The Rise of the Japanese Novel

The Rise of the Japanese Novel Towards a neo-Darwinian approach to literary history Michael J. Scanlon PMJS Version 1.0 For distribution free of charg...

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The Rise of the Japanese Novel Towards a neo-Darwinian approach to literary history

Michael J. Scanlon

PMJS Version 1.0

The Rise of the Japanese Novel Towards a neo-Darwinian approach to literary history

Michael J. Scanlon

PMJS Version 1.0

For distribution free of charge via the Pre-Modern Japanese Studies website hosted by Meiji Gakuin University

This text is for the private and academic use of individuals who download it from an authorized website. Commercial and non-commercial dissemination of this text, in whole or in part, in this or any other language, is strictly forbidden without the express written consent of its author, Michael J. Scanlon.

The rise of the Japanese Novel: Towards a neo-Darwinian approach to literary history

PMJS Version 1.0

© Michael J. Scanlon, 2005 All Rights Reserved

To Mom and Dad; Kate, Andy, and Fritz; and Aeri.

The Rise of the Japanese Novel: Towards a neo-Darwinian approach to literary history

My work can be divided into six major parts. The introduction serves to lay out the theoretical issues that my text will engage as well as to introduce the dualist system of literary development outlined by Franco Moretti (literary history is the interweaving of two wholly independent paths: un-oriented variation as well as directed and directing selection) and appropriate the semiotic rectangle (used by Frederick Jameson as an engine of literary production) as the most basic mechanism of selection for long-form narrative. A prologue then uses these methodological insights to analyze an early version of a famous piece of late medieval fiction showing both that the central problematic within which texts of this type were written was one predicated on the divestment of energy from legitimate order in Muromachi times as well as that late medieval fiction typically resolves this problem by revitalizing the aristo-imperial order of the classical Heian period. The first chapter focuses on developments in narrative literature and the commercial print industry over the first fifty years of the seventeenth century. This chapter argues that, although development happens within structures, fortuitous events do occur and can lead to great structural change. It also shows how the texts engaged in the chapter evolve out of the late medieval paradigm but not necessarily into an early modern one, something important to a Darwinian theory of literary development because it emphasizes the facts that evolution is not a goal-oriented phenomenon as well as that structures have the ability to assume new functions as historical and ideological environments change. In addition, the chapter looks into the birth of the commercial

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print industry at the turn of the seventeenth century and explains the chief factors that affected the outcome of the competition between xylography and typography which occurred over the second quarter of that century, but it steadfastly refuses to draw any connection between print and literature because the two phenomena were basically completely independent entities over this period. The second chapter is centered on the latter half of the seventeenth century, a period during which xylographic print reproduction first came to assert an important influence on literary evolution because it was only at this point that it became typical for texts of literary fiction to be written for the press. It shows that history and print are but negative pressures which can select against certain forms but not proactively produce them and posits that text and genre are the agents of evolution. Its most important function, however, is to show the limits of the selectionist rectangle as an analytic tool. The negative pressures mapped out by the selectionist rectangle do help shape long-form narrative but do not necessarily affect the development of micro-narratives, short stories, thread narratives or extended dialogues. The third chapter discusses the human feelings (ninjō)-correct principles (giri) dynamic that served as the basic mechanism of selection for long-form fiction during Japan’s early modern period and uses the selectionist rectangle to overcome (or, at least, relativize) the epistemological limits of modernity in order to make possible a more purely historicist understanding of Edo-period literature than has previously been feasible. The analytic tool is employed to orient several close readings of famous and typical texts of early modern long-form fiction and is used to account for the long period of relative stasis within Tokugawa fiction. It also argues that, because it was a conflict

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born of circumstantial factors as opposed to logical irreconcilability, the quality of compromise that marks the modern novel is not typically found within early modern Japanese long-form fiction and shows that, within the Tokugawa era, long-form fiction continued to evolve within the parameters of the ninjō-giri problematic and not towards a separate paradigm that presaged the modern Japanese novel. An extended epilogue closes the text by putting forward a theory linking the rise of the compromised and compromising hero typical of the novel form with the emergence of a categorical conflict between individuality and socialization that forms the most major fault line within bourgeois capitalist ideology. In other words, the rise of the Japanese novel was not the result of some long-term, incremental change towards a predetermined end. Rather, it is the product of a burst of formal development that occurred after a great change in the larger ideological environment was set off by the catastrophe that was the Meiji Restoration, and the formal elements typically seen as being characteristic of the modern novel in both Japan and the wider bourgeois world are most definitely not indications of intellectual or aesthetic superiority, but simply adaptations to a certain ideological situation shared by the modern world. This is not a text meant to be read only by experts in the field of Japanese studies. Like all histories, it is composed of three main elements: primary source materials, a narrative, and a theoretical apparatus. In my text, the primary source materials are completely orthodox. Each and every one of the texts analyzed in detail is known to the field, and most are pieces of fiction that have long been recognized as being absolutely central to Japanese literature. Likewise, the narrative is not innovative. To the contrary, it is quite similar to the standard one that has been produced and re-produced numerous

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times over the past fifty years in mainstream scholarship. It is theory that is the focus of my text, for this is an attempt to explain, in a new way, the already known facts and trends of Japanese literary history with equal attention paid to those texts and phenomena that fit neatly into the structures of the traditionally accepted understanding as well as to those that have long been seen as lying outside its explanatory framework. Thus, it is a scholarly text that may be read profitably by anyone with an interest in literary historiography. As for any specialists in the field of Japanese literature or history who might have interest in my work, I ask that you keep the following three-part question in mind when reading this piece: When it comes to commercially successful, plot-based long-form fiction, how many texts belonging to genres first evolved in the greater bourgeois world can you name that do not fit into the logical limits of a conflict between individuality and socialization? How many texts belonging to genres first evolved in early modern Japan can you name that do not fit into the logical limits of a conflict between human feelings (ninjō) and correct principles (giri)? How many texts belonging to genres first evolved in early modern Japan can you name that fit better into the logical limits of a conflict between individuality and socialization than into those of one between human feelings (ninjō) and correct principles (giri)?

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The Rise of the Japanese Novel: Towards a neo-Darwinian approach to literary history

Synopsis …………………………………………………………………............ i Table of Contents …………………………………………………………........... v List of Charts, Graphs and Tables

………………………………………......... vi

Introduction: Literary Darwinism …………………………………………......... 1 Prologue: The Medieval World and its Literature …………………………........ 27 Chapter I: The End of an Era ………………………………………………....... The more things change… ……………………………………………........... Revolution? ………………………………………………………………....... A fish out of water ……….………………………………………………......... Counterrevolution! ……………………………………………………….........

44 48 63 86 115

Chapter II: Groping for a Form …………………………………….................... The matrix ………………………………………………………………........ The man …………………………………………………………………........ Sons of the man …………………………………………………………........ The woman ……………………………………………………………….......

141 144 174 200 215

Chapter III: The Fruits of Feudalism ……………………………...………........ An organizational conflict ………………………………………………....... A tragic void .......………..………………………………………................... Connecting the dots ……………………………………………………......... Books from Edo; Books from Nanjing …………………………………..........

233 236 274 301 321

Epilogue: The Modern World and its Literature ……………………………...... 346 Bibliography ………………………………………………………………........ 380

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List of Charts, Tables and Graphs

1. Semiotic Rectangle as Codified by A.J. Greimas …………………………...... 19 2. Selectionist Rectangle for Kani kōsen

…………………………………....... 23

3. Selectionist Rectangle for the Ōyama shuten dōji ……………………………... 39 4. Selectionist Rectangle for the Ōsaka monogatari ……………………………... 57 5. Editions per Literature Title in Movable-Type Production ………………........... 66 6. Prices of Late Movable-Type Editions

…………………………………....... 70

7. Early Modern Booksellers …………………………………………................... 71 8. Intra-Print Competition

……………………………………………………... 116

9. Growth in Commercial Publishing I

……………………………...……… 145

10. Growth in Commercial Publishing II

…………………………………....... 155

11. Selectionist Rectangle for Ninjō-Giri Problematic within Confucian Philosophy ………………………………………………………………………........... 248 12. Fiction Publication over the First Half of the Eighteenth Century ………....... 305 13. Meiji Fiction Production …………………………………………................... 357

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Introduction

1 Introduction

Literary Darwinism As for literary criticism, it is divided equitably between creationist faith (the text is a complete and perfect world, and the author is a watchmaker who foresees everything) and deconstructionist gnosis (at the slightest contradiction, the text collapses into total chaos). Modern Epic Franco Moretti In 1929, a short novel entitled Kani kōsen (Crab Packing Ship 蟹工船) was published in the May and June issues of Senki (Battle Flag 戦旗), the flagship journal of the All-Japan Proletarian Artists’ Federation. The story follows the travails of a group of workers subjected to inhumane labor conditions aboard a crab cannery ship working the waters off the coast of communist Russia, and the novel is very much engaged with Marxist social and political theory. The workers, who are never referred to by name in the text while alive, form a cross section of society’s disenfranchised that is unmistakably the lumpenproletariat, a group that Karl Marx considered to have no positive importance in terms of potential for creating socialism. Early in the text they are introduced as follows: Among the fishermen, there were those who were sold by “octopus” work gangs for the building of railroads and the opening of Hokkaidō’s interior. Others were drifters who had reached the end of the line in other locals, or people who were fine with anything so long as they had alcohol to drink. Mixed into these were honest farmers, elected by the good village heads around Aomori, who were “know nothings” and “like tree stumps.” To those employing them, there was nothing better than collecting a group of motley and dissimilar men of these types and others. (The labor unions in Hakodate were frenziedly attempting to place organizers among the fishermen on cannery ships headed for Kamchatka. Contacts in the unions in Aomori and

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Akita—this they feared this more than anything else!) 漁夫の仲間には、北海道の奥地の開墾地や、鉄道の敷設、各地の土工部屋へ 「蛸」に売られたことのあるのや、各地を食いつめた「渡り者」や、酒だけ飲め ば何もかもなく、ただそれでいいものなどがいた。青森辺の善良な村長さんに選 ばれてきた「何も知らない」「木の根ッこのように」正直な百姓もその中に校っ ている。 ――そして、こういうてんでんばらばらものの等を集めることが、雇うものにと って、この上なく具合のいいことだった。 (函館の労働組合は蟹工船、カムサツ カ行の漁夫のなかに組合者を入れることに死物狂いになっていた。青森、秋田の 1 組合などとも連絡をとって。それを何よりも恐れていた。

Yet even this group is spurred to action by the extremely callous behavior of the ship’s superintendent, Asakawa, whose reckless attempts to maximize profits for the unnamed and faceless owners of the company put the lives of the laborers at risk. After several work slowdowns from which the men gain confidence, they hold a full-scale strike after the death of a comrade and take hostage the superintendent and his cronies. When a destroyer from the imperial navy approaches, they rejoice thinking that they will be given a chance to plead their case. The navy, however, shuts down the strike and removes its leaders. Afterwards, the men recover from their dismay, realize that the capitalists and imperialists are in cahoots, and vow to fight again. The narrative proper ends with the rousing phrase: “One more time!” The text, however, continues. What follows is labeled a postscript, but it is closer to the mark to call it an alternative or supplementary ending: Let’s add a couple of notes about subsequent matters. 1.) The second complete work stoppage succeeded without a hitch. “No way!” thought the bewildered superintendent. In a stupor, he took cover in the wireless room, but ended up surrendering in front of the door. 2.) When the ships returned to the harbor at Hakodate upon the conclusion of the fishing season, the Hakkō Maru was not the only ship on which work 1

Kobayashi Takiji, Kani kōsen, Kobayashi Takiji zenshū, vol.4 (Tokyo: Shin Nihon Shuppansha, 1968), pp.11-12.

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stoppages or strikes had occurred. Communist propaganda literature cropped up on two or three other ships. 3.) On the grounds that the superintendent and the foreman had permitted something as inauspicious as a strike, which had a great effect on production, to occur, the company fired those loyal dogs “unmercifully” without one red cent in severance pay—something more wretched than [the treatment of] the fishermen. The most interesting thing is that the superintendent had shrieked, “Arhg! How disappointing! I was taken in like a dumb animal the whole time!” 4.) Thereupon, organization and struggle—having born this great experience during which they learned these for the first time, the fishermen and the young factory hands went into various sectors of labor [once outside] the police gate. This story is a page from the history of the infiltration of capitalism into the colonies. この後のことについて、二、三附け参えて置こう。 イ、 二度目の、完全な「サボ」は、マンマと成功したということ。「まさか」と 思っていた、面喰った監督は、夢の中になって無電室にかけ込んだが、ドア ーの前で立ち往生してしまったこと、どうしていかが分からなくなって。 ロ、 漁期が終わって、函館へ帰港したとき、「サボ」をやったりストライキをや った船は、博光丸だけではなかったこと。二、三の船から「赤化宣伝」のパ ンフレットが出たこと。 ハ、 それから監督や雑夫長等が、漁期中にストライキのごとき不祥事を惹起させ、 製品高に多大の影響を与えたという理由のもとに、会社があの忠実な犬を 「無慈悲」に涙銭一文くれず、 (漁夫達よりも惨めに!)首を切ってしまっ たということ。面白いことは、 「あーあ、口惜しかった!俺ゃ今迄、畜生、 だまされていた!」と、あの監督が叫んだということ。 ニ、 そして、「組合」「闘争」―― この初めて知った偉大な経験を担って、漁夫、 年若い雑夫等が、警察の門から色々な労働の層へ、それぞれ入り込んで行っ たということ。 2 ―― この一篇は、 「植民地に於ける資本主義侵入史」の一頁である。

To twenty-first-century eyes, this is not simply a happy ending that can be seen through but still enjoyed; it is naïve and fantastic. Depending on one’s political stance, it would either undercut the well-meaning (if heavy-handed) narrative that preceded it or be the culmination of a ridiculous text. This can be traced to the ultimate failure of this device within the domain of “serious literature.” However, in its day, the Kani kōsen was both

2

Kobayashi Takiji, Kani kōsen, pp.88-89.

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highly successful and taken extremely seriously. The text was made into a book that seems to have sold a good number of copies in short order, and adaptations soon appeared in the theater world. Marxist critics immediately deemed it a classic, and its popularity was such that even non-believers had to engage it, though they often took a considerably more skeptical view. To the central government, it was threatening, and the book version was soon banned—only a highly abridged edition was allowed to be sold on the open market until after the conclusion of the Second World War. The text even transcended the linguistic boundaries of Japanese when an English translation of the revised text was made available in 1933, and Kobayashi was considered an important enough literary figure that an author study appeared in Russian that same year. There is no way to proactively account for this conclusion in its specific form, but the state of affairs that helped condition it is made fairly clear in the beginning of a letter Kobayashi sent to the publisher who was going to put out the book version of the text: I have sent my second work in a separate letter. 1.) There is no “protagonist” in this work. Neither is there a protagonist of the “individualized life” type. The protagonist is a group of laborers. In this way, I think I have progressed some since “March 15, 1928.” There have been some depictions of groups in short stories, but surely this is the first time it has been done in something of this length. On various points, it was a risk, and there were problems. Anyway, I believe that a depiction of “the group” is something that proletarian literature must pioneer, it is our mission. If this work is a strategic sacrifice [towards that goal], I will be happy. 2.) Thus, individual character and psychology, which I attempted in “March 15, 1928” and other writings, are not to be found in this work. Detailed descriptions of character and psychology have begun to disappear gradually from proletarian literature. I think this has to happen because proletarian literature is the literature of the group. But I have made precautions to avoid the boredom and deformedness that often results from this.

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別便で、第二作を送りしました。 一、この作には、「主人公」と云うものがない。 「銘銘伝式」の主人公、人物も ない。労働の「集団(グループ) 」が、主人公になっている。その意味で、「一九 二八・三・一五」よりも一歩前進していると思っている。 短編で集団を書いたものはありますが、この位の長さのものでは恐らく始めて であり、色々な点で冒険であり、困難があった。とにかく、 「集団」を描くこと は、プロレタリア文学の開拓しなければならない、道であると思っています。そ の一つの捨石にこの作がなれれば、幸福です。 二、で、当然、この作では、「一九二八・三・一五」などで試みたような、各 個人の性格、心理が全然なくなっている。 細々しい個人の性格、心理の描写が、プロレタリア文学からはだんだん無くな りかけている。このことは、プロ文学が集団の文学であることから、そうならな ければならないと思っている。然し、そのためによくある片輪な、それから退屈 3 さを出さないために、考顧した筈である。

The text grew directly out of a form evolved within capitalist culture, and it had to function within a literary environment dominated by the traditional bourgeois novel. At the same time, within the circumscribed environment into which the text was written, the outsized role of the individual and his relationship with society in bourgeois culture was anathema. Having the happier ending done in summary form after the leaders of the unsuccessful strike are taken away avoids the taint of individual heroism—something that would have been a danger had the successful strike been carried out in the main body of the narrative where the workers, though known only by sobriquets, could still be seen as separable or individualizible characters. The ending, in other words, is a survival strategy, something which—though imperfect—functioned in its day. This book, in many ways, is supposed to follow a similar path. At its heart it is a study that combines the methodologies of literary history and the history of the book. Both are established and accepted scholarly approaches, and there is no need to argue for

3

Kobayashi Takiji, Kobayashi Takiji zenshū, vol.14 (Tokyo: Shin Nihon Shuppansha, 1969), p.49.

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Introduction

6

the validity of either at this point. In the West, these have traditionally been subdisciplines of literature and history, respectively, and there has been a long history of nonengagement between the two. However, over the past decade or so, one of the main foci of scholarly energy in the European-language human sciences has been in building bridges to span this divide. In Japan, where the criteria for separating the study of history and literature are quite different, scholarship linking literary and book history has had a much longer tradition, for the pioneers of book history where specialists in the national literature. If the combination of these two methodologies is to a great degree conventional, the scope of this study is not. The vast majority of English-language monographs on Japanese literature are studies of a single text, an author’s oeuvre, or a genre. Even those with wider ranges in time are either histories of produced literature that span a century or so at most or investigations of a highly circumscribed object—be it a symbol, a text, or a literary figure—through a vast expanse of time. Here, however, though focusing on the early modern period (1600-1868), I will be considering the vernacular narrative literature produced from the fourteenth to the twenty-first centuries in an attempt to contextualize the rise of the modern Japanese novel at the end of the nineteenth century and its subsequent domination of all narrative art.4 4

The use of the term “literature” in this text when referring to pre-twentieth-century texts might be seen as being anachronistic because the Japanese word now used to designate this type of writing—bungaku (文学)—only took on such a meaning in the twentieth century. The rise of bungaku—something crucial for the study of the study of literature— is not as important for the study of literature as it might first appear. Only on extraordinarily rare occasions can discourse be thought of as initiating practice; nor is it even often the case that the two are coeval. Rather, practice almost always precedes discourse. Thus, instead of seeing bungaku as somehow “inventing” literature towards the beginning of Japan’s modern period, it would be better to argue that the success the term was able to enjoy at that time was conditioned by the existence of a number of textual Michael J. Scanlon

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Such an investigation needs a metaphor to help structure its narrative, and in many ways the metaphor has become the center of the study. The theoretical nature of this study sets it apart from the vast majority of scholarship on literature carried out by academics active in Japan. There, the study of the national literature is a highly populated and segmented field, and scholarly training focuses on philological and bibliographical skills. Scholarly reputation is achieved through the publication of articlelength studies, and the vast majority of academic books by a single author are compilations of previously published articles. The general narrative of literary history has not changed radically since the first generation of postwar scholars rose to prominence, and new scholarship tends to focus either on finding undiscovered primary source materials that will gird or undermine this long-established and well-accepted understanding or on offering revisionist explanations of the way in which well-known groupings organized into genres and sub-genres that were already being read “literarily.” In order to justify the frequent use of the terms literature or literary, I will show that the narratives engaged in this study were being read in this way by means of such evidence as the form they took as books, their organization into categories and sub-categories in period booksellers’ catalogues, and so on. On a related note, I will not define my terms at length in the main body of the text. This is my policy for one simple reason. Having entered college in the late 1980s when poststructuralism was the commonsense of academia, I do not believe that absolutely direct and transparent communication is possible and, consequently, am deeply skeptical of the type of “proper” and “careful” scholarship that defines terms explicitly and in depth—a type of scholarship most often described using architectural metaphors. To me, definitional foundations and the strenuous efforts many scholars make to shore them up are part of a vain attempt to “restore” the ideal of pure communication that was disrupted by the insights of poststructuralism. Unfortunately, such exertions only serve to exacerbate the problem. Thus, I would rather envision my work functioning like a fishing net, which, in order to fulfill its task well, needs to be able to move fluidly. Tethering it to the sea floor in many places or trying to close its eyes would not make it sturdier or more efficient. In fact, such actions would only assure its quick destruction and complete nonfunctionality. Thus, this book will entail a good deal of readerly effort, something for which I apologize in advance.

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Introduction

8

period texts fit into its parameters. These factors have led to a situation in which the scope of scholarship has narrowed severely. My decision to write a long-form, narrativebased and theoretical monograph is not a condemnation of the archive-centric and highly focused approach. To the contrary, because much of this scholarship is so good, it became necessary for me to take an alternative approach in order to add any new insight or stimulation to the global field. The dominant academic approach to literary studies in Japan is also what made this study possible. The continued importance of textual scholarship has created an environment conducive to the publication of compendia based on genre and even publisher that has come to supplement those organized around the masterpiece and the genius author, thus making the Japanese literary archive one of the most accessible in world literature. Furthermore, the historio-sociological approach prevalent among scholars of Japan’s national literature has made available a wide variety of materials related to the reception of major pieces of literature, the institutions of the literary world, and biographical details about famous (and not so famous) authors. This body of scholarship based on rigorous archival research helped me to orient my studies and made it easier to situate the close readings that are such an important part of Englishlanguage scholarship. More important, I do not attempt to use an established literary theory as a means to attack or rewrite the accepted literary historical narrative. Instead, I recognize that the work of my scholarly predecessors—both those who created and refined the dominant narrative as well as those who have tried to relativize or undermine it—is careful and generally correct, and my scholarly contribution lies in trying to explain, in a new way, the already known facts and trends of Japanese literary history by

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forwarding a theory able to account both for those texts that fit neatly within the conceptual framework of the heretofore dominant paradigm as well as for those wellknown ones that cannot be fit into its intellectual parameters and, thus, have already weakened that model. The metaphor that lies at the center of this book is evolution. In a Darwinian system, literature is always constrained by its past, and its evolution is a two-step process of undirected innovation as well as directed and directing selection. Thus, there exists a good deal of literary “imperfection,” which Franco Moretti takes as being central to an understanding of the relationship between literature and the world: [W]hy is it that literary forms are never quite as ‘functional’ as social history leads us to expect—why are they always somehow off the mark, unbalanced, opaque? It has become fashionable to believe that this is so because of some intrinsic anarchic vocation of literature, but I would rather suggest a more prosaic answer: such sociological ‘imperfection’ is due to the fact that social pressures (hence also pressures of the dominant block) are active only in half of literary history. In Darwinian fashion, the context can select forms—but it cannot generate them. Ruling forms, then, like ruling ideas, are not quite the forms of the ruling class: they are the forms the ruling class has selected—without having produced them, however. No one is omnipotent. 5 Moretti’s work led me to that of Stephen Jay Gould, a paleontologist who played a leading role in what could be termed a Darwinian reformation that occurred over the second half of the twentieth century. In his The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, Gould characterized his life’s work as a revision of three central features of Darwinian theory: scope, efficacy, and agency. Gould’s insights as well as their applicability to the study of literature can be summarized as follows:

5

Franco Moretti, “On Literary Evolution,” Signs Taken for Wonders (New York: Verso, 1988), p.266.

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Scope Traditional Darwinism claimed that “microevolutionary modes and processes can, by extrapolation, through the vastness of geological time, explain the full panoply of life’s changes in form and diversity.” 6 Gould, though not specifically denying slow, incremental development, says that evolution can also occur via punctuated equilibrium—long periods of relative stasis interrupted by short bursts of rapid change, wherein change is not a linear movement from Point A to Point B, but a process of diversification followed by selection. This, of course, should be nothing new to students of art or history. In fact, this adjustment of Darwinian theory does more to make the model suitable for the study of the human sciences rather than yield new insights into artistic or historical development. Efficacy To the claim that “selection acts as the primary creative force in building new evolutionary novelties,” Gould has added that developmental constraint also exists “as a positive, structuralist, and internal force” 7 and that exaptation—“evolution by cooption of structures already present for other reasons (often non-adaptive in their origin), rather than by direct adaptation for current function via natural selection” 8 — also plays an important role. This, too, is not new to the study of literature. The idea of refunctionalization played a large role in the Russian Formalist theories of literary evolution. 9 6

Stephen Jay Gould, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002), p.20.

7

Op. cit., p.82.

8

Op. cit., p.85.

9

Jurij Tynjanov writes: If we agree that evolution is the change in interrelationships between the elements of a system—between functions and formal elements—then evolution may be seen as “mutations” of systems. These changes vary from epoch to epoch, occurring sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly. They do not entail the sudden and complete renovation or the replacement of formal elements, but rather the new functions of these formal elements. Thus the very comparison of certain Michael J. Scanlon

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Agency Classical Darwinism focused mainly on the organism, whereas Gould supplements this with species. This, too, can be translated easily from biological evolution. In literature, the two agents of evolution are text and genre. The concept of genre as species is probably self explanatory, but the relation between text and organism is a matter that probably needs to be clarified. As Yuri Lotman pointed out, literary evolution can not be approached by lining up texts according the order in which they were written; texts being read at a given time and place are at least as important as those being written, and these can be ignored only at great peril.10 This issue can be resolved by measuring a textual population with a method that counts a text as an individual unit each time it is produced, reproduced, or enacted (read, listen to, performed, and so on). The focus is kept on literary production by means of the concept of genre, the appearance of a variety of similar but different texts over time. If this neo-Darwinian theory forms the backbone of this thesis, I should warn the reader that it was never supposed to. Originally, this piece was to be a study of the seventeenthcentury context in which the famous author Ihara Saikaku (井原西鶴, 1642-1693) became active, and it was to employ an Annales school model to show that, because there was no distinct break between the Muromachi and Edo periods, the prose literary output of Saikaku should be seen as an anomaly. When the deep structural paradigm proved inadequate to contain the historical materials, I abandoned it and, following Moretti’s lead, turned to the work of Gould. 11 However, since biological evolution and literary

literary phenomena must be made on the basis of function, not only forms. Seemingly dissimilar phenomena may be similar in function, and vice versa. Jurij Tynjanov, “On Literary Evolution,” Readings in Russian Poetics (Chicago: The Dalkey Archive Press, 2002), pp.76-77. 10

Yuri Lotman, Universe of the Mind (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2001), p.127.

11

Moretti’s early work, which can be found in his Signs taken for Wonders collection of Michael J. Scanlon

Introduction

12

evolution are different phenomena, Gould’s propositions will be adjusted or abandoned where necessary. I would hope that this scholarly piece will not be judged on the basis of its faithfulness to Gould’s paradigm, much less the ability of his theory to explain biological evolution. My goal in writing this book is to offer a model and method capable of competing with those established theoretical paradigms that have underwritten much English-language scholarship of the past decade or two. Thus, my work does not use a recognized literary theory to explain Japanese literature, but is itself a piece of literary theory that adapts a metaphor taken from the natural sciences to fit the facts of Japanese literary history, and it is my hope that the approach taken in this text might prove useful as a general Darwinian model for the study of literary history applicable to the narrative art of other traditions. The neo-Darwinian metaphor is used because it serves two highly important functions in this work. The Darwinian framework provides a vocabulary and conceptual structure that helps make a new way of organizing unfamiliar materials more accessible to the worldview of most twenty-first-century academic readers. At the same time, because the evolutionary model was superintended as a means of explaining materials so obviously dissimilar to narrative literature, foregrounding the Darwinian

essays, was also based on the deep structural model of Braudel and the Annales School of history. However, in the last essay of the book (which was also the most recently composed piece), he turns from this to the neo-Darwinism of Gould. Also, the order in which the dissertation from which this text has evolved was written might be instructive to the reader. This introduction was written after basically all research for the book was finished and the prologue as well as the first two body chapters were already complete. In other words, what you are reading first was done after the dissertation was already well past its midway point.

Michael J. Scanlon

Introduction

13

framework emphasizes the fact that this is a constructed history, not an objective or transparent window onto how things actually were in Japan from the fourteenth century onwards. Like all the theories with which it will compete, literary evolution is, at its most basic level, nothing more than an extended metaphor, a way of encouraging future scholarship of the same basic type as well as a means of revealing new insights that also leads to new blind spots. Developing the metaphor into a theory is a worthwhile scholarly activity because to do so is a way of laying bare the devices, procedures and assumptions of literary scholarship so these very devices, procedures and assumptions may be brought into question. At the same time, since the narrative of literary history and the theory which orients it are mutually dependent, should this neo-Darwinian paradigm find success, it is certain that, in future scholarship, the accepted account of Japanese literary history will change, and this work will soon be superseded. In short, this monograph represents not an effort to present a final understanding of the phenomena with which it engages, but an attempt to serve as a stimulus for future scholarship that will use its conceptual framework to modify our understanding of the facts of literary history and, thereby, refine the theoretical paradigm itself. In deference to the “one long argument” of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, detailed expositions of the theory will, for the most part, be carried out in the main body of the book. Before entering that portion of the text, however, it would be best to look closely at the applicability of natural selection—the basis of all Darwinian theory—to literary evolution. In biology, the mechanics of natural selection are based on

Michael J. Scanlon

Introduction

14

three concepts: “overproduction of offspring, variation, and heritability.” 12 This is eminently translatable to the field of literature: more texts (and books) are produced than the market will bear; in order to find a market, newly written texts must be somehow different than their predecessors; success breeds imitation. 13 According to Moretti, the selection process that winnows the possible routes of evolution works as follows: In Darwin… history is the interweaving of two wholly independent paths: random variations, and necessary selection. In our case: rhetorical innovations, which are the result of chance; and a social selection, which by contrast is the daughter of necessity. 14 There is, of course, a problem with this, an issue that Moretti himself would probably never deny. It is not simply “history” that decides the success and failure of individual texts. Texts survive and flourish only if they are able to find a readership willing to invest in their reproduction. There are many cases in which texts that seemingly should have succeeded did not because of localized and highly contingent factors. For instance, a prestigious compendia of classical Japanese literature contains, as its first selection in a volume on pre-1682 Edo-period fiction, a text entitled the Tsuyudono monogatari (The Narrative of Lord Dew 露殿物語). 15 This piece of fiction was written in the early decades of the seventeenth century, and its plot follows a monk who, having lost his zeal 12

Gould, p.13.

13

Here I use the term “market” to refer to both the commercial one as well as the artistic one. Texts being read by a great number of popular readers or by a restricted number of elite readers are still being read in a market, it is simply that there are qualitative differences both between the markets and among the texts fit for each environment.

14

Franco Moretti, Modern Epic (New York: Verso, 1996), p.6.

15

Tsuyudono monogatari, Kana-zōshi Ukiyo-zōshi, Nihon koten bungaku zenshū 37 (Tokyo: Shōgakkan, 1971) pp.47-116.

Michael J. Scanlon

Introduction

15

for the religious life, consecutively falls in love with two courtesans and eventually commits suicide with one of his paramours when passion’s fulfillment is thwarted by obligation. This would seem to be a nearly perfect bridge between Japan’s literary medieval and early modern eras. The lackadaisical monk seeking religious reinvigoration was a common figure in medieval literature, and the text features two formal elements— the faithful prostitute and a love suicide—that would come to play central roles in eighteenth-century fiction. As can be seen in the philosophical writings of Fujiwara Seika (藤原惺窩, 1561-1619) and Hayashi Razan (林羅山, 1583-1657), the intellectual apparatus that could have made this narrative legible had already formed by the time of the text’s genesis. Nevertheless, the Tsuyudono monogatari went basically unread during the early modern period and only comes down to the present because a single manuscript happened to survive. 16 One of the chief reasons for this fallibility of selection is the two-way circuit

16

Contingency plays an even greater role in literary evolution once print becomes the customary means of textual dissemination. This might at first seem counterintuitive because the number of copies of a given text struck in an initial print run means that texts which fail to find an immediate market have a greater chance of being “re-discovered.” There are many examples over the past four centuries of evolutionary “mistakes” being corrected—books (or films) languishing during their initial release only to flourish at a slightly later but still contemporary date. That said, it must always be remembered that the rise of print culture is almost always accompanied by a rise in literacy, which, in turn, means that many more literary texts are produced than had been the case previously. The expense necessary to turn a single manuscript into a printed edition means that it is more than likely that a huge number of texts are selected against before making it to press, and the vast majority of these are simply lost to history. There is absolutely no reason to believe that, because publishers are infallible readers, all texts capable of success make it to print. In fact, it could be argued that more potentially successful texts are selected against “unfairly” during times in which print culture is dominant than had been the case during pre-print manuscript culture. Those texts “re-discovered” in their day are but the exception that proves the rule, an example of imperfection within the literary system.

Michael J. Scanlon

Introduction

16

linking author to publisher to consumer that Noma Kōshin talked about in the 1950s. 17 There is a hierarchy to this readership, and personal taste and intuition play a large part in limiting what is put in a position to succeed on a larger scale. This may seem like a quibbling point, but it emphasizes the contingency of success that is vital to a proper understanding of Darwinian logic. In Moretti’s scholarship, there is a belief in the existence of intrinsic quality in literary texts. Consequently, he would seem to argue that those texts which flourished did so deservedly. This is, in many ways, correct. Readers read one text as opposed to another because they like it more, because it has a greater aesthetic appeal to a given audience. However, I would simply say that, from the perspective of the text, this is a matter of being fit or unfit to a given environment, rather than one relatable to greater or lesser natural worth. This keeps my work from becoming a Spenserian version of evolution, as opposed to a Darwinian one. The general failure within the humanistic scholarly community to distinguish between these two models of evolution has undermined evolutionary paradigms as a whole for reasons laid out clearly by Frank Kermode: If the value of an opinion is to be tested only by its success in the world, the propositions of dementia can become as valuable as any other fictions. The validity of one’s opinions of the Jews can be proved by killing six million Jews. 18 In a Darwinian literary history, success happens because it can and does, not because it has to, much less because it should. On the other hand, though here I stress chance, it is also clear that success is not completely random. What does succeed may be decidedly 17

Noma Kōshin, “Ukiyo-zōshi no dokusha zō,” Bungaku 26:5 (May, 1958), p.619.

18

Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), p.38.

Michael J. Scanlon

Introduction

17

contingent, but what can succeed is far less so because the readers who determine the success or failure of individual texts are themselves conditioned by historical and ideological circumstance in a highly directed manner. Ideology—the means by which the experience of the world is made meaningful—is both complex and imperfect. As Moretti mentioned earlier, ideology is an evolved form that can only be related indirectly to history. It is also not a unified or homogenous phenomenon. Rather, ideology should be thought of as an intricate overlay of competing dominant and recessive structures organized into a meta-structure. Thus, there are always tensions and inconsistencies that derive from either intra-ideological contradiction or the imperfect fit between ideology and experience. Imperfections in world and worldview are, of course, universal and always present in large numbers, but there is a clear hierarchy to these breakdowns, 19 and this can be clearly tied to specifiable times and places. Moreover, though these highly complex organizations are constantly shifting, many—maybe most—of the competing structures within a given meta-structure seem to share a set or sets of related value groupings. The specific content and meaning of these are always being contested, but their importance is generally recognized, and it might very well be that these core values are that which helps to organize a given metastructure by providing a context for the interaction of its constituent elements and perhaps even orienting this always ongoing process. It is also important to note that, though the meta-structures and the value groupings that help to hold them together can reorganize 19

Obviously enough, conflicts that involve only dominant structures, which serve to organize the meta-structure, are of greater importance than those that involve lesser structures.

Michael J. Scanlon

Introduction

18

radically with changes in epoch, there is a good deal of stability within a given epoch, and the overarching structure remains relatively steady despite the waxing and waning of its individual components. 20 In short, cultures and epochs are recognizable and differentiable because values clash within a given culture and epoch as well as differently among different cultures and epochs. Areas of value contestation are an environment in which narrative literature thrives, especially in its longer, better integrated forms, and the problems engaged by literature remain fairly constant within an epoch or shared culture. As Geoffrey Winthrop-Young points out in a review of Moretti’s scholarly oeuvre, the seeming complexity of bourgeois long-form narrative literature “may ultimately be reduced to a basic set of elements and the interactions that take place between them.” 21 As reductive as this might first appear, there is an extremely good reason for it. The very function of long-form, plot-based literary fiction in the greater ideological environment is to reduce complexity. The world of a text—no matter how large it may be—is always going to be less populated, less intricate, and less resistant to meaningfulness than extra-literary reality. Long-form narratives seem to engage societal problems; those ending in closure—the vast majority of fiction texts at any given time—tend to resolve these issues, and even those that are open-ended at least serve to isolate conflicts. Further, the language used in Winthrop-Young’s description of Moretti’s work on the European novel 20

This ideological consistency, after all, is often what makes an epoch identifiable as an epoch. 21

Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, “How the Mule Got Its Tale: Moretti’s Darwinian Bricolage,” Diacritics 29:2 (Summer 1999), p.36.

Michael J. Scanlon

Introduction

19

is strikingly similar to that which was employed by A.J. Greimas in his reworking of the medieval semiotic rectangle: Perhaps out of a desire for intelligibility, we can imagine that the human mind, in order to achieve the construction of cultural objects (literary, mythical, picture, etc.) starts with simple elements and follows a complex course, encountering on its way constraints to which it must submit, as well as choices it can make. 22 The semiotic rectangle is composed of two opposed terms as well as their simple negations, or contraries, and forms a graphic representation of the logical limits of a given dialectic. Figure 1: Semiotic Rectangle as Codified by A.J. Greimas 23 A

opposition

implication

contrariety

not B

opposition

B

implication

not A

The vertical borders of this dialectical space are bounded by slots for one term in absence of the other (A and not B, B and not A), while its horizontal boundaries are made up of the “complex term,” which is the synthesis of the original opposition (A and B), and the “neutral term,” which is the absence of both original terms (neither A nor B). 24 When Fredric Jameson appropriated this analytic tool for a Marxist criticism of narrative, he 22

A.J. Greimas and Francois Rastier, “The Interaction of Semiotic Constraints,” Yale French Studies 0:41 (1968), pp.86-87. 23

Based on a figure in Hayden White’s The Content of the Form.

24

Fredrick Jameson, The Political Unconscious (Ithica, NY: Cornell University Press, 1981), p.166.

Michael J. Scanlon

Introduction

20

replaced what had been “purely logical or analytic negations”25 with social contradictions, which are formulated “in terms of an antimony for the reading mind.” 26 The semiotic rectangle becomes “the very locus of ideological closure… [that] maps the limits of a specific ideological consciousness and marks the conceptual points beyond which that consciousness cannot go, and between which it is condemned to oscillate.” 27 The slots surrounding the semiotic rectangle generate characters as the dialectical conflict produces a literary narrative, so a re-mapping the dramatis personae of a given piece of fiction onto a semiotic rectangle allows insight into the political unconscious of the text in question. This analytic tool will be adapted in several ways within this study. In both Jameson’s work and my own, the rectangle is used to delineate the conceptual limits of specific examples of dialectic problematics. However, whereas my predecessor placed almost all emphasis on the outer limits that demarcate this epistemological space as a whole, I posit that the actions taken by characters in narrative texts and, consequently, the characters themselves can be charted both within in the interiors of each of the four triangular sections that make up the rectangle as well as on the inner and outer borders of each of these parts. Thus, my version of this mapping device is able to account for a more complex structure of relationships among characters and actions than had been possible previously. More important, in Jameson’s work, the semiotic rectangle is used to 25

Jameson, p.48.

26

Jameson, p.166.

27

Jameson, p.47.

Michael J. Scanlon

Introduction

21

diagram an engine of production; here, however, it will be appropriated to visually represent the most basic mechanism of selection. If the characters of texts can be plotted onto a given version of the rectangle in such a way that the narrative seems meaningful, the text will not be actively selected against, though this is in no way a guarantee of success. An example might make things clearer. In his The Political Unconscious, Jameson uses a semiotic rectangle based on a conflict between activity and value to analyze Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim. This is indeed a conflict within the ideology of bourgeois capitalism. That capitalists earn money on the work of labor is the very point upon which Karl Marx seized in his attempt to rally the workers of the (bourgeois) world. It is also possible to fit Conrad’s novel into a selectionist rectangle based on this problematic. Yet it disappoints the reader who does so. Jameson claims that the second half is a romance, “a degraded narrative precisely by its claim to have ‘resolved’ the contradiction and generated the impossible hero, who, remaining problematical in the Pantra section of the book as the Lukács of The Theory of the Novel told us the hero of a genuine novel must do, now solicits that lowering of our reality principle necessary to accredit this final burst of legend.” 28 There is something amiss with Jameson’s reading because, after all, Lord Jim does not have a happy ending. Jim dies, his life a failure. The final downfall of the protagonist becomes much clearer if the text is analyzed within the conflict between individuality and socialization—the irresolvable struggle that Moretti puts at the heart of the bildungsroman and a conflict which constitutes a much 28

Jameson, pp.255-256.

Michael J. Scanlon

Introduction

22

more central contradiction within bourgeois society. 29 The young Jim wants to be a hero, someone recognized in isolation of his peers for socially sanctioned behavior. However, he falls when he selfishly abandons ship in order to save himself and is brought to trial with the rest of the crew. In other words, though less lacking in proper bourgeois socialization than other members of the group, he is recognized by the world at large as an individual for an asocial act. This haunts his movements throughout the novel. He wanders from place to place, leaving whenever he fears the secret of his past will become known, until he finally settles in as a leader of a remote outpost and, as a paragon of both social and individual values, brings order to the community. In the end, however, he is undone yet again by a shade of his past, this time in the form of Gentleman Brown, a privateer who the epitome of an individual who lacks all (proper) socialization. Though the novel’s fit into this problematic in such a way that reinforces the stability of bourgeois society probably accounts better for its success in the capitalist world, Jameson’s application of the value-activity contradiction is important. It shows that the same text can fit into multiple problematics and, therefore, can be read in very different times and places as a text capable of engaging the world meaningfully. 30 Thus, the selectionist

29

Though I use the terms individuality and socialization throughout this text, the basic conflict has been designated with other terms as well: Georg Lukàcs uses soul and world; other scholars use self and society or bourgeois subject and bourgeois system; and so on. I will not argue that individuality and socialization are better terms than those used by other scholars and strongly define these terms in an attempt to circumscribe the signified of these particular signifiers. Instead, this study will use these terms as abstractly and inclusively as possible while maintaining meaningfulness. 30

This, of course, hardly exhausts the possible reasons for a text to maintain or gain a readership over vast chronological or geographic expanses.

Michael J. Scanlon

Introduction

23

rectangle, though in many ways weaker than the semiotic one, is also more flexible because it allows for the fact that texts can perform a multiplicity of functions and steadfastly avoids arguing for a single “correct” reading based upon the historical and ideological conditions of the time and place of its genesis. Figure 2: Selectionist Rectangle for Kani kōsen Superintendent Asakawa activity workers

value capitalists

no-value no-activity Miyaguchi (short-lived stowaway) If a historicist scholar did wish to apply the activity-value problematic in a way that focused on the environment specific to a given text’s production, it would be better to take as the object of analysis a narrative text written within the proletariat movement inside a capitalist society and largely consumed by those active in it. The Kani kōsen, for instance, fits very well into just such a selectionist rectangle. That the basic conflict lies between the workers and the capitalists is no secret. The text states this directly. What is of far more interest is the fact that the neutral section, which combines no work and no value, is so weakly filled. The only character that fits the description is one worker who tried to hide aboard ship, was quickly turned in by a fellow worker, and died within a week of the six-month voyage. Furthermore, the text includes a scene illustrating that, even when Asakawa is pre-occupied, the workers do not slack off but simply enjoy their labor more. In a text meant to argue for an active role for the lumpenproletariat in the Michael J. Scanlon

Introduction

24

Marxist cause, non-work is simply not a viable option. 31 The configuration of characters in the rectangle also helps account for what can only be said to be the outsized level of importance granted to Asakawa, a man who provoked one worker to say: “The emperor lives above the clouds, so he means nothing to guys like us. But this Asa[kawa]—he can’t get away with this!” 32 The conflict between value and activity is not the central issue within the bourgeois worldview because it can symbolically be solved rather easily. The figure of the entrepreneur, who both owns and operates his company, is one such solution; Asakawa is the embodiment of another. As can be seen in his poor handwriting and frequent misspellings, he too came from society’s underclass, but was able to work his way up through the ranks just like the hero of the movie shown to the workers by the company while they toiled at sea. To a pro-communist writer or reader living under bourgeois capitalism, Asakawa would be an intolerable lie, an exception that is used as the rule in order to further an unjust way of life. An awareness of rules and exceptions lies at the heart of this scholarly text and 31

In fact, the lumpenproletariat may very well have maintained its negative valence within much Marxist philosophy because of the way it fits into the activity-value problematic. The lumpenproletariat, lacking both activity and value, lies outside the bourgeois worker (activity without value) and the bourgeois capitalist (value without activity), and this denigrated social unit forms a good counterpoint to the communist workers who will combine value and activity. In other words, the lumpenproletariat, though most often portrayed as unimportant or detrimental to the communist cause, fulfilled an important function within Marxist social theory because this social group and its members filled the neutral section of the selectionist rectangle so well. It could also be argued that, in the Kani kōsen, this crew loses its lumpenproletariat-ness and becomes simply a group of exploited bourgeois workers. 32

天皇陸下は雲の上にいるから、俺達にゃどうでもいいんだけど、浅ってなれば、どっ こいそうは行かないからな。

Kobayashi Takiji, Kani kōsen, p.17.

Michael J. Scanlon

Introduction

25

the literary theory forwarded within it. The novel is a product of bourgeois culture wherein the activity-value problematic is recessive and the individuality-socialization one is dominant, so the vast majority of novels are conditioned by the latter, not the former. Yet it would be a grave error to assume that a selectionist rectangle based on the individuality-socialization pairing will necessarily yield a more correct understanding of all narrative texts. The individuality-socialization dynamic is neither universal nor universally dominant. It exerts the strongest guiding influence only in certain cultures, and there are many times and places where alternative problematics dominate. Should the objects of analysis be texts written in a non-modern, non-Western environment, the selfsame individuality-socialization problematic, which enabled a more accurate understanding of the fit between the text of the novel Lord Jim and its original context, would result in de-historicizing, perhaps orientalizing deformations. Again, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this, no imperative to always historicize. Why would the vast majority of readers read texts if they did not speak to present circumstances? It is just vital to realize both that the ideological conflicts which can be schematically represented on selectionist rectangles are the lenses through which certain forms of narrative are understood as well as that everyone is ideologically nearsighted. One of the great benefits of the analytic tool that is the selectionist rectangle is its ability to function as a corrective to the distorting epistemological structures of modernity. Furthermore, though this scholarly text will close with an account of the rise of the Japanese novel, which is the dominant literary form of Japanese modernity and was conditioned by the individuality-socialization dynamic, the vast majority of its discourse is taken up by a

Michael J. Scanlon

Introduction

26

study of early modern Japanese literature, which was written within a different limiting problematic. Thus, the theory forwarded within this scholarly piece is superintended to fit the facts of a literature that is neither modern, nor Western. The importance of this should be obvious. Theories of the novel—literary theories in general—have traditionally been written by specialists in European literature and then applied to the narrative fiction of other parts of the globe. Yet it seems highly likely that what has long been assumed to be the normative experience is, in fact, an exception, not the rule. Perhaps it is now time for a theoretical paradigm to be written outside the domain of the Europeanist, and the neo-Darwinian framework that is being forwarded systematically as a model for the study of literary history for the first time in The Rise of the Japanese Novel might be able to fulfill exactly such a role.

