The IAFOR Academic Review | Volume 1 | Issue 3
Editorial Committee Introduction
One of the central missions of The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) is to provide avenues for academics and researchers to be international, intercultural and interdisciplinary. One of the ways in which we do this is through our in-house magazine Eye, our various conference proceedings, our Journals, and now beginning in 2015 are our special editions of the IAFOR International Academic Review. In this edition of the IAFOR International Academic Review we the editorial committee bring together a selection of the most interesting research contributions from our recent conferences with respect to Japanese Art. The papers selected by the editorial committee for this special edition certainly reflect the international, intercultural and interdisciplinary approach that lies at the heart of both IAFOR and Cultural Studies.
We hope you enjoy reading the selection of papers from this IAFOR special review edition.
The Style of Interiority: The Zen-Modern Self in Shiga Naoya’s An’ya kōro
Jacob Lee, Brigham Young University, USA
Shiga Naoya 志賀直哉 is famously known as the “god of the shōsetsu” 小説の神様 for his pristine style and commanding personality. In his paper The Style of Interiority: The Zen-Modern Self in Shiga Naoya’s An’ya kōro Jacob Lee examines the consistency of Shiga’s style of interiority and suggests that a knowing naiveté of the limits of language does not hinder the reader from filling in their own gaps or indeed imagining the paradoxically indescribable. Lee notes that words such as hen’na, fushigina, myōna, and shikashi are eached characterized by their ability to signify alterity and negativity, yet are also concrete in their typographic and prosodic materiality. The ‘self’ in An’ya kōro is rigidly persistent in its internal structure yet ultimately characterized by its relation with the absolute, and in fact a relationship that may be inexpressible but nevertheless intuitable. Lee contends that perhaps sincerity itself is a matter of being open to such possibilities as intimated incompletely by Shiga’s text. If that is the case Lee proposes that, An’ya kōro therefore still has value for in imagining not only our continued encounters with texts but also encounters with ourselves.
Musicians’ Enigma in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Nocturnes
Yu-min Huang, National Changhua University of Education,Taiwan
Yu-min Huang examines in his paper Musicians’ Enigma in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Nocturnes, the Anglo-Japanese novelist Kazuo Ishiguro’s perspectives on a musicians’ career, their aging, marital relationships, separations and their reunions, through the eyes of the protagonous Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin’s in Ishiguro’s Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall (2009). Yu-min Huang argues that Ishiguro intends to provide his readers with consciousnesses in the various examples of musicians and couples in relation in the novel to arouse open-ended meanings of career and marriage in the musicians’ world, which the readers comprehend by themselves through the relation of the hero and the characters in each story. Yu-min Huang’s papers reveals that the novel focuses its attention on what challenges a musician encounters in different stages of career and how he faces the music and struggles for marriage and love in different career situations, either rising or falling in the fierce business world.
The ‘otherness’ in the Literary Experience of Endo Shusaku: Encounters and Exchanges
Justyna Weronika Kasza, University of Central Lancashire, UK
In her paper The ‘otherness’ in the Literary Experience of Endo Shusaku: Encounters and Exchanges Justyna Weronika Kasza, from the University of Central Lancashire in the UK discusses the category of “otherness” and the Other in the works of a contemporary Japanese writer Endō Shūsaku (1923-1996). Broadly understood “literary experience” of Endō, first as a reader of Western literature and further as a novelist, is based on constant transition from the “encounter” with what to him is foreign, distant and alien within the Western world to the definitive attempt to appropriate this “otherness” into his fictional works. “Otherness,” in Endō Shūsaku’s literary experience is discussed by Kasza through the confrontation of various literary forms, enabling us to acknowledge the writer’s encounters with “otherness” and the Other. The significance of his texts lies in exposing the exchange that was developing in a parallel way between what was alien and what he Endo recognized as his own Japanese self.
“Mukouda Kuniko no Koibumi”: A Woman Writer’s Lifelong Secret From Her Family
Megumi Ohsumi, Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Megumi Ohsumi, in her paper “Mukouda Kuniko no Koibumi”: A Woman Writer’s Lifelong Secret From Her Family reveals the life and work of Kuniko Mukoda (1929-1981) of writer who for the most part has eluded scholarly criticism, especially in the English language and the English-speaking world. Neither a novelist nor a poet, Kuniko Mukoda was one of the most celebrated writers in Japan and a winner of prestigious literary prizes, for her works as a scriptwriter for television. Tragically killed in airplane accident she left many things about her private life untold. Megumi Ohsumi reveals by examples from Mukoda’s fictional works and the posthumous Mukoda Kuniko no Koibumi (The Love Letters of Kuniko Mukoda) work published in 2002 that Mukoda incorporated elements from her real life when writing fiction, including her secret decade long affair with a married man 13 years her senior.
Exploring Nagusamegusa (1418): The Semiotics of Encounter and Exchange for a Poettraveller in Muromachi, Japan
Penelope Shino, Massey University, New Zealand
In exploring explores the fifteenth century Japanese travelogue, Nagusamegusa (‘Grasses of Consolation’, 1418), by the influential poet and Zen priest Shōtetsu (1381-1459) Penelope Shino examines in her paper Exploring Nagusamegusa (1418): The Semiotics of Encounter and Exchange for a Poettraveller in Muromachi, Japan the encoded significance in historical, social and cultural terms, the encounters contained within Shōtetsu’s travels within provincial Japan. The paper interprets encounters in terms of their highly transitional, symbiotic and socially mobile characteristics of Muromachi society, and the penetration of the culture of the capital into the provinces, and warrior uptake of aristocratic tradition. Shino also explores Shōtetsu’s need to compose his poetry at richly literary sites so as to show his ‘culturally-determined’ drive to construct a ‘proper’ identity for himself as a poet.
Michael Liam Kedzlie
Editorial Committee Member
The IAFOR International Academic Review