simultaneously isolated and open, with the surrounding sea serving as both a protective barrier and a vital passage to other lands and cultures. Situated off the southeast coast of China, with Japan and Korea to the north and the Philippines to the south, halfway between Shanghai and Hong Kong, Taiwan is the nexus of diverse linguistic, economic, social, and cultural crosscurrents from Asia and other parts of the world. If its small size—comparable to Switzerland or Holland—has historically been a cause of Taiwan’s marginalization, this is compensated for by openness and...

        (pp. 570-577)
        Robin Visser

        In the late 1980s, writers in mainland China once again began writing on urban motifs that had been suppressed or used to promote Communist Party policy during the Maoist period. Mao Zedong’s 1942 *“Yan’an Talks on Literature and the Arts,” which attacked foreign-influenced genres and advocated “national forms” based on “folk customs,” became official party policy in the 1950s. This formalized the primacy of rural literature until Deng Xiaoping’s official statement on the arts in 1979, which effectively loosened strict party control over literary production. Unlike the rural-based *roots-seeking literature of the mid-1980s, the *avant-garde (xianfeng) writers of the late...

        (pp. 578-583)
        Daisy S.Y. Ng

        Xi Xi is the pseudonym of Zhang Yan, foremost among the first generation of writers to have grown up in Hong Kong. Xi Xi was born in Shanghai in 1938 to Cantonese parents. Shortly after the Communist takeover, at the age of twelve, she moved with her family to Hong Kong. Xi Xi graduated from the Grantham College of Education in 1958 and became a primary school teacher until she gave up her teaching career to become a full-time writer at age thirty-nine. Although Xi Xi won a number of literary prizes in Hong Kong in the 1960s and 1970s,...

        (pp. 584-591)
        Lingchei Letty Chen

        Like the Bröntes of England, the Zhu family of Taiwan produced three girls who would grow up to become writers. Like the Bröntes, too, only two of the Zhu sisters became productive and successful writers: Zhu Tianwen (b. 1956), the eldest, and Zhu Tianxin (b. 1958), the second daughter. The Zhu sisters come from a prominent literary family; their father, Zhu Xining (1926–1998), was a celebrated military writer and an important participant in the development of Taiwan’s literature in the 1950s and 1960s, while their mother, Liu Musha (b. 1935), a Hakka Taiwanese, is a translator of many modern...

      • 99 WANG ANYI
        (pp. 592-597)
        Lingzhen Wang

        Born in 1954 in Nanjing and brought up in Shanghai, the daughter of the noted writer Ru Zhijuan, Wang Anyi had only just graduated from junior high school in 1969 when she volunteered to go down to a commune in northern Anhui Province. Disappointed by her peasant’s life there, she left Anhui in 1972 and was admitted to a local performing arts troupe in Xuzhou, Jiangsu, where she began writing and publishing short stories. She returned to Shanghai in 1978 to serve as an editor of a literary journal and began her career as a professional writer in 1980. Since...

        (pp. 598-603)
        Jonathan Noble

        Although disparaged by many literary critics as a profiteering purveyor of insipid tales about the sordid urban underworld, few deny that Wang Shuo (b. 1958) poignantly represents the transformation that Chinese culture experienced during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Wang Shuo has become a household name referring to an epochal “cultural attitude” associated with his status as one of China’s best-selling authors and media savvy writers of television series and films. The emergence of his widespread yet controversial popularity, known as the Wang Shuo “phenomenon” (xianxiang), reveals the contradictions between a “brave new world” generated by market reforms and...

        (pp. 604-609)
        Esther M.K. Cheung

        Hong Kong literary critic Wong Wai-leung claims that Hong Kong literature integrated with modern Chinese literature during World War II, when Hong Kong became the stopover for refugee writers from the mainland. It is true that for a few decades Hong Kong literature was mainly produced by writers either passing through or residing temporarily in Hong Kong. However, this mainland-based view of Hong Kong literature has been altered by the emergence of the generation of writers born and raised in Hong Kong, whose voices are distinguishable from those in earlier times and those from mainland China and Taiwan. There are...

