Dancer, Nun, Ghost, Goddess explores the story of the dancers Giō and Hotoke, which first appeared in the fourteenth-century narrative Tale of the Heike. The story of the two love rivals is one of loss, female solidarity, and Buddhist salvation. Since its first appearance, it has inspired a stream of fiction, theatrical plays, and visual art works. These heroines have become the subjects of lavishly illustrated hand scrolls, ghosts on the noh stage, and Buddhist and Shinto goddesses. Physical monuments have been built to honor their memories; they are emblems of local pride and centerpieces of shared identity. Two beloved characters in the Japanese literary imagination, Giō and Hotoke are also models that have instructed generations of women on how to survive in a male-dominated world.
Materiality in the Visual Register as Narrated by Tanizaki Jun’ichirō, Abe Kōbō, Horie Toshiyuki and Kanai Mieko
In The Rhetoric of Photography in Modern Japanese Literature, Atsuko Sakaki closely examines photography-inspired texts by four Japanese novelists: Tanizaki Jun’ichirō (1886-1965), Abe Kōbō (1924-93), Horie Toshiyuki (b. 1964) and Kanai Mieko (b. 1947). As connoisseurs, practitioners or critics of this visual medium, these authors look beyond photographs’ status as images that document and verify empirical incidents and existences, articulating instead the physical process of photographic production and photographs’ material presence in human lives. This book offers insight into the engagement with photography in Japanese literary texts as a means of bringing forgotten subject-object dynamics to light. It calls for a fundamental reconfiguration of the parameters of modern print culture and its presumption of the transparency of agents of representation.
The Ise Stories and the Politics of Cultural Appropriation
Joshua S. Mostow
Courtly Visions: The Ise Stories and the Politics of Cultural Appropriation traces—through the visual and literary record—the reception and use of the tenth-century literary romance through the seventeenth century. Ise monogatari ( The Ise Stories) takes shape in a salon of politically disenfranchised courtiers, then transforms later in the Heian period (794-1185) into a key subtext for autobiographical writings by female aristocrats. In the twelfth century it is turned into an esoteric religious text, while in the fourteenth it is used as cultural capital in the struggles within the imperial household. Mostow further examines the development of the standardized iconographies of the Rinpa school and the printed Saga-bon edition, exploring what these tell us about how the Ise was being read and why. The study ends with an Epilogue that briefly surveys the uses Ise was put to throughout the Edo period and into the modern day.