Michael J. Scanlon

Prologue

27 Prologue

The Medieval World and Its Literature In all things I yearn for the past. Modern fashions seem to keep growing more and more debased. I find that, even among the splendid pieces of furniture built with the great skill of those woodworkers, those in the old forms are the most pleasing. And as for writing letters, surviving scraps from the past reveal how superb the phrasing used to be. Tsurezuregusa Kenkō (1283-1352) In Japan, the origins of vernacular narrative and the first documentable use of print technology can both be traced to the eighth century.

Yet almost a millennium

would pass before the first time this kind of text made it to press. 1

Japanese-language

narrative would, of course, flourish in the intervening centuries, especially after the sudden evolution of the hiragana and katakana syllabaries towards the end of the ninth century.

Print, too, survived, but its domain was much more restricted. For the first

three centuries of print in Japan, the technology was used by Buddhist institutions for devotional purposes, not to produce texts for reading.

From the eleventh century, these

religious organizations would also come to use print for the dissemination of knowledge, and a great majority of the texts reproduced before the Edo period were Buddhist ones, though there is a sizable minority of Confucian texts, too. Print was by default

1

The first example of a text that can be classified as a Japanese-language narrative was the Kojiki (古事記), a mythic history of Japan and the imperial house presented to the court in 712; the first extant printed matter are the slips of paper on which invocations (dhāranī) had been struck then placed inside miniature pagodas between 764 and 770.

Michael J. Scanlon

Prologue

28

xylography, for this was the only available technology, and there is no evidence indicating that blocks were carved to put out books for their commercial appeal.

By the

end of the sixteenth century, when the movable-type press was introduced to Japan as a spoil of war from Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s invasions of the Korean peninsula, the environment was set for the secularization and commercialization of print.

Buddhist

temples, of course, made use of both this new technology as well as the established one to print texts, but so did other constituencies including emperors and military leaders, the medical community and the merchant elite. It was two merchants—Hon’ami Kōetsu (本 阿弥光悦, 1558-1637) and Suminokura Soan (角倉素案, 1571-1632)—who first put out

typographically produced copies of Japanese-language narratives in gorgeous imitation of manuscript practice, books that are now referred to as Sagabon.

Though these were

made for private distribution, booksellers soon began to set up print shops to produce books for profit, and vernacular narrative would play a role of some importance within the establishment of commercial print as a viable industry. Before this, vernacular narrative texts circulated in manuscript form.

Much

scribal reproduction of these texts would be described as private since the books produced were for the use of the individual or group that invested the time and money in their production.

By the close of the Muromachi period, however, scribal publication

seems to have been a lively business unto itself as book merchants were producing manuscripts for the marketplace.

Though many copies of the Ise monogatari and digest

versions of the Genji monogatari were written out and sold, the most important genre for this type of commercial publishing was what is now known as Muromachi (or late

Michael J. Scanlon

Prologue

29

medieval) fiction, a modern term of literary criticism used to organize a corpus of about five hundred or so literary narratives produced from the fall of the Kamakura shogunate to the first half-century of the Edo period. This type of literature was by no means canonical, so texts were re-worked and re-written as they were copied and re-copied both commercially and privately.

The textual drift is such that, even though the stories,

characters and plots of these texts are seen as products of the late medieval period, historical linguists do not use the vast majority of books copied out in the Edo period as source documents for the study of the Muromachi-era Japanese language.

Academics

specializing in late medieval fiction must make do with the materials available to them; however, book history plays a central role in this study, and its focus lies elsewhere, so only those texts that have manuscripts dating back to the Muromachi period itself will be considered in detail. There are a handful of manuscripts of late medieval fiction that survive from the early part of the Muromachi period.

One of these is a two-roll picture scroll of the

famous shuten dōji (sake drinking youth) story. This scroll is thought to date from around or before the turn of the fourteenth century and was once owned by the Katori-jingū, a shrine to a tutelary deity of warriors in Shimousa Province.

The scroll’s

images are all intact, but its text is missing large sections, including the portion preceding the first image.

The content of this section can, however, be reconstructed fairly reliably

from a twelve-page partial manuscript probably made at the end of the Muromachi period by Konoe Sakihisa (1536-1611).

At the close of the tenth century, something has been

carrying off men and women of all walks of life from the capital and its environs, and the

Michael J. Scanlon

Prologue

30

people up to the highest levels of society are suffering.

Since this was certainly not the

work of an ordinary human, eminent priests and monks try to exorcise the troublemaker but fail to make it appear. Finally, a yin-yang diviner is able to discover that the demon king responsible for this is living on Ōe Mountain to the northwest of the capital.

The

emperor orders a group of soldiers to vanquish the demon, but they beg off the mission. Next, the emperor makes the same request to Minamoto Raikō and Fujiwara Hōshō, who accept.

After going to pray at the shrines of Hie, Sumiyoshi, Kumano and Iwashimizu

Hachiman for help in their mission, Raikō and Hōshō along with Hōshō’s servant and Raikō’s four closest retainers head off for Ōe Mountain in full armor.

While on the road,

Raikō and his men encounter four mysterious mountain ascetics, who advise the group to take on the garb of pilgrims, give Raikō some sake and a shield, and join them on their trek to Ōe Mountain. Once an old woman says that the demon king is known as “the sake loving youth” and points the way to his fortress, they enter the demon’s stronghold and meet him.

The demon king, who appears as a handsome and intelligent youth, tells

the story behind his name and says that he only came to live on Ōe Mountain in 849 because Saichō evicted him from Mount Hiei as he was founding his monastery there and Emperor Kammu had him removed from the Mother Mountain (Kaka Yama) of Ōmi Prefecture. 2

The demon has a feast readied, and the group offers up the sake they were

carrying.

2

Saichō (767-822) was the priest who founded the main temple of the powerful Tendai school of Buddhism on Mount Hiei to the northeast of the area now known as Kyoto in 788. Kanmu (737-806, r.781-806) was the emperor when the imperial capital was established there in 794.

Michael J. Scanlon

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The second roll begins with a description of the inside of the demon’s lair, which includes many bones as well as captives from China and India in addition to those from Japan.

Some of the lesser demons then take the form of beautiful women to see if Raikō

and his men are really ascetics.

They pass the test, and the demons proceed to change

shape and dance about in order to beguile the newcomers until beams of light emanate from Raikō’s eyes causing the demons take refuge. The four men met along the way remove a boulder blocking access to the demons’ escape route, and the warriors enter to see the demon king in his true form.

The mysterious ascetics hold down the demon

king’s limbs, and Raikō and his men behead it, whereupon the severed head begins to dance about until Raikō is able to subdue it. The text of the second roll of the Katori manuscript ends here, which in some ways seems appropriate. However, the scroll also contains four images that do not seem to fit the narrative contained in its text. This copy is obviously incomplete, and the textual line seemingly lost until 1887 when a text-only manuscript with the title Ōe yama shuten dōji dating from sometime in the fifteenth century was discovered. This version includes a narrative very similar to that of the earlier manuscript but also has an ending that would fit the remaining pictures. group and the prisoners of the stronghold burn the bodies of the demons. who had been kidnapped are sent back home. king’s powers are broken, dies.

Raikō’s

The Chinese

The old woman, now that the demon

The four mysterious ascetics accompany the group as

far as the road leading back to the capital, whereupon they proclaim that the reigning emperor, the yin-yang diviner as well as Raikō and his men are all manifestations of

Michael J. Scanlon

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divine presences. 3

After both parties exchange gifts, the ascetics announce that they are

the gods of the Hie, Sumiyoshi, Kumano and Iwashimizu Hachiman shrines, then disappear. When the group returns to the capital, Raikō and Hōshō are made into the general of the west and the general of the east, respectively, and given great rewards. Finally, Raikō makes a pilgrimage to a shrine to give thanks to the gods that helped them. The close of this narrative might seem overly long, for almost a quarter of the text’s discourse is taken up by what comes after the conclusion of the story (fabula) proper.

It would seem that, were the Shuten dōji simply a story about martial virtue, it

could have ended where the Katori manuscript breaks off.

Yet the long denouement

certainly had been part of the earliest manuscript, and a similarly structured (if much truncated) version can be found in all textual lines present during the Muromachi period. Before making an argument about the function and importance of the ending in this text, it might be best to investigate the larger generic and historical contexts. In modern literary histories, Muromachi fiction is seen as taking the place of what is now called courtly narrative fiction (ōchō monogatari 王朝物語). The two genres are indeed dissimilar. Courtly fiction tends to be lengthy and have a focus on character or psychology, an effect achieved because satellites (supplementary events) are moved to the foreground, and kernels (hinge events) are of far less importance. 4

It is also a

3

The emperor is Maitreya Bodhisattva, Raikō and Hōshō are among the Five Heavenly Kings, and Raikō’s four trusted retainers are the Diva Kings that guard the four directions.

4

Seymour Chatman, Story and Discourse (Ithica, NY: Cornell University Press, 1978), pp.53-56.

Michael J. Scanlon

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33

literature of the aristocracy, for the aristocracy, and by the aristocracy. The authors and readers of these texts belonged to that social class; the lives and loves of its members are the story matter of these narratives; their settings are in spaces marked as aristocratic, particularly mansions in and around the capital as well as familiar sights of pilgrimage. By contrast, most texts of Muromachi fiction are shorter—texts average about thirty or forty pages—and plot-driven. 5

Moreover, though it seems more than likely that in its

written form the genre had an elite audience, pieces of late medieval fiction contained a much wider range of possible story types, characters and settings than courtly fiction. The worlds of these texts are, for the most part, outside normal time and space.

This

otherworldliness avoids the complexity of quotidian existence and allows for heightened symbolic closure. Courtly narrative fiction is normally associated with the later Heian period. There are two good reasons for this. First, the dominant texts of the genre—those that were read and copied the most—are a product of the period from the second half of the tenth century through the middle of the twelfth. Second, this same period marks the highpoint of aristocratic political power, a time when elite members of the Fujiwara clan ruled without any real opposition. A historicist approach to literature that takes reflection as its central metaphor would almost have to look to this period as the highpoint of this genre. However, as Ichiko Teiji points out, this is untrue: The stream of literary fiction, which was born from the world of the Heian-period aristocracy and reached its zenith with the Genji monogatari, did not disappear once the Kamakura period had been entered. Rather, the number of works written 5

Ichiko Teiji, “Chūsei no shōsetsu,” Otogi-zōshi, Nihon bungaku kenkyū shiryō sōsho (Tokyo: Yūsedō, 1985), p.28.

Michael J. Scanlon

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was much greater than in the previous age. The Kamakura period was an age in which a shogunate was established in the eastern city of Kamakura far from Kyoto, and military government was practiced for the first time. As a reflection of this, military narratives like the Heike monogatari, the Hōgen monogatari, the Heiji monogatari and the Shōmonki were created for the first time, and exempla collections, which were related to recollections of the past age as well as to the preaching and dissemination of new religious sects, were variously produced. However, in Kyoto, the court government of before continued unchanged; alongside the new literature, courtly fiction was created as ever by aristocratic hands in amounts that reach the level of almost two hundred titles. The majority of these have been lost; no more than one tenth or so survive to the present. With the start of the period of northern and southern courts, however, courtly fiction, which depicted the world of the aristocracy and is thought to have had people of that class as its readers and writers, pretty much disappears. After the turbulence of the Nanbokuchō period, the power of the aristocracy fell to earth, so this [literary phenomenon] corresponds to the fate of the aristocrats. 6 The break is over-emphasized.

As many modern literary historians have pointed out,

some pieces of courtly fiction—a group that includes, among others, the Sumiyoshi monogatari, the Sagoromo monogatari, the Ochikubo monogatari, the Yowa no nezame, and the Torikaebaya monogatari—continued to evolve over the late medieval period to the point that they gave rise to texts included within the corpus of Muromachi fiction. The narratives gathered under the rubric Muromachi fiction actually derive from diverse sources such as courtly fiction, exempla literature, and military narrative. 7

Originally

quite different in form, these converged structurally due to historical and ideological pressures as they were re-produced over time. 6

Ichiko Teiji, “Muromachi monogatari to sono shūhen,” Muromachi monogatari shū (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1989), p.471. 7

I use the term exempla because it is scholarly protocol. Japanese academics working on such texts as the Gesta Romanorum translate exemplum into Japanese as setsuwa (説話), a term that did not come into scholarly use in Japan until the modern period. In pre-modern times, this type of writing, like most all narrative, was simply referred to as monogatari (narrative), though a wealth of evidence shows that this particular type of monogatari formed its own genre.

Michael J. Scanlon

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35

The later medieval is most often referred to as the Muromachi period because the headquarters of the military government, the dominant political power of the time, was located in the Muromachi section of the city of Kyoto, the traditional imperial capital. The Muromachi bakufu, the second such military government of Japan, was in many ways different from the first, which immediately preceded it. The Kamakura bakufu had its capital in the city of that name far to the east of Kyoto and was, in reality, another layer of governmental administration added to an already complex system.

To the

pre-existing civil versions of the judicial and legislative systems as well as the provincial and estate administration organizations, an analogous military version was added. These provided very real competition to the aristo-imperial system when it came to secular authority.

However, in the realm of symbolic authority—those centralizing

ideological formations that allow rule by consent as much as force—the Kamakura military government was highly dependent on traditional means, especially religious ritual and the recognition of the imperial court.

When a rebellion led by the retired

emperor GoToba (1180-1239, r.1183-1198) failed in 1221, the traditional authority system was not only maintained, but the complaints of the longstanding aristocratic and clerical landholders were given redress. It would, however, be another imperial revolt—this one by a sitting emperor, GoDaigo (1288-1339, r.1318-1339)—that would bring about the end of this system. GoDaigo’s attempt to turn the symbolic capital of his position into secular power and authority ended in absolute failure. Not only did his revolt fail to restore direct imperial rule, it also destroyed much of the political and financial strength of the imperial

Michael J. Scanlon

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36

court and the civil aristocracy.

Ashikaga Takauji, one of the emperor’s own generals,

having routed the Kamakura forces, turned against the emperor, seized power, and established a second military government which, unlike the previous regime, laid claim to all worldly authority.

However, the act of making assertions as to the possession of

authority and the ability to exercise that authority are separate matters, and the Ashikaga shogunate lacked the means to enforce their claims. 8

Long-term trends towards the

localization of rule and the relative military weakness of the Ashikaga undoubtedly played a role in this, but part of the problem lay in the way their rule was justified. The new government and its ideological allies did not eradicate the traditions of the past and put forward a bold new way of seeing the world and the role of government in it. Instead, their mandate was pragmatic: they could restore peace, law, and order.

On a

more symbolic level, it was announced that the Ashikaga were the inheritors of the Kamakura system and head of the military estate.

Yet the Kamakura bakufu was a

military regime that had recently lost on the battlefield, and military families were more likely to be fierce rivals rather than members of a unified and oriented class.

The

strongest justification for their rule lay elsewhere. “No matter how powerful a military hegemon,” writes John Whitney Hall, “if he aspired to recognition as a ruler of the entire country, he needed more than a conquering army.

He needed also a sufficiently high

court status to demonstrate publicly his right to rule.” 9

In other words, the Muromachi

8

John Whitney Hall, “The Muromachi Bakufu,” Cambridge History of Japan (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p.175. 9

Op. cit., p.191.

Michael J. Scanlon

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37

government was as dependent upon the sanction of the imperial court as the previous aristocratic and military governments had been. Yet the imperial institution and its centralizing force had been tremendously weakened in the Ashikaga rise to power. In his bid for secular power, GoDaigo had wrapped himself in the Buddhist, Shinto and Confucian symbols of kingship, so the Ashikaga attack on him was in some ways also an assault upon “the notion of a legitimate central authority.” 10

Of even greater harm,

however, was the fact that, at the same time the Ashikaga were setting up their government, GoDaigo had absconded with the imperial regalia, taken refuge in Mount Yoshino to the south of Kyoto, and set up a separate imperial court there that rivaled the one located in Kyoto.

From 1336 until 1392, there co-existed two imperial courts, one

in the north and one in the south, both of which enlisted supporters to back their cause by bestowing legitimacy and prestige on powers involved in local disputes. The centralizing efficacy of the imperial order had been undermined, but it, nevertheless, remained the ideal, and would continue to be so until a new order formed towards the beginning of the seventeenth century. It was not only the political order that was weakened by these disputes and actions.

In the aftermath of GoDaigo’s rebellion, the Tendai school, which had long

been seen as the most orthodox type of Buddhism due to its close ties with the state, began to lose its dominant position, and the salvationist sects that had evolved out of it during the early medieval period started to gain strength.

Institutions of these so-called

10

Andrew Goble, Kenmu: Go-Daigo’s Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996), p.253.

Michael J. Scanlon

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38

Kamakura sects often served as centripetal nodes for autonomous villages or religious communities, but they did not take on the large-scale and wide-ranging centralizing role typical of the dominant religious organizations that had preceded them.

The energy of

the late medieval world lay outside the traditional elites and their institutions.

This led

to a society with “greater fluidity, movement, and potential for change” than had previously been the norm. 11

Modern scholars of Muromachi period literature and

history tend to see this freedom as a good thing, and it is common for them to look for reflections of it in Muromachi fiction that can be tied to such things as the rise of individualism or the growing financial and political might of those outside the traditional aristocratic and clerical elites.

Yet the shuten dōji narrative laid out above does not revel

in freedom or the glory of an individual.

In fact, the exact opposite would be closer to

the truth. Hamanaka Osamu states: The narrative Ōyama shuten dōji is not something limited to the praise of the bravery of Minamoto [Raikō] as an individual warrior. It is a story in which he, after receiving imperial sanction and divine blessing, is able to put down a rebel powerful enough to attack the emperor’s authority. Its significance lies in the fact that it tells of the feeling of political and religious tension in order to show the auspiciousness of the recovery of order. 12 To the people who were living through this period, especially those who possessed the combination of literacy and financial resources necessary to be part of the reading public for late medieval fiction, the divestment of energy from order was a problem, one which the shuten dōji both engages and resolves. The shuten dōji can easily be fit onto a

11

Goble, p.xix.

12

Hamanaka Osamu, “Ibuki dōji kō,” Okinawa kokusai daigaku bungakubu kiyō 19:1 (Aug., 1990), p.59.

Michael J. Scanlon

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39

selectionist rectangle that schematically represents the logical limits of the irresolvable conflict between these two positive values. Figure 3: Selectionist Rectangle for the Ōyama shuten dōji Raikō order

energy

imperial court

demon king

no energy

no order captives

The basic conflict of the narrative becomes clear.

Though Raikō is the one who

fights the demon king, the true clash lies between the weak political order of Kyoto and the unruly denizens of Ōyama Mountain.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the demon

king’s self introduction: At times of a sage king like this one, our powers are at our full disposal. For this reason, at times of a poor king—when the strength of his people wane because kingly authority is lax, and when the protectors of the realm lose vigor because the blessings of the gods and buddhas are weak—my desires come to naught. When we meet with a sage king and his reign, we have magical powers. I will tell you quietly some stories of the past. But, first, I will offer a drink of sake. かかる賢王にあひたてまつりて侍る時、我等が威勢も心にまかせ侍る也。其故は 王威ゆるければ民の力衰へ、神仏の加護うすければ国士衰弊する事にて、愚王に あふ時は、童が心もいふ甲斐なくなり、賢王、賢王の代にあふ時は、我等が通力 も侍るなり。昔物語はしづかに申てきかせまいらせん、先一献とて酒をすすむ。13

This is a serious violation of readerly expectations, for Muromachi common sense would

13

Ōyama shuten dōji (Itsuō bijutsukan-zō ko-emaki), Muromachi jidai monogatari taisei, vol.3 (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1975), p.130.

Michael J. Scanlon

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40

be that natural, human and supernatural disasters were signs of imperial weakness and unfitness to rule, not strength and worthiness. the text itself.

The statement is also undermined within

The demon king, who is forced to live deep in the wilderness among the

bones of his victims, is powerless before a strong central order.

He has already been

forced to move twice, both times by men who played fundamental roles in the establishment of an imperial order with a fixed capital in the city of Kyoto. The sitting emperor, on the other hand, cannot even command his own troops at will.

His initial

orders are rebuffed by his soldiers. The captives are present for accounting purposes. They, who lack both order and energy, are nothing more than a way of keeping score. Raikō might seem to be the perfect hero because he functions as “the ideal synthesis which would ‘resolve’ the initial binary opposition by subsuming it under a single unity.” 14

In this narrative, however, Raikō plays a more ambivalent role.

As a

soldier capable of vanquishing the demon, he also possesses the power to overthrow the imperial order.

In order to disallow this possibility, he is bound to this traditional

system throughout the text.

Without the divine intervention of a group of deities who

were part of a pantheon that guaranteed imperial ascendancy, Raikō’s mission would have ended in failure.

Raikō, after all, does next to nothing on his own; it is the gods who

advise him on strategy, give him the tools necessary to carry out the mission, and even physically assist him in slaying the demon. The hero himself is made to acknowledge this in the closing section of the text: Afterwards, Raikō, realizing that his rise in the world was not due to his own 14

Fredrick Jameson, The Political Unconscious (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1981), p.168.

Michael J. Scanlon

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41

powers but because of imperial virtue and the power of the Shinto deities, undertook a fast and made a pilgrimage to the [Iwashimuzu] Hachiman Shrine. 其後、頼光、今度の高みやうは、全、我等か威勢にあらす、且は、皇徳の盛なる 故、且は、神威のいたす所也とて、精進して、八幡宮へ参詣せられける。 15

Raikō—and every other main character—is also said to be an avatar of a Buddhist deity who protects the realm, and these martial heroes accept positions within the imperial system upon their return to Kyoto.

Therefore, all potentially revolutionary energy is

assimilated into the traditional order. Herein lies the importance and function of the shuten dōji’s long denouement: it binds potential revolutionaries to the traditional order. Because an engagement with the order-energy problematic resulting in a restoration of traditional norms is typical of Muromachi fiction, similarly structured integrative endings can be found in texts throughout the genre.

In stories of lost love both heterosexual and

homosexual, the passionate energy of the affair is channeled into the protection of the lovers’ community, with the person left behind often being reborn as a tutelary deity. Successful love stories tend to involve extraordinary or otherworldly males who cause a bit of mischief before they are subsumed into the system when they marry into aristocratic families. There are also stories of religious awakenings in which protagonists take their zeal for transgression and put it towards the cause of Buddhism, one of the chief producers of ideology for the aristo-imperial system. This irresolvable conflict between energy and order was the dominant mechanism of selection within the Muromachi period as a whole, though the very weak ideological integration of the age insured that there were others, some surviving from past 15

Ōyama shuten dōji (Itsuō bijutsukan-zō ko-emaki), Muromachi jidai monogatari taisei, vol.3, p.140.

Michael J. Scanlon

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42

ages, others also original to the late medieval period.

So long as the order-energy

problematic was able to give meaning to the world, even what would seem like catastrophic events had little influence upon it. For instance, the near total destruction of the imperial capital and a subsequent century and a half of warfare that can be related to the Ōnin war of the late 1460s could be accommodated by this problematic, and the only discernable effect this disaster and its aftermath had upon Muromachi fiction was a rise in the number of texts with non-Buddhist themes.

At the same time, as an

instrument of selection, this paradigm is much weaker than a productive force.

This can

perhaps best be seen in a mutation at the end of the most popular version of shuten dōji narrative of the early modern period. In the first few decades of the eighteenth century, an Osaka publisher put out the Otogi bunko, a collection of twenty-three pieces of late medieval fiction which closes with the shuten dōji.

In this story, Raikō is sent to rescue

a specific person (the daughter of an aristocrat), and the text ends as follows: From the time the affair was heard of in the capital, people were milling about trying to see Raikō’s return to the capital. Among these were Middle Captain Ikeda and his wife who had had their daughter stolen away. They set off thinking that they would go as far as it would take in order to meet with them. Catching sight of Raikō, they called out. Their daughter found them quickly and cried out through her tears, “Mother!” Seeing this, the mother ran up to her, grabbed hold of her, and—wondering if it were a dream or reality—cried like someone about to pass away. The middle captain also heard of this and rushed her back home thinking how happy he was to meet once more the daughter who was once lost. Raikō went to the palace. There is no way to describe the emperor’s meeting with him. His praise was endless. From that point forward, the reign became one in which the protector of the realm ruled peacefully for a long time. The exploits of Raikō are rare among those who take up arms. From the first in the realm down to the masses, there was not a single person who was not impressed. 都にはこの事を聞くよりも、頼光の御上りを見物せんとて、ざざめきわたりて控 へたり。その中に、姫をとられし池田中納言夫婦の人も出で給ひ、いづくまでも 逢ひ次第と迎ひに出でさせ給ひしが、頼光を見付けつつ、 「すはや是へ」とのたま

Michael J. Scanlon

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へば、はや姫君も御覧じて、 「母上様」とて泣き給ふ。母上此よし御覧じて、する すると走り寄り、姫君に取り付きて、是は夢かや現かと、消える人やうに泣き給 へば、中納言も聞きしめし、 「一度別れしわが姫に、二度逢ふこそうれしけれ」と、 急ぎ宿所に帰らせ給ふ。 頼光は参内有り、みかど叡覧ましまして御感は申すはかりなし。御褒美限りなか りける。それよりも国士安全長久に治まる御代とぞなりにける。かの頼光の御手 柄、ためし少なき弓取とて、上一人より下万民に至るまで、感ぜに者はなかりけ る。 16

The ending of this version has a far weaker centripetal pull than the earlier one. Raikō is praised, but he is not given a higher position within the imperial order, nor is he married into the aristocracy.

It would be impossible to say that this ending was

proactively caused by historical and ideological changes. Many reworked versions of the shuten dōji were being produced during the seventeenth century, and the majority retain more assimilative endings, as do most of the twenty-two other narratives collected in the Otogi bunko.

It would also seem hard to believe that such an ending became

possible for the first time with the advent of the early modern age.

Surely, there were

occasions during the Muromachi period itself when the story ended with the defeat of the demon king.

It is more that, with the change in epoch, such a narrative with such a

close could survive and flourish because the pressures that would have selected against it in late medieval times were themselves weakened.

It is an examination of the historical

and ideological changes that occurred with the rise of Japan’s early modern age that will form the center of this study.

16

“Shuten dōji,” Otogi-zōshi shū, Nihon koten bungaku zenshū, vol.36 (Tokyo: Shōgakukan, 1974), pp.473-474. Michael J. Scanlon

Chapter 1

44 Chapter I

The End of an Era

There emerged in literary histories written in Japan over the first decades of the twentieth century a curious genre of early modern fiction known as kana-zōshi.

While it

was only in the modern period that the term “kana-zōshi” has come to refer to the entire body of Japanese-language prose literature written between 1600 and 1682, it had long been part of the discourse surrounding the book in Japan, with documentary evidence tracing use of the term as far back as 1468.

In the late medieval and early modern

periods, however, the word simply denoted all Japanese-language books with no connotation of literariness.

In fact, it was not until an essay by Ebara Taizō (1894-1948)

published in 1933 that the literary prerequisite was combined with the chronological parameters, and the modern critical term kana-zōshi assumed its current form. 1

The two

immediately recognizable dates that construct this genre’s borders highlight the often vexed relationship between literature and history. The first is from the realm of political history because 1600—the year in which forces under Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated all real opposition to his rule at the battle of Sekigahara—is typically seen as the start of the Edo (or Tokugawa) period. The second is internal to literary history because it was in 1682 that Ihara Saikaku published the Kōshoku ichidai otoko (The Erotic Life of a Man 好色一 代男), the text that is now almost universally considered to be the first example of a

“wholly early modern” piece of Edo-period fiction.

In historical hindsight, the

1

Ebara Taizō, Kana-zōshi, Iwanami kōza Nihon bungaku (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1933).

Michael J. Scanlon

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chronological neatness might seem forced, even arbitrary. Two of the basic tenets of recent literary scholarship are that political change does not always, or even often, directly determine developments in literary form and that the “masterpiece” should not be overvalued in the study of literature. It must also be noted that the term was never supposed to have anything more than heuristic value, for the very same Ebara article that helped set the term’s definition includes a warning that kana-zōshi is nothing more than a term of convenience. Nearly a century of scholarly use, however, has lead to a reification of the kana-zōshi genre, and those academics studying the literature of the early seventeenth century accept it as a given.

Nakajima Takashi has recently called for an approach to

this body of texts that concentrates on elucidating the distinguishing features of the category—what he calls their “kana-zōshi-ness” (仮名草子性). 2

The intent is good, for

the thrust of the argument is that, over the past several decades, the scope of literary study has gotten too narrow, with the focus of the vast majority of articles limited to single texts or individual authors. Yet to base this call for broad-based scholarship on what was originally a provisional and catchall grouping is a mistake, especially since there is little in the way of obvious familial resemblances shared by these texts.

This becomes clear

in the ambitious attempts of the postwar generation of scholars to create a classification system to tame the formal amorphousness of kana-zōshi.

Some of the more noteworthy

academics who tried are Teruoka Yasutaka (who breaks kana-zōshi into three distinct

2

Nakajima Takashi, “Joshō,” Shoki ukiyo-zōshi no tenkai (Tokyo: Wakagusa Shobō, 1996), p.11.

Michael J. Scanlon

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kinds), Nakamura Yukihiko (who finds seven kinds and subdivides these into eleven categories), Noda Hisao (three kinds in thirteen categories), Tanaka Noboru (six kinds), Fuji Akio (five kinds in nine categories), and Nakamura again (five kinds in sixteen categories). It is as if a strain of the “particularly virulent form of taxonomic disease” that Michael McKeon notes once afflicted the study of seventeenth-century European fiction in the West had reached pandemic proportions in postwar Japan. 3

Yet all the

above classificatory schemas were unable to fully systematize the materials, and none became the universally accepted theory. There is little hope of ever finding a way to systematize the artistic prose production of the first three quarters of the seventeenth century.

A centripetal

kana-zōshi-ness simply does not exist, and the genre designation distracts more than it clarifies.

Therefore, the term will be avoided as much as possible for the remainder of

this study. This does not mean that a retreat to the smallest literary denominator—be it text or author—is the only recourse.

Watanabe Morikuni, as one of the co-editors of the

kana-zōshi volume in a prestigious compendium of classical Japanese literature, observes that the vernacular prose literature written and published on the early movable-type press does not participate in the chaotic morphological diversity typical of the so-called kana-zōshi of the second half of the century.4

Instead, these texts are closely related to a

few popular forms of literature directly inherited from the preceding age. Thus, while 3

Michael McKeon, The Origins of the English Novel 1600-1740 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987) p.25. 4

Watanabe Morikuni, “Kana-zōshi: kinsei shoki no shuppan to bungaku,” Kana-zōshi shū, Nihon koten bungaku taikei 74 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1991), pp.490-491.

Michael J. Scanlon

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47

the texts analyzed in this chapter are some of the first pieces of contemporary literature to be published via the commercial press, they should not be thought of as the first fruits of print culture.

Rather, they are some of the last famous prose narratives to stem from

manuscript culture, mutated forms of late medieval literature that survived because the pressures that would have selected against them during the Muromachi period itself were themselves weakened with the Pax Tokugawa.

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The more things change… Military writings, Which even the shop boys Try reading breathlessly Shimuja no me (1806) Tekifū (active, nineteenth century) A study looking into the relationship between the histories of literature and print culture in Japan would do well to begin with the Ōsaka monogatari (The Osaka Narrative 大坂物語). In most of its many versions, the text is separated into two volumes: the first detailing the crippling of Osaka Castle’s defenses during the Winter Campaign of the eleventh month of 1614 and the second relating the final annihilation of the Toyotomi family in the Summer Campaign of the fifth month of 1615. Yet the three earliest extant movable-type editions contain only the first, suggesting that the text was written in stages, with the original being composed soon after the conclusion of the Winter Campaign.

Since each of these exists in a unique copy, they alone would be

insufficient evidence on which to base a theory of a two-step process of composition. However, towards the beginning of the twentieth century, a bookbinder’s ledger was discovered on the inverse of a printed sheet of a movable-type edition of the Nihon shoki (The Chronicles of Japan 日本書紀, 720) by the path-breaking book historian Kawase Kazuma.

An entry within it reveals that a text entitled the Ōsaka monogatari was in

circulation as of the first month of 1615, several months before the second battle took place.

From this, Kawase concludes that the Ōsaka monogatari—unlike other

vernacular narratives produced at the beginning of the seventeenth century all of which had greater or lesser social lives in their manuscript form before finding their way to the

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press—was printed almost immediately upon being written. 5

Nakamura Yukihiko, the

preeminent modern scholar of Tokugawa-period literature, has stated that the Ōsaka monogatari was “the most quickly published text [of its genre].” 6

It would even seem

quite possible that the Ōsaka monogatari was the first vernacular prose text written expressly to be published via the press. If the Ōsaka monogatari were indeed the first text composed specifically to be printed, it would be a spectacularly serendipitous occurrence.

It sold well from the start,

going through a minimum of nine movable-type printings during the first two decades of its existence. Moreover, it remained in demand for nearly three centuries.

By the

middle of the eighteenth century, seven woodblock versions of the text had been carved. Books made from these continued to sell in numbers great enough that a total of eighteen xylographic editions can be identified as later publishers purchased or re-carved the original blocks. These blocks, which could continue to produce new copies many years after being made, were used to keep the Ōsaka monogatari in circulation well into the nineteenth century.

A copy of the text could be found in the holdings of the Daisō

lending library, a large commercial institution that flourished in nineteenth-century Nagoya, and the Ōsaka monogatari was considered important enough to be included in

5

Kawase Kazuma, (Zōho) Kokatsujiban no kenkyū, vol. 1 (Tokyo: The Antiquarian Booksellers Association of Japan, 1967), pp.609-623. Similarly, an allusion thought to refer to Ieyasu at the end of the second volume leads Kawase to speculate that it was written between the end of the Summer Campaign and the death of Tokugawa Ieyasu in the fourth month of 1616. 6

Nakamura Yukihiko, “Ōsaka monogatari shohon no hen’i,” Nakamura Yukihiko chojutsushū, vol.5 (Tokyo: Chūō Kōronsha, 1982), p.80.

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the 1911 collection of Edo histories put out by the Shūbunkan publishing house.

A

bestseller and a longseller, the Ōsaka monogatari was able to answer the symbolic needs of a reading public for the entire period that is now considered to have had an early modern worldview. In some ways, the Ōsaka monogatari is strikingly different from the fiction of the late medieval period.

Unlike the majority of Muromachi fiction, the Ōsaka

monogatari has an almost journalistic focus on the contemporary world. 7

Recognizable

names and dates from history appear throughout the story, and the narrative is specifically placed spatially.

The most striking example of this may be the detailed description of

the Osaka Castle that can be found near the beginning of the original moveable-type edition: As for that castle of Osaka, on its west is the sea; to its north, the Great River; from its east, swamp land. Though all to its south is solid ground, the land slopes downwards away from the castle. To look up at the cloud-like castle is to know that it is a famous one not likely to fall easily no matter what god or demon should attack. They dug moats around the perimeter, set up stockades at their base, and constructed high earthen walls. They built a wall with eight-inch posts, covered that thickly in plaster, and fortified it with five-inch stakes. In it, they cut many an opening for archers and erected a turret every twenty yards. At every six-foot interval, they wrote the surnames of three samurai. Cannons and gunpowder were prepared. The castle was the most famous in all Japan. The soldiers battened down within it were men each of whom had time and time again shown himself to have the merit of a thousand men. They all thought it to be reliable. 大坂の城と申は、西は海、北は大河、東はふけ、南一方陸地なれども地下がりに して、城一片の雲のごとくに見上げたれば、いかなる天魔鬼神が寄せたりともた 7

Indeed, the ties between the printing of news and the sieges of Osaka Castle go far beyond the Ōsaka monogatari. It had long been thought that print journalism got its start in Japan with broadsheets (kawara-ban 瓦版) telling of the fall of the castle in 1615, but a recently discovered document shows that print journalism’s origins in Japan can be pushed back at least to the Winter Campaign of 1614.

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やすく落つまじき名城たるうへに、外側に堀を掘り、底に柵を結ひ、土手を高く 築き上げ、八寸角を柱として塀を強く塗り上げ、塀裏に五寸角の木を打つけ、矢 狭間を繁く切り、十間に一づつ櫓を立て、一間に侍三人づつの名字を書き付、大 筒小筒、玉薬を添へて渡されける。城は日本一の名城也。たて籠もる兵は、一任 8 当選の手柄をかねてあらはしたる者共也。いづれも頼しくぞ覚へける。

A map was even added to later editions to further help the reader locate the story. Yet the world depicted is not a disinterested, objective one.

The perspective—as can be

seen in the use of honorary language towards the Tokugawa leadership and the overwhelming praise of Ieyasu—is that of the Tokugawa victors.

Nakamura Yukihiko,

taking into account the anti-Tokugawa feelings of the Kyoto aristocracy and the difficulties involved with printing such a text had it displeased the Tokugawa government, speculates that the Ōsaka monogatari was written by a member of the shogunal government as a piece of pro-Tokugawa propaganda. 9

Moreover, the text—especially

the longer version that appeared after the final Tokugawa victory—would seem to be consciously heralding the arrival of a new age.

The opening of the original text:

Though it is not a rare statement, it is true that a person who tries to order the realm, protect the land or maintain household peace without depending wholly on the civil and military arts is doomed to failure. In peacetime, one makes use of the civil arts; in chaotic times, one uses the military arts. Many recent incidences of this, Tai Gongwang’s teaching, come immediately to mind. 珍しからぬ事なれ共、天下を治め、国を保ち、家を安くすることは、文武を専にせ ずんば有べからず。静かなる世は文をもつて、乱れたる国を武を以すと、太公望が 10 教へ、目の当たりに思ひあはする事多かりき。

8

Ōsaka monogatari, Kana-zōshi shū, Shin Nihon koten bungaku taikei 74, Watanabe Morikuni and Watanabe Kenji, eds. (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1991) p.8. Emphasis added. 9

Nakamura Yukihiko, “Ōsaka monogatari shohon no hen’i,” p.86.

10

Ōsaka monogatari, p.5. Emphasis added.

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as well as the closing of the added volume: Meanwhile, the august pair [of Ieyasu and his son] searched out the remnants of the Osaka forces and killed each and every soldier. In order to govern the realm, they remained in Kyoto and Fushimi and set the regulations for punishment and reward. In front of Osaka Castle, they heard appeals and made judgments. To those who were loyal, they gave monetary rewards beyond all their dreams or granted fiefs. As for those who were disloyal and not correct, some had their stipends cut off, others were crucified on scorched branches. Loyal retainers advanced, sycophants retreated. It was a world so at peace that the waves of the four seas around Japan began to quiet. As for the protector of this realm, none like him existed even in the ancient past, and most likely the future will have none like him. Let us pray that the life of this lord stretches into eternity. 去ほどに、両御所は、尚大坂の余党尋さぐつて、ことごとく打ちはたし、天下を治 められんがため、京伏見に御逗留有て、賞罰厳重の法度を定め、今度大坂表にての、 忠不忠を聞こし召し明め、忠有輩には、望に優る金銀、領知を下され、不忠不義の 輩、銀を切り、枝を枯らして刑戮に行はれしかば、忠臣は進み、佞者は退きて、い よいよ四つの海八州の外も波静かなる世なれば、かかるめでたき天下の守護は、上 古にも未だなし、末代とてもありがたし。ただこの君の御寿命、万歳々々万々歳と 11 祝したてまつる。

are statements that both directly oppose the project of rejuvenating the lapsed aristocratic regime, which would seem to have been the symbolic purpose of Muromachi fiction, as well as approximate extra-literary reality (or at least the official government interpretation of recent events). declared over.

The warfare of the fifteenth and sixteenth century is

The Tokugawa government, under the watchful eye of Ieyasu, announces

the imposition of a new form of peace on the realm. The regulations mentioned in the final text’s closing were probably understood to be in reference to those promulgated in extra-literary reality in 1615 that defanged the clergy, removed the aristocracy from political involvement, and transformed the samurai class from active soldiers to bureaucrats with military pretensions. Unlike the failed attempts at pacification of the

11

Ōsaka monogatari, p.51.

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previous military powers, Ieyasu would form a peace that would not be forced into fatal compromises with other military powers or the court and religious institutions that had held so much power in previous ages. While it is tempting to read the Ōsaka monogatari as an accurate historical account of the dawn of the Tokugawa period and, with it, the early modern age, the text is also a product of, and a participant in, the culture of the previous age. Despite its martial theme, the text’s original reading public included the dominant audience of much of the past millennium: the Kyoto-based aristocracy.

It is not simply that the aristocracy

provided by far the highest number of potential customers for books in the city where the text was published.

Note, too, the explanation that follows a depiction of the hysterical

widow of Toyotomi Hideyoshi fretting over the fate of her beloved son when the fortunes of battle are going poorly: When she looked out and saw the inestimable enemy troops, the wretchedness of her womanly heart caused her to worry over the fate of her son, Hideyori. Her appearance was frenzied, and she lost all strength of character. How touching to know that what they say is true—be one noble or base, all “wander on the road of worry for their children.” In the poetry critiques [in the “six poetry immortals” section of his preface to the Kokin wakashū], Tsurayuki criticized the poetry of Ono no Komachi, writing: “Her poetry is moving but lacks vigor. This is because they are the poems of a woman.” Their conditions differ, but their essences are the same! 女心の浅ましさは、目に余る敵を御覧じて、秀頼の御身上思しめしわづらはせ給ひ、 あやめもわかぬ御有様にて、ひたすら御心弱り給ふにぞ。高きも賎しきも子を思ふ 道に迷ふとは、思ひ知られてあはれ也。これや和歌の褒貶に小町が歌を難じて、 「あ はれなるやうにて強からず、強からぬはおうなの歌なればなり」と古今の序に、貫 12 之が書きおきしも、品こそ変れ、心は等しかるべしや。

Had this text been aimed at a purely military readership, the unseemliness of the widow’s outburst would have been obvious and the commentary unnecessary. 12

Here, not only is

Ōsaka monogatari, p.25.

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an explanation added, but it is one that naturalizes the materials by referring to one of the most famous poems in the waka canon as well as to the most central poetic document in the entire tradition, the Vernacular Preface (Kanajo 仮名序) to the Kokin wakashū (Collection of New and Old Poetry 古今和歌集, 914). is literally contained by the medieval.

Moreover, the Ōsaka monogatari

The italicized phrases in the combined text’s

opening and closing cited earlier in this section are direct quotations from the Taiheiki (The Chronicle of Great Peace 太平記), a fourteenth-century war tale. Even the overall style and rhetoric of the text is said to approximate those of this medieval genre. 13 Many of the formal elements of the text can also be traced back to medieval narrative practice.

A clear example of this is the description of the fictional Ieyasu’s

journey to Osaka. Ieyasu, first introduced in the text as a warrior from the eastern provinces who was able to put down a treasonous rebellion (muhon 謀反) 14 at the battle of Sekigahara, advances westward from Edo as follows: One hundred leagues lie between Edo and Fushimi, and the roads are so filled with men and horses that no one can advance more than a mile or two a day. As they make their way on mountain roads sleeping the traveler’s sleep, dreams soon turned to hometowns and loved ones left behind. Looking up at the peak of Mount Fuji, the smoke rising from the snow was caught in the wind and carried off—those who stared at it thought it looked like [the smoke from a cremated] body. In the reality of the Utsu Mountains, one thinks only of those who cannot be seen even in dreams. Trysts are as numerous as the Ōse rapids on the Ōi River. Like the waves constantly 13

Watanabe Morikuni, “Ōsaka monogatari no buntai,” Musashino Bungaku 38 (January, 1991), p.20.

14

The use of this term shows Ieyasu was in service of legitimate rule, which means he was fighting in the name of the emperor. This is important because the imperial institution will not be named—or even alluded to—again in this text, and the rhetoric of “pacifying the realm”, “ruling the realm”, and so on that appears again and again throughout the text are the phrases used in Chinese histories when writing of the exploits of the founders of new dynasties.

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rolling in, all must push on, even at night. In darkness they climb through the mountains. Thinking that they will never get past them, they lament their fate… They cross the long bridge at Seta, and the sound of hoofsteps is constant. They pass over the “meeting pass” of Ōsaka, and this is it. Just where both friends and strangers part, they have arrived in Kyoto and Fushimi. 江戸と伏見其間百二十里の程は、只人馬さながら満ち満ちて、一日の其内にも、二 里や三里も行やらで、山路暮らして旅寝する、夢もいつしか故郷の、慣れこし人の 名残のみ。富士の高峰を見上ぐれば、雪の中より立つ煙、風をいたみて片寄るも、 身のたぐいぞと打眺め、宇津の山辺のうつつにも、夢にも知らぬ人のみ、あふ瀬の 数も大井河、波のよるさへ道行の、小夜の中山わけ上り、また超ゆべしと思はねば、 あはれなりける我身かは … 勢田の長橋打渡る、駒の足おとひまもなく、往来の人 に逢坂の、関を越ゆればこれやこの、知る知らぬも別れては、京や伏見に着きにけ 15 り。

This rhetorical device, known as a michiyuki (道行), is more than a description of a passage through space. The places described had long been incorporated into the symbolic landscape of Japanese poetry, so the movement described is actually participation in the Way of Poetry, which since time immemorial had been associated with kingship in Japan. This connection transforms the traveler by endowing him with the aura of legitimacy associated with the literary tradition. Thus, the fictional Ieyasu, though never depicted as directly participating in any cultural or scholarly activity, is able to join civil (or cultural) merit (bun 文) to his military prowess (bu 武) and becomes worthy to rule the land. Moreover, the basic problematic within which the Ōsaka monogatari was written remains the same as that dealt with by much fiction of the later medieval period: the rupture of order and energy. This can perhaps be seen most clearly in Noda Hisao’s attempt to refute Nakamura’s hypothesis of a Tokugawa sponsorship of the text: There is the explanation that the Ōsaka monogatari, in order to justify the Osaka Campaigns, was created as pro-Tokugawa propaganda. However, this is going a 15

Ōsaka monogatari, p.9.

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bit too far. Truly, in Kyoto and Osaka, there was still an inclination to glorify the Regent [Toyotomi] Hideyoshi, and there was strong opposition to Ieyasu’s turning his back on obligations to the Toyotomi family and leading them into a trap. The Tokugawa side might even have actually wanted to correct any such misconceptions. But it is hard to believe that the creation of this work was based solely on such an intention. As I stated earlier, even though there is strong praise of Ieyasu and [his son and the current shogun] Hidetada, the spirited fighting of the Toyotomi side is narrated and assessed impartially in the narrative. There is no obvious attempt to promote virtue and chastise vice (kanzen chōaku 勧善懲悪)… As for the fall of the Toyotomi, it is simply described as “moving” or as a case where “all who rise must fall.” 16 Without a doubt, Noda is correct. Within the world of the Ōsaka monogatari, the Toyotomi are imperfect, but decidedly not criminal or evil. At very worst, the text portrays their leader, Toyotomi Hideyori, as ineffective, the immature son of a doting and frantic mother who, though capable of mouthing clichés that momentarily energize his allies, lacks judgment and is easily tricked by Ieyasu into crippling his own defenses. More than Hideyori or any members of his family, it is the masterless samurai summoned by the Toyotomi call to arms who want to fight to the bitter end and refuse to obey orders to disband. These rōnin—perfect symbols of unattached energy—must be subdued in order to bring lasting peace and stability to the land, but they, far from being purely evil villains, are respected for their tenacity and bravery within the text. Noda’s critique, nevertheless, misses its mark because the sympathy for the Toyotomi in the Ōsaka monogatari in no way damages Nakamura’s thesis.

