Modern Japanese Women Writers as Artists as Cultural Critics
- About the Book
Modern Japanese women writers as artists as cultural critics is a subject that has not received adequate attention from Japan specialists in North America. Translated and discussed here are critical essays by three of the most innovative, outspoken, and provocative women writers in recent Japanese literary history: Yuriko Miyamoto (1899–1951), Saegusa Kazuko (1929– ), and Minako Oba (1930–2007) with the objective of, one, presenting a Japan that thrives in and on a multiplicity of voices, in contrast to its conformist image in the West; and, two, filling the critical need for English translations of primary sources aimed, in particular, at non-Japan specialists.
The notion of women as “cultural critics” stretches back to the Heian era (797–1190 ce), and is notably exmplified by Sei Shonagon’s work The Pillow Book (992 ce), which, with its wit, barbed references, and no-nonsense comments on life around her, has become part of the Japanese literary canon. Her legacy reappeared after a long hiatus in the generation of women writers who swiftly took advantage of the “Taisho (1911–1926) Democracy.”
The “Woman Question” debate in Japan today, which Japanese women view as a basic human rights issue, has been revisited by contemporary Japanese women writers who have also gradually developed a feminist credo that espouses the equality of men and women concomitant with the expansion of the emotional interaction and intellectual interchange between the sexes.
- About the Author(s)
Michiko Niikuni Wilson, Author