The 6th Convention

The Literary Age (Bungeijidai) journal and Western Modernism in the 1920s and 1930s

Azusa Omura (Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Yokomitsu Riichi (1898-1947), Kawabata Yaunari (1899-1972), Kataoka Teppei (1894-1944) and others launched Bungeijidai (Literary Age, literary magazine, from October 1924 to May 1927). Although it was not long-term magazine, it played a central role in creating Japanese Modernist literature. While several coterie magazines such as Tanemaku hito (proletarian literary magazine, 1921-1923) and Mavo (avant-garde minded magazine, 1924-1925) during the 1920s had a strong ideology, the Literary Age was primarily concerned with literary purposes. The Bungeijidai coterie initially aimed to establish a new literature that describes the new life and capitalist society after the Kanto Great Earthquake (1923). Additionally, they were opposed to ideological excess and it is evident that this more indicates Proletarian movement. Since the beginning, Literary Age had a strong interest in the Western Modernist Movement and its members sometimes identified their works as examples of Western Modernism.

The term ‘Shinkankaku-ha’ is more famous than the name of the magazine. After the first issue was published, Chiba Kameo (Japanese critic, 1878-1935) wrote an essay, ‘Shinkankaku-ha no tanjo’ (The Birth of the New sensationalist school) and, he named the coterie as the Shinkankaku-ha. Also he first pointed out similarities between the peculiar style of writing used by Shinkankaku-ha members and Paul Morand (French novelist and diplomat, 1888-1976), such as the language in 'Atama narabi ni hara' (written by Yokomitsu Riichi, 1924), ‘It was noon. A packed special express train was passing at full speed and a small station on the railroad was ignored like a stone’. Morand was introduced as a Dadaist novelist and as the leading figure in the Modernist Movement in Japan by Horiguchi Daigaku (Japanese poet and scholar, 1892-1981). Therefore the birth of the Shinkankaku-ha gave existing literary society significant opportunities to discuss what literature in the 1920s was. This study explores how Literary Age created the 1920s Japanese Modernist Literature and what Shinkankaku-ha literature was.

Despite the discussion on Shinkankaku (New sensation) in Literary Age never concluding, Literary Age ceased publication in May 1927. Literary Age appeared on the same stage as several mass-magazines did, but it disappeared after only three years. Modernist coterie magazines generally did not continue publication for a long period, being succeeded by mass-magazines. After Literary Age ceased publication, writers associated with the journal got involved with the Proletarian Movement and Fascism. Yokomitsu Riichi and Nakagawa Yoichi later became interested in Fascism and it is also important to remember that Paul Morand worked for the pro-German Vichy administration during the Second World War.

The writings published by the Shinkankaku-ha created a controversy in literary society and the writers related to this cultural moment worked to replace pre-existing Literature with their mode of writing. Kawabata Yasunari wrote Asakusa kurenai dan (The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa, 1930) and other Modernist works later. Yokomitsu contemplated what his literature was and wrote some experimental works such as Shanghai (Shanghai, 1931). Furthermore one of the coterie members, Inagaki Taruho, established his original style of writing. Literary Age was a significant stage in the evolution of modern Japanese Literature where Japanese young Modernist novelists were able to perfect their experimental style of writing.

Faces in Lafcadio Hearn’s Works ---With Special Reference to “Mujina”

Mami Fujiwara (Kyushu Nutrition Welfare University)

The prominent literary feature of Lafcadio Hearn’s texts is the presence of diverse fragmented bodies. Among the rich variety of body parts in Hearn’s texts, faces are often treated with special significance. ‘Mujina,’ a re-told story included in Kwaidan (1904), is a story about encountering a faceless face, namely a face without eyes, a nose and a mouth. We could point out several differences between the original text of “Mujina” by Kokematsu Miyama and Hearn’s version. One of the differences between them is the title of the text. While the original title is story no. 33, Hearn named the story “Mujina,” Hearn used this Japanese word several times in the text, but he didn’t explain its meaning. So, the readers who cannot understand Japanese are kept wondering what Mujina is. I would like to suggest here that using this Japanese word, Mujina, in English text represents two experiences in Hearn’s life. The first is his fascination with the American revival of physiognomy which he encountered while working as a journalist in America. The second is Hearn’s first experience of seeing Japanese ideographs all over the streets in Japan.