Nakamura

himself stated elsewhere that one would be hard pressed to find any powerful and entirely evil villains within all of Japanese literature prior to the eighteenth century. 17

This

16

Noda Hisao, Nihon kinsei shōsetsu shi, Kana-zōshi (Tokyo: Benseisha, 1986), pp.114-115. 17

Nakamura Yukihiko, “Tsūzoku-mono zatsudan,” Nakamura Yukihiko chojutsushū, vol.7 (Tokyo: Chūō Kōronsha, 1984), pp.310-311. Michael J. Scanlon

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dearth of pure villainy is one of the most striking points of all late medieval narrative, be it the late medieval fiction analyzed earlier or the war tales that preceded them.

Many

critics have pointed out the sympathetic way in which the demon of the shuten dōji narrative is depicted. He, when drunk, is destructive and must be killed by a surrogate power of the center, but empathy for the character ran deep enough that, in the latter half of the Muromachi period, there developed a prequel, the Ibuki dōji, which describes the demon as an abandoned child forced to move from place to place.

This lack of powerful

pure villainy can perhaps be best explained by returning to the selectionist rectangle used to analyze the Shuten dōji in the previous chapter. Figure 4: Selectionist Rectangle for the Ōsaka monogatari Tokugawa Ieyasu order

energy

(emperor)

rōnin

no energy

no order Toyotomi Hideyori

The structural placement of the characters of the Ōsaka monogatari reveals why true villainhood was not present in the text.

Villains and heroes are less mutually exclusive

opposites than two sides of the same coin.

In the above formulation, a perfect hero is

one who—like Raikō or Ieyasu—can reinvigorate, create, revive, or sustain a benevolent social order. Likewise, a pure villain must be a character able to create a new, malevolent social order. Hideyori, though he occupies the worst location in the

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selectionist rectangle, is capable of nothing and, like the kidnapped victims in the early version of the shuten dōji narrative analyzed in the prologue to this scholarly text, is more an object of pity (or derision) than anything else. Even the masterless samurai are to be awed (or feared), not vilified. It is structurally impossible for them, as embodiments of chaos and energy, to create any social order whatsoever. The old order remains, though in vestigial form, in references confirming obedience to the emperor. The aristocratic court, on the other hand, is simply ignored. mentioned even once in the text.

Neither it nor a single one of its members is

Never confronted, the old order is simply written out

of the plot. The traditional forms are, nevertheless, performing a new function.

The

Tokugawa victory is not—as it well could have been—narrated as an attempt to reinvigorate any previous system, be it aristocratic or purely imperial.

To the contrary,

the text clearly announces the arrival of a new regime that supersedes everything that came before, even the ages of the Sage Kings in China on which all previous governments had claimed to have been modeled, and its ending effectively forecloses upon all possibility of an aristocratic revival. Given this change in function, it would seem probable that there would also be some alteration in form.

One candidate for this

would be a slight spatial shift at the conclusion of the narrative.

The action of the Ōsaka

monogatari’s story (its fabula) is set in space as otherworldly as any within the corpus of Muromachi fiction: the battlefield. This is a place home to the soldier, the heroic, and the exceptional.

Norms of behavior, much less literacy and culture, are actively

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Though, like the fiction of the previous centuries, the Ōsaka monogatari

closes in Kyoto, the ending space of this seventeenth-century text is quite different.

The

denouement of late medieval fiction tends to effect a return to the familiar places of the lapsed aristocratic world, and these traditional spaces provide a channel through which the energy of the outsider can be incorporated to the aristocratic body. 19

The Ōsaka

monogatari ends where it began: castles, specifically those located in the Nijō section of Kyoto and Fushimi to the immediate south of the imperial capital.

These areas, which

are not described in any detail within the Ōsaka monogatari, are spaces that simultaneously lie both inside and outside the ancient capital.

By being physically

within the aristocratic center, it serves as an unmistakable reminder that the new regime will consist of a single center. Had the text ended with Ieyasu’s return to Edo, where in historical reality the shogunal capital was located, it would have been possible to mistake the new system for a revival of the old elliptical one of the Kamakura period (1192-1333) 18

The one true instance of comic relief in the Ōsaka monogatari is a peculiar anecdote concerning Furuta Oribe, a general on the Tokugawa side, who is mocked by his fellow soldiers for being shot in the face while attempting to conduct a tea ceremony at an encampment within gun range of the castle. As would have been well known to the original audience of the Ōsaka monogatari, the historical Furuta Oribe (1543-1615), a famous general and tea practitioner, was later discovered to have conspired with the Toyotomi and condemned to death. However, even the possibility of treason would undermine the sageliness of the Tokugawa rule, and this is never brought up in the narrative. 19

Watanabe Kenji also talks of the cultural pull of pre-Ieyasu Kyoto. However, he sees the marriage of male outsiders to female aristocrats as a reflection of the historical fact that military strongmen were entering, occupying and basically taking over the aristo-imperial capital. I would have to argue that, in this case, gender roles are less powerful than status ones and the male outsiders were being depicted in fiction as submitting to the aristocratic order. Watanabe Kenji, “‘Toshi’ to Uraminosuke zengo,” Bungaku ni okeru toshi (Tokyo: Kasama Shoin, 1988), pp.89-106.

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in which the civil capital of Kyoto competed for power and authority with a military capital in the east.

At the same time, by lying outside the symbolic world of aristocratic

Kyoto, the new regime can be heralded without ever directly attacking the previous one. Thus, the narrative remains somewhat amenable to a contemporary audience, despite its violation of the contemporary horizon of expectations and its attack on the ideological world of a good deal of its potential readers. That the structures of medieval narrative could function for ends different from that for which they were originally superintended is not surprising in the least.

Literary

structures are able to survive and sometimes even thrive despite great deformations in the literary system caused by changes in other, larger symbolic systems.

In this case, a

structure evolved to reinvigorate a lapsed political system could, with the slightest of changes, be well suited to announce a new regime.

The magnitude of this deviation in

ideological function, however, led to a divergence between the Ōsaka monogatari and the narrative tradition from which it was born. process are available in the archive.

In a rare stroke of fortune, the traces of this

The earliest extant booksellers’ catalogue, which

survives in a unique manuscript dated 1659, lists the Ōsaka monogatari at its end along with a catchall of Japanese-language prose texts not associated with the high poetic tradition including all late medieval fiction, contemporary narrative, some exempla collections, and military epics such as the Heike monogatari and the Taiheiki.

But the

literary field would get more complicated over the Edo period, and new genres began to take form.

One of the earliest and most important of these to branch off was one known

as “military writings” (gunsho 軍書), which exists as a textual grouping in the 1659

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catalogue. But the genre was still in the process of forming and semi-permeable—the Heike monogatari (The Heike Narrative 平家物語, thirteenth century), the Soga monogatari (The Soga Narrative 曽我物語, Kamakura period), the Gikeiki (The Chronicle of Yoshitsune 義経記, fourteenth century), the Hōgen monogatari (The Hōgen Narrative 保元物語, thirteenth century) and the Shinchōkōki (The Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga 信長 公記, 1622) are actually listed in both sections.

In all subsequent seventeenth-century

booksellers’ catalogues, however, the two genres are mutually exclusive, and the Ōsaka monogatari is listed in the military writings section. Not all writings on martial themes were fit to be part of this new genre of military writings. According to Nagatomo Chiyoji, the textual grouping was restricted to those texts possessing “a framework with an air that would allow them to be taken as official histories (seishi 正史),” which he divides into the following two categories: There were two kinds of military writings published during the Edo period. Specifically, one is medieval war tales… As a rule, these are written in Chinese characters and the hiragana syllabary and are illustrated; most often they were published with an inscription asserting that attention had been paid to textual scholarship (honbun kōtei/kyōgō 本文校訂・校合). The other is military writings produced and printed after the founding of the Edo period… These for the most part are written using Chinese characters and the katakana syllabary, at first had no illustrations, and come with prefaces (or the occasional postscript) which state that great attention had been paid to the historical accuracy of the narrative. 20 Texts of the second category were written after the genre had precipitated and fit comfortably into the category of history. Whether or not it was actually so, the discourse surrounding them assured the factual precision of these texts, and they were written in a script reserved for solemn, dignified material such as Buddhist vernacular 20

Nagatomo Chiyoji, Kinsei kashihon’ya no kenkyū (Tokyo: Tōkyōdō Shuppan, 1982), pp.196, 189.

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writings. The medieval war tales—a category to which the Ōsaka monogatari belongs despite its date of composition—had recognizably artistic qualities about them that led to a very disconcerting realization.

It was well known to the people of the Edo period that

the medieval war tales contained fictional elements.

The preface to the Kamakura

jitsuroku (The True Record of the Kamakura 鎌倉実録, 1717) makes this clear: “The ancient narratives (monogatari 物語) are a mirror for today… In these, there are lies and mistakes, so it is difficult for them to be mirrors… Thus, [their stories] should be verified.” 21

This attempt to factually correct the war tales was but a minor movement.

For the most part, their literariness was not denied, as can be seen in the physical form they took as books. For these to be considered history (as opposed to fiction), it would have to be a type of history subtly different from histories that depend on factual accuracy. They transformed into symbolic histories, better known as myth.

Within this framework,

the lifecycle of the Ōsaka monogatari becomes clear. It became a bestseller as a piece of literature. As time passed, it also became a foundation myth of the Tokugawa regime and a longseller for as long as the early modern worldview predominated.

When a

specifically an anti-feudal, anti-Tokugawa ideology gained hegemonic status around the turn of the twentieth century, the Ōsaka monogatari eventually lost its elite position and, as a naïve story of the past posing as history, eventually faded from consciousness.

21

Quoted in Nagatomo, op. cit., p.195.

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Revolution? As for the one-volume Tang Wencui, the two-volume Taiping yulan, and the sixteen-volume Gangmu jilan, for each of these there was not sufficient books. For the imperially printed books, those possessing the necessary things were ordered to present them, and subsequently the Qin xipu was newly made before his majesty. Next I received a complete copy of the new printed edition of the Shiji. For many a year, I could not get those that I wanted due to a lack of means. Now I am being given each and every one of those that had been missing. Fantastic, fantastic! Entry for 1596.11.27 Keichō nikkenroku Funabashi Hidekata (1575-1614) It is striking how little is known about Japan’s early print culture.

The first

commercial publishers were merchants as opposed to the religious organizations that had all but monopolized the world of private printing, and commercial print did not immediately drive manuscript publishing to extinction.

Shops specializing in scribal

reproduction survived, producing books both in bulk as well as for individual order, and early booksellers often offered manuscripts side by side with printed books. Movable-type technology dominated the first few decades of commercial publishing, despite the fact that woodblock printing had a long history in Japan.

However, basically

no diaries, letters, or other materials have survived that would give insight into the daily activities of these early print shops, so detailed contemporary explanations for the rise and fall of early movable type are simply unavailable to modern scholars.

More

important, the array of texts first produced by print technology and brought to market can only be reconstructed based on evidence that is partial at best. Booksellers’ catalogues

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and guild registers would not develop until many decades had passed, so any endeavor to capture the book market as a whole must be based more or less completely on an analysis of books that have survived being read and stored for almost three hundred years.

There

is no way of telling with certainty whether or not the books that have been passed down to modern times are absolutely representative of contemporary print production. It is thought that few texts were struck per edition, and pre-modern Japanese books are made out of paper, thread, and rice glue. These are materials very susceptible to damage by fire, water and vermin, and books made from them are fragile enough to literally be read into oblivion.

It could very well be that numerous titles or editions have simply

disappeared from the historical record. 22

Nevertheless, these surviving books are almost

the only evidence available to modern scholars, and it is better to make use of them to point to general trends within the overall book market than to simply dismiss them altogether due to their lack of complete reliability. Given these inherent limitations, the best overarching view of the early commercial book trade remains Kazuma Kawase’s magisterial study of the early movable-type book in Japan, especially a chart included as an appendix that lists all extant datable editions published between 1591 and 1650. 23

Based on his data, it would

seem that the start of commercial print in Japan is very similar to the birth of print in 22

For instance, contemporary diaries and court records refer to titles of imperially sponsored printed books that are no longer extant.

23

Undoubtedly, the chart includes some texts published on private presses and excludes many commercially published books, but the loose connection between the presence of a colophon and commercial intent means that it is probably the best method available, even if it is not all that good unto itself.

Michael J. Scanlon

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Europe. In both instances, incipient print is basically “a new process designed to duplicate old products,” 24 and the majority of books first produced by it are in a purely written language that transcended state boundaries.

In the case of Japan, that language

is classical Chinese. Titles of Chinese-language books far outnumber those of Japanese. Among these, well-established Buddhist books seem to have ruled the day as the number of Buddhism-related titles outstrip the combined total of those for the amalgamation of Confucian classics, Chinese and Japanese histories, and Chinese poetry that make up the non-Buddhist Chinese-language grouping. 25

Among both the Buddhist and

non-Buddhist books, it was those with histories of being read long before the successful birth of commercial print publishing industry and the founding of the Tokugawa regime that made it to market first and most often.

In the domain of Japanese-language books,

the largest sector by far seems to have been literary texts. Here, too, time-honored texts dominated. Of the several hundred titles that Kawase lists, only fifteen are of what is now considered to be contemporary prose literature.

Also outstanding is the unevenness

of the early book market, especially in the field of vernacular literature. Some 24

The above quotation comes from Elizabeth Eisenstein’s path-breaking study of early modern European print culture. It is interesting to note that even a scholar whose work is dedicated to emphasizing the revolutionary impact of print warns of a time lag of fifty and one hundred years, respectively, between the invention of the Gutenberg’s press and “striking evidence of cultural change” and the emergence of “outlines of new world pictures.” Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp.33, 34. 25

It is unclear how many of these Chinese-language books—particularly the Buddhist ones—were produced for the commercial market, but the distinction itself is a bit artificial. Even books of noncommercial origin—such as the privately printed Sagabon—did leak into the for-profit book market and affected that environment.

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texts—particularly the Ōsaka monogatari, Tsurezuregusa, Ise monogatari, Taiheiki, and Heike monogatari—were reprinted time and time again.

Others—such as the Ōkagami

and other court-centered vernacular histories of the twelfth century which were tangentially associated with the high poetic canon—seem to have been printed only once. And the vast majority of texts that were (and had been) circulating as part of manuscript or performance culture simply never made it to press.

Nevertheless, the number and

variety of printed books produced over the first fifty years of commercial print far exceeds those created over the near millennium of pre-commercial print in Japan. Chart 1: Editions per Literature Title in Movable-Type Production Genre

Titles

Muromachi fiction

22 Jōruri monogatari Akinoyo nagamonogatari Hachizukai Shaka no honji Yoshitune Azuma kudari 15 Kinō wa kyō monogatari Ōsaka monogatari Isoho monogatari Shinchōkōki Tenshōki Uraminosuke Jokunshō Chikusai Usuyuki monogatari Gigen yokishu Shichinin bikuni Juraku monogatari Inu makura

Contemporary prose

Editions 41 3 3 2 2 1 54 11 9 8 7 4 3 3 2 2 2 1 1 1

Editions per title 1.86

3.6

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Titles 11 Ise monogatari Yamato monogatari Genji monogatari Senjūshō Diaries & Miscellanies 3 Tsurezuregusa Hōjōki War Tales 7 Taiheiki Heike monogatari Hōgen monogatari Soga monogatari Gikeiki Vernacular Histories 4 Ōkagami Mizukagami Poetry & Poetics 21 Hyakunin isshu Ruiji meisho wakashū Shihōshō Hokkujo Drama 6 Nō drama & theory Jōruri Military drama (mai no hon) Courtly Fiction

Editions 73 18 10 12 7 30 26 3 82 24 18 12 8 6 4 1 1 60 5 5 5 5 37 31 1 5

Editions per title 6.64

10

11.71

1

2.86

6.17

(Based on the work of Kawase Kazuma.) 26

It is possible to romanticize this era. “The printed material prior to the Kan’ei period (1624-44), in terms quality and quantity, focused on the classics of China, Buddhism, medicine, and Japan,” writes Taniwaki Masachika, “These were products printed and disseminated after [publishers] took up the rich and excellent cultural legacy of Asia prior to the sixteenth century and made selections from it.

It was a situation

26

Kawase Kazuma, (Zōho) Kokatsujiban no kenkyū, vols. 1 and 2 (Tokyo: The Antiquarian Booksellers Association of Japan, 1967).

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such that book merchants of that time were able to do work that was truly enviable and worthwhile.” 27

Taniwaki’s statement is interesting because it stands received wisdom

on its head. The rise of print capitalism and a mass-market literature is normally associated with a decline in aesthetic or intellectual standards. These prejudices are echoed by even Antonio Gramsci as he argues that the commercial literature section of a national-popular literature is worthy of critical attention: The ‘commercial’ aspect comes from the fact that the ‘interesting’ element is not ‘naïve’, ‘spontaneous’, intimately fused with artistic conception, but is sought from without, mechanically, and is doled out industrially, as a sure element of immediate ‘success’. Yet this means that even commercial literature must not be disregarded in the history of culture. Indeed it has enormous value precisely in this respect because the success of a work of commercial literature indicates (and is often the only indication available) the ‘philosophy of the age’, that is, the mass of feelings and conceptions of the world predominant among the ‘silent’ majority. 28 However, in evolution, judgments of intrinsic aesthetic worth are extremely dangerous, and it is best to keep a rigorously Darwinian perspective that links success to a fortuitous fit with circumstance. Thus, in the final analysis, a text’s success is always dependent on its being selected by a suitable readership. The disparity between commercial literary forms and highbrow literature is simply due to the fact that each evolved to fit different readerships. It is crucial to remember that these differences are simply qualitative, not matters of greater or lesser worth.

Thus, the importance of canonical

texts at the start of commercial print is probably better explained by Lucien Febvre and

27

Taniwaki Masachika, “Shuppan bunka no seiritsu to kana-zōshi,” Kana-zōshi shū, Shinpen Nihon bungaku zenshū 64 (Tokyo: Shōgakkan, 1999), p.629. 28

Antonio Gramsci, Selections from Cultural Writings (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985), p.348.

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Henri-Jean Martin: The printer and the bookseller worked above all and from the beginning for profit… [P]ublishers only financed the kind of book they felt sure would sell enough copies to show profit in a reasonable time. We should not therefore be surprised to find that the immediate effect of printing was merely to further increase the circulation of those works which had already enjoyed success in manuscript, and often to consign other less popular texts to oblivion. By multiplying books by the hundreds and then thousands, the press achieved both increased volume and at the same time more rigorous selection. 29 The Darwinian language is justified. The first commercial publishers in Japan were fighting not so much for maximum profits as for sheer survival.

Due to the large font

sizes necessary to print texts in Asian languages, startup costs for movable-type presses throughout East Asia had to have been astronomical, and all evidence points to an extremely high cost of paper.

A single failed speculative venture probably meant

bankruptcy. Early publishers did have one very important environmental factor in their favor. There was little competition, either from other publishers or from books already in circulation. Because of the tremendous outlay of personal time or expense necessary to obtain manuscript texts, pre-print reading communities tend to copy out the texts most basic to their groups’ traditions as well as those for which individuals feel personal affection.

Most books, however, are shared, with one owner loaning it out to multiple

readers with whom he is affiliated. The market for almost all texts at the turn of the seventeenth century was, therefore, completely unsaturated, and the demand for personal copies of even the most well-known texts was extremely high.

At the same time, while

29

Lucien Febvre and Henri-Jean Martin, The Coming of the Book (New York: Verso, 1997), p.249.

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the increased productive capacity of print did make texts more available, the first printed books were hardly inexpensive. A recent piece of evidence unearthed by Watanabe Kenji in the cover of a printed book bound around 1631 gives a glimpse into the price of books at the end of the age of early commercial typography. Chart 2: Prices of Late Movable-Type Editions 30 Title

Number of volumes

Number of printed sheets

Price (in momme)

Nasu no Yoichi

1

11

0.4

Miraiki

1

12

0.4

Jūbangiri

1

30

0.8

Mongaku

1

31

0.8

Wada

1

35

0.9

Manjū

1

43

1.2

Eboshi ori

2

50

1.3

Taishokuwan

2

52

1.4

Youchi Soga

1

54

1.4

Kagekiyo

2

57

1.5

To put these prices in perspective, the cost of the amount of rice considered to be enough to feed an adult male for one year (one koku [about 5.14 bushels]) was around 24 momme, and these texts—the libretto of military dramas (mai no hon 舞の本) written in the sixteenth century—were all relatively short texts.

Since the price of paper was a chief

factor in the price of books, the exorbitantly high cost of larger texts, such as the Genji monogatari as well as the “bestselling” Taiheiki and Heike monogatari, all of which took up hundreds and hundreds of printed sheets, becomes clear.

Given the high initial

investment in typesets in combination with the fact that the productivity of the movable-type press probably differed from that of mass-produced scribal workshops in

30

Watanabe Morikuni, “Kan’ei jidai no shuppan jijō,” Bungaku 51-4 (April, 1983), pp.14-29.

Michael J. Scanlon

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degree as much as kind, it is impossible to say whether early printed books were any less expensive than manuscripts.

The number of texts in print expanded as quickly and as

widely as the market would allow.

However, the high cost of books meant that

consumers would gravitate towards books that were already proven commodities, texts that were already highly successful in manuscript form before the age of print.

This, in

turn, made these texts the most advantageous investment for publishers until enough of these were sold to inundate the market and force booksellers to look for new (or simply not-yet-printed) texts to publish.

The danger, of course, lay in the fact that the limits of

the market had to be determined largely by educated guesses as well as trial and error. Chart 3: Early Modern Booksellers 31 Kyoto

Osaka

Edo

Other

start ups

failures

start ups

Unknown

Year title

start ups

failures

start ups

failures

failures

start ups

failures

Bunroku

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

9

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

8

0

1

0

0

0

2

0

3

0

70

1

4

0

1

0

0

0

23

0

7

3

0

0

1

0

0

0

3

1

21

2

1

0

2

0

0

0

13

0

17

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

12

1

0

0

5

0

1

0

3

1

15

2

1

0

8

0

0

0

14

1

1592-1596 Keichō 1596-1615 Genna 1615-1624 Kan’ei 1624-1644 Shōho 1644-1648 Keian 1648-1652 Shōō 1652-1655 Meireki 1655-1658 Manji 1658-1661

31

Suzuki Toshio, Edo no hon’ya, vol.1 (Tokyo: Chūō Kōronsha, 1980), p.55

Michael J. Scanlon

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Kyoto

Osaka

Edo

Other

start ups

failures

start ups

Unknown

Year title

start ups

failures

start ups

failures

failures

start ups

failures

Kanbun

58

7

3

0

18

0

3

0

48

1

43

16

12

0

25

1

3

0

34

0

17

11

4

1

7

2

1

0

11

1

32

2

10

0

27

2

3

0

21

0

115

3

62

1

80

3

10

0

67

1

31

37

16

6

15

20

2

1

19

3

37

8

23

4

12

3

3

0

10

4

80

7

81

4

48

5

12

1

70

1

19

31

28

7

9

12

4

0

15

3

5

6

10

7

2

3

2

1

7

2

12

1

12

2

15

2

3

1

4

2

16

2

17

6

20

2

0

0

15

0

49

3

69

4

50

6

7

1

59

2

42

21

37

21

38

16

11

1

30

2

59

13

45

20

19

5

28

0

22

2

44

19

45

14

18

14

14

2

28

4

71

17

62

13

47

12

19

1

39

1

21

29

17

32

11

13

6

1

8

6

43

12

52

11

85

1

18

0

68

1

24

49

36

30

29

28

24

3

23

5

1661-1673 Enpō 1673-1681 Tenna 1681-1684 Jōkyō 1684-1688 Genroku 1688-1704 Hōei 1704-1711 Shōtoku 1716-1736 Kyōhō 1716-1736 Genbun 1736-1741 Kanpō 1741-1744 Enkyō 1744-1748 Kan’en 1748-1751 Hōreki 1751-1764 Meiwa 1674-1772 An’ei 1772-1781 Tenmei 1781-1789 Kansei 1789-1801 Kyōwa 1801-1804 Bunka 1804-1818 Bunsei 1818-1830

Michael J. Scanlon

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Kyoto Year title Tenpō

Osaka

Edo

Other

start ups

failures

start ups

Unknown

start ups

failures

start ups

failures

failures

start ups

failures

31

15

39

18

50

34

22

9

25

4

8

24

11

25

14

26

7

10

10

1

16

5

22

2

34

11

33

1

31

0

4

4

3

11

11

13

25

15

8

3

1

2

1

7

1

7

2

14

1

1

11

1

2

2

8

0

1

0

2

2

1

7

0

3

4

6

1

4

2

0

7

2

4

0

6

2

8

2

4

0

The geographic spread of commercial print was limited to the extreme.

For at

1830-1844 Kōka 1844-1848 Kaei 1848-1854 Ansei 1854-1860 Man’en 1860-1861 Bunkyū 1861-1864 Genji 1864-1865 Keiō 1865-1868

least the first half century of its existence, the only viable center for the print publishing industry was Kyoto.

This does not preclude the possibility that commercial bookstores

sprung up in sizable numbers elsewhere in Japan during the first decades of the seventeenth century. However, even if such stores did open, few survived long enough to leave a mark on the historical record. Further, books could and did travel beyond the limits of the imperial capital during this period. But this was unsystematic, basically done on an ad hoc basis by individual speculative colporteurs.

The assumed readership,

the reading public, for almost all books published during these decades was a citizen of Kyoto or those with the financial resources to visit the ancient capital.

The reason for

this is simple: Kyoto, in addition to being the political capital, had also been the economic and cultural center of Japan for the preceding eight centuries. Thus, for much

Michael J. Scanlon

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of the first half of the seventeenth century, it was the only area on the entire archipelago that combined literacy and wealth in high enough concentrations to be a viable habitat for a substantial print publishing industry. 32

If the book market was geographically limited

by certain economic realities, these books were commodities, and there were real pressures for expansion.

The profit (or survival) principal meant that as many books

would be sold to as many people as possible.

This motivation is readily apparent in the

geographical location of booksellers within Kyoto, which the economist Wakimura Yoshitarō details as follows: Looking at the location of the bookstores in Kyoto [during the first fifty years of the seventeenth century], over half were located on Nijō Avenue, with the second largest grouping at Sanjō Avenue. Nijō Avenue—the road that ran from the Nijō Castle on the west to Kiyamachi-chō and the house of [the wealthy merchant and private publisher] Suminokura Ryōi on the east—was the most important thoroughfare in contemporary Kyoto. As a rule of thumb, the roads that ran out of Kyoto to the countryside were measured from the gate to the castle. Next to the castle lay the mansion of the military magistrate of Kyoto, and many daimyō mansions were in the immediate area. To the north of Nijō Avenue—in the area around the imperial palace—lay the homes of aristocrats, wealthy commoners, and mid-ranking military bureaucrats. These people were the contemporary intelligentsia and had great economic power. They probably made up the base of book-buying consumers. 33 Despite the fact that the intended audience of movable-type books went beyond the traditional reading classes of the court and clergy, it certainly was not a case where new readers were demanding new texts or bringing new readings to old ones. In fact, the 32

Through much of the later medieval period, there were isolated incidents in the city of Sakai of books being printed outside the monastery, often by merchants involved in the China trade. These books, which were most often of Buddhist texts, were probably done in imitation of the printed books from China that were part of the Sakai-centered China trade. However, a commercial print industry was never able to flourish there, despite the fact that it was trade-dominated city, probably because the city did not have a large enough base of possible consumers for the published book. 33

Wakimura Yoshitarō, Tōzai shoshigai kō (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1979), p.6.

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exact opposite seems to be closer to the truth. Alongside the list of well-established titles of Japanese literature were texts—conventional commentaries and handbooks for the appreciation and composition of classical linked verse (renga) as well as the libretti of nō plays 34 —that formed an apparatus to help all readers orient themselves according to traditional patterns of reception. In other words, it was largely new traditional readers that were forming alongside the commercial book trade, and the early seventeenth-century reader was basically as aristocratic as he had been in the previous, pre-print age, the only difference being that aristocrats of the blood and the surplice (often combined in the same individual) were being joined by increasing numbers of men with aristocratic aspirations who were being admitted to this company despite their birth statuses due to their prowess with the sword or the purse. Class-based analysis of the literary system, however, must be done with great care. The cultural historian Roger Chartier in a recent essay on reading in early modern Europe uses the work of Sara T. Nalle to argue against vulgar applications of class analysis on two fronts: First, cultural divisions are neither necessarily or even in the majority of cases determined by socio-professional status. Age, marital status and schooling (elsewhere, a shared religious affiliation, membership in a group, residence in the same locality) can define the specific identity more accurately than social condition, strictly speaking. Second, Nalle shows that no reading matter was exclusive to any

34

These nō texts, which were read as digest forms of the classics, are the one type of book for which there is incontrovertible evidence of large-scale sales during this period, for a note jotted on the inverse of a printed sheet of a movable-type edition of the play Sagoromo from the 1620s is an order requesting between eighty and ninety copies each of fourteen nō titles. Watanabe Morikuni, “Kaihō no kiun,” Nihon bungakushi, vol. 7 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1996), pp.13-16.

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one group. 35 This is borne out in what the preface to the Komago kagami (A Mirror for Sons and Grandsons, 1673), a book of advice on how to prolong the prosperity of urban merchant (chōnin 町人) families, has to say about martial virtues and the genre of military writings talked about in the previous section: Well, military protocol is to respect those above and feel for those below. One should think of the various people as if they were one’s children. All phenomena have one form and one principle (banbutsu ittai ichiri 万物一体一理); to man, everything is propriety (rei れい). When it comes to ruling the people of the land, again this is the basis—you win without fighting, and also win when you fight. Heavenly time is not the same as earthly principle [profit], 36 and earthly principle [profit] is not the same as harmony among men. As for the cases of the Four Books, the Five Classics and the military regulations, these are a given, and there is benefit from reading the vernacular war tales (ikusa monogatari kana-gaki 軍ものがたりかながき). 夫、軍法は上を敬下輩をなづけ、諸民を子のごとくにおもふべし。万物一体一理に して、ひとは万物のれい也。国民を治ること、かねて其もとにあり、不戦して勝、 たたかへばしかも勝也。天の時は地の理にしかず、地の理は人の和にしかじ。四書 37 五経軍法などは勿論、軍ものがたりかながきを見るに得徳あり。

The presumed author is not a reader reading a martial text as an urban merchant and protesting his low standing in the Tokugawa class system or resisting the feudal Tokugawa ideology, for he was not simply a member of the chōnin class, but a successful urban merchant whose interests lie in the maintenance of the current system.

And this

happens in the latter half of the century, after the four-part class system had time to take

35

Roger Chartier, “Reading Matter and ‘Popular’ Reading,” A History of Reading in the West (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999), p.272. 36

An adapted quotation from the Mōshi (The Mencius). In the original, the ri is that of profit (利), while in the early modern Japanese text it is written with the character for principle (理). 37

Samukawa Masachika, Shison kagami, Kinsei chōnin shisō, Nihon shisō taikei 59 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1975), p.43.

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root as well as when the viable territory for the commercial book had spread beyond Kyoto.

During the entire period of movable type ascendancy, the book market was still

restricted to Kyoto, and the class system was in its infancy.

The term for this

system—shi-nō-kō-shō (士農工商 [samurai] gentlemen, farmers, artisans, merchants)—seems to have only gained widespread currency upon Hideyoshi’s sword hunt of 1588, and the aforementioned regulations (hatto 法度)—lists of proscriptions and prescriptions for specific socio-professional groupings—did as much to create their audience as to speak to pre-existing organic communities. Yet if samurai, farmers, craftsmen and merchants are social distinctions of little value for the study of early seventeenth-century literature, why is it that there is an “aristocracy” and how is possible to describe something as “aristocratic”?

The reasons for this are simple. The

aristocracy was a venerable social category, and membership was (supposedly) predicated on the materially verifiable basis of bloodline, though, of course, there was by the turn of the seventeenth century an extensive history of elite merchants and warriors entering its ranks.

On a more practical level, it was a group that had long been concentrated

geographically.

For almost a millennium, it was considered that, to be fully aristocratic,

an aristocrat had to live in or near the imperial capital. This high degree of centralization meant that the members of this social category participated in communities that were almost by default in dialogue. Even though the smaller groupings that made up the aristocracy often disagreed, like a Shakespearian band of brothers, they could become a more united community when challenged from the outside.

By the dawn of

the seventeenth century, the Kyoto elites had for an extended period been an embattled

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community, and its members often used the continentally coined term gekokujō (下克上) or “inferiors overthrowing superiors”—with the aristocracy being the “superiors”—to interpret the long-term violence and impoverishment visited upon them over the latter half of the Muromachi period. The continued dominance of traditional texts and reading patterns despite the change in government and technology of reproduction can probably be traced back to the geography of the commercial book.

Within the world of late medieval fiction, Kyoto

had a cultural gravity that moved all who entered it towards traditional norms.

It had a

similar effect in extra-literary reality, too. Watanabe Kenji, in an essay on literature and urban space, explicitly draws a parallel between the taming of protagonists in Muromachi fiction and the career of Oda Nobunaga, who entered the capital as a ferocious warrior but was soon transformed into a serious military leader capable of pacifying the realm. 38 This power is related to the presence of institutions of long standing that can, in turn, be linked to the city’s time-honored role as the cultural, religious, economic and political center of Japan.

These institutions, which have their own structures and protocols that

are connected with the ideologies and practices of the times in which they formed and rose to power, do not disappear instantaneously with revolutions in government or other great event-level changes.

They are not immune to structural change in society or

ideology and have to adapt to fit into changed systems or weaken.

Yet they remain

attractive allies for new powers and (at least initially) serve as a stabilizing factor that helps ensure a good deal of cultural continuity despite catastrophic political or economic 38

Watanabe Kenji, “‘Toshi’ to Uraminosuke zengo,” pp.91-2.

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transformation.

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The predominance of Buddhist books and the Tokugawa funding of

temple rebuilding projects bespeaks the resiliency of these religious institutions despite the sacking of Mount Hiei by Nobunaga and the Tokugawa emphasis on a Confucian-based ideology. The same holds true for the institutions of the semi-autonomous field of literature, which were the salons that formed around members of the imperial family and high-ranking aristocrats of the capital.

Though participants in these cultural associations

would also recite poems belonging to the lesser literary pastimes of comic verse (kyōka 狂歌) and linked verse (haikai 俳諧), the basis of these organizations was the

composition of traditional Japanese verse (waka 和歌) and classical linked verse (renga 連歌).

A party known as the Nijō School, which could trace its origins back three

centuries and was very proudly rooted in a traditional poetics, held sway. Rules for composition abounded, and poetic innovators like Kinoshita Chōshōshi (木下長嘯子, 1569-1649) were criticized heavily for their efforts.

These genres of high poetry seem

to be exactly the type of literature to which Yuri Lotman was referring when he stated that the cultures of the center “become rigidly organized and self-regulating. But at the same time they lose dynamism and having once exhausted their reserve of indeterminacy they become inflexible and incapable of further development.” 39

Though in certain limited

ways Lotman’s thesis is undeniable, it completely ignores the flexibility and productive capacities of these salons and associations.

These supposedly hidebound institutions

were able to serve as the matrix for a literary practice that remained so vibrant that its 39

Lotman, p.134.

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poetic harvest was on a scale modern scholars call unsurpassed in any point in Japanese history. 40

Further, they had the ability to reproduce readers in great numbers and even

assimilate certain numbers of outsiders to their traditional standards without these standards themselves being jeopardized. The importance of the commercial press to these salons is hard to assess.

Books continued to be borrowed and copied out by hand,

and print never became the preferred media for the dissemination of traditional poetry written by the members of the aristocratic elite of the imperial court. 41 print, however, these institutions were of fundamental importance.

To commercial

The salon members

coincided with the public that combined the levels of literacy and wealth necessary to be potential customers of the book trade.

Therefore, during the first three decades or so of

commercial print in Japan, one of the ways by which publishers managed to survive was to supply some of the texts necessary to operate in the literary salons of Kyoto. 42

The

market for the printed book was still limited in the extreme, yet anecdotal evidence shows that, among the denizens of this restricted world, printing seems to have, for the first time, entered into the cultural imagination as a valuable means of reproducing and 40

Among many, see Fujikawa Chūji, “Waka to kayō,” Shinpan Nihon bungakushi, vol. 4, Kinsei 1, Hisamatsu Sen’ichi, ed. (Tokyo: Shibundō, 1971), pp.350-392. 41

The most obvious manifestation of this is the fact that waka poets of the high aristocracy made it a point to keep their poetry from being published via print technology throughout the Edo period.

42

This holds true despite the fact that titles of literary texts, especially ones of poetry, constituted a relatively minor part of the overall market for the printed book during the age of early typography. The reason for this is simple: though the center of gravity for these salons was waka and renga poetry, their overarching function was to provide a space for social intercourse among members of intelligentsia groups, and to be educated in early seventeenth-century Japan meant to have a familiarity with those Buddhist, Confucian and medical texts being put out by period booksellers.

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disseminating knowledge and art. Perhaps the unknown diarist who wrote the Tōdaiki ( A Contemporary Record 当代記) captures the situation best when he states: “1609: This winter, for fifteen years now, something called the printed book has been being made. Any and all types of writing are being printed in Kyoto. They call it a copy (han 判). They will be treasures until the end of time.” 43 That there would be great continuity at the center of literary production and that the early print market would be oriented towards the traditional are important points to keep in mind.

Yet in no way does this mean that literary systems are unaffected by

extra-literary factors or that the founding of the Tokugawa regime was not an event of revolutionary importance.

It is simply that literature forms a system which, like every

system, is structured. The forms of the center are well insulated and the least susceptible to change initiated by outside influence.

They can, and do, evolve, but this

is normally due to intrinsic stimulus, the appearance of formally divergent texts that gain great popularity.

Literary change due to deformations in other systems can more easily

be found in peripheral genres.

In seventeenth-century Japan, that would mean haikai,

kyōka, and (perhaps most of all) fiction.

Few of these made it to print during the initial

age of moveable-type ascendancy in Japan because they were unnecessary at a time when the classics were still selling and many more popular texts from the inherited tradition

43

慶長十四年、此冬、此五三個年、摺本と云事仕上出、何の書物をも、於京都摺之、当 時是を判と云、末代の重宝なり。 The meaning of the term I have translated as “copy” is

unknown. According to Nagatomo Chiyoji, however, it has to do with movable-type printing and does not refer to the homonymous term for woodblock. Nagatomo Chiyoji, Edo jidai no shomotu to dokusha (Tokyo: Tōkyōdō Shuppan, 2001), p.15.

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were still waiting to be printed for the first time.

But literary change there was, for the

pacification of the realm and the establishment of a new government brought about real and dramatic transformations.

One of the most palpable of these was that the country

was being rebuilt after the ravages of war.

This was happening throughout Japan, but it

was especially obvious in the ancient capital.

By the middle of the seventeenth century,

Kyoto, the city of traditions, had very little that was noticeably old in it. The Ōnin war, which raged for a decade during the latter half of the fifteenth century, took the capital as its battlefield.

Smaller objects such as statues, paintings and manuscripts survived, but

the destruction of the city’s buildings was almost complete.

The cessation of hostilities

towards the end of the sixteenth century helped catalyze a construction boom the scale of which was unprecedented since the founding of the capital in the late eighth century. The majority of these newly built buildings were financed by local money and consisted of the homes and businesses of plebian Kyoto residents.

Though typically

quotidian, this also included the pleasure quarters that, when temporarily routed because the Nijō Castle was built on land it had occupied, quickly re-formed in the southern part of the city in the area of Muromachi and Rokujō Avenues.

More noticeable were the

buildings sponsored by the various military strongmen who rebuilt the capital as a sign of their power and authority to govern. Some of this military-financed architecture was original.

Outside the eastern border of the city, Hideyoshi built a temple with a giant

Buddha statue created from swords confiscated from the peasantry and a shrine in which he tried to establish himself as a god in an ill-fated attempt to ensure the continuance of his line.

Likewise, the keep and towers of the Nijō Castle, the first large-scale pure

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military installation built within the capital proper, soared high into the air, dominating the Kyoto skyline and serving as an unmistakable reminder to the residents of the imperial capital that the world was a very different place. However, as would befit Kyoto, the majority of the new political elite’s financial expenditure was put into sponsoring or co-sponsoring the rebuilding of the destroyed monuments of the past, particularly religious complexes and the imperial palace, using traditional architectural forms.

By 1650, such important temples as the Chion-in, the Ninna-ji, the

Kiyomizu-dera and the Tō-ji had been rebuilt in such a way that the classical elements of domestic architecture (shinden-zukuri), stage construction (butai-zukuri) and palace style (kyūden-zukuri) were readily apparent.

Even some buildings erected for the first time,

such as the Katsura Detached Palace, were neoclassical in form, blending the contemporary tea ceremony style with the aristocratic “courtliness” (miyabi) aesthetic of the Heian period. 44

Nevertheless, no classical or neo-classical style could hide the fact

that these were very new buildings, and the denizens of Kyoto could not help but realize that the world was changing all around them. The city of Kyoto as it sprang back to life held an important place in the cultural imagination of the time.

One manifestation of this is the rise in popularity of a genre of

screen paintings known as the “views in and about the capital” (rakuchū rakugai-zu 洛中 洛外図).

These paintings, the first surviving examples of which date from the early

sixteenth century, select the most famous places of Kyoto and depict the buildings, festivals, or seasonal imagery for which each was known. 44

Basically impressionistic

Noda, Nihon kinsei shōsetsu shi, Kana-zōshi, p.30.

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maps, they are not realistic in the modern sense. The spatial grid of the city is bent to fit in places of interest, and time is completely conflated.

Festivals that occur in the

summer are depicted near scenes of autumn foliage, and temples which are quite far apart in reality are separated by nothing more than a thin gold cloud.

But, since it was mainly

events and places of recognized importance that made it to paper or silk, these depictions can be thought of as accurate presentations of the symbolic geography of the city.

This

representational style became very popular and spread to many other genres of the pictorial arts, and outwardly similar developments even appeared in texts of completely different media.

An example of this can be found in the Uraminosuke (Master

Resentment 恨の介), a fictional narrative believed to have been written before the fall of Osaka castle and printed by, at latest, the early 1620s.

The eponymous hero of the story

first meets his love interest on the stage of the Kiyomizu Temple to the east of Kyoto as she plays a samisen extraordinary enough to be described in great detail, part of which runs: The design of the samisen is difficult to describe… On a lacquer picture on the sound box was inscribed an image of the capital. Gion, Kiyomizu, Kamo, Kasuga, Rokuhara, Rokkaku, Ima-Kumano, the great deity of Toyokuni, the thirty-three bays, the Great Buddha, the autumn foliage of Inari Mountain, Chōraku-ji Temple, Tōfuku-ji Temple, Tō-ji Temple, Sai-ji Temple, the four mounds. The years pass, but they do not get old. Rokuda-Kawara! Funaoka Mountain and Kurama! The Ono Mansion, Fushimi, Chōdō-dera Temple, the shrine mound of Toba, and the fall mountains. Further on, Hō-ji Temple of Yamasaki, the bridge at Uji, and the old man’s straw. Putting oneself in danger on Temperance Island, a boat is barely visible on the Yodo River. Here it is! The holy shrine of Yawata. The cloister of Sekido. Prince Koretaka hunts, and the pheasant of the protected field worries about its children. What will become of the village of Cormant Mansion with the woven fence of Thread Field Town? Right up to Kubotsu-ji and Tennō-ji Temples as well as the stone gate [of Shitennō-ji Temple]. All these various and sundry places were taken up and painted beautifully on it.

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さて三味線の結構には、心言葉も述べ難し…さてまた胴の蒔絵には、都の内を蒔き にける。祇園・清水・加茂・春日・六波羅・六角・今熊野・豊国の大明神、三十三 間・大仏殿・稲荷山の薄紅葉、長楽寺・東福寺、東寺・西寺・四つ塚・年は行けど も老ひもせず、六田川原や船岡山、愛宕・鞍馬や小野殿、伏見・深草・ちゃうどう 寺、鳥羽の恋塚・秋の山、さて山崎宝寺、宇治の橋本・扇の芝、槙の島にて晒しす る、淀の河船ほの見ゆる、これぞ八幡の御社、関戸の院、惟高の親王の御狩せし、 禁野の雉は子を思う、鵜殿に繁き籬垣の糸田が原やいかならん。窪津の王子・天王 45 寺、石の鳥居に至るまで、彼方此方をとりはたし、物の上手が蒔いたりける。

The representational mode is not equally fit to all media, and it does not work as well in text as it does in image.

The details get pared down to the point that places are listed

much more than described, but the object represented remains the same: the new and renewed spaces of the contemporary city of Kyoto and its environs that would be well known (if not actually accessible) to its citizenry.

Familiar areas like these, as they

became incorporated into the more familiar genres of literature, would lead to great departures from established norms.

45

Uraminosuke, Kana-zōshi shū, Maeda Kingorō, ed., Nihon koten bungaku taikei 90 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1965) pp.55-6.

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A fish out of water Now, now! What a magnificent age we live in! Even a mere commoner such as myself can prosper, and wondrous are the dazzling things we see and hear! This must be the time of Maitreya. Keichō kenmonshū (ca.1620) Miura Jōshin (1565-1644) At some point in the past, historians confidently divided up history according to dates.

Of the many competing proposals for the origin of Japan’s early modern period,

there are several that stand out: 1571 (Oda Nobunaga’s sacking of Mount Hiei), 1576 (Nobunaga’s entrance into Kyoto), 1588 (Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s disarming of the peasantry), 1600 (Tokugawa Ieyasu’s victory at the battle of Sekigahara), 1603 (the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate), 1615 (the Tokugawa triumph over Hideyoshi’s heir at the battles of Osaka castle). More recent historiography, however, has a marked distrust of datable events, which are thought to distract from the underlying structures that either make discrete events possible in the first place or, at the very least, guide the way such events are understood and assessed value. For well over a quarter century, scholars, in an attempt to undermine the significance of so-called “epochal events,” have been demonstrating that these episodes are surrounded by precursors from the previous period and survivals into the next. 46

Specific events have been placed

within larger ensembles of transformations, and their ability to effect change is relativized. Some scholars have even gone so far as to suggest that individualized events are mere epiphenomena of underlying structural change and, therefore, are a combination of 46

Peter Kornicki, “The Survival of Tokugawa Fiction in the Meiji Period,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 41:2 (Dec., 1981), p.466.

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inevitable and interchangeable—had Mount Hiei not been sacked in 1571, another event capable of fulfilling the same function would have been discovered or “invented.” Yet the presence of survivals and precursors surrounding what has long been seen as revolutionary events is not as meaningful as it might first appear.

A perceived (or, at

least, perceptible) gap between world and worldview, of course, normally serves as an enabling factor for great ideological change. However, only a caricaturized version of event-based history would attribute to it an anagenetic model of historical progression wherein epochal events immediately annihilate one age and produce the next in completed form.

Precursors can be even more distracting because it must always be

kept in mind both that there are always a vast number of potential precursors present at any given time and that an almost statistically insignificant few of these succeed.

To

draw too much attention to the exception is bad, but far worse is to promote what amounts to a deterministic historiography based on results that by means of a retrospective teleology ascribes to potentially emergent structures the power to cause the very epochal events that fully activate them in the first place. Large-scale events can only be seen as mere “symptoms” of underlying structural change if one were to posit that there is an inevitability and predictability to history, something that all contemporary schools of historiography deny.

Great events play a significant role in historical

development, not because they create social change out of whole cloth, but for their very real ability to trigger change by selecting against the status quo and opening up a range of pre-existing possibilities for development. Thus, while it is perfectly correct to connect Oda Nobunaga’s 1571 torching of Mount Hiei with a dual process of decentralization of

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power and relativization of central authority that was happening over the longue durée rather than simply seeing it as “a shocking act that sparked…the decline of established authority and values beginning with Buddhism,” 47 it is also true that this very public defeat of the center of Buddhism by a secular power was an acutely perceived shock which made an end (or, at least, a radical attenuation) of clerical power and authority far more imaginable than it had been previously.