        (pp. 610-616)
        Mabel Lee

        On October 12, 2000, a Swedish Academy press release announced that the Nobel Prize in literature had been awarded to Gao Xingjian for a body of writings that “opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama.” Significantly, this was the first time the prize had been given for literature in the Chinese language, and it affirmed the potential of the Chinese language to meet the challenges of contemporary literature in a world context. Literary historian and writer Liu Zaifu points to the singular praise of the French Ministry of Culture in its statement that Gao Xingjian had by his...

  6. PART IV Korea
    • Thematic Essays
        (pp. 619-629)
        Bruce Fulton

        Modern Korean literature is best viewed as a combination of the modern and the traditional. It is modern in form, structure, technique, and language. It is traditional in its need, as perceived by Korean literary scholars and many writers, to be relevant: to enlighten readers in issues of contemporary importance, to bear witness to the turbulent currents of the nation’s history, to engage in a quest for identity both personal and national. It is traditional in its lyricism, which informs the very earliest of extant Korean songs. Finally, it is traditional in terms of its cultural context, which in turn...

        (pp. 630-634)
        Bruce Fulton

        Should literature be an artistic end in itself, or should it be a means to an end? This question has loomed large in the cultural history of modern Korea. In premodern Korea there was little dispute over the issue. Literature—in particular poetry—was a skill, mastery of which was a necessary condition for admission to the ranks of the scholar-bureaucrat literati who administered the nation. To be sure, poetry was also an art, composed in private for self-expression, but more important in the minds of the literati it was the mark of a cultivated man, a skill to be...

        (pp. 635-637)
        Bruce Fulton

        In 1945, near the end of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to divide Korea at the thirty-eighth parallel for the purpose of accepting the surrender of Japanese troops on the Korean peninsula. The Soviet and American forces occupied their respective spheres north and south of that line until 1948, when separate regimes, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea), were established. The border between these two states hardened at the conclusion of the Korean War in 1953 with the establishment of a cease-fire line that roughly...

        (pp. 638-643)
        Bruce Fulton

        Scholars commonly date modern Korean fiction to the year 1917, when *Yi Kwangsu’s novel Heartlessness (Mujŏng) was published. Lesser known, but significant in its own way, is another fictional work published that year, Kim Myŏngsun’s story “A Suspicious Girl” Ŭshim ŭi sonyŏ). In terms of its characterization, plot, and psychological insight, this story is among the very first modern Korean short stories, and it is likely the first published story by a woman (So 1994:35).

        The comparatively obscure status of this work, and of Korean women’s literature in general until recent decades, is explained in large part by traditional Korean...

        (pp. 644-647)
        Helen H. Koh

        Though not a clearly defined genre, the sŏngjang sosŏl is a fictional narrative generally involving an individual’s internal development in relation to social changes. There is in Korean literary criticism a tradition of comparing the sŏngjang sosŏl to the bildungsroman, or novel of formation, as a genre that can expose cultural ideology0 within a period of great change. This comparison has some limitations, but its value lies in the fact that, as Franco Moretti (1987) writes, the novel of formation takes the experience of modernity as its originating principle. Korean narratives of formation date back to the colonial period, but...

    • Authors, Works, Schools
      • 108 YI KWANGSU
        (pp. 648-650)
        Bruce Fulton

        Yi Kwangsu (1892–1950?) was born in the Chŏngju area of present-day North P’yŏngan Province in North Korea. Orphaned at ten, he went to Japan at thirteen to study, graduating with a degree in philosophy from Waseda University in 1918. A prolific author, Yi wrote in a variety of genres and was also a prominent journalist. He may well have enjoyed the largest readership of any early modern Korean author (Pihl 1991:20). Yi was abducted to North Korea after the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950; sometime thereafter he died in custody.

        Any attempt to assess Yi as a...

