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Burakumin and Shimazaki Toson's Hakai: Images of Discrimination in Modern Japanese Literature

Andersson, René LU (2000)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Shimazaki Toson (1872 - 1943) anses vara Japans främste företrädare för shizenshugi - en japansk form av fransk Naturalisme. Hans debut som romanförfattare skedde 1906 med Hakai - Löftesbrottet. Romanen anses allmänt vara en representant för kokuhaku shosetsu, eller en "bekännelseroman". Denna avhandling påvisar att författaren hade politiska ambitioner att påvisa diskrepansen mellan det överspelade feodalsamhällets klasstruktur och det framväxande moderna Japan som strävade efter att emulera västerländska demokratier. Romanens protagonist, Segawa Ushimatsu, är en folkskollärare som tillhör Eta, en föraktad minoritet som anses besudlad och oren. Fadern har påbjudit att sonen aldrig må avslöja sin... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Shimazaki Toson (1872 - 1943) anses vara Japans främste företrädare för shizenshugi - en japansk form av fransk Naturalisme. Hans debut som romanförfattare skedde 1906 med Hakai - Löftesbrottet. Romanen anses allmänt vara en representant för kokuhaku shosetsu, eller en "bekännelseroman". Denna avhandling påvisar att författaren hade politiska ambitioner att påvisa diskrepansen mellan det överspelade feodalsamhällets klasstruktur och det framväxande moderna Japan som strävade efter att emulera västerländska demokratier. Romanens protagonist, Segawa Ushimatsu, är en folkskollärare som tillhör Eta, en föraktad minoritet som anses besudlad och oren. Fadern har påbjudit att sonen aldrig må avslöja sin bakgrund, enär samhället kommer att förskjuta honom för all framtid. Som titeln anger klarar Ushimatsu inte av att hålla löftet till sin far. Romanens deuteragonist heter Inoko Rentaro och kämpar för att Eta skall erhålla lika rättigheter i det nya Japan. Ushimatsu är en stor beundrare av Rentaro och vill inget hellre än att dela med sig av sin hemlighet, men löftet till fadern stoppar honom ända tills Rentaro blir mördad vid ett politisk möte då han talar för en advokat som kandiderar till parlamentet och som också kämpar för ökad jämlikhet mellan de gamla avlagda feodala klasserna. Istället bekänner Ushimatsu sin bakgrund inför sin skolklass som i romanen representerar det nya framväxande Japan utan de feodala attityder och bördor som den vuxna befolkningen bär på. Romanen jämförs med de verk som utkommit före 1906 och behandlar problematiken med att vara Eta i Japan. Den introducerar också Oe Isokichi, en person vars liv i mycket påminner om Hakai och som har stått modell till såväl handlingen som Segawa Ushimatsu. (Less)
Abstract
Published in 1906, Hakai or The Broken Commandment in English, by Shimazaki Tôson, is generally considered the first novel in the genre of shizenshugi, a Japanese variation of French Naturalisme. Traditionally, the novel has been viewed as an example of kokuhaku shôsetsu, or “confessional novel” in that the protagonist “confesses” his origin as a member of Eta¾an autochtonous and despised minority in Japan, in current days called Burakumin.Through the application of analytical tools in the field of Sociology of Literature, such as it has developed in the Nordic countries and particularly in Sweden, this thesis re-evaluates the content of Hakai and the intention of its author. This is achieved by a closer look at Shimazaki Tôson’s... (More)
Published in 1906, Hakai or The Broken Commandment in English, by Shimazaki Tôson, is generally considered the first novel in the genre of shizenshugi, a Japanese variation of French Naturalisme. Traditionally, the novel has been viewed as an example of kokuhaku shôsetsu, or “confessional novel” in that the protagonist “confesses” his origin as a member of Eta¾an autochtonous and despised minority in Japan, in current days called Burakumin.Through the application of analytical tools in the field of Sociology of Literature, such as it has developed in the Nordic countries and particularly in Sweden, this thesis re-evaluates the content of Hakai and the intention of its author. This is achieved by a closer look at Shimazaki Tôson’s upbringing and activities at the time he wrote the novel while working as a schoolteacher in the small town of Komoro in Nagano. To understand the complex issue of discrimination in Japan at the early stage of its modernization period, a renewed analysis of the factors influencing the establishment of structural discrimination towards the group presently known as Burakumin is presented. Political factors during the