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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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“Love” and (Male) Subjectivity in Hirabayashi Taiko’s “In the Charity Ward”

“Love” and (Male) Subjectivity in Hirabayashi Taiko’s “In the Charity Ward”

Chapter:
(p.193) Chapter 4 “Love” and (Male) Subjectivity in Hirabayashi Taiko’s “In the Charity Ward”
Source:
Disruptions of Daily Life
Author(s):

Arthur M. Mitchell

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501752919.003.0005

This chapter traces the discourses of international feminism in the 1920s, specifically the way critics and intellectuals, inspired by European writings on sexology and women's emancipation, promoted the notion of a rational self-willed subjectivity, encapsulated in the term “character,” as the basis for conceiving the sameness between men and women. Hirabayashi Taiko's 1927 short story, “In the Charity Ward,” also has an important link to the earthquake, but the narrative more directly engages liberal feminist discourses surrounding women and maternity. Hirabayashi's writing also occasions a larger interrogation of the assumptions of gender, class, and nation that have undergirded all texts treated in the previous chapters. Hirabayashi directly roots out the male-gendered foundations of narration that writers like Tanizaki and Kawabata sought to displace but could not fully challenge. In this way, she is able to much more radically challenge the ideologies of love, character, and daily life that both writers repudiated. Hirabayashi's text, moreover, constituted a feminist intervention in Yokomitsu's attempt to render a disruptive phenomenology, pushing his project of new sensations further to mount a more trenchant subversion of the phallogocentric frameworks of knowledge and experience.

Keywords:   international feminism, sexology, women's emancipation, Hirabayashi Taiko, liberal feminist discourses, gender, love, character, feminist intervention

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