        (pp. 651-653)
        Kevin O’Rourke

        In 1908 Ch’oe Namsŏn, a young poet-nationalist, produced a magazine called Sonyŏn (Youth). Korea’s first literary magazine, it provided a forum for the ideas of young intellectuals lately returned from Japanese universities. In Sonyŏn and similar magazines, these young intellectuals set about writing what was in effect a propaganda literature of nationalism, modernization, and enlightenment. All the hopes of these young nationalists were shattered by the failure of the March First independence movement in 1919. A period of intense disillusion ensued that proved very important for the development of literature in that it limited the possibilities open to intellectuals: they...

      • 110 CHŎNG CHIYONG
        (pp. 654-656)
        Daniel Kister

        Chŏng Chiyong was born to a Catholic family in Ch’ungch’ŏng Province in 1902. He was married when he was twelve and attended Hwimun Secondary School in Seoul. In 1922 he went to Japan for university studies in English literature, writing a thesis on William Blake. He began publishing poetry in earnest in 1926, and upon returning to Korea in 1929 he taught English at his high school alma mater. In 1950 he was apparently kidnapped to North Korea. Until 1987, publishers in South Korea were forbidden to publish his poems.

        Chŏng’s poems express attitudes that Koreans have long treasured as...

      • 111 YI SANG
        (pp. 657-663)
        Walter K. Lew

        The startling poetry, short stories, and anecdotal essays that earned Yi Sang (1910–1937) a reputation as the most daring experimentalist of Korean literary modernism were all published during the last few years of his brief life. The popularity of his work among university students, the rapidly growing body of scholarship on his work since the 1960s, and the frequency with which Yi Sang is depicted in South Korean artistic and popular culture attest to the recurring value of his work as a rebellion against lifeless social conventions and commodification, an endlessly intriguing conundrum, and a source of ironically romantic...

      • 112 KIM SOWŎL
        (pp. 664-666)
        David R. McCann

        Kim Sowŏl was born Kim Chŏngshik in 1902 in Kwaksan, a town near Pyongyang. He attended Osan Middle School, then went to Paejae Academy in Seoul, graduating in 1923. The same year he traveled to Japan to enter Tokyo Commercial College. But perhaps because of a failure in his family’s business, he returned to spend the next two years in Seoul living the writer’s life. His career failed to develop as he had hoped, so he left Seoul and took up the post of manager of the branch office of the Tonga ilbo, a daily newspaper, in Namshi, near his...

      • 113 CH’AE MANSHIK
        (pp. 667-668)
        Bruce Fulton

        Ch’ae Manshik—fiction writer, playwright, essayist, critic—was born in a coastal village in North Chŏlla Province in 1902. Like many of the intellectuals of his generation, he studied for a time in Japan, then returned to Korea to work at a succession of writing and editorial jobs. He died of tuberculosis in 1950.

        Ch’ae is one of the great talents of modern Korean literature. His penetrating mind, command of idiom, utterly realistic dialogue, and keen wit produced a fictional style all his own. The immediacy of some of his narratives produces a strong sense of a storyteller speaking to...

        (pp. 669-672)
        Kevin O’Rourke

        There is general agreement in the Korean world of letters that Sŏ Chŏngju (1915–2000) is the most important Korean poet of the twentieth century. The appeal of his work rests first in his use of language, so distinctively that of his native Chŏlla Province; second in the sensuality apparent particularly in his earlier work, which has evoked comparisons with Baudelaire and Yeats; and third in his return to the spirit of the Shilla kingdom (?57 b.c.–a.d. 935) in the later work for the values he believes should inform contemporary Korea.

        Sŏ Chŏngju has defined his stance as poet...

      • 115 HWANG SUNWŎN
        (pp. 673-676)
        Bruce Fulton

        Hwang Sunwŏn was born in 1915 near Pyongyang in present-day North Korea and was educated there and at Waseda University in Tokyo, where he read widely in world literature. He was barely in his twenties when he produced two volumes of poetry, and in 1940 his first volume of stories was published. He subsequently concentrated on fiction, turning out seven novels and more than one hundred stories. In his later years he came full circle: his last published works (1992) were poems. He died in 2000.