Hearn wrote “Face Study,” (1879) which is an article about the physiognomy of Johann Caspar Lavater. Lavater insisted that everything in the world is a text written by God, and that a person’s facial aspect can indicate their character. Physiognomy is a way to read a face as a text. In his article, Hearn related Lavater’s physiognomy to people’s first impression. Later Hearn made an association between physiognomy and reading a literary text. It suggests that Hearn took seriously the reader’s first impression of literary texts, the totality of its appearance as a body, the letters, the paragraphs and so on.

Hearn wrote about his first impression of Japan in “My First Day in the Orient” included in Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan (1894). In this text, Hearn observed Japanese streets physiognomically. He expressed Japanese ideographs as faces.

In “My First Day in the Orient,” Hearn declared Japanese ideographs to be lively, whereas, the alphabet dull. However, this partiality toward Japanese ideographs had changed during the dispute with B. H. Chamberlain. The dispute had begun with Chamberlain’s criticism of Hearn’s way of expressing Japanese words in Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, that is, using Roman letters without putting an English explanation. Chamberlain insisted that readers could only receive sense from texts when they understand the combinations of meaning and sound which the letters bore. Against this criticism, Hearn manifested his idiosyncratic idea of writing based on the “physiognomical beauty” of letters.

“Physiognomical beauty” refers to the first impression of letters and the combinations of letters that readers would see. Hearn insisted that the figure of a letter itself can stir the reader’s sense, and does not depend on whether or not the reader can understand the meaning the letters convey, or can correctly articulate the sounds the letters represent. Even after the dispute, Hearn kept using Japanese with or without English explanation on his texts. The letters Hearn and Chamberlain discussed were the Roman alphabet. Therefore, through the dispute, Hearn changed his idea on the alphabet, which he insisted explicitly in “My First Day in the Orient” as dull and not stimulating, into a full awareness of the vivid impact the alphabet has on the reader’s sense. Hearn realized that not only the Japanese ideograph but also the alphabet has a face.

In “Mujina,” the Japanese word Mujina has no English explanation. Thus, according to Hearn, Mujina is a word which “is interesting BECAUSE it is unintelligible.” The only information about Mujina readers get, is that a Mujina is something that you want to avoid encountering and the visual impact of the combination of the letters which make up the word Mujina.

The main part of “Mujina” begins with the sentence, “The last man who saw the Mujina was an old merchant of the Kyobashi quarter, who died about thirty years ago.” Before reading the ghost story about a Mujina, readers are informed that a Mujina doesn’t exist anymore. Moreover, after this sentence, the word Mujina also vanishes from the text. So the very act of reading the text, “Mujina,” is a mystery itself to find out a Mujina.

In the scene where the old merchant encounters a girl on a dark street, he keeps saying O-jochu repeatedly to the girl, which is a word Hearn himself added to this story. To the readers who know that Mujina is something to encounter, it is obvious that the girl is Mujina. However, the merchant says O-jochu 9 times only to see a faceless face. In addition, O-jochu’s O is capitalized. Therefore, the visual impact of the capitalized O’s figure is so immense that it can stir the reader’s sense and evoke the very image of a faceless face in the reader’s mind.

After seeing the faceless face, the merchant lost the ability to talk. Instead of the merchant, the soba-seller, whom the merchant encounters, says, “Hé! Was it anything like THIS that she showed you ?” The THIS doesn’t indicate any concrete aspect of the face. However, because of the different font and capitalization, the visual impact is big enough to stir the reader’s imagination.

As soon as the faceless face is described explicitly by the narrator as an Egg, the text “Mujina” ends. The face of Mujina is indicated not only with description, but also with the figure of the letter “O” or the combination of letters like THIS.

