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The Rhetoric of Photography in Modern Japanese Literature

Materiality in the Visual Register as Narrated by Tanizaki Jun’ichirō, Abe Kōbō, Horie Toshiyuki and Kanai Mieko

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Atsuko Sakaki

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.