        In 1946, in the midst of the radical land reform instituted in the Soviet-occupied...

        (pp. 677-680)
        John Holstein

        Known best for his short stories, Kim Tongni (1913–1995) was also recognized for his poetry, and through his writing on literary theory and his participation in literary organizations he played a major role in the formation of Korean literature as we know it today. No other Korean author, with the possible exception of Hwang Sunwŏn, has been translated as much. The settings of his stories are quintessentially Korean and a treasure chest for ethnological study, but his themes are of universal significance.

        Kim began his career in literature at a comparatively early age. Already puzzling over immediate and metaphysical...

        (pp. 681-683)
        Bruce Fulton

        The term wŏlbuk (“gone-north”) designates those writers native to what is now South Korea who migrated—or, less commonly, were taken involuntarily—north of the thirty-eighth parallel to present-day North Korea after the liberation of the nation in 1945 from Japanese colonial rule. Among these writers were hardline socialists as well as those who merely sympathized with socialist ideals. Many migrated shortly after liberation in August 1945. A second group left in 1947 and 1948 as separate regimes were established north and south of the thirty-eighth parallel. A few went north with the retreating People’s Army in September 1950, during...

        (pp. 684-686)
        Joel Stevenson

        The liberation period (haebang konggan) is usually defined in South Korea as lasting from the Japanese surrender on August 15, 1945, until August 15, 1948, when the Republic of Korea was formed south of the thirty-eighth parallel. To date fewer than a dozen works of Korean short fiction from that period have been translated into English and published. These include four works by *Ch’ae Manshik (1902–1950), two by Ch’oe Chŏnghŭi (1912–1990), two by *Kim Tongni (1913–1995), and one by *Hwang Sunwŏn (1915–2000). An Hoenam’s “Fire” (Pul, 1946), Chi Hayŏn’s “Milestones” (Tojŏng, 1946), and Yi T’aejun’s “Liberation,...

        (pp. 687-691)
        Kim Chong-un

        Postwar fiction is the term generally applied to stories and novels published between the 1953 armistice that brought an end to the Korean War and the April 19, 1960, student revolution that toppled the regime of President Yi Sŭngman (Syngman Rhee) in South Korea. The war that broke out in June 1950 between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ravaged the entire land, cities and countryside alike, leaving indelible marks on the consciousness of the people. It was the omnipresent core, the shadow as well as the substance, the protagonist as well as the antagonist,...

        (pp. 692-694)
        Bruce Fulton

        South Koreans sometimes see their nation as a dichotomy: there is Seoul, and there is the rest of Korea. To an extent this observation holds true even at the advent of the new millennium as Korea continues its rapid technological advance. And it is “the rest of Korea”—the rural farming and seafaring villages with their traditional patterns of work, play, and family—that forms the landscape of O Yŏngsu’s fiction.

        O Yŏngsu (1914–1979) is one of the second generation of twentieth-century Korean writers—those who by and large received their higher education in Japan and became active forces...

        (pp. 695-697)
        Kevin O’Rourke

        Two seagulls follow the Tagore on its voyage from Korea. The time is immediately after the Korean War. On board are a group of Korean prisoners of war who choose to go to a neutral country rather than live in South or North Korea. For Yi Myŏngjun the birds symbolize two lost loves, a girl from the south and a girl from the north. They also symbolize the elusive nature of his dreams—the failure of democratic institutions in the south and the failure of the totalitarian value system in the north. Although Yi Myŏngjun is a sort of spokesman...

        (pp. 698-700)
        Agnita Tennant

        Pak Kyŏngni was born in 1926 in the port city of Ch’ungmu, South Kyŏngsang Province. She attended Chinju Girls’ High School under Japanese colonial rule. A keen student of history with an insatiable appetite for literature, she read many major works of nineteenth-century European writers in Japanese translation. These works may have had a lasting influence on her writing. She also attempted writing poems. She married in 1946, a year after Korea’s liberation from Japan. Four years later, when the Korean War broke out, she became a widow and suddenly found herself the breadwinner of a family that included her...