last stages of the Tokugawa period (1600 – 1868) are of particular interest since these had a profound influence on the novel.The overriding hypothesis is that Tôson had socio-political motives when he wrote Hakai; to demonstrate this, the life of Ôe Isokichi is introduced. Ôe’s life functions as a role model for the novel and in particular for the actions and character of the protagonist. To understand the novel’s position within Japanese literature, works published prior to Hakai that concerned themselves with Burakumin and their status in Japan are also analyzed. Suiheisha¾an early organization struggling for Burakumin’s rights to be treated as equals¾criticized the novel as a blatant example of discrimination. This critique is scrutinized and an alternative reading to the Suiheisha interpretation is introduced and explained. (Less)
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author
opponent
  • Dr. Abe Auestad, Reiko, Oslo University
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
litteraturteori, litteraturkritik, literary theory, Allmän och jämförande litteratur, literature criticism, Shimazaki Toson, General and comparative literature, Discrimination, Burakumin, Eta, Japan, Modern Literature, Korean, Japanese, Koreanska, Paleo-Siberian languages and literatures, japanska och paleosibiriska språk, Languages and literatures of South and South-East Asia, Chinese, Kinesiska och språk och litteratur från Syd- och Sydostasien
pages
230 pages
publisher
Institutionen för Östasiatiska Språk,
defense location
Javasalen
defense date
2000-12-06 10:15
ISBN
91-628-4538-1
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
3840a106-a154-4d70-b48c-eb904bf82f7c (old id 19714)
date added to LUP
2007-05-25 14:07:58
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:09
@misc{3840a106-a154-4d70-b48c-eb904bf82f7c,
  abstract     = {Published in 1906, Hakai or The Broken Commandment in English, by Shimazaki Tôson, is generally considered the first novel in the genre of shizenshugi, a Japanese variation of French Naturalisme. Traditionally, the novel has been viewed as an example of kokuhaku shôsetsu, or “confessional novel” in that the protagonist “confesses” his origin as a member of Eta¾an autochtonous and despised minority in Japan, in current days called Burakumin.Through the application of analytical tools in the field of Sociology of Literature, such as it has developed in the Nordic countries and particularly in Sweden, this thesis re-evaluates the content of Hakai and the intention of its author. This is achieved by a closer look at Shimazaki Tôson’s upbringing and activities at the time he wrote the novel while working as a schoolteacher in the small town of Komoro in Nagano. To understand the complex issue of discrimination in Japan at the early stage of its modernization period, a renewed analysis of the factors influencing the establishment of structural discrimination towards the group presently known as Burakumin is presented. Political factors during the last stages of the Tokugawa period (1600 – 1868) are of particular interest since these had a profound influence on the novel.The overriding hypothesis is that Tôson had socio-political motives when he wrote Hakai; to demonstrate this, the life of Ôe Isokichi is introduced. Ôe’s life functions as a role model for the novel and in particular for the actions and character of the protagonist. To understand the novel’s position within Japanese literature, works published prior to Hakai that concerned themselves with Burakumin and their status in Japan are also analyzed. Suiheisha¾an early organization struggling for Burakumin’s rights to be treated as equals¾criticized the novel as a blatant example of discrimination. This critique is scrutinized and an alternative reading to the Suiheisha interpretation is introduced and explained.},
  author       = {Andersson, René},
  isbn         = {91-628-4538-1},
  keyword      = {litteraturteori,litteraturkritik,literary theory,Allmän och jämförande litteratur,literature criticism,Shimazaki Toson,General and comparative literature,Discrimination,Burakumin,Eta,Japan,Modern Literature,Korean,Japanese,Koreanska,Paleo-Siberian languages and literatures,japanska och paleosibiriska språk,Languages and literatures of South and South-East Asia,Chinese,Kinesiska och språk och litteratur från Syd- och Sydostasien},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {230},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x851b700)},
  title        = {Burakumin and Shimazaki Toson's Hakai: Images of Discrimination in Modern Japanese Literature},
  year         = {2000},
}