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Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature: Publishing, Prizes, and the Ascription of Literary Value (Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society) Paperback – August 20, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This book is a must read book for people who are studying about Japanese literature or people interested to know more about the birth of the modern Japanese publishing industry. The author researched the subject thoroughly and gives us deep understanding of how the Japanese modern literature was born. . . . [I]t is very enjoyable to read. Even each footnote is packed with insightful details that give more vivid picture of the ‘manufacturing’ process of modern literature. It is an excellent and unique English language resource for an important period of Japan’s literature history.” - Naoko Maeda Rodolitz, Publishing Research Quarterly


“. . . thoughtful and careful. . . . [A]n . . . excellent work of scholarship which pulls together analytical strands from print culture and literature and offers a meaningful contribution to English-language scholarship. I heartily recommend it.” - Andrew Kamei-Dyche, SHARP News


Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature provides a compelling sociological critique of the institution of literature in early twentieth-century Japan. . . . The problems Mack deals with in Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature remain urgent concerns today, and his compelling study gives us some of the tools we need to grapple with them effectively.” - Michael K. Bourdaghs, Journal of Japanese Studies


“Edward Mack pulls the Japanese literary field out of the regressive myth of autonomous art and into the realms of social discourse and material practice. He compels us to reconsider the role of literary production and publishing in constructing concepts of cultural authority, national identity, and empire. Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature is a rich, rewarding work.”—Ann Sherif, author of Japan’s Cold War: Media, Literature, and the Law


“. . . thoughtful and careful. . . . [A]n . . . excellent work of scholarship which pulls together analytical strands from print culture and literature and offers a meaningful contribution to English-language scholarship. I heartily recommend it.”
(Andrew Kamei-Dyche, SHARP News)

Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature provides a compelling sociological critique of the institution of literature in early twentieth-century Japan. . . . The problems Mack deals with in Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature remain urgent concerns today, and his compelling study gives us some of the tools we need to grapple with them effectively.”
(Michael K. Bourdaghs, Journal of Japanese Studies)

“This book is a must read book for people who are studying about Japanese literature or people interested to know more about the birth of the modern Japanese publishing industry. The author researched the subject thoroughly and gives us deep understanding of how the Japanese modern literature was born. . . . [I]t is very enjoyable to read. Even each footnote is packed with insightful details that give more vivid picture of the ‘manufacturing’ process of modern literature. It is an excellent and unique English language resource for an important period of Japan’s literature history.”
(Naoko Maeda Rodolitz, Publishing Research Quarterly)

About the Author

Edward Mack is Associate Professor of Japanese at the University of Washington.

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Product Details

  • Series: Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (August 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822346729
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822346722
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,679,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Etienne ROLLAND-PIEGUE on June 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There was a change in the perception of literature's social role in Japan between the Taishô and the Shôwa periods. According to Maruyama Masao, Japan's foremost postwar critic, the average parent and teacher at the end of the Taishô era thought that "a middle school student who spent all his time reading novels was doing one of two things: avoiding his studies or corrupting his morals." Progressively however, reading literature became a more respectable cultural pursuit, tolerated and even encouraged by schools and families. The social status of writers and the novel improved markedly: they became embodiments of the national spirit, and symbols of Japan's entry into modernity. The possession of a national literature became a point of pride for citizens who wanted to see Japan ranked among the greatest nations of the world. A mass market for literary productions turned writing from an insecure occupation into a potential source of wealth, and transformed select authors into celebrities.

Although many factors influenced the shift in the general public's perception of literature's value, one cause had a disproportionate influence: the publication, between 1926 and 1931, of the Complete Works of Contemporary Japanese Literature (gendai nihon bungaku zenshû). The series marked a watershed in the production, reception, dissemination, and preservation of modern Japanese literature. Thanks to its reasonably low price--only one yen per volume--, the series reached a much wider audience than the traditional readership of modern literary texts, clustered around Tokyo's literary circles and coterie magazines. For many readers, the series was the first access they had to actual literary texts assembled systematically into a cultural entity known as modern Japaness literature.
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Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature: Publishing, Prizes, and the Ascription of Literary Value (Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society)
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