      • 123 O CHŎNGHŬI
        (pp. 701-703)
        Bruce Fulton

        More than any other author, O Chŏnghŭi (b. 1947) has contributed to the success of women fiction writers in Korea today. One of the most accomplished writers of short fiction in modern Korea, she is one of the few authors to have captured both the Yi Sang and the Tongin awards—Korea’s two most prestigious prizes for short fiction—and translations of her works into Japanese, English, French, and other languages have begun to garner her an international reputation. English translations of her works have won her comparisons with such writers as America’s Joyce Carol Oates, Canada’s Alice Munro, and...

      • 124 PAK WANSŎ
        (pp. 704-706)
        Diana Hinds

        Pak Wansŏ (b. 1931) touched off a prolific career in 1970 with the publication of her novel The Naked Tree (Namok). She lived in Seoul throughout the Korean War, then married and raised five children before rendering her experiences on paper with wit and blunt, earthy language. This award-winning author has produced several novels, short story collections, and essays. A number of her works, albeit disappointingly small compared with her overall output, have been translated into English.

        Pak does not identify her style with any one school of criticism. She professes that her stories simply raise a mirror to the...

      • 125 KIM SUYŎNG
        (pp. 707-709)
        Brother Anthony

        Kim Suyŏng was born in Seoul in 1921. His death in a traffic accident in 1968 robbed Korea of a major poetic and critical voice. During his lifetime he did not enjoy the reputation he deserved, but in the years following his death critics and writers began to pay much more attention to him, and his importance in the development of contemporary Korean poetry is now widely recognized.

        He studied for a time in Japan and at what is now Yonsei University in Seoul. His early poems, some of which were published in 1949 in the important anthology The New...

      • 126 KO ŬN
        (pp. 710-712)
        Brother Anthony

        Ko Ŭn has published more than 120 volumes of poetry, drama, fiction, essays, translations, and manifestos, and at the dawn of the new millennium he continues to write prolifically in a great variety of genres. Born in 1933 in Kunsan, North Chŏlla Province, he showed early signs of talent by mastering the introductory primers for the Chinese classics by the time he was eight. He dates his poetic vocation to the day in 1945 when he discovered a book of poems by the leper-poet Han Haun by the roadside and was deeply impressed by them.

        During the Korean War (1950...

      • 127 HWANG SŎGYŎNG
        (pp. 713-717)
        Bruce Fulton

        More has been expected of Hwang Sŏgyŏng than of almost any other Korean writer of the past quarter-century. Since the early 1970s, when Hwang began to write stories about the nameless millions on whose backs the Korean “economic miracle” was realized, he has been regarded as a champion of the people. This reputation took shape with his 1971 novella Far from Home (Kaekchi), was buttressed by such stories as “The Chronicle of a Man Named Han” (Han sshi yŏndaegi, 1972), “A Dream of Good Fortune” (Twaeji kkum, 1973), and “The Road to Samp’o” (Samp’o kanŭn kil, 1974), and was solidified...

      • 128 YUN HŬNGGIL
        (pp. 718-719)
        Bruce Fulton

        Yun Hŭnggil was born in 1942 in Chŏngŭp, North Chŏlla Province, and graduated from Chŏnju Teachers School and Wŏngwang University. Originally a schoolteacher, he has made a living from writing since 1976. He made his literary debut in 1968, receiving the annual Newcomers Literary Award given by the Hanguk ilbo, a Seoul daily. He has since published more than a dozen volumes of fiction. Yun’s works have been translated into French, German, English, and especially Japanese, as a result of which he is one of the best-known Korean authors in Japan.

        Yun is one of the exceptionally influential group of...

        (pp. 720-722)
        Bruce Fulton

        If Cho Sehŭi (b. 1942) had written nothing else besides his linked-story novel The Dwarf (Nanjangi ka sosaollin chagŭn kong [literally, “a little ball launched by a dwarf”], 1978), he would remain one of modern Korea’s most important writers. Such is the significance of that work in the history of modern Korean letters. After making his literary debut in the Kyŏnghyang shinmun, a Seoul daily, in 1965, Cho published but a single story during the next ten years. But then in short order, from 1975 to 1978, he published the twelve stories that would form The Dwarf. Two books have...