In turn, the Song Confucianism being

studied within Zen monasteries and espoused by itinerant scholars during the late medieval period was given space to grow, and it eventually came to play a central role in the Tokugawa ideology. Yet the long-term success of Confucianism in early modern Japan was by no means immediate or inevitable. The association of the Confucian scholar Fujiwara Seika with the warrior elite towards the end of the sixteenth century and his recommendation of a politically ambitious student in Hayashi Razan to the new leader of the realm played crucial yet completely non-predictable roles in this process, the effects of which would only become clear after several decades had passed, and the forms of society and ideology settled upon at that time should never be thought of as the inevitable results of some structurally predetermined destiny. A Darwinian model of history, because of its ability to deal with the relationship between limiting structures and chance events, is suited to explain long-term historical development, particularly in the domain of ideology.

Ideology—the means by which

experience is made meaningful—is not monolithic.

To the contrary, it is made up of a

47

Watanabe Morikuni, “Keimō jidai no shi to shinjitsu,” Nihon bungaku shinshi, Kinsei, Matsuda Osamu, ed. (Tokyo: Shibundō, 1986), p.26.

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complex overlay of dominant and recessive structures that can only indirectly and imperfectly be tied to various social groups and practices. These ideological structures are also structuring because, by making some events or event groupings meaningful (or more meaningful), they make these events or event groupings more easily repeatable and others less so.

At the same time, these ideological structures are largely dependent on

the continued occurrence of the events which they explain. Classical Darwinism, which developed out of a liberal model for social development, is well suited to explain societal change that occurs due to small, incremental changes over time.

As small-scale events

and event groupings associated with a social group slowly rise in importance, the associated emergent ideological structures gradually displace some of the heretofore dominant ones with a minimum amount of jostling to the rest of the meta-structure. More recently, a Darwinian reformation, in which the work of Stephen Jay Gould has played a central role, has occurred, and it offers a means for explaining revolutionary change as well.

The theory, termed punctuated equilibrium, posits that evolution can

also occur via long periods of stasis being interrupted by short periods of immense change. 48

Periods of ideological stasis, hegemonies, occur when the ideological

meta-structure can remain more or less stable because events either happen in such a way that it is reinforced or are small enough that they can simply be ignored. Rapid change occurs when events that can neither be explained nor ignored select against the dominant structures as well as the preponderance of recessive ones, and a range of possible routes

48

Stephen Jay Gould, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (Cambridge: Belknap Harvard, 2002).

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of development are opened.

90

After a series of largely fortuitous events forecloses upon

the majority of these, the meta-structure begins to settle, and a new hegemony is born. Specific dates were also becoming important as a formal element within Japanese narrative literature at the turn of the seventeenth century.

One famous example of this

can be found at the very opening of the aforementioned Uraminosuke: Once upon a time—when was it?—it was the tenth day of the sixth month of 1606. Thus, there was the truly charming sight of the showy outfits of all—be they young or old, man or woman, rich or poor, urbane or countrified—gathering on the bridges of Shijō and Gojō Avenues as the denizens of the capital lined up on their way to the light festival at the Kiyomizu Temple. そもそも比はいつぞの事なるに、慶長九年の末の夏、上の十日の事なれば、清水 の万灯とて、袖を連ねて都人、四条五条の橋の上、老若男女貴賎都鄙、色めく花 49 衣、下におもろしき有様なり。

This method of laying out the time and place of the story represents an inordinate expenditure of narrative energy. The specifics of the setting could have simply been stated directly, yet they are not. Instead, an oral-formulaic opening, which tends to reinforce imprecision and universality and was de rigueur in the fiction of the late medieval period, is invoked for the sole purpose of being rejected.

Ichiko Teiji, one of

the most respected scholars of Muromachi fiction, notes this and locates the beginnings of early modern fiction here.

To Ichiko, however, the evolutionary step rests on the

level of formal element and transcends any individual text, for he makes clear that similar configurations can be found in several other texts of the time so this is in no way the invention of the author of the Uraminosuke. 50

Yet the tenth day of the sixth month of

49

Uraminosuke, Nihon koten bungaku taikei 90, Maeda Kingorō, ed. (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1977), p.51.

50

Uraminosuke, p.477.

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1606 has an importance specific to the Uraminosuke, and much attention is drawn to this fact.

The date is, after all, wrong. In 1606, just like every other year, the lamp lighting

ceremony at the Kiyomizu-dera took place on the tenth day of the seventh month.

This

was no simple mistake, and it would have been immediately recognizable to the societal elites that made up the Uraminosuke’s initial reading public. In the words of Watanabe Kenji: The tenth day of the sixth month of 1606 was the [date on which] Tokugawa Ieyasu left Fushimi Castle and entered Nijō Castle. In other words, on this day the Tokugawa governing authority irreversibly spread to include control of Kyoto City proper, and the people of the city registered that this power was going nowhere. For those with connections to Hideyoshi, this must have been the day on which the Kyoto of tradition collapsed. To those who were fed up with war and hoped for peace under the new regime, this was undoubtedly a day on which liberation was announced. No matter what, this was an unforgettable day for Kyoto. It was the day on which the bumpkin Tokugawa Ieyasu entered Kyoto. 51 Ieyasu did more than just enter the city. In an unmistakable affront to traditional protocol, he also summoned the highest ranking members of the civil aristocracy to his Nijō Castle for audiences with him.

These actions stand in stark contrast to his

predecessor Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who built his castle outside the imperial capital and even had himself appointed to the regency, the highest position within the aristo-imperial government.

Under Ieyasu, Kyoto had become an occupied city and the aristocratic age

(or any hope of its revival) was over. To judge by the evidence that can be found in period diaries, aristocrats were painfully aware of this and reviled Ieyasu for it. The Uraminosuke is one of the first literary narratives to be set in the period following the establishment of the Tokugawa government.

Also, out of the various

51

Watanabe Kenji, “‘Toshi’ to ‘Uraminosuke’ zengo,” Bungaku ni okeru toshi (Tokyo: Kasama Shoin, 1988), p.96.

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contenders for the title of the first “authentically” early modern shōsetsu, 52 it was by far the biggest seller both in its time and across the period as a whole. Therefore, it has come to be studied as the first piece of early modern fiction. Yet the text also clearly borrows much from traditional narrative.

This has led to a cottage industry of sorts

within the study of seventeenth-century Japanese literature in which scholars debate whether the Uraminosuke is a medieval or early modern text. The discussion, which is most often couched in the terms of “newness” and “oldness,” is neatly pre-encapsulated in the words of piece of scholarship published by Mizutani Futō (1858-1943): The framework of the Uraminosuke is nothing more than an antiquated love story. However, the subjects with which it deals are one and all realistic. The still vivid anguish at the fall of the Jurakudai [the home of Toyotomi Hidetsugu who was murdered by his own father in a succession dispute] opens before our eyes; the condition of the wandering of the orphans; kabuki, the shamisen, and wandering minstrels—all these contemporary customs (tōse fūzoku 当世風俗), the narrative skillfully weaves in and shows us newness. 53 To sum up, in the Uraminosuke, the content is new (early modern), and the form is old (medieval). The terms of the debate are also barely concealed value judgments. Elements that can be found in Muromachi fiction are “hackneyed,” 54 and unprecedented

52

The meaning of the term shōsetsu when used in reference to pre-modern literary texts is somewhat complex. Early modernists—who often emphasize the discontinuities between the medieval and early modern eras as well as the continuities between the early modern and modern eras—tend to use it to mean “novel,” while modernists—who tend to stress the break between modernity and early modernity—often use it to mean simply “fiction.”

53

Mizutani Futō, Retsudentai shōsetsu shi, Mizutani Futō chosakushū (Tokyo: Chūō Kōronsha, 1974), p.30. 54

Donald Keene, World within Walls (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), p.150.

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ones are attributed to a desire on the part of the author to “overcome” the medieval. 55 The presence of traditional elements should be neither surprising nor despised. Evolution happens within established structures.

Athena only materializes in completed

form from Zeus’ brow in the world of myth, and any search for a similar phenomenon in literature is predicated on the concept of Author as Creator. Moreover, whereas the identity of the writer—much less his conscious and unconscious desires—will forever be completely inaccessible, it is known that the text’s initial readership tended to be aristocratic in taste, if not in fact. It would seem hardly likely that the ideological function of such a commercially successful text would have involved simply welcoming and developing a new, post-aristocratic age. The conflation of newness with early modernity and oldness with medieval-ness also clouds the debate. On the level of content, this has led many scholars to focus almost completely on events, places or customs described in the narrative that are original to the seventeenth century.

Yet some of the text’s places and customs—such as the

Kiyomizu-dera and its lamp lighting ceremony mentioned in the quotation above—have histories that date back centuries and are indicative of continuity within the cultural tradition rather than rupture or innovation. level of form.

The problems are even more apparent on the

Dissenting voices that see structural “newness” are not content to

describe them as mutations or deviations from received norms. seen as innovations linked to future developments.

Instead, the changes are

Thus, the Uraminosuke becomes the

55

Noda Hisao, Nihon kinsei shōsetsu shi, Kana-zōshi hen (Tokyo: Benseisha, 1986), p.74.

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first example of “love for love’s sake” (ren’ai shijō shugi 恋愛至上主義), a value to which the characters sacrifice their lives, and this love-centricism is protest against the inhumanness of the bushidō-inflected Confucianism of the Tokugawa ideology. 56

Such

developments did evolve by the time of Chikamatsu Monzaemon’s eighteenth-century love-suicide plays, which are dominated by a conflict between duty and passion, and perhaps the commonly held theme of frustrated passion leading to death might help to explain the continued popularity of the xylographic edition of the Uraminosuke. However, as will be discussed later, there is little objective evidence that the famed inhumanity of the Tokugawa ideology was anything more than a byproduct of eighteenth-century literature’s handling of the duty-passion dynamic, and passion is thwarted in the Uraminosuke for reasons that have nothing to do with duty. Any similarities in ending between the Uraminosuke and later texts are superficial convergences rather than structural homologies. It is, therefore, unsurprising that scholarly consensus is that the love story in the Uraminosuke is much closer to those that can be found in such classics as the Ise monogatari or the Genji monogatari—the latter of which is mentioned within the Uraminosuke itself—than those in Chikamatsu’s love-suicide plays. 57

It is also important to keep in mind that productive innovation is

not the only possible type of change.

In fact, unsuccessful mutations are the norm, and

future productivity may be exactly the wrong criteria on which to base an examination of 56

Suzuki Tōru, “Uraminosuke ni okeru ai to shi,” Kinsei bungei kō, no. 21 (December, 1976).

57

Watanabe Kenji, “Kinsei shōsetsu e no mosaku,” Nihon bungaku shi, vol.7 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1996), p.201.

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the Uraminosuke, for this was a surprisingly barren text.

Though highly popular itself,

it did not spawn the immediate sequels and prequels typical of contemporary bestsellers. If form and content are to remain separate, it would probably be best to assign them the following descriptions.

The setting is rigorously contemporary to a

post-Ieyasu world, but includes items both novel and long established. The manner in which the raw materials of the story are told makes use of traditional forms, but does so in neither a pure nor orthodox manner.

This was immediately apparent to Ichiko, a

medievalist by profession, who said the Uraminosuke “synthesizes several of the clichéd methods of the medieval period and, further, inscribes them gaudily and in detail.” 58 The Uraminosuke would seem to combine two narrative paradigms from the domain of late medieval fiction.

The outermost, which garners almost all scholarly attention and

has led the text to be almost universally categorized as a tragic love story, has a plot that runs as follows.

The hero, Uraminosuke (who seems to be a soldier of some rank within

the Tokugawa army), 59 is convinced that the heroine, Yukinomae (an orphaned daughter of Kimura Hitachi [a high-ranking vassal of Toyotomi Hidetsugu who committed ritual suicide upon the death of his lord] who had been adopted into the aristocratic Konoe family), is rejecting him the morning after their first tryst, so he falls into a deep 58

Ichiko Teiji, “Kinsei shoki shōsetsu no ichi seikaku,” Chūsei shōsetsu to sono shūhen (Tokyo: Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai, 1981), p.99. 59

It is never stated directly within the text that Uraminosuke is a Tokugawa soldier. However, he is from the eastern part of the country, lives in an area heavily populated by middle-ranking direct vassals of the shogun, and has a connection to an underling of Hosokawa Yūsai, a powerful military baron and head of the Nijō School of traditional Japanese poetry. Watanabe Kenji, “Kinsei shōsetsu no mosaku,” p.204.

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depression, returns home to Fukakusa, and begins to waste away.

His friends find out

about his condition just as he is about to die and, though forbidden to carry out their plan to assault the members of the aristocratic house where the woman lives, deliver a letter containing Uraminosuke’s final words to an old widow who had been acting as his go-between.

When the letter is passed on to Yukinomae, she immediately dies from

shock, and her ladies-in-waiting and the widow then commit suicide in order to serve their mistress in the next world. This does bear some resemblance to stories of lost love within the corpus of Muromachi fiction.

However, traditional narratives of failed love normally close in

ways that allow the energy generated by passion and its loss to be reincorporated into the Buddhist establishment which served as the center of late medieval ideological production. Specifically, they tend to have one of two endings: either a surviving male protagonist (the older male, in the case of homosexual love stories) undergoes a religious revelation, enters the Buddhist priesthood, and brings glory and wealth to a specific temple, or a long-suffering (and often female) lover is elevated through his or her pain and reborn as a Buddha or bodhisattva who brings good fortune and protection to a specific town or religious institution. Muromachi fiction does not typically end in the group suicides of women, and neither do later narratives. The formal element was basically stillborn, despite the ascendancy of a martial-Confucian ideology.

Yet it does

play several important roles within this text. The suicides parallel that of Yukinomae’s birth father and other vassals of Toyotomi Hidestugu, and they draw readerly attention to an event described and condemned in great detail earlier in the text: Hideyoshi’s

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murdering his adult adopted son in order to assure the place of his infant biological son, Hideyori. The suicides also do not allow the story to be contained within the most Buddhist of the traditional master narratives, for no character that either participated in the love affair or even directly witnessed it is left to turn to a religious life. The breakdowns in this particular plot structure should not be overemphasized, because it is predicated on an even more central failure.

The majority of the

Uraminosuke is taken up by what is very clearly a different narrative paradigm, that of a successful love story between an otherworldly and extraordinary hero and an aristocratic heroine, which typically ends in marriage, great wealth and fecundity, and eventual rebirth as a tutelary god who brings fortune and protection to a given place. this inner section runs as follows.

The plot of

A character named Kuzu no Uraminosuke, a soldier

of undefined rank famed for his erotic exploits, forlornly visits the Kiyomizu Temple and catches sight of an incredibly beautiful woman.

Having been rebuffed in his attempt to

learn her name due to his obvious rusticity, he follows her home and sees that she lives in the mansion of the aristocratic Konoe family. Since such a woman would be unapproachable by traditional means, he returns to the Kiyomizu Temple to beg the Bodhisattva Kannon for help and awakes one morning to find a scroll next to his pillow which informs him that he should visit the nearby house of a widow.

This old woman

reveals the true identity of the young beauty and agrees to pass along Uraminosuke’s love letters.

Yukinomae, after initially refusing to read them, acquiesces. In order to test

her suitor, the woman sends him a riddle based on poems from the classical canon. When the hero solves the problem by asking for help from another, she allows him inside

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where he bumbles around but eventually sleeps with her. The next morning he asks her when they can meet again and receives the fateful answer, “In the next life.” The structural homologies between this section of the Uraminosuke and traditional medieval narrative are readily apparent.

In fact, every plot point listed

above—save the means taken to solve the poetic riddle—is in common with such pieces as the Kootoko no sōshi (The Book of the Little Man 小男の草子) and Monogusa tarō (Lazy Tarō 物臭太郎). Even the characters as they are first introduced would seem to be very much suited to the world of Muromachi fiction.

Uraminosuke, as a highly

libidinous rustic, could be the perfect hero; Yukinomae initially appears to be the beautiful daughter of the Konoe family, a group that held hereditary rights to the regency, the highest position within the aristo-imperial government.

It seems possible that the

energetic hero would, after causing a little damage, be quite literally incorporated into the aristocratic system and thereby reinvigorate it. Yet it does not happen, and the point at which things start to go wrong is instructive. under false assumptions.

Yukinomae allows the affair to begin

Unlike his many predecessors in Muromachi fiction,

Uraminosuke cannot solve the poetic riddle on his own and must ask the help of a certain adept who served under the famous waka poet Hosokawa Yūsai. world, lack of skill in poetry is an intolerable failure.

In the aristocratic

Probably the most fundamental

piece of writing to the aristocratic worldview is the Vernacular Preface to the Kokin wakashū, an early tenth-century text that became an object of near-religious devotion for the poets of the medieval period.

The so-called expressive-affective poetics that lie at

the heart of medieval literary art are laid out clearly in its overwhelmingly well-known

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opening passage: The poetry of Japan takes the human heart as its seed and takes form in a myriad of words. People in the course of their lives are stimulated by actions and events, so they use the seen and unseen, and come bursting forth with their feelings. Listen to the bush warbler crying in the cherry blossoms and the voice of the frog living in water—of everything alive and living, can there be even one that does not chant poetry? That which can move heaven and earth without the application of energy, which can move the invisible spirits, which can bring harmony to relations between men and women, which can soothe the heart of fierce warriors—it is poetry. やまと歌は、人の心を種として、万の言の葉とぞなれりける。世中に在る人、事、 業、繁きものなれば、心に思ふ事を、見るもの、聞くものにつけて、言ひ出せる なり。花に鳴く鶯、水に住む蛙の声を聞けば、生きとし生けるもの、いづれか、 歌を詠まざりける。力をも入れずして、天地を動かし、目に見えぬ鬼神をも哀れ 60 と思はせ、男女の中をも和らげ、猛き武人の心をも慰むるは、歌なり。

Japanese poetry both issues forth spontaneously and has the ability to shape the world. Thus, the natural skill at poetry of the heroes of Muromachi fiction reveals their innate nobility despite all rough appearance, and poetry can function as a means by which their energy is transferred into the aristocracy and then back onto the world. Uraminosuke does not possess this skill and cannot become part of traditional society. Unable to innately grasp the poetics of this society, he takes Yukinomae’s offhand remark at face value, and the plot falls apart. The problem lies in the way the hero and heroine are constituted.

Muromachi

fiction is set out of normal time, and the figures which populate its world are actants, more or less interchangeable vehicles for the action with a few attributes that mark their roles.

They are not, and could never be mistaken for, faithful representations of people

of the quotidian world, especially not contemporary extra-literary individuals.

60

On the

Kokin waka shū, Shin Nihon koten bungaku taikei (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1989), p.4.

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other hand, Uraminosuke and Yukinomae—he as a middle-ranking soldier within the Tokugawa forces, she as the orphaned daughter of a famous Toyotomi general—are so specific to the world of early seventeenth-century Japan that several scholars have proposed possibilities for historical models on which the Uraminosuke was based. 61

It

should also be noted that the modern-ness of the characters does not equally impede their ability to fulfill their roles. Uraminosuke is hopeless, but Yukinomae is almost fully assimilated. She is skilled at poetry and can deftly navigate the dense web of literary allusions typical of aristocratic communication. It is only in the final instance that she betrays her birth.

She neither takes the tonsure nor is reborn as a tutelary deity.

Worse,

her death inspires martial, as opposed to religious, devotion. The hierarchy of failure of the two characters takes focus when put in the wider historical consciousness of the Kyoto civil aristocracy in the decades after the turn of the seventeenth century. The Tokugawa were reviled because of actions like those taken on the tenth day of the sixth month of 1606; the Toyotomi were embraced, but only for basically the same reasons. The character of Hideyoshi, the founder and symbol of the Toyotomi house, has been described by Donald Keene as follows: Like other parvenus, he delighted in wearing the trappings of the old aristocracy: he took the name Fujiwara and had himself appointed as kampaku, or [regent], recalling the Heian court. He threw his energies into mastering the tea ceremony, the austere medieval rite, but enjoyed it most in the teahouse he built of solid gold. He also took pride acting in Nō, choosing the most difficult and lofty roles, and had special plays written at his command in which he performed himself, a hero of legendary prowess with divine attributes. 62 61

Such well-regarded scholars as Noma Kōshin, Matsuda Osamu and Hamada Keisuke have made such attempts. For a fuller discussion, see Watanabe, “Kinsei shōsetsu no mosaku.”

62

Donald Keene, World within Walls, p.231. Michael J. Scanlon

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To a much greater extent than Ieyasu, Hideyoshi played according to aristocratic rules, but this impulsive and lowborn man would never have been thought of as anything but the least of all evils.

Moreover, the fall of Kyoto on that fateful summer day alluded to

at the start of the Uraminosuke could be traced directly to another event manifestly narrated within it: the murder of Hidetsugu by his adoptive father.

To the contemporary

aristocracy, it was Hideyoshi’s reckless act that allowed Ieyasu the opportunity to take over the realm in the name of the young Hideyori.

In other words, it was understood

that the house of Toyotomi was not murdered, it committed suicide. The downfall of the Toyotomi, because it was conflated with the death of aristocratic hope, was certainly mourned. It would seem quite natural, then, for the Uraminosuke to be taken at face value and read as a tragic love story by its initial readership. Modern scholars almost universally categorize it as such, and Watanabe Kenji goes so far as to call it “tragic to the point of being wretched.”63

Yet the amount

of scholarly sorrow over the lovers’ downfall is completely out of proportion with the event that caused it.

This is evident in Yukinomae’s death scene, which occurs

immediately after the widow passes along Uraminosuke’s final testament. [Uraminosuke] had written: “The other day when I tugged at your sleeve and asked when I could see you again, you said, ‘In the next life.’ Though you may live for many, many a year, in the end all must die. Thinking about having received this pledge and knowing we will be reborn on the same lotus petal, my passing from this life is a joyful thing. Hail Amida Buddha.” The woman looked at this letter and wailed, “What is this? How horrible! Listen, Ayame! On that dawn as we clung to each other, Uraminosuke asked when he could see me again, and I, thinking that anyone would have to understand, said, ‘In the next life.’ But he grieved and wasted away—and I couldn’t even let him 63

Watanabe Kenji, “‘Toshi’ to Uraminosuke zengo,” pp.93-4.

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know in a dream!” 「さてもさても、後朝の御袖を取り、 「いつぞ」と申せしに、 「後生にて」と仰せ られし程に、そもじ様は幾久しく御齢をましまして、一度は生死の道なれば、一 つ蓮の台の縁と、契りを籠め参らせんと思へば、死する命の嬉しくてこそ候へり。 南無阿弥陀仏。 」と書き止むる。 此文を姫御覧じて、 「こは何事ぞや、恨めしや。菖蒲殿も聞き給へ。其のあか月 自らにすがりつき、恨殿の給うやうは、「又いつぞ」とありし時、只大方と思ひ、 「後生にて」と申せしを、嘆き給ひて空しくならんとは、夢共知り参らせず」、涙 64 を流し仰せしが

Here, Uraminosuke is less a hero worthy of readerly tears and more a buffoon who died a ridiculous death because he could not comprehend even the most clichéd of coquettish farewells. This, in turn, colors all the subsequent deaths as well as the almost one-for-one relationship between this plot and those of Muromachi fiction. Watanabe’s words were not strong enough.

Perhaps

This is not the realm of pathos and tragedy,

but that of bathos and parody. The original readers of the Uraminosuke probably did not cry for these two so much as laugh at Uraminosuke. to ridicule and made to appear weak and stupid. evolution, is imperfect.

The upstart Tokugawa are exposed

But the text, like all products of

From the point of the hero’s death onward, the plot seems weak

and meandering, and the powerlessness of the aristocracy, which was being allowed to survive in the modern world only in vestigial form, is exposed.

At the close of the text,

the aristocrats (kumo no ue 雲の上), shocked by the blood-soaked scene, grieve more than the Buddha’s disciples upon his passing into Nirvana and find the pair’s doomed love more pathetic than that of Kashiwagi and the Third Princess in the Genji monogatari (The Narrative of Genji 源氏物語, ca.1010). Moved by the “rare and mysterious way of

64

Uraminosuke, p.85.

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love” (kitai fushigi no koiji 希代不思議の恋路), 65 they decide to cremate the two together. The aristocrats have lost all ability to resist the Tokugawa directly.

The illicit affair,

which could directly undermine the aristocratic emphasis on blood relations, is in the end accepted if not condoned.

Moreover, the most exalted narratives of the religious and

literary tradition are invoked, but they cannot give meaning to the modern story. One question remains: Why has the Uraminosuke not been seen as a parody?

It

is not simply modern scholars who have failed to recognize what is most likely to have been the original function of the text. Fujikake Kazuyoshi has stated: “[In addition to the original movable-type version], a woodblock edition exists, and this xylographic version—particularly in its latter half—contains enough major divergences that it could be called an alternative text (ihon 異本).” 66

Details are added and subtracted freely, and

the overall style drifts from a pure and quaint one close to that of Muromachi fiction to a playful one similar to the haikai-inflected prose made famous by texts written by Ihara Saikaku. 67

In other words, as the text moved from the very restricted territory of

movable type to the larger one of xylographic reproduction, it mutated from a modern story told by traditional means to simply a modern narrative. This near contemporary failure to recognize the parodic nature of the text is somewhat counterintuitive because seventeenth-century Japan was experiencing a golden age of parody.

65

Kon Eizō,

Uraminosuke, p.87.

66

Fujikake Kazuyoshi, “Seihanbon Uraminosuke no hyōgen gikō,” Muromachiki monogatari no kinseiteki tenkai (Osaka: Izumi Sensho, 1987), p.215. 67

Noda Hisao, Kinsei shoki shōsetsu ron (Tokyo: Kasama Shoin, 1978), pp.47-52.

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rejecting both the modern scholarly protocol of separating poetry from prose as well as what he calls the “taxonomic compulsion” within these specialties, posits that parody is a current that unifies the artistic production of the time. He states that in literature “the only development is organic and successive” and narrates his “parody century” as beginning as a trickle of texts in the mid-sixteenth century, exploding in popularity at the turn of the seventeenth century, reaching its artistic apogee in middle of that century, and burning itself out in an orgy of over-production under the Osaka-based Danrin school of haikai poetry in the final decades before the dawn of the eighteenth century.

In short, in

a self-contained literary system, parody breeds more parody until its energy is exhausted, and the mode is driven back to the hinterlands of the literary realm. 68 Parody certainly was a pan-literary mode, but Kon’s century holds better for poetry than prose.

Haikai and kyōka comic verse became so widely practiced that

sometime over the seventeenth century the total number of produced poems belonging to these comic genres probably grew to outnumber those from the serious genres of waka and renga, and parody continued to be a prevalent mode as these types of comic poetry moved from being pastimes to minor arts. Prose parody, more conspicuous because it is maintained over a much greater length, had a more intense, but shorter, lifecycle.

The

so-called “parodic imagination” can be thought of as taking two forms in prose: short, concentrated texts that “mongrelized” the distinctive prose style and rhetorical strategies of classical works, particularly the Makura no sōshi and the Tsurezuregusa, as well as

68

Kon Eizō, “Parodī no seiki,” Ōtani joshi daigaku Kokubun 2 (February, 1972); p.3, 2, passim.

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word-for-word burlesques of the most canonical texts in the tradition, especially the Ise monogatari and the Vernacular Preface to the Kokin wakashū.

A late example of this

trend is the Nise monogatari (The Fake Tales of Ise 仁勢物語, 1639-40), a text which combines a word-for-word parody of the tenth-century main text, a Chinese-language burlesque of the thirteenth-century colophon, and lampoons of the pictures of an early seventeenth-century movable-type edition of the text.

Parodic elements can, of course,

be found in narrative texts published after 1650, but most of these are believed to be largely “independently structured [narratives] not exclusively motivated to parody.” 69 It is important not to overestimate the centrality of parody to the Japanese prose literature of the first half of the seventeenth century. Parodic texts were being written and appearing as printed books, and these were selling enough copies for similar but different texts to make it to market.

The Nise monogatari spawned three woodblock

editions, and several of the “mongrel classics” maintained popularity long enough to appear in multiple versions of late seventeenth-century booksellers’ catalogues.

But

print is opportunistic; texts are produced according to (perceived) demand. Thus, the output of the commercial press is a useful tool for an approach to literary history that tries to give weight to those texts being read over a given time as opposed to considering only those being written. The earliest booksellers’ catalogue of 1659 shows that established texts—the possible targets of parody—far outnumber the parodic ones themselves. 70 69

Jeffrey Johnson, “Saikaku and the Narrative Turnabout,” The Journal of Japanese Studies 27:2 (Summer, 2001), p.332. 70

It lists 99 titles of texts affiliated with waka tradition (kasho), 12 titles under the category of renga, 41 under haikai, and a handful of prose texts within the larger category of Japanese writings (washo). Michael J. Scanlon

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These classics (and the serious genres of poetry that based their tradition on them) had not yielded the center of the cultural field, and parody survived on its fringes, in the lesser poetic arts of haikai and kyōka poetry as well as the despised genre of fiction. same time, the classics were not necessarily as dominant as they once were.

At the For

instance, one of the earliest of the word-for-word extended parodies, the Kokin wakashu jo (A Preface to Catamites, Old and New 古今若衆序, 1589), begins as follows: Catamites take the human heart as their seeds and take form in the study of the myriad of things. People in the course of their lives are stimulated by indecency, so they use those doing it and those having it done and come bursting forth with their feelings. The bush warbler crying in the hole and the turtle living in water—of everything alive and living, can there be even one that does not love this way! That which can move mud without the application of the rod, for which one writes oaths to the invisible spirits, which does not reach the jealousy between men and women, which can soothe the quivering heart of fierce warriors—it is the butt. それ若道は人の心をたねとして、よろづの事学とぞなれりけろ。世の中にあるひ と、淫犯しげき物なれば、心に思ふ所を、するものさするものにつけて出せる也。 あなに鳴く鶯、水にすむだうがめの声を聞けば、いきとしいけるもの、いづれか この道をこのまざる。らを入れずして雨つちを動し、目に見えぬ鬼神をも起請に 書き入れ、男おんなのりんきも及ばず、たけき心のもののふる心をもなぐさむる 71 はしり也。

The humor of this text comes from a juxtaposition of the serious and elegant traditional form with the lively and coarse content of the present. straightforward as those of the Uraminosuke.

The politics are not as

There may exist a hierarchy that favors

the refinement of the past to some degree, but the contemporary practice is not disparaged in the least. Nevertheless, the parody is based on exactly the same premise: the ill fit between the forms of the past and the modern experience.

This time the

71

“Hosokawa Genshi Hōin Kokin wakashu jo,” Ōta Nanpo, Misonoya, vol.4 (Tokyo: Kokusho Kankōkai, 1917), p.497.

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parodied text was much more vital to the received tradition. The Vernacular Preface to the Kokin wakashū had for centuries set the standards for literariness.

To be a piece of

belles lettres was to conform to the principles set out in the Preface. Moreover, since the first breakdowns in the aristocratic hegemony began in the twelfth century, the Preface itself had been the object of intense exegetical effort as medieval poets and scholars tried to show the compatibility between it and their worldview. Here, however, the Preface itself is seen as out of place in the new world, perhaps even unfit for it, despite the facts that it was written in 1589 when Toyotomi Hideyoshi was serving as regent and, thus, the hope of an aristocratic revival had not yet been completely foreclosed upon as well as that it was supposedly authored by Hosokawa Yūsai, a conservative waka poet and possessor of the Kokin denju, the most esteemed secret teaching concerning the Kokin wakashū.

The text’s impotence stems from the rise of a

new conception of time in which the future had separated from the past, and this radically reoriented the present. This rupture in time is of epochal importance. Quasi-cyclical, united time that held out the promise of restoration was central to the medieval worldview.

One of the

central articles of medieval Buddhist faith was that, even though the church was suffering through a dark period, Maitraya Bodhisattva would eventually descend from the Tusita Heaven, succeed Śākyamuni Buddha, and revitalize the world.

Within the domain of

literature, this time structure had the function of bestowing eternal life on the past. According to Matsuda Osamu, the element most common to the literary production of the thirteenth to the seventeenth century—the period known as the medieval—was an effort

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to recover an idealized past, the aristo-imperial court of the long tenth century that began with the reign of Emperor Daigo (897) and ended with the death of Fujiwara no Michinaga (1027). 72

This world, which marked the time of aristocratic political

ascendancy and served as the matrix for the Kokin wakashū and Genji monogatari, had long since been lost to history, but its symbolic hegemony continued.

The importance

of this to Muromachi fiction and the way in which many of its texts both engaged and resolved the divestment of energy from (aristo-imperial) order need not be rehearsed here. This same worldview also spawned a high literature in which acceptable poetic vocabulary was limited to a circumscribed set of canonical texts, forgeries of texts attributed to the cultural heroes of the tradition proliferated, and secret teachings that often seem trivial or wrongheaded to modern eyes were taken with utmost seriousness because it was believed that they enabled direct communication with the past. Therefore, the emergence of the concept of heterogeneous, irreversible time constituted a breakdown in one of the central paradigms of medieval culture.

This rupture in time did

not, of course, directly determine any future “early modern” developments, but it—more than a devaluation of traditional knowledge due to its wide dissemination via print, more than any class-based appropriation, more than an inwards (or outwards) turn caused by the policy of national isolation—served as the enabling factor for the much talked about “new knowledge” of the Edo period.

Intellectuals like Ogyū Sorai and the early

Kokugaku Nativists were able to apply more positivistic scholarly methods to the classics

72

Matsuda Osamu, “Kinsei bungaku no kinseisei,” Nihon bungaku shinshi, Kinsei, Matsuda Osamu, ed. (Tokyo: Shibundō, 1986), pp.9-10.

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because it had become (more) possible to isolate them from the layers of commentary that had (seemingly) organically built up around them over the centuries and see them as archeological objects from the past that were to be understood as products of specific times and places. This competing sense of time did not immediately overrun the world.

The

process by which it spread was slow, piecemeal, and never complete. For centuries after the founding of the Tokugawa regime, the imperial court maintained the tradition of secret transmissions and kept its poetry away from the printing press. 73

Its genesis

cannot be tied directly to a specific historical event or the emergence of a conquering new ideology. As Raymond Williams has pointed out, there always exists “a tension between the received interpretation and practical experience.” 74

The imperfection of

ideologies means that new ways of making sense of experience are constantly being generated in great quantities and with no strong orientation. Even though long-range

73

Even here, there was no immunity from the split in time. Karasumaru Sukeyoshi (1623-1669), a court poet active in the salon of Emperor GoMizunoo, compares his “modern” (tōdai, kindai) poems to those included in a medieval imperial poetry anthology and, in a complete break from medieval etiquette, declares his the better. Ōtani Shunta, “Tōshō no waka to karon,” Nihon bungakushi, vol.8 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1996), pp.205-228.

74

It is important to realize that this gap between experience and ideology is a constant. Williams goes on to write: While this tension can be made direct and explicit, or where some alternative explanation is available, we are still within a dimension of relatively fixed forms. But the tension is often an unease, a stress, a displacement, a latency: the moment of conscious comparison has not yet come, often not even coming. In other words, all ideologies everywhere are imperfect, and imperfection does not necessarily lead to instantaneous rejection. Raymond Williams, Marxism and Literature (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), p.130.

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historical time was quasi-cyclical within the medieval worldview, individual time—being of much shorter duration—had always been seen as being linear.

The incongruity of

these two versions of time forms the basis of the poem composed by Ki no Tsurayuki that closes the Winter volume of the Kokin wakashū: How regrettable, The passing of the year! For even the image I see In my crystal clear mirror Seems to have grown darker!

行く年の 惜しくもあるかな 真澄鏡 見る影さへに 75 くれぬと思へば

This, the last seasonal poem in the collection, implies that, even though the natural world is about to be renewed with the imminent dawning of spring, the speaker only grows older, gradually loses his sight, and approaches death.

It would take only a small

mutation for this sense of individual time to transform into a conception of grand-scale historical time, and there is no reason to believe that it happened for the first time towards the end of the sixteenth century. If the origins of this sense of time cannot be tied to the historical environment, its ability to survive and flourish certainly can. As open warfare continued, aristocratic impoverishment increased and the sheer amount of time since the aristocratic golden age accumulated, an aristocratic rebirth was becoming less and less the given, and the conception of time that guaranteed it became less and less convincing. The environment was set for structures of feeling to coalesce into potentially emergent ideological structures, which have a greater ability to allow for the recognition of new experiences, the formation of new interpretations, and the possibility of new actions. Thus, in its time, Nobunaga’s sacking of the monasteries of Mount Hiei in 1571 could 75

Kokin wakashū, Shinpen Nihon koten bungaku zenshū 11, Ozawa Masao, ed. (Tokyo: Shōgakukan, 1994), p.147.

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have been understood as something other than one more trial to be borne before an aristocratic rebirth, and it was an event that helped create—and was, therefore, well suited to be incorporated into—a narrative in which Nobunaga defeated Buddhism, Hideyoshi subdued the peasantry, and Ieyasu started a new dynasty that excelled that of Yao and Shun. 76 Parody is a parasitic mode of literature.

Parodic texts—perfect embodiments of

the disjuncture between received interpretation and practical experience—flourished in great numbers because of the ideological crisis that occurred over the decades surrounding the seventeenth century.

Fostered by the deformations in the larger

symbolic system, these parodic texts, in turn, weakened the hold of the classics within the realm of literature and helped spread a sense of this rupture in time. But parody is itself fragile, in the words of Jurij Tynjanov, “[it] is only viable in so far as what is being

76

The idea of progress might be seen as antithetical to the Confucian-based, feudal ideology of Japan’s early modern period. It is not; it is, however, a type of progress difficult to recognize from within a bourgeois capitalist worldview. Society was supposed to get better; it was just supposed to do so without disturbing the fixed social hierarchy that was guaranteed by timeless Confucian ideals. It is interesting that there co-existed a recessive ideological structure, which was able to narrate a version of progress based on competition, change, and survival of the fittest much closer to that espoused in texts written by Adam Smith and Charles Darwin. For instance, in the third story of the first volume of Miyako no Nishiki’s Genroku Taiheiki (1702), entitled “The Pros and Cons of Modern Authors” (Kindai sakusha no yoshi-ashi), one of the characters explains how the fiction of Miyako no Nishiki supercedes that of Ihara Saikaku even though the writings of the former borrow liberally from the latter, stating: Many are the cases in which either the words of Zengzi [one of Confucius’ disciples who excelled at filial piety] were made the utterances of Confucius or the style of the Makura no sōshi yields to [that of] the Genji monogatari. The role of this type of competition in long-form fiction will be an issue of great importance to the third chapter of this scholarly text. Miyako no Nishiki, Genroku Taiheiki, Miyako no Nishiki shū, Nakajima Takashi, ed. (Tokyo: Kokusho Kankōkai, 1989), p.97.

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parodied is still alive.” 77 equally.

The break in time did not treat all literary works of the past

At the beginning of the century, the texts most often parodied—the Vernacular

Preface to the Kokin wakashū, the Ise monogatari, the Tsurezuregusa, the Makura no sōshi—were not merely relics of a bygone age. “They were classics,” writes Nakamura Yukihiko, “but it is best to consider them to be alive as the contemporary literature of the day.” 78

Over the first half of the century, however, classical prose texts had largely

ceased to work as prose texts capable of engaging contemporary social reality and were becoming repositories for poetic reference.

Even this territory was being challenged.

By the 1640s, a new genre of poetry encyclopedias (saijiki 歳時記) was being published and used in great numbers.

The long process over which the connection between

classical texts and contemporary literary production was becoming indirect had begun in earnest, and the age of prose parody production would come to a close. However, even after their position in the literary field weakened, the classics’ importance lingered on to the point that they were one of the preferred areas on which various pre-existing ideological projects competed, and the parodies of the classics remained obviously parodic. Muromachi fiction did not survive the crisis as well.

The genre was too well

suited to a late medieval climate that combined the reality of chaos and the ideal of restoration. They were still being produced, reproduced and read over the first half of 77

Jurij Tynjanov, “On Literary Evolution,” Readings in Russian Poetics (Chicago: Dalkey Archive Press, 2002), p.70.

78

Nakamura Yukihiho, “Kana-zōshi no seikaku,” Nakamura Yukihiko chojutsushū, vol.4 (Tōkyō : Chūō Kōronsha, 1987), p.45.

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the seventeenth century, probably in greater numbers than ever before. Nevertheless, something disastrous had happened to the genre.

An examination of all extant diaries

from the fourteenth to the early seventeenth centuries conducted by Ichiko Teiji has shown that Muromachi fiction was once read by all literate members of society, including (and perhaps even especially) educated male aristocrats.79

Within a century of Ieyasu’s

rise, however, they had become a literature fit only for women and children.

When a

group of twenty-three pieces of Muromachi fiction were bundled together around the turn of the eighteenth century to form the famous Otogi bunko, the book was marketed as the perfect wedding present for brides-to-be and “several of these sets, complete, boxed, and in good condition remain with us today…because they were indeed received as wedding gifts, and put away in family storehouses together with other treasured gifts.” 80

These

narratives had very quickly come to seem, in the words of Barbara Ruch, “remarkably fantastic and naïve.” 81

The downfall of Muromachi fiction was a quick one brought

about by a catastrophic event.

Tokugawa Ieyasu had in a very real, extra-literary way

solved the conflict between energy and order which was the central concern of late medieval fiction.

Narratives developed within this problematic and offering the

customary aristocratic renaissance as the solution could not help but seem outdated, fantastic and naïve.

The entire corpus of Muromachi fiction soon lost the gravitas

79

Ichiko Teiji, Chūsei shōsetsu to sono shūhen (Tokyo: Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai, 1981), pp.179-271. 80

Barbara Ruch, “The Origins of the Companion Library,” Journal of Asian Studies, vol.30, no.3 (May, 1971), p.594. 81

Ruch, “Origins,” p.594.

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necessary to be a potential host site for parody, and the Uraminosuke’s survival was predicated upon its mutation into a piece of “modern fiction.”

To put it in a different

way, the typographic version of the Uraminosuke, as a parasite for a soon-to-be-moribund host, was but a dead-end mutation within a larger evolutionary trend. The demise of Muromachi fiction as a whole and the dependent nature of parody had a very important consequence for the prose literature produced over the second half of the seventeenth century.

The master narratives of the immediately received tradition were unfit to

contain the modern world, and parody has a completely destructive function: it clears the way for future developments, but can create nothing on its own.

With the center of

prose literary production in shambles, new ways of dealing with the new world would have to develop at the very fringes of the literary field, and the result would be chaos.

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Counterrevolution! The Sutra of Karmic Cause and Effect explains, “Look at the consequences in the present, and you will know the causes in the past.” Ukiyobō Ukiyo monogatari (ca. 1660s) Asai Ryōi (d.1691) Though the rise of Japanese commercial print was, in most ways, absolutely typical, the first half of the seventeenth century was witness to an exceptional development within the commercial print culture of Japan: the reemergence and total triumph of xylographic book production.

As is clearly visible in the following graph,

moveable-type printing, which had dominated the commercial market for a quarter century, began to come under intense competition from woodblock printing sometime in the third decade of the century.

Xylography, which had never disappeared as a viable

means of book production, had regained its position as the dominant mode for large-scale textual reproduction within ten years, and the commercial moveable-type press had, by the middle of the century, been forced into extinction. would seem in some ways unique in world history.

Thus, the Japanese experience

Movable-type printing first emerged

in China in the eleventh century and then, about two hundred years later, spread to Korea where was improved upon before it reached Japan at the turn of the seventeenth century. Yet typography had never been a serious challenger to xylography as the dominant mode of commercial book production on the Asian continent. In Europe, the two forms of print started to put out books for the commercial market at nearly the same time, and the competition ended fairly quickly in favor of moveable type. This move from

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typography to xylography in early modern Japan can be traced to a subtle shift in the dynamics of the early commercial market for the printed book.

Although these

conditions lasted for a relatively short period, the consequences would be felt for centuries. Analyses of this early seventeenth-century Japanese phenomenon had long been colored by an assumption that typography simply is the superior technology because it both triumphed quickly in the West and eventually supplanted woodblock printing throughout the entire world.

Elizabeth Eisenstein in her influential The Printing Press

as an Agent of Change argues that the characteristics of standardization, dissemination and fixity, which print imposes upon texts, moved into the wider cultural arena and were fundamental to the modernization process.

In most ways, Eisenstein is correct.

These

changes that can be associated with the rise of the printing press as the preferred means of textual dissemination probably did condition an environment favorable for the scientific revolution. Yet Eisenstein, as a Europeanist, is concerned solely with the difference between print culture and non-print culture.

Any possible difference between a

xylographic print culture and a typographic print culture simply lies outside the purview of her study.

If xylography is glossed over in Eisenstein’s work, other scholars go much

further in attributing the rise of the modern, capitalist West to elements stemming from a specifically typographical print culture.

S.H. Steinberg, for instance, posits that

movable-type publishing was the first instance of an industry’s adoption of production by means of interchangeable parts, an approach that would eventually come to dominate all

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mass production in the post-Industrial Revolution world. 82 Moveable-type print is taken to be an element essential to the European experience of modernization, and this modernization is linked to Western military, cultural and economic imperialism, so it is possible to see the Japanese return to xylography as a devolutionary movement, a clinging to a retrograde technology and a more primitive version of print culture that necessitated a postponement of modernization until the West forced Japan’s hand around the time of the Meiji Restoration in the second half of the nineteenth century. This is the way the victory of woodblock printing in Japan and the rest of East Asia has traditionally been interpreted in global histories of print culture, which are almost always written from the American-European point of view, if not by Westerners themselves. 83

Recent scholarship from specialists in East Asian

cultural history, however, has called these assumptions into question.

Henry Smith, who

helped pioneer the study of the Japanese book in the West, gives the following outline for a more proper global history of the printed book: The overall shape of the history of the book, then, at least in terms of the crucial dynamic of printing, looks something like a seesaw out of balance. For a thousand 82

S. H. Steinberg, Five Hundred Years of Printing, rev. ed. (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 1996), p.25. 83

Henri-Jean Martin, for instance, clearly sets up a contrast between a dynamic and capitalist West in which this typographic print culture could flourish and a stagnant East in which it failed: “Gutenburg and Waldfoghel are merely two minor gods in the pantheon of the demiurges who invented means of communication. By their side in the modest section reserved for printing there are other gods, older and wiser, not half so clever and, above all, less agitated. They lived in the Far East… We have to grant that for once there were virtues in capitalism, preferable, in the last analysis, to a society paralyzed by a rigid hierarchy that is often the twin process of statehood.” Henri-Jean Martin, The History and Power of Writing (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), pp.224-226.

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years from the mid-ninth century, weight lay to the east in the continuous and vigorous development of block-printing within the confines of the Chinese cultural sphere. Beginning in the mid-fifteenth century, weight gradually shifted to the West, with print in the form of movable type on a mechanical press suddenly spreading outward from Europe and eventually taking over the alphabetic remainder at uneven rates. Until the industrialization of printing began in the 1830s, the world history of the book consisted of two parallel realms, for the most part isolated from one another, using wholly different technologies with often differing societal impact. 84 This cultural model with its dualist view of print culture—East and West both adopted the technology best suited to it, and the different modes of print helped direct further developments within each culture—is, in many ways, correct and has come into general acceptance. 85 The vigorous lifecycle of typography in early seventeenth-century Japan, however, would seem to compromise this model because, for a few decades, typography was dominant in a pre-modern Eastern culture. In a collection of essays on the Japanese block-book, Nakano Mitsutoshi, notes the “astonishing” spread of movable type and writes: “For the near half century between the Keichō (1596-1615) and Keian (1648-1652) eras, the printed matter of our country was produced chiefly by this method, and it is said that up to five hundred editions or so were made.” 86

Though typography’s

period of dominance was short lived, for about thirty years, it was most certainly a profitable means for the reproduction of texts written in Asian languages, and these very 84

Henry Smith, “Japaneseness and the History of the Book,” Monumenta Nipponica 53:4 (Winter 1998), p.504. 85

The preeminent scholar of the French book, Roger Chartier, echoes this understanding in his introduction to a collection of essays on Chinese print culture gathered in the journal Late Imperial China.