As a conclusion, the re-told story, “Mujina” is an artistic creation based on Hearn’s singular idea, physiognomical beauty in letters. Physiognomical beauty is a crystallization of Hearn’s intellectual experiences both in the Occident and in the Orient. Therefore, “Mujina” is one of Hearn’s essential works to prove the creativity in his retelling Japanese old stories.

Dionysian Love: The Tale of Genji and A Noun Cloud Dream

Maji C. Rhee (Waseda University)

I. Romantic Love in Japanese literary studies: from Genji to Watanabe Junichi

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu and A Nine Cloud Dream by Kim Man-jung are both landmark classic texts. Although many studies have been conducted on The Tale of Genji, little or no comparative analysis can be found on a Korean classic, A Nine Cloud Dream. Two texts share romance as a common theme yet reveal different cultural essence. An assumption is that The Tale of Genji is uniquely Japanese literary source from which cultural derivatives on romance and love can be traced in works by Tanizaki Junichiro, Mishima Yukio, and Matsomoto Seicho.

For the literary theoretical departure, Nietzsche’s notion of Apollonian and Dionysian self is employed. In Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy, Apollonian and Dionysian selves are presented as contrasting psychological elements. However, the bifurcated selves may not have clear demarcations.

II. Romance as the literary provenance

The general recurring interpretation deals with topics in The Tale of Genji with regard to the Dionysian “structured tragic love” discourse. However, borrowing from Foucault’s famous line, Ce si n’est pas une pipe,” the structured tragic love may not be a tragedy nor self-destructive. Dionysian elements of tragedy – self-destruction, intoxication, eros and chaos, and dead-end passion were part of ideals that both Genji and the women had lived up to. Nevertheless, the processes of changes from Dionysian to Apollonian are evidenced in the text.

III. Common themes

1. Mother

The primordial image of mother is in both TG and NC. In both texts, the mother figure functions as a strong hidden bond. Genji’s search for ultimate love has the reference to his biological mother. Genji’s longing for motherly love is manifested in his three major female figures. Murasaki no ue as the most beloved lover who resembled Genji’s mother Fujitsubo, Aoi no ue as Genji’s first legitimate wife and Onna san no miya.

In NC, the author wrote the story to please his mother while at his exile. The hero, Songjin, a Buddhist monk later transmigrates and adopts Hsing-chen as his name, make himself to a Confucian scholar-gentry. His success symbolizes his act of filial piety to his mother.

2. Romance

Both texts’ major theme is romance. In TG, romance relates to ephemerality of life, the aesthetics of transience. The story is governed by the notion of monono aware and irokonomi Romance and seasonality linked with human emotion. In TG, Buddhist notions on the ephemerality of life is further integrated into indigenous Shinto concepts of human relatedness to nature. The sense of pathos in “fragility and impermanence”. (

Seasonality in A Nine Cloud Dream is presented as “a spring dream.” Hsing-chen has two wives and six concubines. Chin Ch’ae-bong as the first seduced, Kye Som-wol seduced by her beauty in literary talent, and Chong Kyong-p’ae as the daughter of a Justice Chong who became his first legitimate wife. Ka Ch’un-un was a servant but a friend to Chong Kyong-p’ae, Chok Kyong-hong as the character of courageous woman, Princess Nan-yang as the sister of the Emperor, Shim Yo-yon seduced by her sword dancing, and his final destined love Paek Nung-p’a who was the daughter of the dragon kin.

IV. Monono aware and inyon

Both texts’ plot develops from the hero’s boyhood to the adulthood. The hero’s relationship evolves with nine women. The passiveness of female characters in both classics is pervasive. The initiatives are all taken by the hero. The passive resistance against the limited initiative is exemplified in Genji’s unfulfilled love by Rokujo no miyasutokoro as a ghostly figure, momo no noke.() In NC, initiative is by Hsing-chen() who disguises as another self. In both classics, women would suffer from emotional distress and depressed feeling from endless waiting for the hero to show up and from jealous relationship. In TG, the doomed love is sorrow and then poetically sublimed in the prose embellished in monono aware.