        (pp. 723-726)
        Jennifer M. Lee

        Yi Ch’ŏngjun is one of South Korea’s most distinguished and prolific writers. His literary career spans the postwar decades of political upheaval and social unrest from the April 19 student uprising (1960) to the Kwangju Massacre (1980). Many of his important works were produced during Park Chung Hee’s authoritarian regime (1961–79), providing important sociopolitical commentary and pointed criticism of the military government. His works provide critical insights into a turbulent era when the state suppressed cultural and political expression. Since his literary debut in 1965, he has produced a number of highly acclaimed works, winning numerous awards and attracting...

      • 131 YI MUNYŎL
        (pp. 727-730)
        Suh Ji-moon

        Fate was as kind to Yi Munyŏl in his thirties and forties as it was cruel to him in the first two decades of his life. Yi was born in 1948 in Yŏngyang, North Kyŏngsang Province, to an affluent family of the local aristocracy, but his luck plummeted when his socialist father defected to North Korea at the outbreak of the Korean War. Bereft of its breadwinner, his family had to struggle not only with poverty but also with the stigma of being the blood kin of a Communist, which in turn resulted in their subjection to police surveillance. These...

      • 132 SHIN KYŎNGNIM
        (pp. 731-733)
        Brother Anthony

        Shin Kyŏngnim was born in 1935 in Chungwŏn, North Ch’ungch’ŏng Province. In his youth he frequented Korea’s rural villages and collected the traditional songs he heard sung there. Much of his poetry reflects rhythms he heard then. His poems often express the pain and hurt of Korea’s poor, not only those in the remote villages but also the urban poor and those marginalized in society. He uses easily accessible, rhythmic language to compose lyrical narratives that in some cases resemble shamanistic incantation and in other cases recall popular songs still sung in bars.

        His literary career dates from 1955, but...

        (pp. 734-736)
        Kim Ah-jeong and R.B. Graves

        Playwright O T’aesŏk (b. 1940) has held a leading position in Korea’s avantgarde theater from the late 1960s until the present day. He is the author of more than thirty highly original dramas whose styles range from raucous comedy to historical tragedy, from evocations of the Korean War to bitter satires of contemporary Korean society. His plays have received numerous prizes and have begun to receive acclaim in the West. In 1974 Grass Tomb (Ch’obun) became the first Korean play produced on the professional English-speaking stage when it was staged at La Mama in New York City. In 1999 an...

      • 134 YANG KWIJA
        (pp. 737-739)
        Julie Pickering

        Few Korean authors can match the critical and commercial success of novelist Yang Kwija. Born in 1955, Yang made her literary debut in 1978, when she received a Newcomers Award from the literary journal Munhak sasang (Literature and Thought). In the 1980s she published a steady stream of short stories, first from the Chŏlla region, where she was born and raised, and then from the Seoul area, where she settled after her marriage in 1980. Since the late 1980s she has concentrated on longer works, including the award-winning novella Hidden Flower (Sumŭn kkot, 1992) and the best-selling novels A Distant...

      • 135 CH’OE YUN
        (pp. 740-742)
        Bruce Fulton

        Ch’oe Yun (b. 1953) is one of the most talented figures in contemporary Korean literature. In addition to writing award-winning fiction, she teaches French literature at Sogang University in Seoul, having completed a dissertation on Marguerite Duras at the University of Provence, and is an acclaimed translator (she and her husband, Patrick Maurus, have set new standards in the translation of modern Korean fiction into French). Her own works include three story collections, two novels, and a volume of essays.

        Ch’oe has read widely in Korean and other literatures, and her fiction shows great variety and sophistication in addition to...

    (pp. 743-744)
    (pp. 745-746)
  9. Index
    (pp. 747-804)