As this book has been so long in the making, I have received a lot of help along the way. I have so many thanks to give for so many reasons. Although I cannot acknowledge them all by name, I am grateful to those who have encouraged me to keep going. This book is theirs as well as mine.
This book is based on my doctoral research, which was submitted and defended at the University of Tsukuba in 2015–16. I am deeply grateful to the examination committee: Hiroko Washizu (chair, University of Tsukuba), Yoichiro Miyamoto (University of Tsukuba), Etsuko Taketani (University of Tsukuba), Naoki Onishi (International Christian University), and Akira Hongo (Tokyo Woman’s Christian University). My sincerest gratitude goes to Professor Hiroko Washizu. Every word from her has been an inspiration to me since my earliest graduate years. My main mission in this book is to represent the wonders she has worked on me as precisely as I experienced them. Professor Yoichiro Miyamoto and Professor Etsuko Taketani have long been model scholars for me. They set high academic and professional standards, which I always try to meet and live by. I cannot express my gratitude enough for Professor Naoki Onishi’s valuable suggestions, which came to me at the crucial stage of the study and helped me to go on, finish the work, and think further. Professor Akira Hongo, who first initiated me into the world of literary studies years ago, has been giving thoughtful attention to my project. His kind and perceptive comments encouraged me when I needed them the most.
I have been so lucky to have two first-class editors: Masja Horn, who has guided me through each step of the publication process; and Marieke Krijnen, whose comments immeasurably improved the final version.
My family, Yoko, Fumi, Mari, and Kanae, have most patiently tolerated my strange absence at home. I thank them all.