Love in The Tale of Genji is within the line of kokinn wakashu and hyakuinnitshu love lyrics. The love lyric in TG has the power of incancatation and signifies the notion of iro konomi. Women’s expression of sadness and the fleeting beauty in life and nature are within the range of patriarchal engagement. The melancholy emotional response is reiterated as women’s essential marks of refinement and cultivation.

V. Inyon – Love in the Buddhist universe

The courtly love and the women’s form of refined emotional sensibility in TG is different from NC. Love in NC signifies a dream, chaotic, momentary, futile, and insubstantial. Female figures in NC are not entirely passive and less engaged in purgatory torments. The endless waiting or longing for the hero is less intensive. Each female figure has her own seductive power as an exceptional flute player, poet, or sword dancer. The hero and the women in NC relate their relationship in the Buddhist philosophical notion, inyon. Even the meetings and relations develop with the hero may be formless and evanescent, the beginning and the ending of the relationship is taken earthly pleasure yet a necessary process of spiritual awakening. The number nine also relates Buddhist sphere. Nine symbolizes the Buddhist sphere – hell, present, beasts, Ashman, human being, heaven, intelligence, enlightenment, and Bodhisattvas. In such the Buddhist worldly order, NC gives a message that the hero’s glory and fortune including love is illusion in the Buddhist discourse.

VI. The Dionysian self

The bifurcation of self into Apollonian and Dionysian is obsolete because two forms of selves are mutually interactive and fluid. Focusing on the particular literary notions projected in The Tale of Genji and A Nine Cloud Dream, this paper’s main argument concludes that the national classic literary texts serve as a crucial indicator for cultural particulars and reject the notion of Dionysian self.

  1. The Tokugawa literary critic Motoori Norinaga (1730-1801) developed the view that the sense of pathos in fragility and impermanence as monono aware.
  2. Okashi をかしin南総里見八っ犬伝is another cultural particular.
  3. Seventeenth century – Chinese influence was at every corner of the Korean society Latin as the language of literature in the Europe of the high Middle Ages. Likewise, Chinese was the language of literature and administration. Confucianism as the syncretistic form provided the canons of art and literature and Buddhism was usually associated temples outside the cities. NC is set in an idealized China not Korea. And it was customary for Korean writers to set its their tales in China. The story is set in the earlier part of the ninth century during the Tang period.

Emerson’s Acceptance in Meiji and Taishō Japan

Yoshio Takanashi (Nagano Prefectural College)

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) ’s writings made a literary and philosophical impact on Japanese culture during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century: the Meiji and Taishō periods of Japanese history. One of the reasons Emerson was embraced with enthusiasm may have been that Japanese were already familiar with related concepts from Neo-Confucianism, such as “Heavenly Principle” (天理), “Supreme Ultimate” (大極), and “The Way” (道). Neo-Confucianism continued exerting a strong influence upon the morals of the Japanese people during the Edo period, and its ethos persisted not only after the Meiji Restoration but as late as post-World WarⅡ.

Suzuki T. Daisetz (1870-1966) confessed that he was deeply impressed with Emerson in his younger days, and in his writings expressions comparable to Emerson’s “God within” and “Self-reliance” can be found. It is true that both Suzuki’s Zen and Emerson’s Transcend- entalism show an attitude of trying to find the profound spring of truth within the inner soul apart from outer traditional authority and institution, but the contention that Zen Buddhism offers moral dimensions such as can be found in Emerson’s writings is problematic.

Nakamura Masanao (1832-91) was the first prominent figure to become a Christian, but his active humanism and his belief that God’s laws are inscribed upon each person’s conscience can be traced to his background as a Confucian scholar. The first of Emerson’s works published in Japanese translation was “Compensation” by Nakamura in 1888. Nakamura equated the traditional Confucian concept of tendō (the way of heaven) with the Christian concept of God’s law, maintaining that Japan would become a strong and prosperous nation only if individual Japanese listened to God voice within and acted accordingly.

