By Rebecca Copeland
Most jap literary historians have recommended that the Meiji interval (1868-1912) used to be with out girls writers yet for the bright exception of Higuchi Ichiyo (1872-1896). Rebecca Copeland demanding situations this declare by way of analyzing in attention-grabbing aspect the lives and literary careers of 3 of Ichiyo's friends, every one consultant of the range and ingenuity of the interval: Miyake Kaho (1868-1944), Wakamatsu Shizuko (1864-1896), and Shimizu Shikin (1868-1933). In a gently researched creation, Copeland establishes the context for the advance of woman literary expression. She follows this with chapters on all the girls into account. Interspersed all through are excerpts from works below dialogue, so much by no means sooner than translated, delivering an invluable window into this forgotten global of women's writing.
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Additional info for Lost Leaves: Women Writers of Meiji Japan
As Ikebukuro Kiyokaze had intimated of scholarship, fame in the public (male) realm was not for women (JZ 158 [April 20,1889]:6). But if a woman chose to write for her own diversion—“when she has a free moment”—for the edification of her sex, or as an expression of charity, then her activity was admirable and worthy of encouragement. The Bunmei no haha critic went so far as to summarize a program for such writers to follow: be feminine, be chaste, be mature. Since an understanding of the implications behind these directives is crucial to our subsequent evaluation of women’s writing during the Meiji period, I want to use this critic’s “program” as a framework in which to set forth my own analysis of contemporary attitudes toward women writers and the responses they provoked.
It is probable, therefore, that Iwamoto relied on other critics for studies and criticism of these works. For the Japanese classics, particularly the Genji, it is likely that Iwamoto deferred to Motoori Norinaga (1730–1801) and similar scholars of native studies. ”63 In his effort to distinguish Japanese traditions from what he saw as the overwhelming invasion of the Chinese, Motoori Norinaga had turned to the age-old dichotomy of Japanese heart versus Chinese intellect. Consequently, he had raised the mono no aware of classical literature—particularly that of The Tale of Genji—as the single most significant literary value in the Japanese tradition.
In “Joshi to bunpitsu no gyo¯ ” (Women and the Literary Profession), a two-part essay serialized in 1887, Iwamoto noted: A woman becomes a wife and assists her husband; she becomes a mother and educates her children. It is not possible for her to work for the government as well, or to become a judge, an admiral, a governor, a school board member, a doctor, an operator, or a postal clerk. But if there is a job that is appropriate for her, it is writing. She can keep a brush and inkstone in a corner of the kitchen or bedroom and when she has a free moment, transfer her thoughts to paper.
Lost Leaves: Women Writers of Meiji Japan by Rebecca Copeland