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Disruptions of Daily LifeJapanese Literary Modernism in the World$
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Arthur M. Mitchell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501752919

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501752919.001.0001

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Shattering the Status Quo: Reading Modernism in the Early Twentieth Century

Shattering the Status Quo: Reading Modernism in the Early Twentieth Century

(p.1) Introduction Shattering the Status Quo: Reading Modernism in the Early Twentieth Century
(p.iii) Disruptions of Daily Life

Arthur M. Mitchell

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of how literary modernism operated in Japan, looking at the works of Tanizaki Jun'ichirō, Yokomitsu Riichi, Kawabata Yasunari, and Hirabayashi Taiko. Contrary to prevalent conceptions of high modernism as art-objects sequestered from the utilitarian language of capitalist society, modernist literature was highly enmeshed in the language of the mass print media, one of the major sources of social ideology since the beginning of the twentieth century. The works of the four Japanese authors disrupt the ideologies that made daily living appear seamless and comfortable. They did so to expose the way such norms were bolstered by narrow, constrictive, and essentialist notions of gender, ethnicity, society, and nation; to reveal the way such norms were employed to discipline the minds and behaviors of Japanese citizens; and finally to provoke cognitive and sensational liberation from the supremacy of these norms. The chapter then considers the emergence and establishment of the I-novel genre in Japanese literary history, as well as the phenomenon of modanizumu.

Keywords:   literary modernism, Tanizaki Jun'ichirō, Yokomitsu Riichi, Kawabata Yasunari, Hirabayashi Taiko, modernist literature, social ideologies, I-novel genre, modanizumu, mass media

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