Naturalistic poet, critic, and novelist Iwano Homei (1873-1920), although a baptized Christian, was troubled by doubts about the Calvinistic view of God, and turned to reading Emerson in place of the Bible. In 1906 Iwano published his critical work Shimpiteki hanjū shugi (The principle of the mystic demi-animal). This work describes a philosophy he termed “demi-animalistic momentalism,” which was influenced by Western mystics such as Emerson, Maeterlinck, and Swedenborg. Iwano rejected a dualistic view of life and instead emphasized the instinctive, nonrational element in humanity. Iwano also wrote of the affinity he saw between Wang Yang-ming (王陽明1472-1528)’s philosophy and Emerson’s transcendentalism. It is noteworthy, moreover, that Iwano regarded Nakae Tōju (1608-48), the founder of the Wang Yang-ming school in the Edo period, as “the Emerson in Japan.”

Another literary figure who was conscious of the resemblance between Emerson’s outlook and Neo-Confucianism was the journalist, historian, and literary critic Yamaji Aizan (1864-1917). In “A History of Chinese Thought,” a serial history in Dokuritu hyōron (Independent review), Yamaji presented an outline of Chinese thought from ancient to modern times. One chapter in this series discusses Lu Hisiang-shan (陸象山 1139-92) and the affinities between his theory and that of Emerson, including the identity of the universe with the human soul and a correspondence between moral law and cosmic law.

Playwright, poet, and translator Takayasu Gekko (1869-1906) was also cognizant of parallels between Emerson and Wang Yang-ming. In a 1916 article, “Emerson and Wang Yang-ming,” Takayasu argues that “Wang Yang-ming considered every man to have ‘the innate knowledge of the good,’ or a still and immovable essence, and equated this to ‘Heavenly Reason.’……This is comparable to Emerson’s ‘spirit.’” Takayasu further maintained that Emerson’s “Over-soul” is closely related to Wang Yang-ming’s “innate knowledge of the good” (良知) and “Great Emptiness” (大虚). However, it should be noted that Takayasu also pointed out differences between the two philosophers, arguing that Emerson’s senses of individual self and inner agony have no equivalents in Wang Yang-ming.

My own comparative studies on Emerson’s thought and Neo-Confucianism make it clear that Emerson can be understood as much closer to the doctrines of Zhu Xi (朱熹or 朱子1130-1200), the synthesizer of the philosophical system of Neo-Confucianism in Song dynasty China (宋 960-1279). Zhu Xi valued the Four Books(「四書」)highly, interpreted the Analects of Confucius (『論語』) in terms of his Neo-Confucian view of human nature as fundamentally good and revised some parts of the Great Learning (『大学』) and the Doctrine of the Mean(『中庸』).

The influence on Emerson of Confucian doctrines of the Four Books, including those of the mean, of inborn goodness of human nature, of sincerity, and of the superiority of the human individual to the state, can be recognized in Essays: Second Series in 1844. It is worthwhile, therefore, to consider from a comparative viewpoint the relation between Emerson’s thought and Neo-Confucianism, especially Zhu Xi’s philosophy.

Part Ⅱ Symposium: The Exportation of Japanese Art and Craft

“Takashimaya's participation in the world exposition of overseas with the textiles in the Meiji period “

Takashi Hirota (Kyoto Women’s University)

I would like to introduce Takashimaya. This is famous department store in this time, but it was a tailor-maker during the Meiji period in Kyoto. Takashimaya was established in 1831. Iida Shinshichi the third was the president. He decided to make the textiles for foreigners. Iida Shinshichi, produced large wall hangings and folding screens of textiles and exhibited them in the World exhibitions. It got many prizes.

○Subject of this study

Iida Shinshichi had improved to make the textiles to exhibit them at the world expositions. He had produced much textile-works to export and exhibit. Why Iida Shinshichi, could get many prizes at the world exhibitions? What was his device?


Iida Shinshichi employed the specialists of Shitae-tracers and combined them with new Japanese style painters,Takeuchi Seiho. He was born in 1864 at Kyoto. “Shasei” which Seiho said, was a new sketch with painter’s own eyes.