86

Nakano Mitsutoshi, Edo no hanpon (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1995), p.31.

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decades mark the period in which print publishing was established as a commercially viable industry in Japan.

Though the cultural model is not wrong, per se, theories based

on deep structures are notoriously ill suited to explain phenomenon of short—or, as in this case, medium—duration.

This is further complicated by the fact that the

Edo-period book is often studied in light of the modernization process that the country underwent during the Meiji period (1868-1912). The two main cultural explanations for this seventeenth-century return to xylography are quite productive for an understanding of developments that occurred over the second half of the nineteenth century in Japan, but they are also colored by interpretive strategies developed to analyze the history of a different period and, as such, obscure as much as they enlighten. One, the supposed visual predilection of the Japanese, is based on an assumption of loss, for the victory of mechanical movable-type print technology imported from the West near the turn of the twentieth century ended the calligraphic style of printed Japanese characters and brought about a de-emphasis on book illustration. The problem with this explanation is that it mistakes an effect for the cause.

Over the eighteenth

century there would arise genres of fiction in which word and image were thoroughly integrated, but these are future developments. They could not have been a pressure that helped condition the return to xylography.

According to the data collected in Kawase

Kazuma’s study of the early movable-type book in Japan, three quarters of the datable editions produced were written in the Chinese language, and the ratio remains unchanged in the first printed, datable booksellers’ catalogue of 1671.

The impetus for the return to

woodblock printing must be traced to these Chinese-language books, which contain

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basically no illustrations and are written in standardized, block-style characters eminently suitable for typographic reproduction.

Moreover, approximately half the vernacular

texts printed via movable-type technology were written using Chinese characters and the katakana syllabary in a completely non-cursive style.

Even the illustration style of the

early seventeenth-century vernacular book did not foreshadow eighteenth-century developments, much less favor a xylographic mode of print. The first Japanese-language books put out by both types of press contained few illustrations, basically all of which were full-page images clearly separated from the text.

This

format meant that, within the domain of typographic printing, pictures were reproduced by being carved onto woodblock plates, which could then be added easily to forms of movable type. This particular cultural emphasis also seems to mistake a universal start to print culture for a uniquely Japanese (or Eastern) one. The incipient press everywhere survives because its products are able to imitate the established visual conventions of manuscripts as books are being produced in greater numbers by the new technology. Though typography would win out in the end, block-books actually postdate the European invention of the movable-type press, and there was real competition between xylography and typography to put out alphabetic books in the West for nearly fifty years. The most prevalent font styles in Europe were the non-cursive roman and gothic scripts, simply because these were the dominant scribal styles at the time of Gutenberg’s invention. But semi-cursive fonts, such as the familiar italic, were created for certain

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genres, 87 and it was certainly not the case that calligraphic skill in both cursive and non-cursive styles was ignored within the European court and monastery. Finally, it needs to be remembered that fifteenth-century Catholic Europe was a culture “obsessed by images and by visual forms of representation.” 88

The European book did indeed

evolve in such a way that illustrations are sparse and letters are “lined up like soldiers on parade.” 89

This process, however, should never simply be attributed to an innate

Occidental disdain for illustration and penmanship. The other cultural explanation forwarded, which is based on the complexity of the Japanese writing system, is related to the linguistic prerequisite for the imagined community that is the modern nation of Japan.

This is a much more persuasive

argument than the visual nature of the Japanese. It has an economic basis and is valid given the Sino-centric output of the early commercial press.

A vast amount of Chinese

characters are necessary to print Chinese-language texts as well as the majority of vernacular ones. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the native elements of the writing system, which can be used to distinguish a uniquely Japanese culture from a shared East Asian one, do not play a large role in this.

The two native syllabaries

probably intensify the linguistic difficulties of the Japanese language. However, the price of typesets is based solely on the number of pieces that must be prepared in order to

87

Brian Richardson, Printing, Writers and Readers in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp.122-125.

88

Martin, The History and Power of Writing, p.228.

89

Martin, The History and Power of Writing, p.231.

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123

Relative to the financial outlay needed for the requisite Chinese

characters, any additional costs for the katakana and hiragana syllabaries are negligible. Each can be reduced to a minimum of fifty graphs, was almost always used in exclusion of the other, and occur in fairly easily-estimated ratios. (In fact, because the syllabaries allow for rare Chinese characters to be “spelled out” and omitted, it could even be argued that the native elements make Japanese more amenable to typography.) Moreover, the economic advantage of xylography for the reproduction of books transcribed using the Japanese writing system is not as categorical as one late fifteenth-century Jesuit missionary thought it to be when he stated: “[Our books] will have to be printed in their language but in our characters, since there can be no [movable-type] printing in their characters, because of the innumerable multitude of them that there are.” 90

There are

two periods in which it was not only possible, but also profitable, to print books using movable type in Japan: the early seventeenth century and much of the twentieth. Another point that is often overlooked is that, while it is very true that the Japanese writing system constituted a pressure that affected the competition between print technologies towards the middle of the seventeenth century, the vector of influence also went in the opposite direction. Xylographic printing most certainly had the potential to preserve perfectly the Japanese language system in both its visual and linguistic dimensions, but it did not actually do so. According to the work of Hamada Keisuke, the greatest evolution in the hiragana script since its development in the ninth century can be traced to the harsh environment of commercial printing. At the 90

J.F. Moran, The Japanese and the Jesuits (London: Routledge, 1993), p.154.

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beginning of the Edo period, the hiragana syllabary contained many variant symbols called hentai-gana (変体仮名).

Within the corpus of texts commonly referred to as

kana-zōshi that were printed before the 1680s, an average of 108.8 hiragana characters was used per text with a total of 136 in common use. (The numbers of variant characters in the earlier texts are higher than in later ones, despite the fact that the former are products of the movable-type press and the latter are block-books.) In the prose texts of Ihara Saikaku printed over the final two decades of the seventeenth century, the numbers fall to an average of 95.6 characters per text with 129 in common use. The nineteenth-century fiction of the pedantic Takizawa Bakin average 82.7 characters per text and have 104 in common use, while the image-centric texts of the later eighteenth and early nineteenth century average 69.4 characters per text with 91 in common use. In libretti of the puppet theater, pre-eighteenth-century texts average 85.3 characters per text; early eighteenth-century plays by Chikamatsu Monzaemon average 71.4; those from second half of the century average 65.1 characters per text with the total number of common-use characters reduced to 70.

Moreover, from the latter 1650s onwards,

furigana reading glosses were done with an average of between 60 and 65 hiragana characters per text.

Hamada is also of the opinion that the form of printed characters as

a whole became less idiosyncratic and markedly easier to read as the Edo period moved on. 91

The change to intra-textually uniform block-style characters as well as the legal

limitation of the hiragana syllabary to a total of fifty fixed characters only occurred at the

91

Hamada Keisuke, “Hangyō no kana jitai,” Kokugogaku 118 (September, 1979), pp.1-10.

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turn of the twentieth century when almost all commercially published books and a good deal of text-based printed matter were produced via movable type. 92

As discomfiting as

these changes might have been to those who experienced them directly, it is also worth noting that this final burst of standardization in the modern period and on the mechanized movable-type press did not occur ex nihilo.

The Japanese writing system had long been

evolving to adapt to an environment conditioned largely by the pressures of print culture in general. The reaction against the previous anti-xylographic bias has come to affect even the most market-based analysis of this phenomenon.

Peter Kornicki, in his The Book in

Japan, gives one of the best analyses of the market conditions that favored xylography: Although the Sagabon has shown that movable type was capable of producing 92

Though the pre-modern Japanese book and the modern Japanese book do physically resemble each other to some degree, it is hardly the case that the sole difference between the two is on the level of typeface. Pre-modern books are constructed of sheets struck on only one side, folded with the text on the obverse, and stacked together, while the individual pages of modern books have print on both sides. Similarly, whereas the spines of Edo-period books were not even covered, those of modern books soon came to display important bibliographical information. Even the basic way books were handled changed radically in Meiji Japan: for the first time, it became standard practice for books to be shelved side by side vertically with their spines facing outward. The transformation of the book occurring over the latter decades of the nineteenth century was hardly atypical. Though there is much linking modern Japan with its cultural traditions, great changes were also occurring in the years after 1868. A large number of what would become basic commodities—such as tweed sport coats, cigarettes, clocks, and soap—entered Japan in significant quantities and reached the general populace for the first time during the Meiji period, and many common and long-established practices also transformed with the dawn of modernity. The Japanese past was not annihilated by these developments, and these new commodities and practices did not immediately or completely displace their predecessors. However, it must always be kept in mind that the Meiji Restoration was a shock to the status quo on the levels of ideas and things, a radical expansion in the set of viable alternatives. Though these changes did not necessarily result in trauma among those who experienced them firsthand, the great ruptures surely drew more attention than did the continuities, and the instability of the early Meiji period should never be simply discounted or downplayed.

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aesthetically satisfying books, the calligraphic variety that was simple to achieve with wood-blocks was only possible if new fonts of type were to be cut in different calligraphic styles, and of course each font had to consist of a large number of pieces to accommodate all the Chinese characters that would be needed. Inserting reading marks (kunten) in Chinese texts was again much easier in the case of blockprinted books, and, even more importantly, blockprinting proved better able to handle the growing market for books in the seventeenth century: reprinting movable-type books requires resetting the type, while blockprinting simply required taking the blocks out of storage. Consider, for example, the seventeenth-century editions of Azuma kagami, a thirteenth-century account of the foundation of the Kamakura Bakufu. In 1605 Tokugawa Ieyasu had this text printed for the first time at Fushimi and there were two further movable-type editions in the seventeenth century: thus type was set up to print Azuma kagami three times in about 20 years. In 1626, a blockprinted edition was published with reading marks, and these blocks were used to print up to and beyond 1661, and in 1668 a separate hiragana version was also published. It is evident that there was a continuing and growing market for the Azuma kagami which the same set of blocks was able to satisfy for more than forty years. Similarly, in the case of Kan’ei gyōkōki and many other works mentioned above, blockprinted editions replaced the moveable-type ones, in some cases simply by preparing kabusebori facsimiles of the latter, and the printing blocks for the new editions remained in use for decades. 93 Yet he prefaces this with the following question: The abandonment of [movable-type] technology and the reversion to blockprinting raises difficult questions. Is this a case of ‘technological lock-in’, whereby an ‘established but inferior technology continues to dominate because of secondary advantages that derive from the consequences of its prior establishment?’ Blockprinting was certainly well established before the introduction of typography, but it is by no means obvious that it was inferior in all respects. 94 Though correct in most ways, it is also true that technological lock-in or, conversely, lockout could only have occurred after the commercial movable-type press was driven to extinction around 1650.

This slight slippage has led to a situation in which the market

conditions of a very specific time—three or four decades from the end of the first quarter

93

Kornicki, The Book in Japan, pp.134-135.

94

Kornicki, The Book in Japan, p.134.

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of the seventeenth century—are considered to have lasted much longer than they actually did. The extreme difference in the relative weight of each factor in the hierarchy of market pressures mentioned in Kornicki’s analysis comes into sharp focus when the early Edo competition between typography and xylography is compared to a similar moment that occurred over the first decades of the Meiji period.

These periods are separated by

a vast amount of time, and the results of the competition are diametrically opposed, but even those elements with the most divergent endings have similar beginnings. Just as Hon’ami Kōetsu and Suminokura Soan created sets of movable type that mimicked the calligraphic style of manuscripts, some early Meiji printers also cut the first fonts for Japanese-language books written using Chinese characters and the hiragana syllabary in a cursive or semi-cursive style that was typical of xylographically printed materials. Yet, with the victory of the mechanical movable-type press, calligraphic fonts soon lost out, and the logic of type soon imposed itself. Despite the long-held dominance of the cursive style for writing that employed the hiragana syllabary, characters in printed Japanese-language books soon separated and took on a decidedly non-cursive style. This typographic revolution then spread beyond the world of the book. Block-style characters increasingly became the typical form of public, quotidian writing. 95 Eventually, the calligraphic script of Edo books became illegible to the vast majority of

95

In pre-twentieth-century Japan, block-style characters were a form of writing often used when writing using purely Chinese characters and almost always employed for texts transcribed using Chinese characters and the katakana syllabary. However, the style was almost never employed for texts set down using the hiragana syllabary.

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Japanese. This process, though occurring after the Meiji Restoration had set off a strong westernization movement, need not be conflated with a loss of “Japanese-ness” in the face of European technology any more than the changes wrought by Edo-period print culture would be associated with acculturation due to continental intrusion. Books were still almost all written in either the Japanese or Chinese language and, despite all proposals by would-be reformers, continued to be transcribed using Chinese characters and the native syllabaries. The glosses and reading marks typical of the Edo book would remain until language reforms following the Second World War severely limited the number of Chinese characters in common use. 96

Moreover, many of the first titles to

be produced by the new print technology were the dominant texts of the immediately received tradition. “In the first two decades of the Meiji Period,” writes Kornicki, “when it was rare for new works of fiction to appear in more than one printing, there was by contrast a plethora of reprints of late Tokugawa fiction.” 97

In short, the high initial

costs of typography were relative; the calligraphic style was less important than economic efficiency; the ability to reprint long-selling texts and the demand for complex layouts of variously sized characters on the printed page could feasibly be met by the movable-type press. The final victory of typography in the nineteenth century was ensured not by the

96

They would only disappear with the radical reduction in the set of Chinese characters commonly used in printed matter (from about 7000 to around 2000) after the end of the Second World War.

97

Peter Kornicki, “The Survival of Tokugawa Fiction in the Meiji,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 41:2 (December, 1981), p.471.

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first successes specific to the mechanical movable-type press, but by the high rate of failure common to both print technologies. By the time of the Meiji Restoration, commercial publishers had to produce items for a large-scale and mature market.

This

type of market is not simply quantitatively larger and older than that of the first half century of the Edo period.

It is qualitatively different.

By the middle of the nineteenth

century, the output of the commercial press barely resembled that of the time of its birth. R.P. Dore writes: [Japan at the turn of the Meiji period] was a world in which books abounded. Their production (by printing on wooden blocks) gave employment to several thousands of people in the official school presses and in the free-enterprise publishing houses which sold their wares to the public. Works of scholarship now accounted for only a small part of the total output. There were story books for children, illustrated books, technical books, popular medical books, pornographic books, travel guides, novels, poems, collections of sermons; and they were bought or borrowed at so much a day from book peddlers, not simply by the samurai, but also, or even chiefly, by members of the other classes. 98 The commercial market for the classics had long since approached saturation, and the greatest profit lay in publishing newly produced texts.

However, there was no guarantee

that these new texts would ever sell, much less sell well over time.

Publishers had to

put out more texts, and the failure of a large number of individual texts was an expected part of business. environment.

Typography is much better suited than xylography to such an

The initial investment in typesets is defrayed by the large variety of texts

produced by each publisher. More important, should a given text not find a market, the forms of movable type can simply be disassembled and reused to print other texts.

The

blocks of failed texts are nearly worthless. They may be planed down and reused, but 98

R.P. Dore, Education in Tokugawa Japan (Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies University of Michigan, 1984), pp.2-3.

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the money saved by this is negligible compared to the very high initial investment required for their carving. The most direct cause of the re-emergence of typography can be traced back to these market conditions, yet it would be a grave mistake to assume that they first emerged in the latter stages of the nineteenth century. The Genroku Taiheiki (The Genroku Chronicle of the Great Peace 元禄大平記, 1702), a fictional account an overnight boat trip down the Yodo River taken by two book merchants, contains the following conversation near its opening: After a bit, the Osaka bookseller spoke up, saying, “Well, since the prices of the paper trade have recently risen along with the price of rice, the best laid plans of booksellers are coming to naught. In Kyoto, debts for paper are paid at year’s end, are they not? So it’s easy to make preparations. Because Osaka paper suppliers must be paid at the end of each month, we have a tough time making a living. Blocks that until yesterday were carved with ‘Bundai’ [as publisher in the colophon] today have had an insert reading ‘Akita’ [added in its place]. Matsuya’s chest is held in Itamiya’s warehouse. Although they talk about changing times, it cannot be thought of as another’s problem. We Osaka booksellers are gradually becoming a harried bunch who, when the sales of our books get slow, get heartburn, look around with trepidation, and listen warily.” The Kyotoite replied, “It’s not only Osaka. Among the various publishers of Kyoto, too, there are those who are excellent and those who are dreadful. More and more of these merchants are falling into trouble. When you think about the root cause of it all, it mostly came from attempts to translate Chinese books into Japanese editions. Recently, in a competition over the Shiji and the Yanji huofa, the Shichiya house suffered, and Kobeni store almost went under. Thereupon, they each took a Tongjian gangmu with annotations by both Ukai Kimpei and Miyake Dōotsu, separated the combined scholarship into two discrete parts, and made up the blocks. From this partial Tongjian gangmu, should they move on to the Zhuzi wenji or the Poshi tongdian, they will say it is for the sake of society, but it is more to save the publishing houses. The Shiji and the Yanji huofa are the same. These book merchants and all the others like them fail, each and every one. It is like trying to force three carriages past each other on a single road—it will all end in tears. There are a lot of them these days! Even though the shogunate has banned copied blocks (jūhan 重板) and derived blocks (ruihan 類板), the blocks of Kyoto publishers are copied in Osaka, and the Osaka blocks are imitated in Edo. This is yet another sorrow. One person said that those scholars who want to

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peruse the Diming yitong zhi and the Zhuzi wenji for the most part use Chinese-language books; therefore, there is no demand for vernacular editions. Consequently, the vast majority of these books have no prayer of selling to any degree. Even if the texts are popular in their original language, most do not sell quickly in translation. For example, there are, among others, the Song xueshi quanshu, the Sishu zhengxie, the Lu Tonglai dushiji, and the Shishu xuyan. These days, hard books should be set aside. When it comes to vigorous sales, erotic books (kōshoku-bon 好色本) and commonplaces (chōhōki 重宝記) are better, are they not?” やや有りて大坂の本屋申けるは、 「さても近年米につれて、紙の売買高直によつて、 書物屋の分すべて医者坊さ。まだ京都には紙屋の払が節季の仕切じやによつて、 手回しがよい。大坂の紙屋をば晦日払にせねばならぬにより、われわれが商売こ との外不勝手なり。きのふまで文台と刻たる板も、今日は秋田といふ入れ木にな り、松やのたんすは伊丹屋の蔵に納る。もことに時の変化といひながら、余所事 にもおもはれず。われわれが手板ども売れの鈍をおもへば、胸が八人附して、見 ておそれ、聞てつつしむ大坂の本屋、次第にせはしくなり侍る」といへば、 京都 本屋「大坂のみならず、京都の本屋仲間にも、すぐれてみにくき衆中多し。つくづ く本屋の不勝手なる、その源をかんがふるに、ををくは唐本を和板にするよりは じまれり。中頃史記、活法のあらそひにて、七屋はおとろへ、小紅はすたりぬ。 されば金平、道乙両点の通鑑を一点となして一板にさだめ、片板の通鑑をば、朱 子文集か。杜子通典にするならば、世の為といひ、まして書林のたすけにならん。 史記活法ともおなじ。是等は本屋の仲間たをし。たとえば一路に三車を押がごと く、ともにやぶれてすたりゆく事、歎くに絶たり。よきかなや近年、重板類板御 制禁たりといえども、京都の板を大坂で重板し、大坂の板を江戸にて類板する事、 是亦憂の一つなり。ある人の申すは、題明一統志、朱子文集などをみる程の学者 は、大かた唐本を用れば、和板を求る事あるまじ。しかれば、かやうも大部なる 書物は、売の程こころもとなし。唐本にて流行しも和板になれば、売遠き物多し。 所謂宋学士全書、四書正解、呂東莱読詩記、四書緒言等なり。当世はただかたひ 99 書物をとり置て、あきなひの勝手には、好色本か重宝記の類が増しじや。」

“The state of the publishing world described in their conversation,” writes Konta Yōzō in an analysis of this oft-quoted section, “is not so different from that of modern times.” 100 Though it is never a good idea to take the statements of fiction at face value, there is a good deal of corroborating evidence to support this description of the book market at the 99

Miyako no Nishiki, Genroku Taiheiki, Miyako no Nishiki shū, Takada Mamoru, et al, ed. (Tokyo: Kokusho Kankōkai, 1989), p.95.

100

Konta, Edo no hon’ya-san, NHK Books 299 (Nihon Hōsō Shuppan Kyōkai, 1974), pp.36-38.

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end of the seventeenth century.

Booksellers’ catalogues, though imperfect, give a

general window onto the number and variety of titles in circulation at a given time, and their listings indicate that there was a remarkable increase in the number of texts being brought to market over the second half of the seventeenth century.

The 1,548 entries

(including some duplicates) of the 1659 manuscript climb to 3,866 in the 1670 printed catalogue, and this in turn rises to 7,181 by the 1692 edition. Erotic books, or kōshoku-bon, surely the lightest and most perishable type of writing to be printed in book form, became one of the fastest growing categories within the catalogues.

In fact, when

booksellers’ catalogues began to be organized alphabetically over the eighteenth century, titles beginning with the word kōshoku were so numerous that they were listed in a separate category at the end of the text.

Finally, the painstaking archival work of

Sakamoto Muneko and Inoue Kazuo shows that, in the first decades of the eighteenth century, the number of business closures began to rival that of startup ventures in the publishing industry. 101

If the output of the commercial press were to be considered in

isolation, from this point forward typography should have at least provided competition for xylography because movable-type printing was becoming a better and better fit for this most central aspect of the book market.

Its failure to do so in no way undermines

the evolutionary model that orients this analysis. Competition is never fair, and change does not necessarily (or even often) occur when it “should.” Being more fit to even the most important facet of a given environment does not ensure success.

One of the

fundamental aspects of the Darwinian model of evolution is its radical inclusiveness, and 101

See chart 3.

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a large part of this is a recognition of the existence of a great advantage in incumbency. Either the benefits of the new must be so great that they can overcome the structural inertia of the environment, or the stability of the overall environment must be loosened by some sort of outside catastrophe to allow space for competition among more evenly matched foes. The publishing and bookselling industry is made up of many elements beyond the output of the press itself.

The period of heightened competition between publishers

towards the turn of the eighteenth century proved to be an environment conducive to the formation of structures and practices—like those discussed by the two book merchants in the quotation from the Genroku Taiheiki—that would help to alleviate the situation. Individual publishers had a much better chance of survival if they banded together to create and enforce a system of protocol in the trade. By 1698, professional associations of publishers had sufficient organization and influence to pressure the Tokugawa government to create laws that gave some measure of copyright protection, and these groups would eventually develop into the booksellers’ guilds of Kyoto, Edo and Osaka, which were formally recognized in 1716, 1721 and 1723, respectively. These guilds maintained order by institutionalizing and rationalizing the privileges of the status quo, and the block became the basic unit of the book trade. They could be bought and sold or used as collateral in dealings within the profession, but the most important manifestation of this had to do with their role in the pre-modern concepts of copyright protection and infringement.

The legal title to publish texts can be translated literally as

“possession of the blocks” (zōhan 蔵版), while a direct copying of an entire text was

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known as a “doubled block” (jūhan 重版), and a partial copy or imitation was called a “parallel block” (ruihan 類版). The association of these concepts with woodblock printing was fortuitous. Xylography was the only type of commercial print being practiced at the time of their development.

However, these terms became principal to the regulatory institutions of

the book trade and, therefore, an important means by which the established hierarchies were protected.

So long as the larger societal and ideological structures into which these

organizations and their protocols fit maintained their position, momentary crises could be withstood, and xylography was basically exempt from typographic competition. This becomes clear in an incident from the year 1792, in which a Confucian scholar named Kondō Junji applied to the Tokugawa government for permission to print a few texts on a movable-type press.

Kondō was clear in his application that the books were not to be

sold on the commercial market.

They were to be inexpensive versions of a few costly or

unavailable scholarly texts that could not compete aesthetically with block-books.

In

their successful counter, the Osaka guild offered a great many reasons why this should not be allowed, the two most striking of which were that it would undermine copyright protection and that, because of the ease of further book composition once a font is made, the products of the movable-type press would be impossible to regulate. As Ōuchida Sadao has pointed out in his analysis of this incident, typography was recognized as being an extremely dangerous threat to the status quo due to its superior efficiency, attacked and vanquished. 102

102

Copyright had been extended to cover all modes of print in

Ōuchida Sadao, “Kinsei mokkatsuji ni yoru insatsu to shuppan,”Bungaku 49:12 Michael J. Scanlon

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a way that protected the established system of publishers, all of whom happened to be using woodblock techniques.

When guilds were momentarily outlawed by shogunal

command from 1842 to 1851 as part of the Tempō Reforms, the localized problem did bring about a noticeable increase in the amount of disputes among publishing houses, but not the downfall of xylography. 103 Less than half a century later, circumstances had changed, and commercial blockprinting would meet its end. The political structures of the Edo period had been jolted by the political and ideological catastrophe that was the Meiji Restoration, and the foundational element of xylographic power was soon undermined.

Western-influenced

copyright laws were written within a year of the Restoration and emended before a decade had passed.

The adjudication of publishing disputes henceforth moved from the

guilds to the national court system.

The negative pressures conditioning stasis had been

largely removed, and the re-rise of typography became far more possible. Nevertheless, change was not immediate.

Though mortally wounded, xylography and the association

of publishers making their way according to the traditional rules of the game fended off competition for a decade or so, just as they had during the 1840s. But soon individual publishers began to experiment with the mechanical movable-type press, and the

(December, 1981), pp.59-69. 103

That typographic print did not even challenge xylography during this decade is, in fact, proof that evolution is a Darwinian phenomenon. In a Darwinian world, time is always of the essence because development is not spurred on by logical or moral imperative. Rather, it occurs when chance innovation meets with favorable circumstance. Therefore, evolution is slower than it would be were it a purely structural, Lamarckian phenomenon or a Spenserian one wherein right makes might.

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traditional regulators of the trade were powerless to stop this. After little more than ten years of competition between the two print technologies, the commercial block-book was driven to extinction, and established publishing houses either had to adapt to the new environment or perish. 104 It is important to keep in mind, however, that the institutions and practices which ruled the book market for the entire Edo period are predicated not on the dominance of xylographic technology from the midway point of the seventeenth century, but on the extinction of the commercial movable-type press around 1650. helped condition this can be reconstructed fairly easily.

The environment that

As has been noted by scholars

of the European book, the commercial press, like all media of mass consumption, can only succeed when there pre-exists “a set of favorable social, economic and cultural circumstances [providing] a context in which the new medium can flourish.” 105

In order

to survive as a viable industry, however, publishing must expand quickly, or else be left open to a quick extinction.

This expansion can be provisionally separated into two

104

This is not to deny the fact that, over the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, literary and non-literary genres, which are unfit for movable-type printing, would evolve and be of some importance to the book trade. These, of course, formed a negative pressure which helped select against a quick reversion to typography. For instance, some of the first fiction serialized in newspapers in the decades after the Meiji Restoration were texts belonging to what is known as the gōkan genre of fiction, an important object of early modern pleasure reading that integrated text and image, and it is worth noting that, after a brief period during which these texts were produced through moveable-type technology, publishers soon turned back to woodblock printing for this kind of text because of that technology’s superior ability to combine writing and illustration. It must not be forgotten, however, that this is an exception, not the rule. A typographic revolution most certainly did occur in Japan over the final decades of the nineteenth century, for it was images, not typography, that lost out in the modern period.

105

Brian Richardson, Printing, Writers and Readers in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp.5-6.

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aspects: intrinsic (growth in the amount of titles in circulation) and extrinsic (expansion of the reading public). Over the first few decades of commercial print in Japan, the market expanded in both directions, but the weight was towards the former.

As

discussed before, new readers were added, but the already present aristocratic reading public of Kyoto—the existence of which was a prerequisite for the establishment of commercial print—formed the core set of consumers. To these customers, whose numbers were limited to the extreme, publisher-booksellers sold an increasing variety of texts.

A scant few of these were newly written works, but the vast majority was simply

new to the medium. 106

It is, however, vital to keep in mind that, under these conditions,

neither typography nor xylography holds much of an advantage or, conversely, disadvantage.

The variety of texts the market could bear and the number of potential

book sales per text were too restricted. This would soon change.

Print quickly entered a second phase in which the

weight of expansion shifted to the opposite end of the spectrum.

Texts new to print

continued to be added, but the greatest growth sector in the industry lay in selling a core group of texts to an expanding group of readers. These new readers were not as highly educated as the first-generation reading public. Thus, there is a marked increase in the amount of reading marks and pronunciation glosses included in later editions of the same 106

Whether this was also the case in Europe is an open question. Certainly the maps included in Febvre and Martin’s The Coming of the Book that show a very quick geographical spread of the press in late fifteenth-century Europe might seem to argue against it. However, given the political disunity of the time, it seems quite possible that these preexisting readers in Europe were present in separate communities spread over the continent. In other words, this spatial expansion masks what is typical of early print markets and most visible in Japan due to the concentration of the reading public in Kyoto.

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base text. Moreover, these potential book-buying customers read less widely than the original aristocratic and highly educated reading public for the commercially printed book.

These new readers, whose demand for books is concentrated on a circumscribed

and fairly stable set of texts, are created slowly over time, so most initially successful texts are almost guaranteed to sell well over a long period of time.

Anecdotal evidence

concerning this development in the market can be seen in the extended quotation from Kornicki’s study included earlier.

Even more striking, however, is the statistical

evidence that can be gathered from the appendix of datable editions included in Kawase Kazuma’s study of Japanese early typography. His chart lists a total of 256 titles of texts printed over the crucial decade of 1625 to 1634.

Of these, 169 (66%) were printed

on at least one other occasion before 1635, and several such as the Heike monogatari and the Taiheiki went through numerous reprints. 107

Woodblocks had a nearly unlimited

capacity (relative to the number of potential consumers) to reprint given texts over time in response to market demand, and it is hardly surprising that the ratio was even higher within xylographic production for the ten-year period mentioned above, with a full 72%

107

Kawase Kazuma, (Zōho) Kokatsujiban no kenkyū, vol.2 (Tokyo: The Antiquarian Booksellers Association of Japan, 1967), insert. It is important to keep in mind that it was not unusual for publishers put out reprint editions of a text without making any changes to the colophon of its first edition, so the above-listed ratio probably underestimates the number of reprints being brought to market at this time. This also means that the dip in the number of identifiable editions published in a given year starting around 1630 may be less meaningful than it first appears. It could very well be that numerous editions of previously published texts were being put out and sold. In other words, a slowdown in the numbers of new texts being brought to market might be a phenomenon quite separate from a slowdown in the numbers of new books being brought to market.

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(101 of 140) of the titles listed having been printed before or within the time frame. 108 The book industry had entered a phase in which bestsellers were longsellers, longsellers were bestsellers, and the market had largely indicated which texts were likely to sell the most books.

Typography is completely ill-suited to these market conditions. The

forms of movable type must be re-figured each time a reprint becomes necessary, while the technology’s superiority in rapid change is basically obviated, and the disadvantages related to the high initial investment in type are maximized.

In other words, when

analyzing the result of the competition between xylography and typography during the second quarter of the seventeenth century, it must be remembered that things were decided after commercial print was an established fact, and the result should be seen not as the victory of xylography, but as the defeat of typography. If the factors selecting against typography during the middle of the seventeenth century are readily apparent, a very important question remains unsolved because these temporally specific conditions in and of themselves cannot fully explain the complete eradication of the commercial movable-type press.

After all, the aristocratic audience of

Kyoto that was sufficient to support the birth of commercial print still existed, and this most literate of potential consumers read much more broadly than newer readers and, in fact, combined both intensive and extensive reading practices. In other words, there existed a demand, albeit one of relatively shrinking size, for new or varied texts that 108

Ibid. Again, the same set of woodblocks was often used to strike multiple editions, and it was extremely rare for new colophons to be made to mark this. Therefore, the ratio listed above probably radically underestimates the number of reprint editions being brought to market via xylographic technology.

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could be produced more efficiently via typography.

To some degree, manuscript

reproduction—a still-vital method of book production both commercial and private that is often overlooked because of the intra-print competition in early seventeenth-century Japan—might have been another contributing factor to the demise of commercial typography. away.

However, chance played a role that cannot be ignored or forcibly explained

In a Darwinian history, things happen because they can and do, not because they

have to, much less because they should. The Darwinian revolution in thought might very well be a radical spread in the “capacity to imagine a system that at crucial moments remain[s] unpredictable, inexplicable, beyond control.” 109

Thus, a properly Darwinian

narrative of history can contain a past filled with contingency without resorting to the anti-narrative of the Annales school or most competing versions of poststructuralist historiography. 110

In any case, after the middle of the seventeenth century, the

commercial print culture of early modern Japan was a xylographic one, even though typography would soon have become a better and better fit to the demand for books.

As

the gap between entrenched technology and market conditions widened, the effects of the specifically xylographic nature of early modern Japanese commercial print culture come into greater focus, and nowhere is that more clear than in the publication of literary narrative.

109

George Levine, “Charles Darwin’s Reluctant Revolution,” South Atlantic Quarterly 91 (1992), p.549. 110

Darwinism, with its dualist system of evolution, is a poststructuralist theory that competed with and defeated the pure structuralism of Lamarckianism, where evolution was thought to be largely caused by form-generating internal drives.

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Groping for a Form

The Gion monogatari (The Gion Narrative 祇園物語, 1643) is one of the most oft-quoted pieces of Edo-period fiction in modern literary histories of early modern Japanese narrative.

This is not because the text itself is typically seen as a masterpiece

or even as a progressive work.

To the contrary, it is a debate among the Three Teachings

set in dialogue form—a genre normally associated with the medieval period that lost popularity as a type of produced literature after the 1670s—and a near article-for-article response to a 1638 pro-Confucian text from the same genre.

Moreover, the majority of

citations used to support the cause of Buddhism in the Gion monogatari are culled from Confucian sources.

Consequently, most scholars see it as a reactionary text that is

somehow “reflective” of its age, one that futilely argues for the continued pre-eminence of Buddhism at a time when the religion was transforming from a dominant ideology into a fairly well-integrated, recessive one. Thus, it is perhaps not particularly surprising that the excerpt from the text which appears so often in modern scholarship is, in fact, a reference to the success of the Confucian text against which the Gion monogatari argues: Recently, an unexpected business has occurred. A certain person brought something called the Kiyomizu monogatari and said, “Should blocks be made for this, there is sure to be a quick profit.” Accordingly, [blocks] were prepared, whereupon two to three thousand have been sold to people of the capital and countryside. 此ほど、はからぬあきなひをいたし候。ある人、清水物かたりと申候物を携来り、 是を板にせられ候はば、利とくあらんと申され候により、すなわち調候へば、京 やゐなかの人々に、二三千とをりも売申せし也。 1

1

Gion monogatari, Kana-zōshi shūsei, vol.22 (Tokyo: San’yōsha, 1998), p.3. Michael J. Scanlon

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The Kiyomizu monogatari (The Kiyomizu Narrative 清水物語) is held in much higher esteem by modern scholars.

The extreme commercial success the text enjoyed until at

least the end of the century ensures that it warrants mention in most modern literary histories of early modern Japanese narrative, 2 and one scholar even goes so far as to write: It is my opinion that the Kiyomizu monogatari published in 1638 is an important fork in the macroscopic development of vernacular prose literature. Works that precede it are either in the classical style or rife with techniques that depend on the classics. After it, the methods of previous writings were discarded, and reality in its various forms was faced. 3 For this study, however, it is the Gion monogatari that is of far greater importance. It is probably the first text of prose literature that was verifiably written for the press, a printed rejoinder to a text that may have simply happened to owe its dissemination to print. The Gion monogatari was participating in a much larger trend that was occurring over the fifth decade of the seventeenth century.

At exactly the same time, the

Confucian philosopher Hayashi Razan, the haikai poet Matsunaga Teitoku and many other authors associated with established reading communities were also turning to the printing press in order to mark and expand their territory. 4

This, of course, does not

mean that suddenly all books were written to be printed. Texts that had already been

2

In addition to the original blocks of 1638 (which were used to put out at least four editions of the text), two more sets were carved in 1645 and 1682. 3

Emoto Hiroshi, “Suzuki Shōsan to Asai Ryōi,” Kinsei zenki shōsetsu no kenkyū (Tokyo: Wakagusa Shobō, 2000), p.138. 4

Katō Sadahiko, “Haikai no tanjō,” Nihon bungakushi, vol.7 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1996), pp.99-128.

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successful in manuscript, oral or performance culture were still sought after by publishers, and great numbers of texts continued to be written to be delivered either orally or in manuscript form to members of a given school, literary salon or congregation.

The

Buddhist priest Suzuki Shōsan (1579-1655), who had only one text printed in his lifetime but went on to become one of the most prolific authors of the second half of the century when his writings were published posthumously, included the following as an example in a letter detailing evidence concerning a contemporary revival of the Buddhist faith: Again, Buddhist books and the like are said to sell beyond all expectations. For this reason, they are increasingly seeking out even old sermons and publishing them. 一、仏書ノ類、殊外ウレ申候。此故、ニ次第ニ古ノ法語等迄求尋出シテ開版致シ 5 候。

Nevertheless, Nakajima Takashi posits that the 1640s mark the beginning of the period in which a literature specific to print culture began to develop. 6

For the first time, the

conditions of the greater commercial market for the printed book became an important pressure that would affect the evolution of literary form, and it is an investigation of the nature of this relationship that is the central concern of this chapter.

5

Suzuki Shōsan, Suzuki Shōsan dōjin zenshū (Tokyo: Sankibō Busshorin, 1975), p.312.

6

Nakajima Takashi, “Hanpon jidai no ‘shahon’ to wa nanika,” Kokubungaku kaishaku to kyōzai no kenkyū 42, no.11 (September, 1997), pp.49-53.

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The Matrix The type of author doesn’t matter. You make up a book in which all—young and old, smart and dumb—take interest without wavering. It remains fashionable for a long time, and sales are strong. The news about book turnover is good. It is these authors that are praised, and they are money in the bank for publishers. Osaka bookseller Genroku Taiheiki (1700) Miyako no Nishiki The second half of the seventeenth century was a time of great expansion for the commercial print industry. From the 1660s onwards there was a marked increase in the number of new publishing ventures, and the geographic domain of the commercially printed book was also pushing outwards.

As the cities of Edo and Osaka became viable

environments for the book trade, publishing houses began to appear in ever greater numbers in these two urban centers, and there is also evidence that book retailers were setting up shop in other castle towns.

There are also some scholars who argue that the

range of the commercial book might have extended far beyond these self-sustaining markets.

The famous historian Kōda Shigetomo (1873-1954) writes:

Take educators and booksellers—their very names differ. Generally, it is not difficult to imagine the one who puts his future in the publishing and sales of books opening up a store either in front of a temple complex where there are many worshippers or on a street corner bustling with foot traffic, then trying to advertise his newly printed materials using something along the lines of a sign or billboard. However, the people able to catch sight of this advertisement are limited to those who make their way to the storefront, and the number of books that they can be made aware of at one time through these posted advertisements remains very, very small. As for the sole way that necessary books could quickly be searched for and ordered by the many readers living in the countryside and never setting foot in the capital—it was none other than book listings, newly printed book listings. 7 7

Kōda Shigetomo, Shoshigaku no hanashi, Nihon shoshigaku taikei, vol.7 (Tokyo: Michael J. Scanlon

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Whether or not these catalogues were used to market books on a near-national scale, they played a large enough role in the book trade that it was possible for many different versions to be published over this half century as more and more books were being brought to market.

These catalogues are certainly not a perfect set of data.

They

exclude libretti of jōruri drama and include some titles that were never actually published. More important is Nagatomo Chiyoji’s warning that the high cost of block carving meant that publishers were not likely to destroy blocks too readily. It is highly possible that the titles listed in these catalogues are indicative of the existence of blocks (or the plan to create such blocks in the near future) which could be used to put out books to meet a demand for the text in question, rather than a direct reflection of the titles in current circulation. 8

Nevertheless, these catalogues constitute the best evidence available for an

analysis of the overall book trade and indicate the industry had entered a new phase. Chart 4: Growth in Commercial Publishing I (Arranged according to period categories in booksellers’ catalogues organized by genre.) 9

Category

1670 catalogue

1692 catalogue

Total number of titles

Total number of titles

Repeated titles

Non-repeated titles

Percentage of non-repeated titles

Tendai 天台宗

345

523

330

193

37%

Nichiren 日蓮宗

61

92

58

34

37%

Kusha 倶舎宗

14

22

13

9

41%

Seishōdō Shoten, 1979), p.161. 8

Nagatomo Chiyoji, Edo jidai no shomotsu to dokusho (Tokyo: Tōkyōdō Shuppan, 2001), pp.34-35. 9

Op. cit., pp.32-33. All entries above the sermons (法語) category tabulated by author.

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Category

146

1670 catalogue

1692 catalogue

Total number of titles

Total number of titles

Repeated titles

Non-repeated titles

Percentage of Non-repeated titles

Ritsu 律宗

37

114

31

83

73%

Kegon 華厳宗

20

31

20

11

35%

Hossō 法相宗

35

77

39

38

49%

Shingon 真言宗

330

502

248

254

51%

Zen 禅宗

369

635

346

289

46%

33

7

25

76%

Lives of Eminent Monks & Chronicles

僧伝並編年 Jōdo 浄土宗

262

460

252

208

45%

Ikkō 一向宗

88

139

79

60

43%

Sermons 法語

116

185

87

98

53%

Confucian Writings 儒書並経書

136

353

210

143

41%

52

88

42

46

52%

Histories 歴代並伝記

38

73

41

32

44%

Ancient Customs 故事

56

84

40

44

52%

22

0

22

100%

Exemplary Prose Collections & Handbooks

文集並書翰

Miscellaneous Writings 雑書 Poetry Collections 詩集並聯句

125

275

97

178

65%

Dictionaries 字書

76

179

73

106

60%

Calendars & Divination 暦占書

54

105

38

67

64%

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Category

147

1670 catalogue

1692 catalogue

Total number of titles

Total number of titles

Repeated titles

Non-repeated titles

Percentage of Non-repeated titles

Military Writings 軍書

132

178

121

57

32%

Shinto Writings & Ritual Manuals 神書並有識

79

133

72

61

46%

Medical Writings 医書

247

465

237

228

49%

Waka Poetry & Comic Verse 歌書付狂歌

224

389

198

191

49%

Renga 連歌書

29

38

28

10

26%

Haikai 俳諧書

133

678

124

554

82%

Vernacular Writings 仮名和書

88

113

77

36

32%

Writings for Women 女書

19

24

11

13

54%

Nō Libretti 謡本

30

63

28

35

56%

10

0

10

100%

Instruments 糸竹書 Mathematics 算書

18

42

7

35

83%

Go 盤上書

12

19

7

12

63%

14

6

8

Tea Ceremony 茶湯書並花之書

7

77%

Flower Arranging & Incense 立花付香

17

1

16

Etiquette 躾方書

12

7

5

7

4

3

Cooking 料理書

11

42%

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Category Famous Places & Travel Records 名所尽並道中記

148

1670 catalogue

1692 catalogue

Total number of titles

Total number of titles 71

Repeated titles

Non-repeated titles

21

50

28

Percentage of Non-repeated titles 75%

Travel Literature 紀行之類

24

3

21

Models & Picture Books 雛形付絵本尽

59

11

48

81%

Hanashi Anecdotes 噺の類

14

37

6

31

84%

Military Drama & Fiction 舞本並草紙類

199

117

116

1

1%

Monogatari Narratives 物語類

169

76

93

55%

Erotic Books & Pleasure 好色類並楽事

101

6

95

94%

Pornography 楽事枕絵

18

7

11

61%

Letter Manuals 往来手本類

88

159

83

76

48%

Stone Rubbings & Calligraphy Handbooks 石刷並筆道書

77

138

69

69

50%

Scrolls & Maps 掛物並図

55

126

54

72

50%

Commercial publishing was undergoing a remarkable period of growth over the second half of the seventeenth century.

This included a good deal of extrinsic expansion.

Titles and notes concerning book format included in these catalogues would seem to indicate that potential book-buying customers who were, on the whole, less educated and wealthy than those of the early part of the century continued to be added in great numbers. Michael J. Scanlon

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For instance, the greatest growth within Confucian texts—one of the central genres of the book trade—comes from publishing different versions of the same base text to which various glosses or features had been added in order to make the learned text more accessible, and there was an increase in the number of texts printed using specialized book formats, such as editions with large print or small book size.10

At the same time,

this was also a period of great intrinsic expansion, and the booksellers’ catalogues reveal that there was an explosion in the variety of texts being put out by publishers over these fifty years. In fact, as can be seen in the above table, the number of titles listed in every category—with one crucial exception—included in these catalogues rose by healthy amounts in the interval between the 1670 edition and 1692 one. Accompanying this growth, however, was an increase in danger for individual publishers.

The situation is

made clear in another famous passage from the Genroku Taiheiki, the text’s most detailed description of publishing success: From [those for] the Four Books 11 and the Five Classics 12 right down to the playthings of Japanese writings, the numbers of printing blocks have increased with each passing year. My goodness, it’s reached the point that one could mistakenly think that all the cherry trees of Mount Yoshino had been chopped down! Though it might be thought that the appearance of the boxwood edition of 10

Nagatomo Chiyoji, “Shōgyō shuppan no kaisho,” Nihon bungaku shi, vol.7 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1996) pp.164-5.

11

In Japanese, the Four Books (Shisho 四書) of Confucianism are the Rongo (The Anelects 論語), the Mōshi (The Mencius 孟子), the Chūyō (The Doctrine of the Mean 中 庸) and the Daigaku (The Great Learning 大学). 12

In Japanese, the Five Classics (Gokyō 五経) of Confucianism are the Ekikyō (The Book of Changes 易経), the Reiki (The Book of Rites 礼記), the Shokyō (The Book of Documents 書経), the Shunjū (Spring and Autumn Annals 春秋) and the Shikyō (The Book of Songs 詩経).