I would like to discuss about Shinshichi’s ingenuity. About the textile-work at the Paris World Exhibition 1900, we can see the key words on a report on the “Kyoto-Hinode newspaper” At the process of Shitae, Iida Shinshichi made a western-style painter draw the background and he also made a Japanese-style painter draw the subject on the other hand. In addition, he made Takeuchi Seiho combine them into one painting. It was the Shitae for the textile. Iida Shinshichi was the director and he decided to make the “balance” with western-world and Japanese-world.


「和洋折衷(wa-yo secchu)」 means “Harmony Japan with western world ”.
Iida Shinshichi thought about it concretely, as to combine western style painting and Japanese one. In this way, he could express Japanese emotion in the textile. On the other hand, many specialists of Yuzen were necessary to make them. They were much skillful person but not famous. They had collaborated with Japanese style painters to make high sense textiles in Takashimaya laboratory.

For the present, I should call them as “a low technique and a high quality.”
Technique was very simple but it requires a patience to make it. The textile work showed a high sense with the painters. It is a marvelous charming point for the western world, I suppose.

Fenollosa, Art Education, and the Art Industry in Meiji Japan

Yutaka Ito (Yamagata University)

The early Meiji government suffered constant budgetary crises. Japan’s balance of foreign trade remained in the red until the early 1880s. The government-led industrialization project was still far from bringing any sizable profit. In these adverse conditions, the art industry looked like a promising field in which Japan could acquire great wealth from the international market. At the Paris International Exposition of 1867, the Vienna International exposition of 1873 and the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876, Japan had already witnessed Western countries’ active demand for Japanese artworks.

When Ernest Fenollosa came to Japan in 1880, the art industry in Japan was reaching a significant turning point. In the previous year, an art society called Ruchikai was formed for the purpose of the promotion of native Japanese art. Although nominally a private association, Ryuchikai was generally regarded as a de facto governmental organization with its cross-ministerial leadership. However, not all its members were united along the same principles. Especially in terms of the production of contemporary Japanese art, there was a serious conflict between the conservative and the reformist factions inside Ryuchikai. The conservative faction emphasized that traditional Japanese art be preserved as intact as possible. The reformist faction accepted and even recommended a more innovative style of Japanese art. Fenollosa was originally a member of Ryuchikai, but soon broke with it because of the reformist ideals he held on Japanese art. After leaving Ryuchikai, he joined a group of art connoisseurs called Kangakai, reorganized it as a stronghold of the reformist faction and became its leader.

As one of the yatoi, Fenollosa was expected to communicate to the Meiji Japanese a certain amount of advanced knowledge and skills originating from Western civilization. Precisely for this reason, his active proclaiming of the excellence of native Japanese art attracted considerable attention from the Japanese general public. Fenollosa was soon to participate in the government’s administration of art policy and take charge of making a blueprint for art education in Meiji Japan. In fact, he was one of the central figures in the development of Japan’s art education policy up until the establishment of Tokyo Bijutu Gakko in 1887.

In the government, Fenollosa made detailed proposals about Japan’s future art education, as well as its specific methods and systems. Notably, he often mentioned in his proposals the possibility that the promotion of native Japanese art could effectively contribute to the nation’s economic prosperity. Because Meiji Japan was still a financially insecure country, the necessity of art education could not have been affirmed without referring to the (hopefully promising) potential of the art industry. Therefore, Fenollosa’s proposals not only concerned art education per se, but also provided a basic framework for the promotion of the national art industry.

Fenollosa’s various proposals indicated that the government’s active intervention in the art industry constituted the nucleus of his project. However, this type of government intervention was going to disappear from the Japanese art industry from the mid Meiji period. While Japan’s modern industry started to develop steadily, the art industry became increasingly peripheral in terms of the national economy. When he left Japan for America in 1890, Fenollosa probably found that his influence as an art policy planner in Japan was waning fast. The era of the state-sponsored art industry was now over. Fenollosa’s departure from Japan thus marked the end of a significant epoch in the history of art education and the art industry in Meiji Japan.

Meiji Period Japanese Export Porcelain in Chinese-style

Shinya Maezaki (Ritsumeikan Global Innovation Research Organization, Ritsumeikan University)

Both Japanese and Western scholarships on Japanese ceramics in the Meiji era have emphasised the role of European tastes and discussed it by dichotomising the ceramic production into that for the domestic and export markets, as well as that in traditional and modern styles. Even if that was the case, this scholarly view has inevitably resulted in camouflaging or missing some rather fundamental issues, one of which is what was happening at the same time in the ceramic market inside Japan and in Asia. This paper focuses on export of Japanese ceramics of the Meiji era through its relationship with China, because the success of Japanese ceramics in the international market was a result of the decline of ceramic production in China.

The Art Research Centre of the Ritsumeikan University has developed online image databases of three-dimensional Japanese art objects. The purpose of the project is to launch searchable, academic databases with high quality images to foster international cooperation and information sharing between researchers, students of Japanese art and make the results accessible on the Web. The centre has photographed over 1,500 works of Japanese ceramics in the Western collections. One of the results from this digital archive project was to confirm that many examples from the late 19th century collections took their models from Chinese porcelain.

Previous studies have also pointed out the strong presence of Chinese elements within the designs of Japanese arts and crafts in the Meiji era. Popularity of Chinese porcelain in the Western market and Japanese long-standing tradition of copying ‘things Chinese’ have suggested as possible answers. However, more simple and important fact has been overlooked. China was one of the most profitable markets for Japanese arts and crafts, ceramics in particular.

In the early Meiji era, Japanese ceramics were mainly exported to the West through foreign merchants residing in Yokohama. The export to the Western market developed steadily but suddenly decreased during the period of deflation between 1882 and 1885. It seems that the same period could be the beginning of Japanese ceramic exports to China. After the Taiping Rebellion in 1850-64, Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province, the centre of porcelain production in China, was unable to supply enough porcelain wares for their internal market. While China was recovering from the scars of the civil war, Japan became the leading export ceramic production centre of Asia. In 1871, the new Japanese government concluded a trading treaty with Qing China, which was the first equal one that the government could conclude, as opposed to the other unequal ones concluded with Western countries. In the 1880s, China already became the second biggest importer of Japanese ceramics after the United States. Around the same time, fine Chinese ceramics, kinds of wares owned by members of the Imperial family and high-ranking officials, started to appear in the international market. It stimulated the interests in Chinese porcelain in the West as well as the production of Chinese-style porcelain in Japan.

This paper investigates Japanese export ceramic for the Chinese market. Examination of statistics and historical records reveals that the commercial relationship between Japan and china was very active. This Chinese-style Japanese porcelain played a leading role in the international ceramic market.

Part Ⅲ Lecture

The Piano and Cultural Modernity in Japan

Alison Tokita (Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Max Weber wrote: “It is the peculiar nature of the piano to be a middle-class instrument… It was a product of the industrial age.” The importance of the piano in 19th century Western culture was obvious to the Japanese, who early gave it an important place in the new education system and in public life. Companies such as the Yamaha Piano and Organ Company (founded 1897) obtained international recognition at world expositions, and commodification of instrument manufacture made the piano a feature of Japanese bourgeois family life. The market further expanded when domestic architecture with western style rooms became popular in the 1920s. The piano was central to the enthusiasm for home music-making in 1910s to 1930s Japan.

As if to satisfy the demand for Western music by Japan’s new middle classes, efficient new methodologies for teaching piano and violin were developed. Suzuki Shin’ichi’s teaching method was followed in the postwar period by the Yamaha group teaching of keyboard as a way of increasing sales.

This paper forms part of a recent research project on music and modernity in the greater Osaka region in the Taisho-early Showa era. I will focus on the case of piano culture and will show that the piano had by then become a symbol of modernity in Japan. I use this as a starting point to explore the reasons why Western classical music became such an important part of modern Japanese culture. I examine the social and political context in which piano culture expanded, including the broader East Asian context, and the issue of colonial modernity and music. I conclude by discussing different types of piano players in Japan: professional, self-cultivation, preparation for marriage, adult piano learners.

Keywords: piano; East Asia; Japan; colonial modernity; cultural / musical modernity