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the Sanjūin 13 occurred because cherry trees had gone extinct, that is not the case. Rather, the printing capacity of boxwood is said to be fifty percent more than cherry. Mister Umemura, the holder of these blocks, in the past had held [the blocks for another edition of] the Sanjūin and made a great profit on them. Thus, in order to reap the benefits, he had boxwood plates made. As for the scribe, he made the then-famous [calligrapher] Makimura Iroku take a rough draft and fixed the price at one monme and two fun per folio. For a mere pocket-sized book, the costs for the clean copy manuscript [on which the blocks would be based] reached three hundred monme. The carving costs for each page exceeded thirty monme. However, within the year in which these plates were finished, the investment costs had been completely recouped, and with each passing year he has reaped profit. Nowadays, the use of this boxwood edition goes as far as Tsushima in the west and reaches Matsushima in the east. Therefore, in the provinces they have given Umemura—Mister Plum Grove—the nickname Mister Boxwood Grove. The affair went well, and it is true what they say—with a little you can make a lot! Because this Sanjūin has been so lauded, should you mention even only the phrase “Umemura edition,” the whole world will know it as a good set of blocks. This is something that stemmed from the genius of [Umemura] Yahaku! Recently, a certain someone, in making a pocket-sized edition of a home encyclopedia, added footnotes and put in models for letter writing. He gave it the title The Souvenir Home Encyclopedia (Miyage setsuyō), and within a year the manuscript was ready. Thinking that, should this be done using boxwood blocks, it would double the sales of the Sanjūin, he went to various and sundry publishers [seeking an investor]. But the costs of the boxwood plates were a sticking point. It’s that, when it comes to meeting with the conditions of the day, people with abilities like those of Umemura are rare. Many are the people who say that, should Umemura pass away, the way of the boxwood edition would come to an end. それ四書五経をはじめ、大和書のたはれ草にいたるまで、梓の数年々にひろがり、 すでに吉野山の桜木も切り尽くすかとあやまたるほどに、すはみよ。黄楊板の三 重韻発りしは、さくらが絶しゆへかとおもへば、さにあらで、黄楊はかへって板 ちん桜に五割増じゃといふ。此板本梅村氏そのむかし三重韻をもって、大に利を 得しゆへ、そのむくひのため、あらたに黄楊板を行ふ。筆工は当時の名人牧村伊 六に筆垢をとらせ、壱丁を壱匁弐分書にさだめ、わづかなる寸珍の筆料三百匁に およぶ。板一枚の堀手間三十匁余にいたる。しかれども此板成就せし年、入目の こらず取戻し、続て年々利を得、今におゐて黄楊板を用る事、西は対馬をかぎり、 東は松島におよぶ。それゆへ諸国に梅村を黄楊村と名付け、其沙汰よろしく、一 をもって万をしれといふことまことなるかな。この三重韻のほまれあるゆへ、梅 村板とさへいへば、世間にをしなべよき板ぞとおもふは、是弥白が才のかしこき による所ぞかし。此ごろある人節用集を寸珍にして首書をくわへ、書礼をかき入、 土産節用と名付、一年ほどにして写本出来侍り。是を黄楊板にせば三重韻には倍 13

The Sanjūin is a revised version of a fourteenth-century rhyme dictionary that was used as a reference book for the composition of Chinese poetry.

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して売れんとおもひ、書林かれ是のぞむといへども、黄楊板の値になづみ、しば らく日和を見合する事、梅村の器量に似たる人まれなるゆへなり。誠に梅村なく なりて黄楊板の道たへぬと、世になげく人を々かり 14

The number of titles was rising quickly, not because publishers wanted to put out new texts, but due to the fact that they had to.

The market for the texts which had been

highly successful for the first fifty years of commercial print in Japan was beginning to saturate, and the failure rate for new, untested texts was far higher than it had been over the first half of the century.

Further, bringing a successful text to market was no

guarantee of long-term earnings. Sanjūin.

The Umemura house was not the first to put out the

The 1698 booksellers’ catalogue shows that there were sixteen versions of the

text vying with each other.

This was not an isolated incident. “As for the epistolary

primers (ōrai-mono 往来物) being used so often in temple schools,” writes Yayoshi Mitsunaga, “even if you look only at the [1670 booksellers’ catalogue], there are twelve editions of the Teikin ōrai (庭訓往来) and eleven of the Jōei shikimoku (貞永式目).” 15 Success leads to imitation, and, since there were not as of yet copyright laws or officially recognized guilds to regulate the industry, publishing houses were relatively free to put out competing versions of basically the same text, possibly undermining the sales of the original publisher or weakening those of all parties. As is typical of unregulated markets, this one tended towards monopoly. This development is clearly visible in a 1696 booksellers’ catalogue compiled and published

14

Genroku Taiheiki, pp.138-139.

15

Yayoshi Mitsunaga, “Jūhan ruihan no hōnin jidai,” Mikan shiryō ni yoru Nihon shuppan bunka, vol.4, Shoshi shomoku shiriizu, vol.26 (Tokyo: Yumani Shobō, 1989), p.161.

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by Kawachiya Rihei, a book merchant of the Kyoto-Osaka area.

152

The basic objectives

and organization of the text are laid out in its preface: A few years prior, the titles of books were collected and made into a three-volume syllabically organized catalogue. Since then, there have been a great number of blocks carved, so now I increased its merit and made it into six volumes. The titles are collected according to i-ro-ha syllabic order and separated into sections. The section for Confucian writings includes such things as Shinto writings, military writings, dictionaries, books on the arts, and so on. As for the vernacular, this section includes all books written in Japanese, such as high poetic writings, music books as well as texts concerning Buddhism, Confucianism, Shinto and military writings that are written in the vernacular. To be certain, because there are so many old pocket books of haikai poetry, these will be excluded from the main body of the catalogue and written in one section. The Buddhist writings section gathers together the texts of all the various sects. Further, in order to make the catalogue easy to use for scholarly neophytes, titles are ordered according to the most common pronunciation of their Chinese characters, even though this results in some confusing placements. For each title entry, the chief author and the publisher are made clear, and the price has been written in. However, there will be price discrepancies based on the quality of the paper used to make the book as well as [the cost of] shipping goods to distant provinces. Though it may be difficult to set an absolute standard [of organization], I have written down the general [method]. Someone should be able to add more and more new titles in subsequent printings. New Years Day, 1696. 先年書籍の題号を集てかな付きの目録三巻とす。自爾以来彫刻数多なれば、今又 増益し六巻とし、部を分いろは寄にして集之。儒書の部は神書軍書字書芸書等を 摂し、仮名は歌書儒仏神道軍書音曲等、総てかな物之書を集。但俳諧の古き句帳 は品多けれは除之、一所に記す。仏書は諸宗通じて悉く集。雖然かなの通音によ り、寄所違有べけれ共、童蒙の見やすからしめんが為也。凡書の大意作者並板元 之家名を顕し、値段をしるす。しかれ共値段は紙の善悪、又遠国におゐては運送 の品により、相違あるべければ、一概に定めがたしといへとも、大概をしるす。 開猶此以後板之書は追々に加ふべき者也。干時元禄九丙子のとし孟春日。 16

The haikai section was never included, so the catalogue’s organization is basically that of the Edo-issued 1681 version mentioned in the text’s introduction: titles are arranged in syllabic order with each unit further divided into Confucian, medical, vernacular, and

16

Edo jidai Shorin shuppan shojaku mokuroku shūsei, vol.2 (Tokyo: Inoue Shobō, 1963), pp.211-212.

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Buddhist sections; and a section for erotic books has been added to those for books done in the stone rubbing style (ishi-zuri 石刷) and maps which are located after the main listings in the earlier edition.

The attempt at exhaustiveness and the inclusion of the

publisher’s name in each entry makes this particular edition of the booksellers’ catalogue an invaluable resource for modern scholars because it provides data that allows for a fairly reliable reconstruction of the commercial print marketplace at the end of the seventeenth century. The publishing industry was separating into the very large and the very small. Konta Yōzō has calculated that twenty-nine publishers sold over fifty different texts, around eighty produced between ten and fifty, and three hundred or so held the blocks for fewer than ten. 17

Moreover, one third of the titles listed in this catalogue were

accounted for by eleven extremely large houses. 18

The most interesting parts of Konta’s

scholarship, however, lie in his examination of the types of books these large houses published and his investigation into the histories of these businesses. Each, while publishing a certain variety of texts, specialized in particular types of texts that were linked to well-established reading communities, such as religious sects, academies or literary coteries. 19

This is simply an adaptation to the contemporary environment.

The

dominant publishing houses, at a time in which they were unable to keep competitors

17

Konta Yōzō, “Genroku-Kyōhō-ki ni okeru shuppan shihon no keisei to sono rekishiteki igi nitsuite,” Historia 19 (1958), p.51.

18

Op. cit., p.52.

19

Konta Yōzō, Edo no hon’ya-san, p.33.

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from publishing similar books, gained their advantage by setting up special relations with fixed groups of consumers.

Further, nearly all of these houses were of long standing,

most with histories that reach back to the 1620s or 1630s. 20 the xylographic print industry.

This is a vital factor within

The capital investment in blocks that can be used to

make new copies of longselling texts is spread out over time, and the income from steady sales can be used to underwrite the costs of producing new blocks to add to the inventory. As a result, large houses held a great advantage over smaller ones and gained an ever stronger hold over the central genres of the book market. This booksellers’ catalogue is also instructive in that it indicates the genres that these large houses did not control. Konta’s study shows that, in 1698, the largest eleven publishing houses put out 54.8% of the medical titles listed (253 of 462), 38.8% of the Confucian ones (655 of 1684), 32.4% of the Buddhist ones (948 of 2621), but only 21.7% of the vernacular texts (393 of 1809).

Munemasa Isoo has taken an in-depth look

at the production of the two largest publishers that specialized in literature—the Hayashi and the Yoshida houses—and found that the vernacular texts which they published were almost all associated with the high poetic tradition.

The Hayashi is listed as the

publisher of seventy-four titles (thirty-five Confucian, one medical, thirty-five vernacular, and three Buddhist), 21 while Yoshida’s name is included in sixty-nine entries (twenty-two Confucian, seven medical, seven Buddhist, thirty-two vernacular, and one stone-rubbing

20

Op. cit., p.53.

21

Munemasa Isoo, “Hanmoto to esōshi,” Kinsei Kyoto shuppan bunka no kenkyū (Tokyo: Dōmeisha, 1982), pp.220-225.

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style calligraphy handbook). 22

Yet they each published only a single text that modern

scholars study as a piece of contemporary prose literature. 23

This does not mean that

there was no money to be made printing non-canonical vernacular texts. In fact, this family of texts was the fastest growing sector of the publishing industry. However, it must always be kept in mind that these books were definitely not the product of the center of commercial print. Chart 5: Growth in Commercial Publishing II (Arranged according to period categories in booksellers’ catalogues organized by i-ro-ha syllabic order.) 24 1659

1670

1685

1692

Confucian texts

403 (26.0%)

877 (22.8%)

1228 (20.7%)

1472 (20.5%)

Medical texts

136 (8.8%)

247 (6.4%)

401 (6.8%)

454 (6.3%)

Vernacular texts

400 (25.8%)

1025 (26.5%)

1812 (30.5%)

2456 (34.3%)

Buddhist texts

619 (40.0%)

1677 (44.3%)

2493 (42.0%)

2799 (38.9%)

1548

3866

5934

7181

Frontiers tend to be harsh environments, so it is perhaps not surprising that the decade surrounding the half-century mark was a period over which little contemporary prose literature was put into print for the first time.

Mizutani Futō explains this trend as

follows: When you think about it, in the Kan’ei period (1624-1644), printing itself was a rarity. Both booksellers and collectors got carried away and tended to put out too many texts at one time. Then a reaction against this appeared. At that point, education had not spread widely, and the sphere of reading was accordingly narrow. There was not enough energy to consume that unlimited production of 22

Munemasa Isoo, “Yoshida Shiremon: koten no hanmoto,” Kinsei Kyoto shuppan bunka no kenkyū (Tokyo: Dōmeisha, 1982), pp.225-230.

23

Munemasa, Kinsei Kyoto shuppan bunka no kenkyū, pp.222, 229.

24

Konta Yōzō, “Genroku-Kyōhō-ki ni okeru shuppan shihon no keisei to sono rekishiteki igi nitsuite,” p.50.

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printed books. The number of books stagnated, and [many] met the fate of remaining unsold. The authors of the transitional period had all made their appearance. When you take into account the fact that the period for development was still not sufficient for progress to appear, [it becomes clear that] it was necessary for there to be a stretch of downtime here. 25 Noda Hisao acknowledges Mizutani’s theory and adds a few more factors from the wider historical circumstance, such as the famine that plagued the country in the early 1640s, the numerous earthquakes and fires that Kyoto suffered at this time, as well as the sumptuary laws and other forms of proscriptive control that were emanating from the central government. 26

Yet Noda himself would seem to undermine this argument by

revealing that a good number of contemporary vernacular prose texts—especially military narratives—published in the first half of the century were being reissued during this interval. 27

The lull, no matter what its cause, was not of long duration.

By the

1660s, there was an explosion in the number of new vernacular texts being printed and brought to market, a development in which literary prose is said to play an important role. Noda includes in his study of early Edo fiction entries for one hundred twenty-eight texts composed and printed between 1655 and 1680 compared to a mere thirty-eight for the years between 1596 and 1644. 25

Konta writes: “The level of success [that the market]

Mizutani Futō, Shinsen retsudentai shōsetsu shi (Tokyo: Shun’yōdō, 1929).

26

Noda Hisao, Nihon kinsei shōsetsu shi, Kana-zōshi hen (Tokyo: Benseisha, 1986), p.240. 27

Op. cit., pp.241-242. Though this is just speculation, Noda’s information about reprinting seems to indicate that the pressures conditioning this lull should probably be sought within the industry and the place of prose literature in it. The most obvious possibility is that, since xylography was the only print technology in commercial use at the time, a very large capital investment was necessary to put out an edition of an as of yet unpublished text and, at a time when established texts were still selling well, the risks involved with publishing untested texts in the most volatile and marginal sector of the market were too high.

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was able to bear was such that forty-five titles appeared before [1654], while one hundred seventy-eight were published between 1655 and 1673.” 28

These new texts, unlike the

ones from the beginning of the century, show a great diversity in form. There is also something troubling about this group of texts: it is extremely difficult to distinguish literary texts from non-literary ones. This problem is addressed by Suzuki Tōru as follows: Kana-zōshi contains an extreme variety of textual groupings, so grasping its character in toto is difficult. However, since the enlightenment thought from the beginnings of the early modern period was permeating society extensively, impressive are didacticism, practical usefulness, a desire to enlighten, and so on. In cases where kana-zōshi are being used as objects for the study of literary history, the question of what kana-zōshi—a category which includes writings of purely practical use—should be included is a rather difficult problem. Literariness should be the criterion for judgment, but many are the cases in which it is difficult to say things are clear, even in the most literary of examples. In this type of work, it may be that the principal axis lies in didacticism, practical usefulness or a desire to enlighten, and literariness is something like a nonessential factor motivated for the purpose of these [other] goals. As for their didacticism and practical knowledge, loftiness was perhaps flavorless and made it difficult for the common reader to understand. So that the reader might interestedly receive [this didacticism and practical knowledge], they were softened and broken up. [Kana-zōshi] were a literary costume. Yet it may have well been that the author’s intentions did not lie there. It is for this reason that many of the works of kana-zōshi stand in an uncertain position with regards to literary character. However, this is our modern sensibilities. Perhaps we have fallen into that delusion because, compared to the civilizing elements that abound in ambition, the literary elements are all too immature, naïve, and simple. It is probable that at said time there was a demand for literature, and there is no reason to believe that kana-zōshi were unable to meet the demand. So long as there are traces of literary elements, we cannot—no matter how immature and flawed they may seem when looked at from our modern sense of literature—ignore their literary efforts. This is because these are where their thought became fixed in literary form. 29 28

Konta, Edo no hon’ya san, p.32.

29

Suzuki Tōru, “Kana-zōshi ni okeru kyōkunsei to bungeisei: Ukiyo monogatari no kōsei o megutte,” Shimane Daigaku Ronshū 11 (1962), p.92.

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The argument rests on two debatable points.

Judgments of literary worth based on

modern standards are well to be avoided because they are based on a Spenserian version of evolution that mistakes what happened to succeed for what should have succeeded. On the other hand, because the modern sense of literature is contingent on a familiarity with an array of the most evolutionary successful literary forms, an inability to recognize a text’s “literariness” is an important piece of data that should not be willfully ignored. Moreover, whereas a demand for narrative literature is probably universal, the mere presence of demand does not in any way imply its being met. The Tōkaidō meishoki (Records of Famous Places on the Tōkaidō 東海道名所記, c.1660) was a successful text belonging to a popular genre of the time.

It sold well

enough to be printed in several editions, while records of famous places (meishoki 名所 記) became so numerous that a category specific to them soon developed within the

booksellers’ catalogues. In some literary histories written in the twentieth century, the text is placed within a genealogy that links the Chikusai monogatari (The Narrative of Chikusai 竹斎, printed c.1620) with the Tōkaidō-chū hizakurige (Hoofing it along the Tōkaidō 東海道中膝栗毛, 1802-1809).

In a vague way, the three are similar in that they

are comic narratives which follow a bumbling hero on his travels along the road linking the imperial capital of Kyoto and the shogunal capital of Edo. meishoki is obviously different than the other two.

However, the Tōkaidō

Though it is doubtful that even the

Chikusai and the Tōkaidō dōchū hizakurige are directly related, they are similar enough that it is reasonable to think so, for it could be argued, in a way that approximates Viktor Shklovsky’s famous analysis of Don Quixote, that these two texts are essentially

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picaresque narratives in which heroes’ journeys serve as motivation for the device of concatenation that links dissimilar materials into pieces of extended fiction. 30 In the Chikusai, the presentation of factual information about the people, places and things of the road interrupts the flow of the narrative’s plot to a certain degree. However, the inclusion of information in the Chikusai is not done simply for the sake of presenting that information.

Rather, it serves as background for comic poems delivered

by characters, and the discourse of the narrative, never settling on it, quickly returns to the action. 31

The same cannot be said for the Tōkaidō meishoki.

The road is the

protagonist of this text: From Okazaki to Chirifu: eight miles. On the left, there is a castle. The inn is about a league away by river. The river is called the Matsuha River and has a bridge with a length of thirty-two yards. The Yahagi Bridge is two hundred and eight yards long. In the past, this bridge was an earthen one. Therefore, in times of flood it was swept away. Because people making their way could not cross, a plank bridge has been built recently. In the mid-1330s, Ashikaga Takauji, while in Kamakura, turned his back on the orders of GoDaigo. The emperor sent out a force with Nitta Yoshisada as leader. At this spot, they met the Kamakura force in battle. They defeated Takauji and forced him to flee all the way to Sagisaka. Or so they say, anyway. East Yahagi. West Yahagi. To the right, in the rice fields, there is a thicket of bamboo grass. Long ago, this was the estate of Lady Jōruri, the daughter of the owner of the inn at Yahagi. The naming of this place predates this. Yamato Takeru, planning on destroying the eastern barbarians, came this far and fashioned a great number of arrows. From this act, came the name Yahagi. 32 30

The Chikusai, not a fully motivated piece of fiction, contains many interpolated sections in which the hero plays little to no role. Mizuta Jun notes the heterogeneous qualities, but theorizes that the character Chikusai helps unify the text and his travel “makes possible its long-form structure and assemblage of anecdotes.” Mizuta Jun, “Chikusai no seiritsu: shogenteki yōso no kyōzatsu,” Kana-zōshi no sekai: mibunka no keifu (Tokyo: Ōfūsha, 1981), pp.51-82.

31

Op. cit., p.53.

32

Yahagi is written with Chinese characters that literarily mean to fashion arrows out of Michael J. Scanlon

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The village of Itōzaka. The hamlet of Ozaki. Between them runs a single seaside road, the Kobama seaside road. Imamura. It has a teahouse. Nishida. 33 About a league to the north of the road proper lies the historic spot known as the Eight Bridges. In the past, surely, it lay on the highway itself. In the Ise monogatari, Lord Narihira, at the time of his travels to the East, here composed the famous acrostic poem about the kakitsubata iris. As for this place being named the Eight Bridges, it is because the water of several rivers crisscrossed here and did not flow in a single stream. They lay bridges across them in accordance with the water, and it took eight different ones, something like a spider’s limbs. That is why they say it got the name Eight Bridges. Might it have been that there were kakitsubata irises in the nearby swamp? Now, it has become a village, and the kakitsubata irises, having become kindling wood, are no longer here. Further, the swamps have been drained and made into rice fields. Only the place’s name and a few bridge posts remain. It may be that a stone monument to Narihira—a reminder of the distant past—lies here. The [traveling companion] composed a poem: The skinny face Of the mean man, Standing in the swamp fields Of Eight Bridges— Might it be kakitsubata iris! In the past, Narihira took the five syllables of ka-ki-tsu-ba-ta, placed them at the head of each line, and composed a poem about the essence of travel. They call that an acrostic poem, don’t they? When the priest asked him to take the same five syllables, place them at the head of each line, and make a poem about the loneliness of the road, Rokuami recited: Holes are popping out On the surface of my oft-worn coat; Since it will have to do, I think about cutting the seams, And turning it inside out. When he was done, the man spit, and the noise reverberated in the fire water vessel. 岡崎より池鯉鮒まで三里八町 左のかたに、城あり 宿の町はづれに、川あり、松葉川といふ、橋あり、長さ三十二間 矢矯橋、長さ二百八間あり。此橋、いにしへは、土橋にて。侍べりしかば。洪

bamboo and feathers. 33

This is a mistake, taken directly from the Dōchūki. The actual name of the town is Ushida, but the う (u) was mistakenly read as a に (ni).

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水の時は。しながされて。往来の人渡りかねたる故に。ちかき比より、板ばしに 成けり。建武年中に、足利尊氏、鎌倉にありて。後醍醐天皇の命をそむきしに、 新田義貞を大将軍として、さしくださる、此所にて。かま倉勢と出合。いくさあ りけるに、尊氏打まけて、鷺坂まで、にげられしとかや 東矢はぎ・西矢はぎ、右のかたの田の中に。篠藪あり。むかし、矢はぎの宿、 長者のむすめ。浄瑠璃御前の屋敷あり。爰を矢はぎと名づくる事は。そのかみ、 大和武の尊。東夷をほろぼさんとて、この所までくだり給ひ。矢をおほくつくら せられしによりて。矢はぎとはいうなり うたふ坂の村、尾崎の郷。このあひだに左右へ、海道一すぢあり。小浜かいだ うなり 今村、茶やあり、西田 海道より北のかた一里斗に。八橋の旧跡あり。そのかみは、さだめて、東海道 にて有けるにや。業平朝臣、あづまのかたへ、くだり給ひし時。爰にして、杜若 の歌をよみ給へる事。伊勢物がたりにあり。爰を八はしといひけるは。川の水、 たてよこに落合て。ひとしく流れず。その水にしたがいひて。橋を竪よこにかけ 渡し。蛛手のごとくに、端を八かけたれば。八橋と名づけたりといへり。その沢 に、杜若ありとかや。今は在所になり。杜若は薪となりて、絶はて。沢は又すか れて、田と成にけり。わづかに、その名ばかり。橋杭すこし残りたり。また、業 平の石塔とて。むかしのかたみに是あり。男かくぞ読ける 八橋の 沢田にたてる 賤の男の やせたる顔は かきつばたかな かくて、男申けるは。そのかみ。業平殿も。かきつばたといふ五文字を、句のか みにすへて。歌に読給へり。折句とかや、これを申す。御坊も、この五文字を、 句のかみにをきて。侘の心を読み給へといへば、六阿弥 かみ衣 きつつやれにし つぎしあれば はりめきれぬる たちおしぞおもふ 34 とよめりければ、男よだれを流して。をとがひのまはり。ほどびにけり

Rokuami, the erstwhile hero of the narrative, plays a secondary role in the Tōkaidō meishoki. He writes comic verse and occasionally interacts with other characters, but his chief role is being an audience for stories told by people met along the way. He is less a participant in the action than an observer of it, a conduit though which information can be brought into the text by literary means, in the form of exempla narrative (monogatari) and anecdotes (hanashi). 35

It is not surprising that Kan Tokuzō traces the

34

Asai Ryōi, Tōkaidō meishoki, Tōyō bunko 361, Asakura Haruhiko, ed. (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1979), pp.16-21. 35

Mizuta Jun, “Tōkaidō meishoki no hōhō,” Kana-zōshi no sekai: mibunka no keifu (Tokyo: Ōfūsha, 1981), p.97. Michael J. Scanlon

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origins of the Tōkaidō meishoki to the combination of two non-literary texts.

The

structure and a good deal of the content of the text derive from a bestselling guidebook (Dōchūki 道中記) and a gazetteer (Heishin kikō 丙辰紀行) written by the famous Confucian scholar Hayashi Razan (1583-1657). 36

To this non-literary base, literary

elements were grafted or overlain. Despite its non-literary core and origins, it is the text’s literary elements that garner the most modern scholarly attention, and there seems to be an underlying belief that this text was part of a larger evolution towards literariness within the genre from which it sprang. The documentary record, however, would seem to argue against that thesis.

In

1664, the fourth verifiable edition of the Dōchūki guidebook was published by Tsuruya Kieimon.

Much longer than previous versions, it “should be called an expurgated

version of the Tōkaidō meishoki, which was re-compiled by retaining only the essential parts of the reports on the famous historical places, removing Rokuami, removing the comic verse, and—with a focus on useful matters—adding [information about] surcharges and the names of brokers.” 37

This was hardly an isolated incident.

In the

Edo meishoki (Records of Famous Places in Edo 江戸名所記, 1662), a later text by the author of the Tōkaidō meishoki, the literary elements are said to appear in much reduced form.

Likewise, the four texts from the genre written by Nakagawa Kiun are thought to

get progressively less literary. “On the literary map of the time from the Meireki

36

Kan Tokuzō, “Dōchūki, Heshin kikō, Tōkaidō meishoki,” Kanzōshi to Saikaku (Tokyo: Seibundō, 1974), pp.31-41.

37

Op. cit., p.39.

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(1655-1658) and Manji (1658-1661) towards the Kanbun (1661-1673),” writes Matsuda Osamu, “literature and practical use came together and re-separated again and again.” 38 There is no overall trend within these genres towards literariness.

When a category for

the genre precipitated out of the catchall “vernacular writings” section of the booksellers’ catalogues in which its texts had been gathered previously, it denoted an essentially non-literary type of writing. This quality of the overall genre is of far greater importance than the literariness of any individual text included within it. Extraordinarily commercially successful texts are, of course, important to an understanding of literary evolution. They are sold and read in great numbers because they fit a historical and cultural environment. are the exception, not the rule.

Yet they

Nearly all texts meet a different fate. In the part of the

Genroku Taiheiki in which the book merchants are discussing prose fiction, the Kyotoite says: As for anecdotes (hanashi), [exempla] narratives (monogatari) and the like, though it can be said that their numbers are limitless, within a year or a half-year they move on. Even if yesterday it was a treasured item, today it cools quickly. A run of the mill piece of fiction will disappear never to be seen again. Those that have maintained a high level of interest without cooling from the distant past until now are the Otogibōko, the Kashōki, and the Iguchi monogatari. As for those published in recent years, the Sōgi shokoku monogatari, the Budō denraiki, and the Gozen otogi—these and some others are books that will last forever, unchanging. およそはなし物がたりの類その数無量なりといへども、一年半年の間に移りかは り、きのふめづらしかりしもけふははやくさめ、一遍みたる草紙は二度見られぬ やうになりぬ。むかしより今にいたりてみざめせずしておもしろき物は御伽婢子、 可笑記、意愚痴物語なるべし。又近年板行ありしには、宗祇諸国物語、武道伝来、

38

Matsuda Osamu, “Kitamura Kiun, aru meishoki sakusha no baii,” Nihon Kinsei bungaku no seiritsu (Tokyo: Hōsei Daigaku Shuppankyoku, 1963), p.201.

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御前於伽、此等は万代不易の書なり。

39

The perishablility of most popular literature seems to surprise the fictional book merchant, but it is absolutely normal.

The vast majority of newly produced texts of any type of

writing sell for only a brief period of time (if at all), then disappear.

The quick

disappearance of most collections of anecdotes and exempla does not mean that the genres were somehow unfit to the literary environment at the turn of the eighteenth century. Interchangeability of individual texts is not a sign of generic weakness. In fact, in this case, the exact opposite could be argued.

These two types of narrative

collections may have been functioning as vital genres in that texts similar enough to be categorized within them were being produced in large quantities and selling well enough to breed further texts. In most traditional literary histories, a central role has been played by the most extreme of exceptions, potentially canonical texts that combine popularities of high initial magnitude and long duration.

Even recent scholarship into “forgotten bestsellers” still

concentrates on extraordinary texts. In an attempt to rectify this situation, Franco Moretti, in an essay from the early part of his career, proposed that genre be one of the foci of literary study because it draws direct attention to “normal literature”: [L]iterary history has never ceased to be a histoire évenemetielle, where the ‘events’ are great works or individuals. Even the great historical controversies, when all is said, turn almost exclusively on the reinterpretation of an extremely small number of works and authors. This procedure condemns the concept of genre to a subaltern, marginal function, as is indicated most starkly in the formalist couple convention-defamiliarization, where genre appears as mere background, an opaque plane whose only use is to make the difference of the masterpiece more prominent. Just as the ‘event’ breaks and ridicules the laws of continuity, so the masterpiece is there to demonstrate the ‘triumph’ over the norm, 39

Genroku Taiheiki, p.148.

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the irreducibility of what is really great. 40 As Moretti’s abandonment of this metaphor for a neo-Darwinian one would seem to imply, there are serious drawbacks to the annaliste model for the history of literature. In a programmatic essay titled “History and the Social Sciences,” Fernand Braudel explains histoire immobile is fit to explain phenomena like myth, which develop “very slowly, almost timelessly” and are “sheltered from accidents, crisis, and sudden breaks.” 41 he also states that this is only “one of time’s many possible highways.” 42

But

If the object

of scholarly inquiry is a different type of phenomenon, such as the development and reception of Machiavellianism, the model would not work: Everywhere [the historian] would find rifts and reversals, even in the very structure of Machiavellianism, for it is not a system which has the theoretical, semipiternal solidity of myth. It is sensitive to any action or reaction, to all the various inclemencies of history. In a word, it does not have its being solely within the calm, monotonous highways of the longue durée. 43 Myth and fiction are both narrative, but fiction is not myth.

The differences are laid out

by Frank Kermode: Myth operates within the diagrams of ritual, which presupposes total and adequate explanations of things as they are and were; it is a sequence of radically unchangeable gestures. Fictions are for finding things out, and they change as the needs of sense-making change. Myths are the agents of stability, fictions the agent of change. Myths call for absolute, fictions for conditional assent. Myths make sense of a lost order of time, illud tempus as Eliade calls it; fictions, if successful,

40

Franco Moretti, “The Soul and the Harpy,” Signs Taken for Wonders (New York: Verso, 1997), p.13.

41

Fernand Braudel, “History and the Social Sciences,” On History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), p.45. 42

Ibid.

43

Op. cit., p.46.

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make sense of the here and now, hoc tempus. 44 Literary narrative may have mythic and folkloric elements that could possibly act as an anchor slowing evolution, but it—especially long-form, well-integrated fiction—is an ideological form subject to saltational change. “Normal literature”—periods of strong genres—generally occurs in times of cultural and historical stability.

Great

extra-literary change often disrupts generic equilibrium, and new genres form when a group of texts extraordinary in both form and popularity deviate from generic norms to produce a new type of literature.

One of the strengths of the neo-Darwinian metaphor is

that it draws attention to the importance of stasis while also being able to account for change both sudden and gradual. Genre is one of the basic agents of evolution, and in some ways the most important.

No matter how extraordinary an individual text may be in popularity and

form, the true mark of evolutionary success lies in whether or not it spawns an array of similar but different texts.

This simply was not happening for the texts that are now

deemed to be “literary kana-zōshi” within the records of famous places, critiques of actors and courtesans, or any other of the basically non-literary genres that house these exceptions to the rule. With genre as the focus of inquiry, it soon becomes clear that the literary environment over the second half of the seventeenth century was far from normal. Mature literary markets are marked by a fairly stable hierarchy of genres. 45

Yet the

44

Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966), p.39. 45

This is a phenomenon that drew the attention of Antonio Gramsci who wrote: A certain variety of types of popular novel exists, and it should be noted that, although all of them simultaneously enjoy some degree of success and popularity, one of them nevertheless predominates by far. Michael J. Scanlon

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texts now studied as literary kana-zōshi do not form a single category in the booksellers’ catalogues of the period.

Instead, their entries are included in several different sections

and never constitute a majority of titles in any of these.

Further, even when the basis of

classification is one proposed by modern scholarship, no clearly dominant genre appears. 46 met.

The market demand for literary prose of which Suzuki spoke was not being

At the same time, since this environmental niche was not already occupied by any

strong type of narrative literature, occasional mutations towards literariness, such as the Tōkaidō meishoki, could survive and even thrive within certain limits. The chaos within the domain of narrative literature is sometimes thought to be somehow reflective of larger historical circumstances.

However, the generally accepted

theory of Edo history is that the Tokugawa system settled in over the Kan’ei period (1624-44). 47

Moreover, the central issues within which the most successful early

modern narrative genres would be written precipitated elsewhere very early in the seventeenth century. Instead of looking at history as something to be mirrored by literature, it is better to see it as a negative pressure on it. The foundation of the Tokugawa shogunate selected strongly against the previously dominant types of long-form fiction.

They and the early seventeenth-century narratives that evolved from

them, though occasionally highly successful as individual texts, simply did not establish Antonio Gramsci, Selections from Cultural Writings (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985), p.359. 46

These “scientific” categories need to be used with extreme caution, particularly when contemporary generic categories exist, because modern re-classifications are almost always based on a retrospective teleology, while “native” groupings include the vast, un-oriented variations from which development was possible. 47

Kumakura Isao, Kan’ei bunka no kenkyū (Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunko, 1988).

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168 This is most clearly visible in the one category of the 1692 version of the

booksellers’ catalogue that did not include many more non-repeated entries than that of the 1670 edition. The “military drama and fiction” category (mai narabi sōshi 舞並草 子)—the very one Nakamura Yukihiko says collected the works most obviously

“novelistic” to modern eyes because it contained late medieval fiction and much of its Edo-period offspring 48 —was displaced in the 1680s with the emergence of two genres in which the writings of Ihara Saikaku play a great role. By the midpoint of the seventeenth century, narrative literature had been reduced to its lowest common denominators, which the poetics of the day separated into two narrative types: the exemplum (monogatari) and the anecdote (hanashi). The differences are explained in the preface to the Hanashi monogatari (Anecdote Exemplum 噺物語, 1670):

When one is about to tell a story, you give him your full attention, and it is unexpected nonsense. This type of matter is called an anecdote (hanashi). When a person tells of matters among rumors of the world that are not true, this appears very much to be an anecdote; it is alright to add reason to it when it is said. [Exemplum] narratives (monogatari) are those things spoken of matters for which there are correct written references. Even in commentaries to the Ise monogatari, it is taken that someone heard a narration of matters that happened and then wrote this down. 物語せんと申さるる程に、耳を澄し聞居たれば、思の外の戯言也、さやうの事を 咄しと社いふなれ、世の噂にもまことしからぬ儀を人のかたれば、夫ははなしに てぞあらめと、いふにても弁へしられよかし、話(ものがたり)とは出書正しき 事をいふなるへし、伊勢物語の註にも、其有しことをかたるを聞きて、書たる心 49 なりと侍るとかや

Exempla, for the most part, have a centripetal force because the vast majority relates

48

Nakamura Yukihiko, “Kana-zōshi no seikaku,” Nakamura Yukihiko chosakushū, p.25.

49

Hanashi monogatari, Hanashibon taikei, vol.4 (Tokyo: Tōkyōdō Shuppan, 1976), p.50.

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stories in which a transgressive character is brought back within accepted norms of behavior, and individual narratives restore an ideal and transparent system to the world, something which is made more meaningful because of a momentary disruption. 50 Anecdotes are more likely to function like Freud’s tendentious jokes, which serve as a means of temporary liberation from the pressures of authority. 51

Structurally speaking,

however, these two narrative forms are nearly identical. They are extremely short, event-driven narratives, belonging to what Mizuta Jun has described as “a still undifferentiated literature.”

Their brevity is such that their plot structures are basically

unclassifiable, or at least any such attempts to classify them are meaningless.

They are

universally present narratives of tension and release—the literary equivalent of Frank Kermode’s “tick-tock” or Sigmund Freud’s “Fort! Da!”—that are only more noticeable at this point because longer, more advanced forms of narrative had grown so weak.

Their

simplicity allows them to contain almost any story matter, and a fantastic number of potential routes of evolutionary development are contained within these because it is possible for the middle of an individual narrative, which lies between its initial problem and final resolution, to expand or for groups of these to come together as the constituent elements of an extended, more complex narrative.

It is from these most basic of

50

Sigmund Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle (New York: Norton, 1961), pp.14-16. This type of narrative can often be found in didactic texts, either as constituent elements of exempla collections or as concrete illustrations within more discursive forms of writing. 51

Sigmund Freud, Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious (New York: Norton, 1960), p.125. This type of narrative also tends to appear either as constituent elements of hanashi-bon collections or as comic interludes within more discursive forms of writing.

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narrative types that some of the earliest evolutionarily influential pieces of early modern extended fiction would arise. The reduction of currently produced literary narrative to these most primitive of forms does in some ways help to explain the length of time it took for specifically early modern narrative genres to develop. Literary evolution is uneconomical because it occurs due to the interaction of two separate, irreconcilable processes of un-oriented variation as well as directed and directing selection.

Nevertheless, the inefficiency of

this two-step system is not in and of itself adequate to explain the extreme length of time between the foundation of the early modern politico-ideological system and the development of the literary forms that prospered most under it.

In literary history, there

are many cases of literary forms that would come to dominate a given epoch developing quickly, sometimes within a few decades of the establishment of that new political era. Thus, there is a “need” for the theory of punctuated equilibrium, which posits that evolutionary development can—and often does—take place quickly in restricted stretches of time that interrupt long periods of relative stasis. Narrative literature entered this a period of great formal diversification at the turn of the seventeenth century when the pressures that kept late medieval fiction in a state of stasis were severely weakened, continued through the chaotic burst of hybrid forms in the middle of the century, and only settled into a period of normalcy at the turn of the eighteenth century. In other words, well over a third of the early modern period passed before the stabilization of what can be called specifically early modern narrative types, a phenomenon that stands in stark contrast to the evolution of the modern Japanese novel within a decade or two of the

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Meiji Restoration of 1868. Simple chance played a role in this, but many other retarding factors can be traced to the rise of the commercially printed xylographic book as the preferred means of dissemination for these types of texts.

In xylographic printing, capital investment in the

preparation of woodblocks is high and specific to each newly produced text. It is defrayable only if the book in question sells a certain number of copies, though it matters not if this happens in a short interval or is spread over a longer period of time.

In other

words, the perishability of most pieces of fiction lamented by the fictional bookseller in the Genroku Taiheiki is of relative unimportance once average sales reach a certain level. When this happens, literary narratives become a better investment, and texts of this type appear in greater numbers.

During the seventeenth century, however, average sales

were far too low. Though there is little evidence by which to judge overall book sales at this historical juncture, an excellent piece of data exists for the literary narrative sector of the market.

The Kyoto author-publisher Izumiya Hachieimon, in the preface to his

Kōshoku toko dangi (Sermons on the Erotic Bed 好色床談義, 1689), brags: I created the Renbō Mizukagami and ran off eight hundred copies. Afterwards, I wrote the Genji iroasobi and, meeting with the hopes of its preface, ran off one thousand copies. I gave an account called the Saga momiji and printed seven hundred copies. Recently, the Kōshoku tabimakura has sold a number equal to the [ten thousand or so] arrows loosed by Wasa Daihachi, and next I made an actors critique that put out two thousand copies. Further, I made the Kōshoku kakuchō, and it reached seven hundred copies. 予、恋慕水鏡を作して八百部摺、厥後、源氏色遊を作りて序の心にかなひ千部す り、又、嵯峨紅葉を述して七百部すり、ちかくは旅枕、和佐大八の通し矢にひと し、そののち役者大評判を作して二千部すり、又、好色覚帳を述作して七百部に 及べり 52

52

Munemasa, Kinsei Kyoto shuppan bunka no kenkyū, p.174. Michael J. Scanlon

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Munemasa Isoo rejects the highest number as an exaggeration and estimates that fiction sold in rapid order “an average of anywhere from about seven or eight hundred copies to around two or three thousand.” 53

There is no need to dismiss even the claim of ten

thousand sold copies as being too large, for bestsellers do sell on an order that dwarfs average sales.

In either case, the upper limit of sales is not of great importance because

it is average sales that have a much greater effect on price. Given the context in which these figures are given, each of the numbers listed in the preface should be thought of as the criterion for what could be considered commercially successful texts, and average sales were probably slightly lower. Thus, there existed a vicious circle within commercial fiction: high production costs and low sales meant high prices for books, which severely limited average sales, keeping prices exorbitant. These circumstances favored texts capable of selling books over a long stretch of time, ones that possess what Lee Erickson has called a high marginal utility of re-reading. 54

The texts most suited to these conditions were those canonical ones that

had been incorporated as a bonding mechanism by well-established communities of readers, texts that were read repeatedly by their readership and even helped to form new members of the reading community.

53

Among non-canonical texts, the most fit new texts

Ibid.

54

Marginal utility is a standard economic term meaning: “the satisfaction gained by an individual from an additional unit of the thing, or in other words from the particular choice of a single good at margin.” Lee Erickson, The Economy of the Literary Form: English Literature and Publishing 1800-1850 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp.9-13.

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belonged either to genres associated with these canonical texts or to the practical use genres, such as dictionaries (jisho 辞書), home encyclopedias (setsuyōshū 節用集), and records of famous places (meishoki 名所記). 55

Newly produced literature depends on

the more nebulous factor of pleasure and generally has a much lower marginal utility because nearly all new literary texts bring considerably less pleasure with each rereading. Printed collections of haikai poetry were able to circumvent the negative pressures associable with woodblock printing because the existence of a core community of author-readers all but assured a certain level of sales and may have even allowed for the development of an underwriting system. environment.

Literary narrative was least fit to this

No literary institutions like the haikai schools and associations coalesced

around fiction, and the establishment of commercial print coincided with a dramatic weakening of its traditional forms.

Because commercial print puts out new books and

new texts mechanically based on past success, it can help to re-produce, hone, propagate, and even prolong the importance of established genres.

It can also be a highly adverse

environment for the formation of new genres, and the innovations that led to the most successful early modern genres of fiction happened at the very border of the industry.

55

The combination of the large number of texts from practical use genres being produced at the time and the lack of any strong genre of narrative literature that would serve as competition makes the survival of mutations towards literariness such as the Tōkaidō meishoki more understandable.

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The Man Well, then, erotic books are spreading farther and farther with the passing of time. From the time Saikaku wrote the Ichidai otoko in Osaka until the Shinshiki gokensho [was written] in the tenth month of last year, there has been no break to the additions [to their numbers]. In this Gikeiki, however, I gather that which has been omitted from those... Page Tarō Gozen Gikeiki (1700) Nishizawa Ippū (1665-1731) In the tenth month of 1682, the Osaka printer Magobei Kashin of the Aratoya house put out his only known publication: the Kōshoku ichidai otoko (The Erotic Life of a Man 好色一代男), a book of eight volumes each of which contains seven stories, save the last, which has five.

It sold well enough that a larger publisher-bookseller bought the

rights to the blocks, and the text spawned several editions including three pirated Edo-published ones illustrated by Hishikawa Moronobu.

The Edo books were popular

enough that a chapbook consisting of the Moronobu prints and digests of the narrative was brought to market by 1686, and a series of sequels was put out by the original author and his competitors over the next decade or so. The text was included in the “erotic-type and pleasure” (kōshoku-rui narabi rakuji 好色類並楽事) section of the booksellers’ catalogues, a genre that expanded more quickly than any other over the last quarter of the seventeenth century. Even though this commercial category included both literary and non-literary texts, there was, by the turn of the eighteenth century, an awareness that there existed a specifically literary subgenre of erotic books which took the Kōshoku ichidai otoko as its progenitor. In short, the appearance of the Kōshoku ichidai otoko was an extraordinary event that probably had a greater effect on the literary

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environment than all previous pieces of commercially printed narrative literature. Because the Kōshoku ichidai otoko has long been seen as an epochal text, it is one of the main foci of the study of early modern Japanese literature with most scholars either emphasizing the rupture between this text and the preceding literary tradition or trying to show the closeness of the connections between the two.

In scholarship that

stresses the break, a central role is played by the figure of the author, who was a famous and well-positioned haikai poet, and much attention is drawn to the text’s prose style. Donald Keene, taking his lead from Nakamura Yukihiko, writes: Perhaps the most distinguished feature [of the text] is the style. The novel opens with a sentence typical of Saikaku’s manner: “Sakura mo chiru ni nageki, tsuki wa kagiri arite Irusa-yama.” A fairly literal translation would go: “We grieve when cherry blossoms fall, and the moon, having its limits, sinks behind Irusa Mountain.” The full meaning, however, is something like: “The sights of nature, such as the cherry blossoms or the moon, give us pleasure, but this pleasure is necessarily of limited duration: the blossoms fall and the moon disappears behind a mountain. But the pleasures of the flesh have no limits.” The sentence is characteristic of Saikaku’s style in that it ends with a noun, contrary to the normal Japanese usage; it also contains a play on the word iru, meaning both “to sink” of the moon and the first part of the name Irusa. But what gives the sentence its truly Saikakuesque flavor is the omission of the implied conclusion: “But the pleasures of the flesh have no limits.” This elliptic kind of utterance surely owes much to Saikaku’s training as a haikai poet of the Danrin school. We have only to compare this opening sentence with those of typical kana-zōshi to recognize the startling achievement of Saikaku’s style: “When did the story take place? It was during the ninth year of Keichō…” (Uraminosuke). “All under heaven is calm; the mountains are still, the pines on the peaks are peaceful, the wind is gentle and orderly. This is an age of long rejoicing for the nation” (Chikusai). Saikaku’s style, perhaps even more brilliantly displayed in [the Kōshoku ichidai otoko] than in later works, gave the work its éclat. He was at pains to make his diction “elegant.” The elegance showed itself in the borrowings from the classics, especially the Nō plays (it will be recalled that the Danrin poets considered these plays to be their “Genji”). Writing, initially at least, within the traditions of kana-zōshi, he no doubt felt that literary expression demanded the use of poetic phraseology. The most striking feature of the style, however, is its strongly colloquial flavor; this is what makes [the Kōshoku ichidai otoko] so difficult to read today. Necessary prepositions, indicating the subject of a sentence or the

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agent of an action, are cavalierly omitted, sometimes for euphonic reasons, sometimes because the meaning would be obvious in oral delivery… Saikaku’s style often shifts without warning from a classical idiom suggestive of [the Ise monogatari] to contemporary colloquial, from earthy descriptions to long passages meant to be understood by the ear rather than the eye; the effect is to make [the Kōshoku ichidai otoko] virtually impossible to translate. It must have been difficult even for contemporary readers, but they were apparently captivated by the novelty of the subject, the interest of the story, and the expansive atmosphere, even if they could not follow the refinements of language. Saikaku’s style became plainer in his later works; the success of [the Kōshoku ichidai otoko], despite its complexities, may have encouraged him to try to win an even larger body of readers. 56 The similarities between this playful prose style and haikai linked poetry—particularly some texts written by Saikaku which have a much greater degree of narrative element than was typical in linked verse poetry—have led some scholars to postulate that the Kōshoku ichidai otoko evolved out of Saikaku’s poetic practice. This route of origin, if true, would vitiate the neo-Darwinian model for the study of literary history being forwarded in this text.

The concept of “hopeful monsters,” the

central agents of an evolutionary theory forwarded by Richard Goldschmidt in the 1940s which argues that almost instantaneous speciation occurs due to macro-mutation (rather than by gradualism be it slow or accelerated), is not accepted by the vast majority of scholars specializing in the natural sciences because such a large degree of coordinated variation would be impossible outside of a monistic and directed Lamarckian version of evolution. Probably because the effect of human agents has traditionally been stronger in literary evolution, development happens much more quickly in it, and there are undoubtedly literary hopeful monsters.

Yet even Goldschmidt’s theory remains on the

level of species, while the evolution of the Kōshoku ichidai otoko from haikai poetry 56

Keene, World within Walls, pp.171-172.

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would be the equivalent of movement between families or even orders. There are, however, reasons to doubt the proposed genealogy. The playful style became less important in both later texts written by Saikaku as well as the kōshoku-bon genre as a whole. This casts doubt on the centrality of the poetic style to the late seventeenth-century readership of the text, but in no way does it in and of itself preclude the possibility of a haikai origin for the Kōshoku ichidai otoko. A Darwinian history is able to narrate a past filled with rupture and chance without resorting to the anti-narrative of most competing versions of poststructuralist historiography because it relinquishes all claims on the future.

The future of a text can be analyzed when genre is taken as the

basic unit of analysis, but any such effect a given text might have on the later literary environment cannot enter into a discussion of the genesis of that text. A much more cogent counterargument to the proposed haikai ancestry of the text is that the remarkable style of the Kōshoku ichidai otoko could have been an evolution from within the domain of fiction.

All the various poetic rhetoric found in the Kōshoku ichidai otoko can also be

found—albeit to a lesser degree—in previous prose narrative texts. 57

Furthermore, the

poetic elements found in the Kōshoku ichidai otoko take up considerably less of the text’s discourse than the prosaic narrative. The base of the text evolved from narrative genres. As outstanding as the poetic style may first appear to be, it is a secondary feature of the text, at most a graft or an overlay. An alternative genealogy has been proposed by scholars who emphasize the

57

Nagatomo Chiyoji, “Saikaku no hōhō 1,” Saikaku o manabu hito no tame ni (Kyoto: Sekai Shisōsha, 1993), p.232.

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connections between the Kōshoku ichidai otoko and pre-existing genres of writing: the text evolved directly from the genre of courtesan critiques (yūjo hyōbanki 遊女評判記). This theory holds best on the level of content because many names and places in the Kōshoku ichidai otoko probably do come from these guides. Moreover, contemporary genre classification was based primarily on content, not form, so literary kōshoku texts were placed in the same category as non-literary ones in period booksellers’ catalogues. 58 However, in literary evolution, the primary focus should be on structure rather than on content because one of the hallmarks of successful evolution is that the same form can be used to contain a large variety of story matter. 59

Courtesan critiques normally consist of

description of customs and mores or dialogue, not plot-based narrative, which forms the center of the Kōshoku ichidai otoko. The piece of literature most structurally similar to it is the Ukiyo monogatari (A Narrative of the Floating World 浮世物語), a five-volume text made up of fifty-two short narratives first published around 1665.

Both are

incompletely integrated successions of small narrative units linked by the presence of a hero that begin with his birth and terminate with his departure from the quotidian world 58

That said, the internal structures of the erotic books category within these booksellers’ catalogues indicate that there was a period awareness distinguishing literary kōshoku-bon from non-literary kōshoku-bon. For instance, in the kōshoku no rui narabi rakuji section of the 1699 edition of the catalogue, there is a blank entry space that comes between—and, of course, separates—a group of entries of titles for texts that modern scholars mostly see as being non-literary and another group, which begins with an entry for the Kōshoku ichidai otoko, of titles for texts that are now most often classified as being literary. Hasegawa Tsuyoshi, Ukiyo-zōshi no shinkō (Tokyo: Kyūko Shoin, 1991), pp.34-35. 59

Cases such as the Uraminosuke, which was analyzed in the previous chapter, are important because they are exceptions that prove the rule. There is something significant about the fact that the basic structures of Muromachi fiction could not ultimately contain a Tokugawa hero and a Toyotomi heroine.

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for a mythic land. 60

On the other hand, an evolutionary step has taken place between

the two, and their structures have diverged enough that a distinction has been drawn which categorizes the Ukiyo monogatari as “episodic” and the Kōshoku ichidai otoko as “seriatim.”

These evaluations probably have to do with the divergent rhythms of the

two texts. The individual stories of the Ukiyo monogatari fit together clumsily, and the overall narrative proceeds in fits and starts, while the Kōshoku ichidai otoko moves forward smoothly, like the ticking of the mechanical clocks being imported into Japan at the time. 61 If the Kōshoku ichidai otoko is, these days, almost universally hailed as the first purely early modern shōsetsu, 62 the Ukiyo monogatari has received a much more ambivalent treatment by modern critics.

At one point, there were scholars who saw it as

a revolutionary text that threw off a medieval focus on religion and the afterlife for an early modern worldliness, if not hedonism.

These critics drew much attention to the

opening section of the text: The present; the past. “Among the folk songs of this land, the one that goes: Such a strange thing! Though my heart is mine to own It does not follow my will is sung by all, be they rich or poor, man or woman, young or old. There is another one: 60

It is important to keep in mind that this evolutionary route is true only for the Kōshoku ichidai otoko and a few of its direct descendents. The majority of erotic books—literary, non-literary, and semi-literary—may very well have developed from different origins. 61

One of these clocks is mentioned in the story involving Yoshino in the Kōshoku ichidai otoko, which will be examined in some detail later. 62

See footnote 52 on page 92.

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Because nothing goes As one would wish it to, It is a sorrowful world In all things, wishes go unfulfilled, and things do not turn out as you would have it. Thus, they call it ukiyo. It is akin to the proverb, ‘Scratching the bottom of your feet through leggings.’ You feel an itch, but you can’t scratch it. It’s such an irritation. You are yourself, but you have no control over your body or spirit. What a strange thing! What’s more, in this world there is not one thing that goes as one would wish it. That’s precisely why this ukiyo means ‘sorrowful world,’” said one man. “No, that’s not its meaning. Living in this world, we see and hear something, and, whether it’s good or bad, it’s interesting. [The future is unknowable, for] one inch ahead is blackness. No, it’s useless [worrying about the future], like the skin of a gourd; fretting causes indigestion. Take each moment as it comes. Look off at the moon, the snow, the cherry blossoms, and the autumn foliage. Recite poems; drink sake. Float along taking pleasure. Even abject poverty should not be a worry. Float along with an unsinkable disposition, like a gourd bobbing along with the current. This ukiyo is the ‘floating world,’” opined another, whereupon an expert heard him and exclaimed, “It’s true. It’s true.” 今は昔、 「国風の歌に、 『いな物じゃ。こころは我がものなれど、ままにならぬは』 と、高き賎しきも、男も女も、老いたるも若きも、皆うたい侍る。 『思ふ事かなは ねばこそ、うき世なれ』といふ歌も侍り。よろづにつけて、こころにかなはず、 ままにならねばこそ、浮世といふめれ。 『沓をへだてて跟を掻く』とかや、痒きと ころに手のとどかぬごとく、当たるやうにして行きたらず、沈気なもにねて、我 ながら身も心も我がままにならで、いな物なり。まして世の中の事、ひとつも我 が気にかなふことなし。さればこそうき世なれ」といへば、 「いや、その義理では ない。世に住めば、なんの糸瓜の皮、思ひ置きは腹の病、当座当座にやらして、 月・雪・花・紅葉にうちむかひ、歌をうたいひ酒のめ、浮きに浮いてなぐさみ、 手前のすり切りも苦にならず、沈みいらぬこころだての、水に流るる瓢箪のごと くなる、これを浮世と名づくるなり」といへるを、それ者は聞きて「誠にそれそ れ」と感じけり。 63

In the later 1950s, however, Matsuda Osamu pointed out the shortcomings of this “progressive” reading: it is based entirely on the text’s introduction, which is taken at face value despite the fact that the majority of the text would seem to be occupied with social criticism.

In other words, the ideological thrust of the text would seem

63

Asai Ryōi, Ukiyo monogatari, Taniwaki Masachika, ed., Kana-zōshi shū, Shinpen Nihon koten bungaku zenshū 64 (Tokyo: Shōgakkan, 1996), pp.88-89.

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diametrically opposed to the viewpoint espoused in second half of the introduction. 64 From that point forward, the evaluation of the Ukiyo monogatari has suffered.

Kondō

Tadayoshi’s comment that the Ukiyo monogatari “in the end does not possess a true long-form structure” 65 became Taniwaki Masachika’s assessment of the text as “a wretched failure.” 66 Mizuta Jun summarizes the “problems” modern scholars have had with the text in three points: The first is the divisions and discrepancies in the structure of the work. The Ukiyo monogatari at its beginning tells of the “origins” of “Ukiyobō” [its protagonist] and has him appear in each chapter until the final “Daoist immortal” one. It takes on the form of something like a biographical account. However, each and every one of the chapters is a separable fragment, and the speech and actions of “Ukiyobō” cause feelings of incoherence and awkwardness. The second is the heterogeneity and complexity of various elements. These are: discussions about such things as the origins of phenomena and traditions; playful humor that is visible in jokes, puns, and comic verse; as well as didactic instruction and social criticism that is told in relation to exempla and historical facts. Moreover, these various elements are most often not amalgamated within a single section which is inconsistent. Rather, [each section] has the unity of an “anecdote” (hanashi). The third is the discontinuous continuity between an anti-idealistic affirmation of reality and a loftiness. This is related to the first two problems and is manifested in the exploits and words of “Ukiyobō.” 67 Mizuta’s point on the internally unified nature and separability of the individual narrative 64

Matsuda Osamu, “Ukiyo monogatari no zasetu,” Nihon kinsei bungaku no seiritsu (Tokyo: Hōsei Daigaku Shuppankai, 1963), pp.110-112.

65

Kondō Tadayoshi, Kinsei shōsetsu, Nihon bungaku taikei, vol.10 (Tokyo: Kawade Shobō, 1938), p.100. 66

Taniwaki Masachika, “Ukiyo monogatari no ronri to kōsei,” Saikaku kenkyū josetsu (Tokyo: Shintensha, 1981), p.212. Though the article itself is four decades old at this point, it is important to note that Taniwaki was the scholar chosen to edit the most recent annotated edition of the Ukiyo monogatari which served as a platform for his theory. 67

Mizuta Jun, “Ukiyo monogatari no kōzu,” Kana-zōshi no sekai, p.135.

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units is valuable, but he then attempts to explain away these issues: the comic elements are of more importance to the author than the didactic ones, and the text can be unified by the picaresque qualities of its hero, Ukiyobō.

This, of course, is a return to the tradition

of scholarship that sees the introduction as speaking for the text as a whole, and it fails to explain one of the most prominent features of the text—its ending. The closing section in which a man who has been making his living as a Confucian preacher leaves for a Daoist paradise is a serious criticism of contemporary society that would have been obvious to the Ukiyo monogatari’s primary reading audience.

In the Confucian tradition,

men are allowed to leave the social world only during degenerate times when there are immoral rulers.

This alone would have largely undercut the comic elements of the

narrative as well as called into question the general good humor of Ukiyobō. Besides, for a text that is so noticeably disjointed, a reading that allows for contradiction and imperfection would seem necessary. A more fruitful path for exploration—because it is predicated on an understanding that the text is a flawed one—is Taniwaki’s theory that, at a rather high degree of abstraction, the text can be separated into two parts.

In the first,

the hero is an object of criticism according to the commonsense virtues of the age.

He

goes gambling and whoring, fails at several careers, and generally causes much trouble. In the second half of the text, he has become a companion lecturer in the court of a daimyō baron who argues for the same commonsensical positions and ideals that he rejected earlier in his life to criticize contemporary times.

In between comes a

conversion sequence over eight separate narrative units from the fourth story of the text’s

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second volume to the second story of the third one. 68

Though the second component is

of relatively greater length than would be normal, this overarching structure in which a transgressive character is brought back within social norms would seem to be that of an exemplum narrative. As has been mentioned earlier, exempla are extremely short, plot-driven and often didactic narratives that reaffirm or re-produce already known and accepted values by supplying an exemplary story that illustrates them.

They have straightforward plots

that organize story matter so that narrative time proceeds according to diegetic time. This accentuates the relationship between plot and time that Frank Kermode puts at the center of fiction.

Because all basic narratives, which begin with a problem and proceed

towards its resolution, confer (or at least promise to confer) meaning over time, Kermode makes his central metaphor for fiction the ticking of a clock: Let us take a very simple example, the ticking of a clock. We ask what it says: and we agree that it says tick-tock. By this fiction we humanize it, make it talk our language. Of course, it is we who provide the fictional difference between the two sounds; tick is our word for a physical beginning, tock our word for an end. We say they differ. What enables them to be different is a special kind of middle. We can perceive a duration only when it is organized… According to Paul Fraisse the tick-tock gap is analogous to the role of the ‘ground’ in spatial perception; each is characterized by a lack of form, against which the illusory organizations of shape and rhythm are perceived in the spatial or temporal object. The fact that we call the second of the two related sounds tock is evidence that we use fictions to enable the end to confer organization and form on the temporal structure. The interval between the two sounds, between tick and tock is now charged with significant duration. The clock’s tick-tock I take to be the model of what we call plot, an organization that humanizes time by giving it form; and the interval between tock and tick represents purely successive, disorganized time of the sort we need to humanize. 69 68

Taniwaki, “Ukiyo monogatari no ronri to kōsei,” pp.208-211.

69

Kermode, p.45.

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This linking of middles to beginnings and ends is an instance of temporal integration, “our way of bundling together perception of the present, memory of the past, and expectation of the future, in a common organization.” 70

In other words, narrative is

normally a way of establishing concords between past and present, present and future that assure the meaningful-ness of experience. Examined using the logic of exemplum narrative, it becomes clear that the preface is not a debate between the relative importance of this world and the afterlife, but a competition between two extremely different senses of time.

The reading of ukiyo as

“sad world” espoused by the first speaker is based on a Buddhist theory of degenerative time.

The doctrine of the Three Ages states that enlightenment, proper practice, and the

Buddhist law would all be present and possible for the first five hundred years after the Buddha’s passing; over the next five centuries enlightenment would become impossible; after that, even proper practice would cease to exist in this world.

With the dawn of the

early modern age, the explicatory power of this Buddhistic organization of time waned, and the non-fulfillment of hopes and desires could no longer be ascribed to a general deterioration that should be mourned.

The “floating world” ideal forwarded by the

second speaker posits that time is mere successiveness, its passage of no significance whatsoever. This is the attitude taken by the hero in the first part of the narrative. When forced to hear sermons railing against his vices, Ukiyobō never confronts his would-be teachers to argue proactively for his actions, but simply ignores them and goes about his business. 70

Kermode, p.46.

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Chronicity—purely successive time—is anathema to the exemplum form, and the second part of the narrative tries to banish it. In other words, the conclusion drawn at the end of the introduction is the problem that the text as a whole engages and seeks to resolve. In order to do so, it is essential that the experiences of Ukiyobō over the first part of the text be rendered significant. This is accomplished in the very story that Taniwaki has said concludes the conversion sequence, “Evaluation of Good and Bad Samurai.” Ukiyobō, who has just gained employment as a companion meant to entertain and instruct a feudal baron, is questioned by the retainers of the house: Well, mister priest, you’ve turned towards Buddhism despite your young age—surely there is some detail or other behind this. There are normally two reasons people turn to Buddhism. The first is that everything goes wrong. One goes crazy gambling and whoring, uses up every last cent of his money, gets disowned by his family, and chased off by his lord. With no stipend or position, he thinks about becoming a merchant, but has no capital. He lacks the means to get by in this world. In the sadness of impending starvation, he shaves his head and dons the surplice to get people’s donations and preserve his life. This is not a true follower of the Way. These are an excess population that the world discards. In Confucian terms, they are a vagabond populace. In the Buddhist scriptures, they are called bald householders, who are neither lay nor tonsured. They are like bats, which are neither birds nor beasts. They are the greatest drain on society. The second are those who notice the impermanence of their bodies and know to think of the afterlife. They completely discard the world as a sad thing and turn towards Buddhism. With hearts full of compassion, they advise people and try to make them enter the Buddhist Way. Of their own accord, they closely follow the proscriptions and train assiduously. These are true followers of the Way. People who discard the world are like this. Your appearance is haughty, and your conduct appears willy-nilly. So, then, you’d better be on your guard. いかに御房は、その年いまだ若くおはしますに、道心をおこし給ふは、いかさま 子細有るべし。をよそ道心をおこすふたつあり。ひとつには、その身よろづにつ たなく、博打傾城狂ひに一跡をほつきあげ、親の勘当をかうぶる、主君に追ひ出 され、奉公もならず職はおぼえず、商ひをせんにも元手はなし、身を過ぐる手だ てに事を欠き、飢えにのぞむことのものうさに、髪をそりて衣を着し、人の施物 を受けて命をつなぐ。これまことの道心者にあらず。世に捨てられたるあまり者 なり。儒教には遊民のたぐひといへり。仏経には禿居士と説かれて、俗にもあら ず出家にもあらず、かの蝙蝠の、鳥にもあらず獣にもあらぬがごとし。世の費に

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なる最上なり。ふたつには、我が身の無常を観じ、後世の大事を思ひ知りて、世 を憂きものに捨てはて、道心をおこし、心に慈悲ふかく人をすすめて仏法に入ら しめ、みづからかたく戒をたもち行をつとむるを、まことの道心といふ。世を捨 て人とは此事也。御房の有様、何とやらん鼻の先うぞやき、身のふるまひも瓢金 さうに見ゆ。かまへて万事たしなみ給へ 71

Though Ukiyobō denies it, his conversion experience obviously falls into the former pattern rather than the latter, and this confession from the outside gives meaning to the first part of the text by tying it to the second. Ukiyobō’s specific experiences in the formless floating world bring him to a new understanding of society.

That it cannot fit

into an “authentic” Buddhist pattern of conversion is important unto itself.

The

Buddhist values rejected in the text’s introductory section are not brought back in the second half.

To the contrary, Buddhist values and characters are often mocked and

undercut in this part, while the hero, in his role as social critic, tries to order or make sense of the world using the ideals of the dominant martial-Confucian structures of the Tokugawa ideology. This overarching exemplum structure breaks down often.

Exempla narrate

story matter using a bare minimum of kernels (hinge events) with almost no satellites (supplementary events).

In the Ukiyo monogatari, however, there are several narratives

included in the text that neither advance the larger exemplum plot nor even involve the hero.

For instance, prior to the sections in which Ukiyobō is spending too much money

on games of chance and courtesans, there are wholly independent sections which present the historical origins of a card game and of the pleasure quarters.

Of far greater

importance, however, is the ending of the Ukiyo monogatari. Exemplum end with 71

Ukiyo monogatari, Kana-zōshi shū, Shinpen Nihon koten bungaku zenshū 64, Taniwaki Masachika, ed. (Tokyo: Shōgakkan, 1999), pp.151-152.

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complete closure: the problem present at the beginning is solved, and absolute adequacy and plentitude are restored.

There is no narrative future—the state of affairs at the end

of the text will continue on exactly as is—because there is nothing “narratable” remaining. 72

The Ukiyo monogatari has a finish that both is open-ended and would

seem to undercut the martial-Confucian worldview argued for over the second half of the text.

The breakdowns in the larger exemplum form might be traceable to a couple of

intra-textual elements.

The first possible contributing factor has to do with scale.

Exempla are extremely short narratives, and closure can be achieved with a minimum of post-transformation (or post-climax) narration, whereas the overarching plot of the Ukiyo monogatari plays out over a substantial number of pages, and episodes in which the reformed Ukiyobō is trying to rectify the world constitute the majority of the text’s discourse. Perhaps an increase in the length of the section in which the hero is a transgressive figure made an overly abrupt ending seem unable to control and contain the first part of the narrative, and this, in turn, helped to condition a disproportionate increase in the relative length of the part that comes after his conversion. The second can be connected with the fact that the overarching structure of the Ukiyo monogatari is not achieved by a radical increase in length of the discursive middle part of a single narrative

72

In his study of the modern European novel, D.A. Miller defines narratable: [T]he instances of disequilibrium, suspense, and general insufficiency from which a given narrative appears to arise. The term is meant to cover the various incitements to narrative, as well as the dynamic ensuing from such incitements, and it is thus opposed to the “nonnarratable” state of quiescence assumed by a novel before the beginning and supposedly recovered at the end. D.A. Miller, Narrative and Its Discontents (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), p.xi.

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unit, what Kermode calls the “peripeteia” between the initial problem and its final resolution, but by the arrangement of a series of narrative units—some of which are anecdotes (hanashi), but most of which are exempla (monogatari)—complete unto themselves.

A sign of this can be seen in the formula that begins each story in the Ukiyo

monogatari: ima wa mukashi, which is a juxtaposition of the Chinese character for “the present” with one for “the past.”

This formal unit is used in three genres of literary

narrative: courtly fiction that precedes the Genji monogatari, exempla collections from the twelfth century, and early modern anecdote compilations. In the latter two genres, each individual exempla or anecdote can start with the phrase, and the collections, never integrated into a narrative whole, bring together these individual narratives atomistically, at most linked to adjacent units by implication. Araki Hiroshi, in an article about the function of this phrase in a twelfth-century exempla collection, says: As for two [adjacently] recorded exempla, their narrators are different, and the time and space which are reflected in each differ. It could be said that the two are each separate narratives with independent stories and no crossover which are lined up but create different worlds. 73 In pre-eleventh-century courtly fiction, the formula could only appear at the very beginning of those texts that had integrated narrative structures. this is the Heichū monogatari, a text of the mid-tenth century.

The classic example of A modern annotated

edition of this narrative contains the following observation in an introduction written by Shimizu Yoshiko: The subsequent sections begin with “Again, this man…” (section two), “The same man…” (section three), “Again, this same man…” (section four). Thus, this differs from the method of the Ise monogatari in which each section is told as a 73

Araki Hiroshi, “Setsuwa no jikan to kūkan,” Setsuwa no kōza,vol.1 (Tokyo: Benseisha, 1991), p.150.

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new, separate story with the phrase “In the past, there was a man…” That the words “again”, “this” and “the same” were selected is a somewhat mechanical operation that repeats and drives home the fact that the various short and concluded stories are connected and involve the same protagonist as that dealt with in the first section. 74 As this type of literature evolved long-form plot structures, one of the first things to happen was that the ima wa mukashi formula was banished from all integrated sub-units. The building up of an overarching structure using basically autonomous, individual and discreet narratives had several deleterious effects on the larger exemplum structure. The inclusion of sections that seem outside the overarching plot becomes more possible because of the extreme weakness of the bonds between sections.

There is

also a distinct lack of flow to the text. This is apparent in the eight-section long conversion sequence. The series is set into motion by a story in which the hero laments the high price of rice and the greed that harms the people.

The merchants who are

forced to hear Ukiyobō’s long speech on the evils of profiteering look at his tearful presence and comment: “There are also many people in this world who are happy that the price of rice is high. How strange, those tears of the monk! because he wants some rice.” 75

This section, as has been noted by Donald Keene,

simply “peter[s] out into frivolity.” 76 steady nor uni-directional.

He’s probably crying

The movement towards conversion is neither

Instead, over eight separate narratives, Ukiyobō has multiple

74

Shimizu Yoshiko, Taketori monogatari Ise monogatari Yamato monogatari Heichū monogatari, Nihon bungaku zenshū 8 (Tokyo: Shōgakkan, 1972), pp.441-442. 75

Asai Ryōi, Ukiyo monogatari, Shin Nihon bungaku zenshū 64 (Tokyo: Shōgakkan, 1999), p.131.

76

Keene, World within Walls, p.158.

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revelations and (often un-narrated) regressions until his conversion finally takes hold, and he is hired into the baron’s residence.

The section in which Ukiyobō starts his

conversion is also instructive in that it shows the deformation which made it possible to link the various narrative units in the first place. The finality of the closure for each narrative unit is weakened by the inclusion of scenes in which didactic sermons or stories—many times exempla unto themselves—are judged, and often rejected, by characters in the story. This affects the ability of individual narratives to function in the larger exemplum structure unequally. It is well suited for first part of the text when the hero is an object worthy of criticism because his rejection of the commonsensical advice of others is typical of an exemplum hero during the period before his awakening.

In the

second part of the story, however, this development undermines the larger exemplum structure. When Ukiyobō’s sermons are openly rejected by his listeners or simply have no immediate and wide-ranging rectifying effect on the world, as was often the case in the extended post-conversion section, the ideals themselves are never called into question. However, the presence of both characters who mock these sermons as well as a world that is not easily corrected shows the possibility of these values being rejected or ineffective. In other words, there are characters present in these narratives not for the sole (inevitable) reason of being reformed.

Moreover, the martial-Confucian teachings are being rejected

or ignored by the selfsame samurai whose interests were being protected by these ideals. The gap separating world and worldview is exacerbated, and this makes the ending in which the hero flees from society more fitting. It is the incompatibility of the larger exemplum form and the individual

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narratives that make up the Ukiyo monogatari as a whole which makes it seem as if the text were tearing itself apart.

If that means that, as a long-form piece of fiction, the

Ukiyo monogatari was a “failure,” it must be remembered that the text sold well until the end of the seventeenth century.

One possible explanation for this commercial success is

that the text had hit upon one of the great symbolic problems of the early Edo period. Like Rokuami in the Tōkaidō meishoki, Ukiyobō is not a well-formed character who deforms plot types, but an actant, a vehicle for the realization of the plot, whose actions and views can change radically in different narrative contexts.

He does possess a few

core attributes, one of which is that he is of a status outside the norms of the four-class system and, therefore, has the freedom to move throughout society.

However, unlike the

itinerant priests and quack doctors who are the heroes of other picaresque narratives of the seventeenth century, Ukiyobō is the son of a disenfranchised samurai, a rōnin. Disenfranchised members of the military class, deprived of state income, often engaged in social unrest as well as out and out thuggery, and the central government instituted strong repressive measures to keep them in line. remained high.

Yet sympathy for the plight of rōnin

At the close of the first volume of the Kiyomizu monogatari, the

neophyte wonders: In the various provinces, there is a terrible injustice. There are those who speak of rōnin exclusion laws. What is the meaning of this? If they have fault, then they will be conducted in crime. If they are blameless people, why should one despise with all one’s heart their coming and going. Are rōnin not human? Samurai should be able to depend on other samurai. It is unfathomable. It is meanspirited! 諸国に賢きにて大やけならぬ事こそ候へ、浪人に出入法度といへる人あり。是は 何心にて候はんや。罪あらば罪にこそ行はらめ。罪なき人ならば如何したる心根 にて出入を嫌はれ候ぞ。浪人は人にては候はずや。侍の侍を頼むはあるべき事な

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り。えこそ心得られね。汚き心根にてもや候はん。 77

Tellingly, the wise instructor—whose very function in dialogue narratives is to provide acceptable answers—has no reply. The rōnin problem was an acute one because it lay at one of the weak points of the Tokugawa ideology.

Herman Ooms has shown that one

of the chief functions of this meaning-generating mechanism was to transform military men, who had been seen as little more than animals in the centuries of war preceding the rise of Ieyasu, into paragons of virtue, who were worthy of their position at the top of the social hierarchy. 78

Rōnin, a group that was simultaneously at the head of the four-class

system as well as excluded from it, posed a problem in Tokugawa society, a contradiction between ideals and reality.

The plight of these men made it apparent that chance, and

not simply innate virtue, determined placement in society. Thus, there is a fortuitous consonance between the cacophonous form of the Ukiyo monogatari and its content. The text engaged one of the most acute symbolic issues of the day and, unusually for a popular work, exposed it in a way that is only softened slightly by comic elements. In the Kōshoku ichidai otoko, on the other hand, problems are never intractable, and social contradictions are most often ignored or passed over.

Jeffrey Johnson, in an

article applying Bakhtinian literary theory to the oeuvre of Ihara Saikaku, has characterized the text as a playful one based on the logic of turnabout typical of haikai poetry. He exemplifies this with the second story of the seventh volume of the Kōshoku

77

Kiyomizu monogatari, Kana-zōshi shū, Shin Nihon koten bungaku taikei 74 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1991), p.165. 78

Herman Ooms, The Tokugawa Ideology (Princeton, New Jersey: The Princeton University Press, 1985), pp.18-62.

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ichidai otoko in which Yonosuke, the hero of the text, takes a group of male entertainers to a geisha house and instigates a contest of mock insults and travesties among three such establishments.

The competition draws so much attention from passersbys that business

owners try to distract the crowd by scattering money about, but this is ignored save by Buddhist priests and scavengers who come to gather the coins. Johnson analyzes this scene as follows: The pleasure quarter, that Tokugawa space where money reigned supreme and the sexual trade was a primary feature, has its hierarchy overturned in this scene. The entertainers center the crowd’s attention on visual and word play and as a result the attraction of money, normally the commanding force of the pleasure quarter, is suspended. The final stroke of reversal comes when, along with the street cleaners, the monks—those supposedly detached from the material world—scurry to pick up the money thrown by the owners of the teahouses (those who usually take in money). 79 This section could be read as an instance of the carnivalesque, but there are several problems with Johnson’s interpretation, including the fact that the monks who appear in the story are mendicants whose job was to collect money. This section is also absolutely atypical of the Kōshoku ichidai otoko. For the most part, transgressive characters meet with comeuppance for their actions within each story.

Thus, in the first half of the text,

which focuses on the life of Yonosuke, the hero is ridiculed when he, at age eight, tries to make advances to a maidservant in the service of his neighbor, has his face slashed when he tries to seduce a married woman, and so on.

This proclivity is even stronger in the

second half of the text in which the protagonists of individual stories are courtesans while Yonosuke is relegated to a supporting role. Courtesans or customers who violate the

79

Jeffrey Johnson, “Saikaku and the Narrative Turnabout,” Monumenta Nipponica 27:2 (Summmer, 2001), p.331.

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code of the pleasure quarters are almost always sanctioned. Even the story Johnson chooses for his analysis can be seen as an example of this socially centripetal force. As he himself notes, it begins with a character sketch of a courtesan named Kaoru who has too great an interest in clothing, and the distraction provided by a group of men “not even wearing loincloths” could be seen as an indirect rebuke of this offense. The individual sections that make up the Kōshoku ichidai otoko have structures similar to the tension and release narratives of the Ukiyo monogatari, though the relatively long length of each—five pages of text—means that there are occasions in which multiple stories are included in the same narrative unit and that there is a higher degree of digression than would have been normal for anecdotes or exempla.

The more

striking difference between the Ukiyo monogatari and the Kōshoku ichidai otoko lies in the way each integrates these individual short narratives. Gone from the Kōshoku ichidai otoko is the overarching exemplum structure.

In its place, there are tables of

contents at the beginning of each volume which list the title of each section and the age of Yonosuke at the time of its occurrence.

The Kōshoku ichidai otoko begins when the

hero, at seven years of age, makes his first attempt at seduction and ends when he, at the age of sixty, heads off for the Isle of Women with a boat laden with aphrodisiacs and sexual implements.

The device is not unproblematic.

At the start of the sixth volume

of the text, the linear progression that had existed since the start breaks, and there is an overlap of five years. The seventh volume then skips ahead six years. These “imperfections” have long drawn a good deal of scholarly interest with the two dominant theories being either that it was a simple mistake on the part of the author who wrote with

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more speed than accuracy or that it was done in order to mimic the doubled time structure of the Genji monogatari. Leaving aside its direct cause, its function is to bind together fifty-four disparate stories into the framework of a continuous narrative in such a way that the text’s temporal structure approaches the “floating world” sense of time forwarded in the opening section of the Ukiyo monogatari. This chronicity, which holds true only for the overarching narrative, not the individual units that make it up, is somewhat counterintuitive to modern eyes.

Saikaku

specialists, whose horizon of expectations is set by the bildungsroman, have often tried to force the Kōshoku ichidai otoko into a similar framework by stating that, over the first thirty-five episodes of the text, the protagonist is trained in the way of love. Yonosuke learns literally nothing about women or the world in general.

Yet

In the seventh

story of the second volume, Yonosuke remembers a pair of sisters who two years previous had entered into a love affair with him and were brought to ruin: Remembering the past when he lived with Wakasa and Wakamatsu in the passed year, he put on his hat of woven cypress. Now, after several days of travel, [he was at] the awesome peak of the two demons. His confessions [of his behavior] up to now made him ashamed of himself. Making his way through the rough terrain, [he realized] the afterlife was what was real, and [had his mind] on the way of the bodhisattva. On his way down he wondered if that was indeed the Bride Tea House. He returned to normal. Having absolutely no desire to live by the Nun River, he got on the road, rented a house in the southeast portion of Osaka famed for wisteria, and did such things as make earpicks out of whale barbells. Getting through even a single day was difficult. すぎし年、若狭若松と住みける昔をおもひ出、檜笠をかたぶけ、旅の日数の今は 後鬼前鬼の峰おそろしく、今までの懺悔物語、こころと心はづかしく、後世こそ まことなれ、菩提の道、岩のあらけなく踏み分けて、下向にここ娌が茶屋とかや、 又もとの水にかへりて、とても尼川すむべき心にあらねば、道かへて、難波の東 南、藤の棚かりて、鯨細工耳掻などして、一日暮しもはかたし。 80

80

Ihara Saikaku, Kōshoku ichidai otoko, Ihara Saikaku shū, vol.1, Nihon bungaku zenshū Michael J. Scanlon

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Experience means nearly nothing in world where time is merely successive. of no weight; it cannot guide the future in the least.

The past is

In the second half of the text, this

sense of purely successive time is challenged in each narrative unit. As has been noted by many scholars, these sections are basically narrative versions of courtesan critiques and, as such, serve to classify, something that would seem to require a diametrically opposed sense of time.

“Classification,” writes Franco Moretti, “is useful so long as

time does not alter it: by ordering given elements, it postulates their immobility.” 81

It

must be remembered that, though the end result in each of these narrative units is classification, it is an effect achieved dynamically through narrative, and time within these narratives is neither frozen nor simply successive. story of this second half.

This becomes clear in the first

Yonosuke has fallen in love with a courtesan of the highest

rank by the name of Yoshino and plans to marry her, but she is rejected by his family due to her profession.

Yoshino has Yonosuke invite his relatives to his home pretending that

he has broken the affair off and wants to effect a reconciliation with his family.

After

the group has had a little to drink, Yoshino appears in servant’s clothing: “I am a courtesan who lived in the Misuji-machi pleasure quarters by the name of Yoshino. Such esteemed company is too good for me. However, since I have been granted my leave and will return to my village, [here is] my farewell,” she said and sang the song about the single thread winding the past to the present. 私は三筋町にすみし吉野と申す遊女、かかるお座敷に出るはもつたいなく候へど も、今日後隙を下され里へ帰るお名残に、昔を今に一節をうたへば

Her song was that of Shizuka Gozen, a female entertainer and one of the two great loves 38, Teruoka Yasutaka and Higashi Akimasa, ed. (Tokyo: Shōgakkan, 1971), p.145. 81

Franco Moretti, “Homo Palpitans,” Signs Taken for Wonders (New York: Verso, 1997), p.111.

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of the doomed Minamoto no Yoshitsune, and it was sung in defiance of his murderous older brother and first military ruler of Japan, Yoritomo, after her beloved had made his escape from Mount Yoshino.

Thus, Yoshino’s profession is invested with a worthy past,

and she is allowed a future: the marriage is sanctioned by his family. But that is the end of things. Yoshino has no long-term effect on Yonosuke or the later sections of the Kōshoku ichidai otoko. She never appears as a character again in the text, and the only mention of her is in the final section when it is said that an underskirt of hers forms the sail on Yonosuke’s ship. text.

This holds true for all the prostitutes of the second half of the

Each and every one is nothing more than the flavor of the year. The ending, though similar in structure to that of the Ukiyo monogatari, has a

completely different function. If, in the earlier text, the move to a mythic land signified the disintegration of the overarching exemplum structure and the narrative world of the text, here it serves to continue the narrative in perpetuity, not by stabilizing the situation, but by promising that similar but different adventures will continue forever.

His parting

is also dated clearly. In the second to last line of the original text, his departure is stated to have occurred in the tenth month of 1682—the exact date of publication for the Kōshoku ichidai otoko. This makes the text similar to the chronicle, about which Hayden White says: The chronicle, by contrast [to the non-narrative annals form], often seems to wish to tell a story, aspires to narrativity, but typically fails to achieve it. More specifically, the chronicle usually is marked by a failure to achieve narrative closure. It does not conclude so much as simply terminate. It starts off to tell a story but breaks off in medias res, in the chronicler’s own present; it leaves things unresolved, or rather, it leaves them unresolved in a story-like way. 82 82

Hayden White, The Content of the Form (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Michael J. Scanlon

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According to White, a lack of closure undercuts the raison d’être of all extended narrative: If every fully realized story, however we define that familiar but conceptually elusive entity, is a kind of allegory, points to a moral, or endows events, whether real or imaginary, with a significance that they do not possess as a mere sequence, then it seems possible to conclude that every historical narrative has as its latent or manifest purpose the desire to moralize the events of which it treats. Where there is ambiguity or ambivalence regarding the status of the legal system, which is the form in which the subject encounters most immediately the social system in which he is enjoined to achieve a full humanity, the ground on which any closure of a story one might wish to tell about a past, whether it be a public or a private past, is lacking. And this suggests that narrativity, certainly in factual storytelling and probably in fictional storytelling as well, is immediately related to, if not a function of, the impulse to moralize reality, that is, to identify it with a the social system that is the source of any morality that we can imagine. 83 In many ways, White is correct. indeed make it an amoral text.

The chronicity of the Kōshoku ichidai otoko does Events happen more or less serially because they do, not

due to some higher pattern—something the authors and critics who rediscovered Saikaku’s work at the turn of the twentieth century called “realism.”

There is, however,

no reason to see the narrative of this text as being not fully realized. The Kōshoku ichidai otoko is a near perfect example of the narrative type upon which the Russian formalist notion of nanizyvanie (or “stringing together”) is based, for this is a text wherein the life or journey of a hero serves as a device that incorporates into a single framework a group of otherwise completely separate stories.

This form of

narrative holds a crucial place in the scheme of literary history forwarded by this group. After all, Don Quixote is said by one of the most famous of this theory’s practitioners to

Press, 1987), p.5. 83

Op. cit., p.14.

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199

On the topic of the evolution of the novel, Victor Shklovsky states:

The modern novel was preceded by the short story collection. I am stating this as a chronological fact, without necessarily implying a causal relationship between these genres. 84 This schema can probably be revised: thread narrative and long-form fiction are both forms of extended narrative, but they are not one and the same phenomenon; the first appearance of thread narrative pre-dates that of long-form fiction, though this chronology does not imply a causal relationship between the two.

Thread narrative evolves from

the pre-existing genre of short story collections by joining atomistic narrative units into a continuous narrative, but each of these is connected weakly to the overarching framework and remains recognizable as a separate and fairly separable unit.

Long-form fiction

develops as an overall plot structure takes on an integrating function.

Narrative units

become sub-units, subsumed into a hierarchy of major hinge events and minor supplementary ones that occur between the initial problem that starts the overall narrative and its final resolution (or meaningful irresolution) that ends it.

The Kōshoku ichidai

otoko has very little in the way of either extended narrative or even expandable framing devices. It is a succession of almost completely individualizible narratives connected with no real distinction between foreground and background, a series of beginnings and ends, ticks and tocks. Thus, it is perhaps not surprising that this text, despite its great popularity, was not the direct ancestor of early modern Japanese long-form fiction.

84

Viktor Shklovsky, Theory of Prose (Elmwood Park, Illinois: Dalkey Archive Press, 1990), p.65.

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Sons of the Man In the Tang period, there was a Han Tuizhi. In the Song, Shui Xi was born and corrected the mistakes of the former. Moreover, Zhu Xi appeared and assisted Shui Xi. Yangzhi came on the scene to rescue Zhu Xi. In a similar way, from the beginning of this year, in the capital, there has appeared an author called Miyako no Nishiki, and I think that he has correct knowledge of Japanese prose and is trying to assist Saikaku. Kyoto bookseller Genroku Taiheiki (1700) Miyako no Nishiki Thus far, this scholarly text has adapted a metaphor based on the theory of Darwinian evolution as reformulated by Stephen Jay Gould to structure an account of the literary narrative output of Japan’s early modern period. seeming problem with this.

There is, however, one

Gould, though he would later soften his stance to some

degree, directly warned against all such projects: I am convinced that comparisons between biological and cultural evolution and human or technological evolution have done vastly more harm than good—and examples abound of this most common of all intellectual traps. Biological evolution is a bad analogue for cultural change because the two systems are so different for three major reasons that could hardly be more fundamental. First, cultural evolution can be faster by orders of magnitude than biological change at its maximal Darwinian rate—and questions of timing are of the essence in evolutionary arguments. Second, cultural evolution is direct and Lamarckian in form: The achievements of the past are passed on by education and publication directly to descendents, thus producing the great potential speed of cultural change. Biological evolution is indirect and Darwinian, as favorable traits do not descend to the next generation unless, by good fortune, they arise as products of genetic change. Third, the basic typologies of biological and cultural change are completely different. Biological evolution is a system of constant divergence without subsequent joining of branches. Lineages, once distinct, are separate forever. In human history, transmission across lineages is, perhaps, the major source of cultural change. 85 85

Stephen Jay Gould, “The Panda’s Thumb of Technology,” Bully for Brontosaurus (New York: Norton, 1991), pp.63-65.

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Of these, the first and the third are basically undeniable, but this hardly undermines the possibility of using a Darwinian framework to orient a study of literary history. It must be kept in mind that, like all metaphors used in the human sciences, evolution is just that, a metaphor.

These two objections can be sidestepped simply by stating that biological

and cultural evolutions are similar but not identical and that evolutionary processes in culture are, on the whole, more complex.

In literary evolution, a single text may be the

result of crossover production from a large number of different texts, structures from separate genres are often combined, and grafts can be passed down to the next generation. Thus, literary evolution can occur more quickly because elements that could not be joined under normal circumstances in nature can in culture. 86

This does have an important

effect on the way in which the Darwinian model can be applied to literary history.

The

ease with which formal devices can move across generic lines would seem to undermine the idea that the individual formal device is (along with genre) one of the two main agents of evolution because a concept meant to organize would lead to chaos. 87

Instead,

86

Then again, for reasons that will be discussed in this section, the evolution of recombinant DNA technology does not mean that we live in a post-Darwinian age, so perhaps Gould’s first and third criticisms are, in fact, deniable.

87

Franco Moretti argues that genre and formal device should be seen as the two agents of literary evolution, most notably in an article about detective fiction and the clue entitled “The Slaughterhouse of Literature.” Yet the evidence presented would seem to show both that the genre developed out of a series of individual texts before the present, necessary, visible and decodable clue evolved as well as that it took some time before this particular version of the clue became the dominant formal feature of this type of narrative. In other words, the genre of detective fiction may have evolved for reasons that had nothing to do with the clue, and it provided the pre-existing environment in which the clue would develop. This seems to be the way of the world for all evolved phenomena. In the study of literary evolution, environments are the primary concern. Normally, environments chronologically predate structures. Moreover, even when the structure itself comes first, the structure only becomes functional with the development of an environment that Michael J. Scanlon

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this role is played by the text: texts beget texts, and these are organized into genres according to overall similarity of structure as well as temporal and spatial proximity. The fundamental mistakenness of the second of Gould’s admonitions, which is of greater consequence because Darwinian and Lamarckian models of evolution are absolutely incompatible, becomes clear when text is taken as a basic unit of analysis. Darwinian evolution is a dualist process wherein development occurs due to un-oriented variation as well as directed and directing selection; Lamarckian evolution is monistic process of directed variation in which structures advance according to a plan and can adjust to fit environments.

Thus, the efficiency of Lamarckian evolution would not be

restricted merely to matters of speed.

Since change is connected with functionality,

there would be no (or, at least, much fewer) “missteps.”

Even a cursory examination of

the archive shows that literary evolution occurs due to a system of trial and error, and failures are prevalent. 88

With the great sales of the Kōshoku ichidai otoko, the literary

environment changed to favor similar books, and authors and publishers began to put them out in greater numbers. However, what it was about the Kōshoku ichidai otoko that accounted for its popularity was unclear to all parties, including the man who wrote the text.

The next three pieces of narrative literature by Saikaku published over the

makes the structure advantageous. Franco Moretti, “The Slaughterhouse of Literature,” Modern Language Quarterly 61:1 (2000), pp.207-227. 88

I mention here only those published texts which failed to find a market. There are also probably innumerable cases of texts being selected against before ever making it to press. For instance, even though Saikaku was the most famous author of fiction in his day, he left behind enough non-published writings upon his death that several texts could be put together and published under his name posthumously.

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subsequent three years seem to break the Kōshoku ichidai otoko into its constituent parts on the levels of both content and form in order to find the secret of its success. In the fourth month of 1684, a second piece of prose fiction by Saikaku was brought to market. Known in its day as the Kōshoku nidai otoko (The Erotic Life of a Man, Second Generation 好色二代男), it has a much flatter prose style and, if direct connections can indeed be drawn between the two texts, is an expansion on the courtesan-centric type of stories collected in the second half of the Kōshoku ichidai otoko. However, in this case, there is no hero whose presence in each section could thread together the separate narratives.

Instead, it is a collection of short stories encompassed

by frame-narrative elements. 89

The abandoned son of Yonosuke appears in only the first

section (where he, making his way back from the pleasure quarters early one morning, runs into an aged woman who narrates each of the separate stories that follow) and the last (where he is reborn in the Buddhist Pure Land).

This text, which can be seen as a

narrative version of a courtesan critique, was also highly successful.

Originally

published by an Osaka house, it, too, went through several editions, including ones from 89

It should be noted that frame-narrative elements also exist in trace amounts in the Kōshoku ichidai otoko. The introductory section of the Kōshoku ichidai otoko ends: He was, of his own accord, tormented by love. It is known from his notebook that, by the age of fifty-four, he fooled around with three thousand seven hundred forty-two women and dallied with seven hundred twenty-five boys. From the time of his minority according to the well ledge until now, when his vital fluids have dried up—what a life he led! こころと恋に責められ、五十四歳までたはぶれし女三千七百四十二人、少人のもて あそび七百二十五人、手日記にしる。井筒によりてうなゐごより己方、賢水をかへ ほして、さても命ある物か。

Thus, Yonosuke’s story is being narrated retrospectively. Ihara Saikaku, Kōshoku ichidai otoko, Ihara Saikaku shū, vol.1 (Tokyo: Shōgakkan, 1971), p.103.

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204

The next of Saikaku’s narrative texts to be published was a short story

collection on a supernatural theme but with no framing or threading devices.

All

evidence seems to indicate that it was a commercial failure: an entry for it appeared in only one booksellers’ catalogue; relatively few books of this title were passed down to the modern period; no indications of any supplementary editions being put to market can be found.

His next work of fiction text met a similar fate.

The Wankyū issei no

monogatari, borrowing a plot from the kabuki theater, is a piece of fairly well-integrated long-form fiction that relates the story of a rich merchant who loses his fortune, his sanity, and eventually his life due to his obsession with the pleasure quarters.

This sold in such

small numbers that only a single copy of it survived into the twentieth century, and this was lost in the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923. Literary development is unmistakably a Darwinian process, not a Lamarckian one.

Yet that such an obvious mistake could be made is itself an issue that must be

addressed. The error lies in an overestimation of human agency in cultural development. In literary studies, this human agent is the author, and author and oeuvre have long been the most common way of organizing literary studies.

An egregious example of this

tendency can be found in Mori Senzō’s radical re-estimation of Ihara Saikaku’s output of prose texts: One: The [fiction] created by Saikaku is no more than a single book, the Kōshoku ichidai otoko. I fearlessly assert this one fact. Two: Nevertheless, scholars who are called scholars toe the party line and consider Saikaku to have written every single one of various works, including the Ichidai onna, the Gonin onna, and the Eitai-gura. Before mouthing the received explanation, look at the xylographic editions of the Ichidai onna, the Gonin onna, and the Eitai-gura! Isn’t it true that Saikaku’s name is nowhere to be found? How do you gentlemen account for this fact? If there is no proof positive that these are

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the work of Saikaku, how is it that they became the work of Saikaku? In what way is it proven that the Ichidai onna and the rest are the works of Saikaku? If you think it has been proven, I would like ever so much if you could show me how. Three: Saikaku was a haikai poet. He was not established to be a fiction writer. It is a mistake to call Saikaku a fiction writer for ridiculously arbitrary reasons. The Kōshoku ichidai otoko was not a novel. It was probably a unique haikai-esque work. To call it haikai prose would cause no harm. 90 Saikaku was a haikai poet; therefore, he could only write haikai-esque prose.

This

theory never became accepted opinion, but even the ways in which it is criticized show the continued importance placed on the figure of the author. Noda Hisao writes of the differences in prose style between the Kōshoku ichidai otoko and the Kōshoku nidai otoko: Style is not necessarily something fixed for an author. Authors typically try out different things. Should one be speaking of Saikaku, it would be difficult to say that only the style of his maiden work, the Kōshoku ichidai otoko, is his absolute style. 91 The main thrust of nearly all scholarship on early modern Japanese literary texts is an attempt to reconstruct the will and consciousness plans of the author, to try to elucidate what the author was trying to write or the text was supposed to accomplish. Thus, careers have been made excavating biographical information concerning famous authors that can be used to examine texts from his oeuvre, while prefaces and postscripts, which are supposed to give nearly direct insight into the authorial mind, are the privileged instruments for textual analysis. 92 90

Mori Senzō, “Watashi no Saikaku kenkyū no kore made,” Saikaku-bon sōkō (Tokyo: Tokyo Bijutsu, 1971).

91

Noda Hisao, Nihon kinsei shōsetsu shi, Ihara Saikaku hen (Tokyo: Benseisha, 1990), p.30. 92

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This is not to say that these scholars have no concept of the limits of authorial freedom.

The deforming power of genre has long been obvious.

A good example of

this awareness can be found in a recent analysis of the well-known Kōshoku sandai otoko (The Erotic Life of a Man, Third Generation, 1686), a literary text which was written and published by Nishimura Ichiruemon, an author-publisher that the Genroku Taiheiki calls “an adept of erotic compositions… [who] took up his brush in order erase Saikaku.” 93 The Kōshoku sandai otoko is made up of thirty-two completely separate short narratives about erotic love, which are framed by a longish introduction that, after alluding to the erotic adventures of one Yumenosuke from his thirteenth year to his thirtieth, ends with him finding his way to the hut of an ascetic. Thereupon, this otherworldly monk, before removing the sliding paper walls of his domicile to reveal the stories that Yumenosuke records to form the body of the work, addresses the would-be playboy: That man of the first generation and the one of the second generation, all that they were familiar with over their many years was merely the pleasure quarters. For makeshift passion, they throw away their fortunes and pay no heed to the warnings of their parents or society’s censure. They know nothing of the existence of true love. You, the man of the third generation, there is no way that you will not learn of this way. Come here! Take my hand and enter this room. When I remove the paper screens on the south, east and west, an abundance of erotic wonders will appear before your eyes. Take them to heart. Afterwards, you should pull them out and, entrusting your writing brush, write them down as ima wa mukashi (“the present; the past”) narratives. 多年世に一代男二代男とよばれしも皆傾城にのみなづみて、方便の情に身体をう

this theory. However, according to the logic of literary evolution, to analyze a literary text by means of its preface is putting the cart in front of the horse. Both the preface and the literary text must be put into the context of their given (and separate) genres. Once the deviations from the norm for each are established, the text can be used to explain the preface. 93

Miyako no Nishiki, Genroku Taiheiki, p.97.

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ち、親のいさめ、世のそしりをも不顧、是外に未真実の恋ある事を不知。今汝三 代男といはれて此道を不知は有べからず。いざこなたへと。手を引て一間に入。 東西南の障子を開は諸国の好色目の前に顕然此ふしぎさも余りありて。のへ紙を 取出し今むかしの物かたり筆に任せて書きとどむ 94

Yet the familiar figures of the erotic book genre—prostitutes and kabuki actors—find their way into a good deal of the stories that follow.

“Despite the establishment at the

start that the Kōshoku sandai otoko would deal with eros outside the pleasure quarters,” writes Nakajima Takashi, “[stories related to famous courtesans were brought in] through the writer’s position which was trying to include in his work what could be called the contemporary issues and the context of the courtesan critiques.” 95

Thus, even at a time

in which the force of genre would seem at its strongest, the author (and his conscious plans) remains at the center of literary evaluation. Though this is a perfectly acceptable and established approach to the study of literature, in literary evolution, plans are a problem, and to pay attention to them is to partake in a creationist fallacy.

In biological evolution, scientists and farmers who

conduct genetic engineering are not gods, nor are they often mistaken for them.

This is

not simply because, as Doctor Frankenstein found out, planned function and actual function can diverge. Rather, the unit of analysis—the organism—makes it readily apparent that the plan is a matter of selection, not one of creation.

Organisms differing

from the previous generation in such a way that fits the extremely finite environment of the laboratory survive into the next generation; those that do not, do not. Scholars who 94

Kōshoku sandai otoko, Nishimura-bon shōsetsu zenshū, vol.1 (Tokyo: Benseisha, 1984), p.361. 95

Nakajima Takashi, “Nishimura-bon no Saikaku mohō,” Shoki Ukiyo-zōshi no tenkai (Tokyo: Wakagusa Shobō, 1996), p.208.

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focus on the objects of culture have a more difficult time with this concept.

Geoffrey

Winthrop-Young criticizes Moretti’s use of the history of automobile design to illustrate cultural evolution as follows: It appears that following “an early period of experimentation, automobile design stabilized by 1902 and did not change radically until 1959.” Just as there have been only two breakthroughs for the modern novel, there have only been two basic car designs: the rest is variation of a basic pattern. Critics no less than car salesmen have obscured this “ubiquity of imitation” by constantly flaunting the alleged uniqueness of their models. However, what Moretti does not mention is that both innovations in automobile technology—the front-ended rear drive système Panhard first developed in 1891 and later modified, and the Issigonis/Christie design featuring a transversely mounted front engine—were the result of meticulous planning that took into account specific geographic, climatic, social, and financial conditions and were often geared toward particular adoption environments. The longevity of these models… appears to be the result of highly conscious, premeditated adaptation. 96 This meticulous planning, however, was done on the part of the design engineer, not the design, and designs simply do not evolve in a steady, linear manner. Engineers proceed by the same trial and error approach authors do because car designs—like literary narrative—evolve according to a Darwinian logic.

Thus, the two agents of literary

evolution are text and genre, not author. On the other hand, to simply dismiss the author entirely is not the answer.

Not only has biographical criticism proved itself to be a

useful tool for textual analysis, but those approaches to literature that deny any role to the author suffer from nearly the same problem as those that overvalue it.

Note Suzuki

Toshiya’s discussion of the origins of the Kōshoku ichidai otoko: When you look at the many various writings appearing about the atmosphere of the pleasure quarters that are concerned with so-called stories of dandyism, detailed articles on erotic customs, as well as love letter guides such as these, the distance from erotic books (kōshoku-bon) is but a single step. The foundation had 96

Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, “How The Mule Got Its Tale: Moretti's Darwinian Bricolage,” Diacritics 29:2 (1997), p.38.

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already been laid. The materials had already been prepared. The move into the domain of literature required no more effort than the raising of a hand. The atmosphere of the time and the proclivities of the reading world both in the end took Saikaku and had him win the name of the founder of [the genre of fiction known as] ukiyo-zōshi. 97 The ascription of evolution to the form-generating inner drives related directly to history—this is Lamarckianism. Like all forms of structuralism, Lamarckianism is based on the naïve notion that the world is fully logical, rational and, therefore, knowable. According to Darwinian theory, evolution occurs in specific places and, therefore, specific environments.

Fitness to this restricted environment determines

initial survival, while fitness to wider environments determines large-scale success. In literary evolution, texts beget texts, and generic success is determined by fit to larger historical and ideological circumstances, but it is the author that represents the earliest and most restricted environment where evolution can occur. The author’s most important function lies in being the repository of the texts out of which new texts can emerge, though, of course, an author can be constituted by a single person or a group, and texts may be of artistic or everyday genres, gathered actively or passively, directly or indirectly. Life experience, attitudes, interests and passions can have what could be called a climatological effect that can transform, distort, and variously modify texts. However, the ability of authors to deform texts is not consistent.

During the long

periods of normal literature, the specific social position, tastes, and personal experiences of individual authors are of little matter. At these times, texts within a genre are

97

Suzuki Toshiya, Kinsei Nihon shōsetsu shi (Tokyo: Meguro Shoten, 1922), p.233.

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produced with a fairly stable array of “various characteristic signs, figures, relationships, and structures.” 98

Those that deviate too greatly from these norms are selected against.

In episodic periods of rapid change, when the pressures of selection are weakened due to catastrophes either internal or external to the domain of literature, however, the particularized experience of an author does matter. 99 The fact that Asai Ryōi (d.1691), the author of the Ukiyo monogatari, was himself a disenfranchised samurai can be used according to Darwinian logic to help explain the text’s extraordinary ending. As in car design, literary composition is a process not of creating something new out of whole cloth, but of selecting among an array of fairly set possibilities and putting them together. As a text is being constructed, fitness is in very real ways related to the personhood of the man writing the text. The most typical endings of biographical narratives—victory, rebirth in the Buddhist Pure Land, or defeat—were largely unfit to the author Asai Ryōi, a man who spent most of his adult life trying to find a position that would restore his status as a full-fledged samurai. Complete victory would resolve all issues; rebirth in the Buddhist Pure Land would have simply transcended all mundane issues; utter defeat (and usually death) would cut off all hope of a possible improvement in the situation. The escape to the land of the Daoist immortals functions as a rebuke of contemporary society that also allows for the 98

Michel Foucault, “What is an Author?” Language, Counter-Memory, Practice (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977), p.133. 99

It is probably for this reason that biographical criticism works much better for “masterpieces” than it does for “hackwork.” After all, at times of strong genre, authors of radically backgrounds are writing similar texts, and this is something which would seem to undermine the very structure of causality that orients biography-based literary history.

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possibility of a return should there be a renaissance of the samurai ideal. The commercial success of the Ukiyo monogatari in the greater environment cannot be traced directly back to the conditions of this most narrow of environments. In many ways, the text’s initial widespread success probably had more to due with the lack of competition than with the specific way in which the Ukiyo monogatari dealt with the rōnin issue. Within a half-century or so, new long-form genres of narrative, which engaged the rōnin problem and resolved it, had developed, and the Ukiyo monogatari would survive only in a dwindling population at the edges of the domain of literature. The specific experience of Ihara Saikaku can also be used to shed some light on the Kōshoku ichidai otoko. Saikaku was a famous haikai poet, and the distinctive haikai-inflected prose about which Nakamura Yukihiko and Donald Keene wrote was important to some of its early readers. The preface to the Kōshoku jūninin otoko (The Erotic Lives of Twelve Men 好色十二人男), written by man who studied poetry under Saikaku, states: My haikai mentor, the priest Saikaku, took his leave from a backlog of grading. Despite the cold of the black window of night, with his inkstone pillow, he wrote various erotic wares that were charming and interesting, moving and commendable, committed to a constantly changing prose style. These were compiled into a book, and it is famous. 予が俳の師難波俳林西鶴法師は。溜点の隙をうかがひ。考墨の窓の夜さむにも。 硯枕に好色の品々を面白く可笑。哀に又殊勝に。千変万化の文を尽し。書に綴て 其名高し。 100

Yet it is important not to overvalue this biographical factor as it relates to the origins of the Kōshoku ichidai otoko or ascribe to it a categorical functionality.

100

As a haikai master,

Shaiken, Kōshoku jūninin otoko, Koten bunko 214 (Tokyo: Koten bunko, 1965), p.5.

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Saikaku was able to write the text, but that does not mean that he had to write it or that he was the only one capable of producing such a style. Saikaku wrote several later prose texts using a flatter style, and he was certainly not the first haikai poet to publish a prose literary text. In fact, the extreme success this type of poetry was enjoying during the second half of the seventeenth century all but assured that every author of newly published fiction texts was also a haikai poet. Instead, Saikaku’s biography matters because his specific life experience probably played a role in the route the text took as it moved from the most circumscribed environment of the author to the widest, that of the greater reading public. By the 1670s, Ihara Saikaku the heir apparent to the leadership of the Osaka-based Danrin school of haikai poetry, which was the most powerful haikai institution of the time and was growing in size and vigor over the second half of the seventeenth century. In haikai schools, communication between master and disciple had originally been direct and personalized. Superiors would attend poetic banquets or grade haikai sequences sent to them in letters. With the change in institutional scale came a growing role for the printed book in producing and reproducing bonds between inferior and superior as well as in improving one’s position within the ranks of the school. Saikaku was one of the pioneers in this movement.

The first book printed solely in

Osaka was a collection of ten thousand verses by one hundred sixty authors that commemorated a twelve-day haikai festival headed by Saikaku and held at the Ikutama Shrine in Osaka in 1673, and it is more than likely that the book functioned as a memento of the occasion rather than as a conveyor of a text to be read. By the 1682 publishing of

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the Kōshoku ichidai otoko, Saikaku had been the author or compiler of seven haikai texts. These poetry books circulated in a way that differed from fiction texts. In a letter from the third month of 1679 to one of his poetic associates, Chisoku, Saikaku wrote: I issued as a book a recent compilation that I put together. I am sending two copies. If you think you can use them, they are one monme two bun each. If they are not necessary, send them back here again. It will not be a problem. As for the various things I print, I will send them in other letters. 私すき申候近年之付合、板行申候。二冊遺申候。是ニ而おぼしめしあはされ可被遊 候。壱札ニ付一匁弍分づつ。入不申候はば、重て此方へ可被下候。くるしからず候。 いろいろ板行申候。たよりニ又々遺し可申上候。 101

Chisoku thereupon tried to sell these himself, something made clear in a letter he received from Tōyō, a haikai advisor of his mother and sister. It is so very regrettable that you returned early on that rare occasion of your mother and sister’s visit here. However, you were kind enough to have them take two copies of a thousand-verse sequence of Saikaku of Osaka as well as one copy of a compilation of his… For now, I will hold on to them, so I can send them if there should be somebody who wants to procure them. 御袋様御内方様久々ニて御越被遊候所、早々御帰残念之至奉存候。然れば、大坂 西鶴千句二冊、付合一冊為御持被下候。… 先留置申候。取申候衆御座候はば、遺 し可申候。 102

Some scholars believe that an underwriting system developed in which authors of haikai texts undertook the costs of printing, and haikai books were reproduced not by publishers (who make money on the manufacture of a commodity) but by commercial printers (who make money on the service of printing). 103

101

Even if that is not the case, Nakajima

“Shotan,” Saikaku jiten (Tokyo: Ōfūsha, 1995), p.332.

102

Quoted in Nakajima Takashi, Saikaku to Genroku media, NHK Books 718 (Tokyo: Nihon Hōsō Shuppankai, 1994), p.108.

103

Nakano Mitsutoshi, Edo no hanpon (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1995), pp.199-201.

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Takashi points out that haikai books certainly circulated within these coteries.104

This

helped to almost guarantee a certain number of sales, and that helped to defray the negative pressures associated with early xylographic commercial printing which had been selecting strongly against formally innovative texts.

With both its text and illustrations

in the hand of Ihara Saikaku, the Kōshoku ichidai otoko was very clearly associated with its author, and it is likely that the text was first printed as a book to be sold or distributed to Saikaku’s haikai associates rather than published as a revolutionary prose work to be put out on the open market.

In fact, in many ways, its qualities as a book took

precedence over those of it as a text of literary narrative, for each and every one of its fifty-four stories consists of five pages of text followed by a full-page illustration, and it seems likely that individual stories were elongated or shrunk to fit the space requirements. If the Kōshoku ichidai otoko was able to make it to the open market because it happened to be a haikai-esque text associated with a famous poet, its function in the wider literary environment was quite different, and the genre sharply diverged from its progenitor. 105

104

Nakajima Takashi, Saikaku to Genroku media, p.109.

105

It will be noted that I will continue to use the very concept of an author-based oeuvre that I argue against here when referring to scholarly texts throughout this work. This is not because I feel that “academic authors” are any different from “artistic authors.” We are all just negative pressure, and the protagonists of evolution for all types of writing are genre and text. However, though I tried to apply this logic when referring to academic writing, my prose became too stilted and strange-sounding to survive even the incredibly pro-Darwinian restricted environment that is me. What can I say? The metaphor is evolution, not alchemy! If the theory argued for in this text finds success, perhaps texts written by later scholars will be able to adjust this.

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The Woman Along about the Jōkyō [1684-1688] and Genroku [1688-1704] eras, there was a townsman named Hirayama Tōgo in Osaka of Settsu Province. He was well off, but his wife died early, and his only child, a blind daughter, also passed away. He turned over his business to a clerk and lived a life of freedom, though he never took the tonsure. With a wallet slung over his neck like a pilgrim, he would wander about the country for half a year, then return home. He was extremely fond of haikai comic verse and studied under Isshō [1643-1707]. Later, he founded his own school. He changed his name to Saikaku and wrote such books as the Eitai-gura, the Nishi no umi, and the Sejō shimin hinagata. He was someone who—afflicted by the world’s good and bad fortune, regret and hesitation, sickness and troubles—knew their flavor well, someone who had a natural understanding of human feelings (ninjō). Moreover, he had a way of life that cannot even be seen in Daoism. Kenbun dansō Itō Baiu (1683-1745) “A very, very long and uninteresting narrative,” wrote an unknown reader on the pastedown at the front of the sixth volume of a copy of the Kōshoku ichidai otoko that was once owned by a lending library and bears much fewer marks of wear and tear than those of more recently produced pieces of commercial fiction held in the same collection. 106

It was fairly common for readers to write in the books they rented or

bought, and an examination of this body of writing might yield insights into the reading practices of the early modern period.

However, reading is a very idiosyncratic activity,

and any attempt to draw specific conclusions about the reading habits of this particular 106

Nagatomo Chiyoji, Kinsei no kashihon’ya no kenkyū (Tokyo: Tōkyōdō Shuppan, 2001), pp.117-118.

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reader based solely on this comment would be dangerously conjectural, especially in light of the fact that the note could have been jotted down at any point from the time of the book’s first publication in the 1680s until it appeared in the Waseda University library holdings at the turn of the twentieth century. Yet the specifics of the graffito beg at least an attempt at explanation, one that goes beyond simply seeing this as a reflection of the fact that Saikaku’s “masterwork” lost its popular audience fairly quickly after publication. This might best be achieved by placing it in the context of the text’s genre and the book’s social space. The Kōshoku ichidai otoko, though it was very popular in itself and spawned a good deal of imitators, did not set the range of typical signs, figures, relations and structures that help characterize the genre of erotic books.

Instead, texts with more

graphic pictures and lurid text put out by the Nishimura publishing house of Kyoto came to dominate.

The shogunate would ban the publication of these books in the early

eighteenth century, but the association of kōshoku with pornography remained.

The

specific book into which the note was written was part of the collection of a commercial library located in Kinosaki, a famous hot spring town to the west of Osaka. Resorts like this were zones of sensual pleasure, areas with a thriving sex trade, and lending libraries were institutions that often traded in illicit books.

Thus, perhaps the most likely

scenario is that the reader, frustrated by the relative tameness of the Kōshoku ichidai otoko, grew angry enough that brush was taken to paper. That the Kōshoku ichidai otoko did not set the generic path is a matter of some importance.

It is evidence that the text was part of the burst of formal diversification

that occurs during a moment of great change rather than a work that helped usher in a

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new era of stability. If this in some ways undermines the degree of evolutionary success typically attributed to the Kōshoku ichidai otoko, it must also be remembered that the text was also extraordinarily hearty in certain ways. Though popular culture soon passed it by, it retained an elite audience for large portions of the early modern and modern periods. 107

Moreover, a number of texts arose from the same area of the evolutionary

bush soon after its publication.

Some of these were highly successful in their time, and

the number includes one that may have been even more enduring than the Kōshoku ichidai otoko itself. This text is the Kōshoku ichidai onna (The Erotic Life of a Woman 好色一代女), which was published as a six-volume book in 1686 by the Ikeda-ya

publishing house of Osaka.

The text is a confessional narrative which combines

elements of both a short story collection and a thread narrative.

The body of the

Kōshoku ichidai onna is comprised of more or less separate and separable short narrative units lined up chronologically to form the life story of the woman who is the text’s protagonist.

These are contained in a double framework.

The primary narrator is the

protagonist, and the scene of her narration is depicted in the opening and closing units of the text.

However, the text also includes a witness who appears only at the very

beginning of the text whose function is to record the woman’s story in the form of the

107

In literature, “failed” hopeful monsters—texts quite different in form than those that they follow and precede—occasionally enjoy a kinder fate than would be the case for their biological equivalents in that some of these become “classics” read and advocated by elite audiences. Since this version of literary evolution eschews matters of aesthetic worth, it is hard to account for the hardiness of these texts, and I shall not forward any undeveloped explanation here. This is not to say that the neo-Darwinian approach could not fruitfully be applied to matters of literary canonization; it is simply that a single study can only do so much, and I would prefer to concentrate on literary production.

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Kōshoku ichidai onna. The existence of this seemingly redundant narrator greatly complicates the relationship between narrative and time in the text. In regard to the typical relation between the two in the confessional form, Munemasa Isoo states: The “confession” form is when the narrator tells of his or her past to the addressee of the work. Therefore, the narrator is the same character as the protagonist of the work. In this case, it is inconceivable that a reporter as a third person could come between the addressee and the protagonist. This fact is self-evident. Further, if the addressee does not remain outside the narrative looking in on the protagonist, but at a single time places himself on the same position as the narrator, then he can live that narrative as the protagonist. To say that the addressee lives the narrative as the protagonist is the same as saying that the addressee passes the same time as the protagonist. 108 The appearance of the final narrator largely prevents the reader of the text from identifying with the addressees within the text, and this accentuates the tripled time structure of the narrative. There are three diegetic times in the text: the seventy or so years of the woman’s life, the several hours of her narration of it in her hut, and the few hours of the reporting of her narrative in an undisclosed time and place by the eavesdropping final narrator.

In comparison with a direct confession, the story of the

woman’s life is doubly contained, and the time of the Kōshoku ichidai onna is truncated and flattened. The present in which the life’s story is told becomes of greater importance than it would have been otherwise, and the story of the life, which would ordinarily serve as link between present and past, is deemphasized. A problemitization of time and its passage lies at the heart of the Kōshoku ichidai onna.

According to an interpretation forwarded by Taniwaki Masachika, this is

prepared for in the very request that elicits the woman’s tale. The recording narrator, 108

Munemasa Isoo, “Kōshoku ichidai onna no kōzō,” Saikaku no kenkyū (Tokyo: Miraishi, 1962), p.7.

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who is intrigued by the laments about love voiced by two men he runs into during a festival in an area just west of the imperial capital, follows them to a small hermitage with which the two are familiar and surreptitiously listens as an old woman greets them and asks the reason for their visit: “He suffers from love, and I am steeped in longing. We have never been able to sort out the many types of love. Having heard from someone that you know of this way, we have come here. Please tell of your past as if it were now (imayō),” said [one of the young men] as he poured [some sake] into a cup and vehemently pressed it on her. The old lady gradually grew distracted. For awhile, she strummed upon the koto she always fiddled with and sang a love song. Then, taken in by the mood, she told—as if dreaming—of her entire life's wantonness and various escapades. 「それは恋に責められ、これはおもひに染み、いまだ諸色のかぎりをわきまへが たし。ある人伝へてこの道にきたるなれば、身の上の昔を今様に語り給へ」と、 竹葉の一滴を玉なす金盃に移し、是非の断りなしに進めけるに、老女いつとなく 乱れて、常弄びし糸筋ならして、恋慕の詩をうたへる事しばらくなり。そのあま 109 りに一代の身のいたづら、さまざまになりかはりし事ども夢のごとくに語る。

It is a strange request, for the story of an entire life (ichidai)—something which must develop over time—is asked to be recounted without any time passing. Taniwaki’s theory has not come into universal acceptance, and there are those scholars who use inter-textual materials that show the word imayō can mean in a fashionable or non-didactic manner. 110 reading.

Intra-textual evidence, however, seems to bear out Taniwaki’s

The woman around whom the text revolves is highly resistant to change

wrought by time.

Her personality was set at birth.

Before she was ten, she started to

have erotic impulses, and as a woman of around seventy years she lives in a hut named 109

Ihara Saikaku, Kōshoku ichidai onna, Ihara Saikaku-shū, Nihon koten bungaku zenshū, vol.38, Teruoka Yasutaka and Higashi Akimasa, eds. (Tokyo: Shōgakukan, 1971) p.432.

110

Nakajima Takashi, “Ichidai onna no jojutsu no kōzō,” Kinsei ukiyo-zōshi no tenkai (Tokyo: Wakagusa Shobō, 1996), pp.101-102.

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“The Hermitage of Eros” (kōshoku-an).

This is not to say that she is completely

immune to the passage of time. As she grows older, she is forced to take less and less desirable jobs at lower and lower pay and, in the penultimate chapter, can no longer attract a man.

However, in the first section, when she appears as a character

incorporated into the narrative of the eyewitness rather than as one populating the confession that she narrates, the woman is said to be old, but well-dressed and “not ugly” 111 —a description that belies the image she projects of herself in the last part of her account. In addition, as the protagonist in her narrative, the woman has an ability to contest or even reverse time.

In the third story of the sixth volume, Yahotsu no

tsukegoe, the narrator recollects that “though the years I had passed were already sixty-five, people would say, ‘You seem a bit over forty.’ Such is the benefit of being a fine-skinned and small-framed woman.” 112

Likewise, in the second section of the

second volume, the woman is employed in the brothels of Osaka, but the next section, Seken-dera no daikoku (The Wife at Worldly Temple), begins: I, as one who reopens the sleeves that had been closed and returns to the figure of old, can be said to be a female Tieguai. This is the benefits of being born with a small build. 脇ふさぎを又明けて、むかしの姿にはへるは、女鉄拐といはれしは、小作りなる うまれつきの徳なり。 113

Sleeves were closed after a girl had reached her majority, and Tieguai was a Daoist magician capable of emitting an image of his younger self from his mouth. Thus, the 111

Kōshoku ichidai onna, Nihon bungaku zenshū 38, p.431.

112

Op. cit., p.570.

113

Op. cit., p.473.

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woman is able to leave behind her life as a prostitute, go back to her hometown, return to virginity, and become a fit wife for the head of a Buddhist temple. The general lack of successiveness in time in the Kōshoku ichidai onna is diametrically opposed to the time structure that can be found in the Kōshoku ichidai otoko.

Since the woman’s story is told in the continual present, it is impossible for her

to dress fashionably, for fashion is simply the state of being in style at a given moment. It needs a time that flows: what is fashionable can only be fashionable if were not always so and will not continue to be so indefinitely. Though the hairstyles and clothing of the protagonist described in each chapter refer to extra-textual fashions, they within the world of text always serve to denote her status.

Thus, at any given time her outfit “inexorably

assigns a place, an age, a job, a condition from which the individual cannot extricate [herself] even physically. It pins down, it betrays, it boxes in.

It engenders a

classification; or rather it indicates that…the principle of classification is valid. Again, this principle is fixed in time: it predicts and prescribes the immutability of everything that falls under its jurisdiction.” 114

The protagonist is forced to take on the costume

proper to each and every profession she enters throughout the text.

The woman herself

states this clearly in the Chōnin koshimoto chapter: Though I hated belts that tie in the back, I changed to fit the various conventions of my roles. Thus, I made a sash of yellow, red, and brown in a mid-sized zigzag pattern and tied my medium-sized shimada-style hair with disposable paper chords…

114

Franco Moretti, “Homo palpitans,” Signs Taken for Wonders (New York: Verso Press, 1983), p. 113.

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我、後帯は嫌ひなれども、それぞれの風儀に替へて、黄唐茶に、刻み稲妻の中形、 115 身せばに仕立て、平髷の中島田に掛捨の元結…

Moreover, the heroine, though recognizing the existence of fashion in the wider world, has little tolerance for those who dress in a way that does not fit their station in life—in other words, those who dress fashionably. [Hair styles] change with the times. The hyōgo style is dated, and the five-level one is unsightly. In the past, they used to say that propriety in all things was the hallmark of a wife. Recently, men’s wives are no longer mild, they change their appearance to that of a prostitute or a kabuki actor. Their sleeves are wide as they say men’s are… 116 その時にかはり、兵庫髷ふるし、五段髷も見にくし、むかしは律義千万なるを人 の女房気質と申し侍りき。近年は人の嫁子もおとなしからずして、遊女、かぶき 者のなりさまを移し、男のすなる袖口ひろく…

This, of course, stands in complete contrast to Yonosuke whose attire in the section corresponding to his sixteenth year is described as follows: In the outrage that the blossoms fall from even the famous trees at Oshio Mountain, a single year is begrudged. At that time, a wrestling style and sword brandishing technique of a dandy by the name of Kenbō was in fashion. Another trend of the time was to shave closely the hair at one’s temples, have two paper cords for one’s topknot, and grow a mustache. Sleeves were tight and about nine inches; sashes were multiple and brightly colored; and long sword scabbards were sharkskin. All men worthy of being called a man were like this, having the appearance of a person who lived in a castle. Compared to the present [style], that of the past is thrown away. 小塩山の名木も落花狼藉、今一しほと惜しまるる。けんぼふといふ男達、その頃 は捕り手、居合はやりて、世の風俗も糸鬢にしてくりさげ、二すぢ懸けの元結、 上髭のこして、袖下九寸にたらず、染分の組帯、せかいらげの長脇指、ここぞと おもふ人大方はこれ、王城に住む人の有様、今にみくらべてむかしを捨つるぞか し。 117

115

Op. cit., p. 488.

116

Op. cit., p. 504.

117

Kōshoku ichidai otoko, Nihon bungaku zenshū 38, pp.131-132.

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Swords—the ultimate distinguishing mark of the samurai—are not a status symbol, but a sign of stylishness.

A world of purely successive time, wherein categorization is neither

possible nor meaningful, is the environment most fit for fashion. 118 In both the Kōshoku ichidai otoko and the Kōshoku ichidai onna, these marks of status or style are brought into the narrative by means of description or digression. Though these can be found throughout the Kōshoku ichidai otoko, they take up a relatively small amount of the discourse of the text, while the majority of it is devoted to the advancement of the plot of each narrative unit. situation is reversed.

In the Kōshoku ichidai onna, the

The great majority of plots of the individual units of this text can

be summarized as follows: the woman enters into a situation, something sexual occurs, the woman moves on. They are the plots of the simplest of all genres, pornography. Plot also occupies less discursive space than description or digression in many of the individual narrative units.

For example, the entire plot of the Kouta no denju onna

chapter consists of a single one-line equivalent sentence—“I, too, became one of them and sullied the water of my soul” 119 —that follows nearly fifty-eight lines describing the life of a singing woman. 120

Furthermore, the “Inbu no bikei,” the last story of the first

volume, begins: 118

Notice, too, how journeys are present in the Kōshoku ichidai otoko but cannot be found in the Kōshoku ichidai onna. Though the individual narrative units take place in a wide variety of locals, some quite geographically distant, the woman simply is wherever the story takes place. She is never depicted on the road because movement in space is impossible without the movement of time.

119

Op. cit., p.545.

120

Ihara Saikaku, Kōshoku ichidai onna, Shinpen Saikaku zenshū, vol.1, honbun-hen (Tokyo: Benseisha, 1999), p.590-592. Michael J. Scanlon

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By the west gate of the Kiyomizu Temple, I heard someone playing the shamisen and singing: Difficult is the floating world, How pitiful, my lot in life! I do not cling to the life, Which I wish would turn to dew. The voice was gentle, and she was a beggar woman. In the present, she wears padded clothes in the summer; though she realizes its winter, she wears but a single layer in the face of the ubiquitous fierce mountain winds. “In the past, what type of person was she?” I asked and was told that, when the pleasure quarters was located on Rokujō Avenue, she was a courtesan of the highest rank, known as Katsuragi the Second. That fall, I had gone to see the autumn foliage of the cherry trees and, while mixing with a good number of women, pointed at her and laughed. It is hard to foreknow one’s karmic destiny. To my sadness, my parents met with troubles. When someone asked them, they served as his guarantor without thinking anything of it. The man disappeared, and my parents were in trouble. In return for fifty ryō, I lost my freedom and was sold to a certain Kambayashi of the Shimbara quarters. The master of the house, thinking my appearance as a worker in this unexpected profession at the age of sixteen exceeded that of the sixteenth night moon in the capital, happily looked forward to the future. 清水の西門にて三味線ひきてうたひけるを聞けば、「つらきは浮世、あはれや我 が身、惜しまじ命、露にかはらん」と、その声やさしく袖乞の女、夏ながら綿入 れを身に掛け、冬とは覚えてひとへなる物を着る事、はげしき四方の山風今、「昔 はいかなる者ぞ」とたづねけるに、遊女町六条にありし時の、後の葛城と名に立 つ大夫がなりはつるならひぞかし。その秋、桜の紅葉見に行きしが、それに指さ し、あまたの女まじりに笑ひつるが、人の因果はしれがたし。我もかなしき親の 難儀、人の頼むとて何心もなく商売事請にたたれし、その人行方なくてめいわく せられし金の替り五十両にて、我を自由とするかたもなく、島原の上林といへる に身を売り、おもひよらざる勤め姿、年もはや十六夜の月の都にならびなきとて、 親方ゆくすゑをよろこぶ。 121

and ends: What is more, though I sold myself to men for whom I did not care, I did not yield my body to them. As I worked treating men harshly and making them think me cruel, gradually nobody came to see me, and I was free both day and night. Thusly I fell from the highest rank and longed for the past. Disliking a man can only be done when one is in great favor. When one becomes lonely, meeting a customer is happiness, not excepting servants, mendicant monks, cripples, and 121

Kōshoku ichidai onna, Ihara Saikaku-shū, Nihon koten bungaku zenshū, vol.38, pp.446-447.

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harelips. When you think about it, there is no profession so sad in this world as this one. しかも又、すかぬ男には身を売りながら身を任せず、つらなくあたり、むごくお もはせ勤めけるうちに、いつとなく人我を見はなし、明暮隙になりて、おのづか ら大夫職おとりて、すぎにし事どもゆかし。男嫌ひをするは、人もてはやる時こ そ。淋しくなりては、人手代、鉦たたき、短足、すぐちにかぎらず、あふをうれ しく、おもへば世にこの道にこの道の勤め程かなしきはなし。 122

These mere twenty-three lines in the original book contain the entire plot related to the protagonist.

The middle one hundred forty-four lines describe the life, fashion, tastes

and manners of an upper-class courtesan and the men who visit them as well as give example stories of both in action, including subsections that document prices and compensation as well as describe clothing. 123 serve to arrest narrative time.

These sections interrupt the plot and

In other words, the formal function of description and

digression is to promise a static time, a “now” that will not change. of flux and uncertainty is evident even these sections.

And yet the chaos

In the long digression that forms

the middle of the Inbu no bike chapter, stories unrelated to the plot of the main narrative (the woman’s life story) are included, different descriptive narratives pile one on top of the other, and even a single strand is far from ordered. 124

Furthermore, the woman,

although she must dress according to the norms of each of her professions, can and does

122

Op. cit., pp.454-455.

123

Kōshoku ichidai onna, Shinpen Saikaku zenshū, pp.515-521.

124

For example, in the Inbu no bike chapter, the long section (eighteen lines) describing the dress and actions of a skillful male visitor to the pleasure quarters is made up of a single lexical unit linked almost entirely with paratactic conjunctions (by either –te or open-ended rentaikei forms). This gives a sense of breathlessness and barely maintained order.

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move from one status to another without any real difficulty. In other words, though immutability is promised, change cannot be completely suppressed. This problematization of time and its passage could possibly be related to the world of commerce.

Money and its accumulation lie at the heart of this text. It has

been said that the woman’s confession is not so much an account of a life or a series of sex stories as an exploration of the ways in which a woman could earn a living in early modern Japan. 125

Prices and wages are also painstakingly documented throughout the

text, but nowhere is there a reflection of the great inflation or price fluctuations that occurred in extra-literary reality during the seventy or so years of the woman’s life. Objects of high quality appearing at the beginning of the confession have dearer prices than those for shoddy merchandise listed at its close. Furthermore, the prices are given unequivocally and with a great deal of assurance; there is no hint that these prices could be anything else.

The effect is that the price given for each object listed seems

categorical: this is what the item costs, and that will never change.

A rhetoric of the

pure present tends to surround all mass-produced commodities, perhaps because these are objects that most often quickly depreciate in value.

Advertisements assure potential

customers that now is the time to buy and that prices will never be so low again.

It

could even be argued that, because the producers of these goods are extremely cognizant and fearful of the passage of time, an attempt to efface or arrest time might be a nearly necessary part of the discourse that surrounds mass-produced commodities. That this, in 125

Teruoka Yasutaka, Jinbō Kazuya, Taniwaki Masachika, “Kōshoku ichidai onna,” Saikaku, Kanshō: Nihon no koten bungaku, vol.27 (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1976), pp.137-139.

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an extremely rare occurrence, made its way into the Kōshoku ichidai onna may even be relatable to the state of the publishing industry at the end of the seventeenth century. The popularity of commercial fiction was based on its fashionability and was, therefore, short-lived. Given the relatively low ceiling of possible reader-customers for a bestseller and the high initial investment required to carve the woodblocks necessary for each individual text, the perishability of these texts was of great concern to booksellers, and it became a fairly widespread practice for unscrupulous publishers to take the blocks of a text that was no longer selling, carve a new title, and re-publish it as if it were new. This, however, is a partial answer at best.

The peculiar relationship between

the time structure of this text and print capitalism might explain why the Kōshoku ichidai onna was fit for the two narrowest environments of the text: author and publisher. Saikaku was heavily involved in the publishing industry in Osaka, and Okuda Sarōuemon had invested his money in the costly preparation of what was probably seen as a highly perishable commodity.

Thus, the above explanation may explain why the text was able

to make it to the wider environment.

However, in literary evolution, it is the widest

environment that is of the greatest importance, and here the reading flounders. A forward-moving time is a prerequisite for the vast majority of most merchant activity. Though Ogyū Sorai would castigate them as middlemen who reaped profit without producing anything on their own, the basic function of merchants within the four-class system of Tokugawa society was supposed to lie in the equalization of local surpluses and scarcities.

Credit was also playing an ever-increasing role in business.

In both

these cases, money is literally made on time, and a freezing of it would seem to make this

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a text extremely unfit to a merchant readership. More important, however, is the fact that the Kōshoku ichidai onna was not a text that appealed only to a merchant audience. To the contrary, archival evidence seems to indicate that books of this text were read by members of all classes. To explain the text’s success in this wider environment, it is best to look for a different possible function of its temporal structure. The request that brings forth the woman’s confession—“Please tell of your past as if it were now”—is, of course, ludicrous. presented synchronically. ichidai onna.

The diachronic cannot meaningfully be

But meaningfulness is not of any importance to the Kōshoku

In an article about Samuel Beckett’s Watt, Richard Ohmann writes of the

narrator’s violation of the conventions of storytelling: [He] sets set the reader at odds with the text, in a way that produces disorientation and amusement, but which, on a deeper plane, calls into question the very possibility, or at least the reasonableness, of building narratives and trying to make sense of human conduct, or, indeed, of maintaining society.126 In the case of the Kōshoku ichidai onna, exclusive focus on the present most definitely results in disorientation and amusement.

It also directly undermines the efficacy of the

confessional form of narrative. Typical examples of this style of long-form narrative directly link the past of the narrator to his or her present in order to guide the future of the addressee (or reader). As such, the confessional narrative is absolutely dependent on the existence of a forward-moving time over which the protagonist can learn from experience. Yet the woman of the Kōshoku ichidai onna learns nothing, and her text is the confession of an unrepentant soul. Her last words to her two listeners are:

126

Richard Ohmann, “Speech, Action, and Style,” Literary Style, a Symposium, Seymour Chatman, ed. (London: Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 274.

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I realize that life is short, and my story has gotten long, hasn’t it? Well, well, this confession has cleared me of my beclouded-ness and purified my heart. I, the one who has made this a pleasant spring's night for you, I am progeny-less, so why would I hide anything? There is nothing to be gained from doing so. As for my life, from the time the lotus flower in my bosom opened until it closed, even though it can be said I have lived the life, my heart was unstained. みじかき世とは覚えて、長物語のよしなや。よしよしこれも懺悔に身の曇晴れて 、心の月の清く、春の夜の慰み人、我は一代女なれば、何をか隠して益なしと、 胸の蓮華ひらけてぼむまでの身の事、たとへ流れを立てたればとて、心は濁りぬ べきや。 127

Given the specifics of the close to her lecture, done in a state of admitted drunken disorder, in combination with the fact that her greeting in the opening section makes it clear that the two addressees have visited her “Hermitage of Eros” before, it seems highly possible that her account might be nothing other than a means of seducing the young men. In other words, the whole of her narration could be seen as one more similar but different adventure added to the “meaningless” thread narrative that is the woman’s life. In the final instance, the temporal structures of the Kōshoku ichidai otoko and the Kōshoku ichidai onna have the same function. Though in one time is nearly purely successive while in the other it is largely frozen, both refrain from integrating meaningfully a beginning, a middle and an end in such a way that causal links are drawn between past and present, present and future.

Though freedom plays a large role in both,

neither directly undermines or attacks the feudalism of early modern Japan. contrary, both are radically disengaged from society and its problems.

To the

Instead, they

reside in the realm of pure play, where actions are without consequence. In this way, they mimic the function in Tokugawa society of the pleasure quarters, the social space

127

Kōshoku ichidai onna, pp.582-583.

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with which the vast majority of the texts included within the larger genre of kōshoku-bon are concerned.

The pleasure quarters, which were officially licensed by the Tokugawa

shogunate, were walled areas in cities in which prostitution and other activities that would be outlawed in quotidian society were permitted. Visited by members of all the four classes, the demimonde occupied a dominant place in the social imaginary of early modern Japan, probably because it was a place that offered respite from the values of feudal society.

In these circumscribed places, relationships lay outside the family unit,

sex was not associated with procreation, status distinctions were relatively unimportant, and disputes were settled by the parties concerned rather than by the government.

So

long as they remained contained within limited geographic areas, these areas did not present a danger to feudal society so much as function as a safety valve. The culture of play would serve as a fertile environment for a whole range of texts and genres of prose literature produced over the Edo period, including the caricature (katagimono), the stylebook (share-bon), and the humorous book (kokkei-bon).

These

types of narrative literature can be termed playful because the texts belonging to each did not need to engage social issues or problems in a structural way.

That is not to say satire

and other rhetorical devices were never employed within this body of texts to criticize the ideals or realities specific to early modern Japan.

It is simply that the texts of each

genre tended to be short fiction, collections of framed short stories, thread narratives, or plot-less dialogues.

In these texts, time and its passage either remain amoral or the

narrative structures are simple enough that their forms are not tied closely to the era in which they formed, and the literature of play escapes the negative pressures associated

Michael J. Scanlon

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231

Playful prose will be set aside for the remainder of

this study. This is not to say that these types of comic literature were unimportant to Edo literature or that a neo-Darwinian approach could not continue to yield new insights into the development of these narrative forms. However, genres with long-form plot structures would predominate for much of Japan’s early modern period, and the novel—the literary phenomenon the rise of which orients this study—is also typically seen as a genre of long-form fiction. The importance of the preceding chapter goes beyond what it reveals about the beginnings of the playful genres of Edo literature.

It also serves the vital function of

showing the limits of the analytic tool that is the selectionist rectangle. Disclosure of that for which selectionist rectangles cannot necessarily account is every bit as important as demonstrations of that which they can more fully explain. The chimera of absolute coherence, a dependency on which has long been the Achilles heel of previously dominant constructivist literary theory, has no place in this form of poststructuralism, one of the hallmarks of which is its acknowledgement of imperfection and limits.

The

selectionist rectangle will prove useful because the larger and more complex narrative structures of long-form fiction, wherein the meaningful passage of time plays a crucial role, do develop within the contradictions and problems of a given time and place, and mapping a text of this type onto this analytic tool yields valuable insight into the narrative’s “ideological unconscious.”

The problematic that functioned as the limiting

128

The same could be said for kaidan ghost stories, a type of fiction popular throughout the Edo period.

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constraints within which nearly all long-form early modern Japanese fiction was written was one between ninjō (人情) and giri (義理), terms which are normally translated into English as “passion” and “duty.” Though there are good reasons for this choice of words, it should be noted that ninjō and giri had a much broader meaning in Edo-period Japan, and more inclusive and accurate translations would be “human feelings” and “correct principles.”

The focus of the final body chapter of this text will be an

investigation of this problematic and the way in which it conditioned the development of early modern long-form fiction.

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The Fruits of Feudalism

Ihara Saikaku was, in many ways, an evolutionary failure.

The statement might

seem shocking to modern eyes because Saikaku is almost always depicted in twentieth-century literary histories as an unalloyed genius, the greatest prose author of the Edo period whose fiction played a crucial role in the development of the Japanese novel at the end of the nineteenth century.

The assertion would, however, have been

completely understandable to the popular reading audience of early modern Japan. As has been mentioned previously, the genre of kōshoku-bon diverged greatly from the early texts brushed by Saikaku, and those texts written in the second half of his career—themed collections of exempla-like narratives on such topics as samurai vendettas and bill collection on New Year’s Eve—fared little better.

The focus of such

texts as the Budō denraiki (Records of Martial Legends 武道伝来記, 1687) and Seken mune san’yō (Worldly Mental Calculations 世間胸算用, 1692) is still on the plots of each separate narrative unit. However, the extreme structural similarity of each atomistic narrative seems to have led to a focus on the characters that carry out the actions of the plot, and the second decade of the eighteenth century—about twenty years after Saikaku’s death—witnessed the evolution of a genre of fiction known as katagi-mono (caricatures 気質物), satiric character sketches of stereotyped figures familiar to contemporary society. This rise of character proved to be the most crucial development within the playful, comic genres of fiction.

A highly circumscribed set of characters

who were basically immune to transformation were made the speakers of dialogue in the Michael J. Scanlon

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nearly plot-less style-books (share-bon 洒落本) popular in the later eighteen century, and subsequent, extended narratives of the humorous book (kokkei-bon 滑稽本) tradition were organized either by following the journeys of a few of these static stock characters through time and space or by focusing on a certain space through which many of these stereotyped figures would pass. 1

Thus, it is perhaps not so surprising that Saikaku’s

texts did not maintain their popularity for long, and it was the first writer to pen one of these katagi-mono, Ejima Kiseki (江島其磧, 1666-1735), who actually enjoyed a greater reputation during the Edo period itself. Nearly the exact opposite seems to be true for Saikaku’s contemporary, the playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1724). Texts written by him helped set the patterns for the long-form fiction produced during the Edo period, and he was often referred to as the “god of literature” in early modern texts.

In the modern period, he has

been called the “Shakespeare of Japan,” but the vast majority of scholars admit the comparison is forced. The “problem” with Chikamatsu’s oeuvre has been summarized neatly by Donald Keene: Chikamatsu’s concern with giri [correct principles] and ninjō [human feelings] deprived his sewamono [domestic plays] of some of the variety we expect of a great dramatist. He could not repeat himself too obviously before a public that demanded novelty, but the theme of the lovers’ suicides with its “complications” of giri and ninjō did not allow for much invention. 2 It is precisely the overwhelming evolutionary success of Chikamatsu’s early plays that seems to limit the estimation of their author in modern literary histories. Literary 1

Nakamura Yukihiko, “Goki yomihon no suii,” Nakamura Yukihiko chojutsushū, vol.4 (Tokyo: Chūō Kōronsha, 1987), pp.404-405.

2

Donald Keene, World within Walls, p.261.

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evolution often happens by fits and starts with long periods of stasis punctuated by short intervals of great structural change. Yet modern literary studies almost all focus on the exceptional, those texts written during moments of upheaval, and either ignore or disparagingly dismiss the normal, those similar but different texts written during long stretches of formal stability.

The most direct pressure for this scholarly omission would

seem to be the unfitness of the monistic generative theories that have heretofore dominated the modern study of literary history to explain the phenomenon of stasis. Few scholars address the widely known phenomenon, and those that do seem to suggest that stasis is due to an active desire on the part of the contemporary reading audience for redundancy. This seems farfetched. If readers simply sought more of the same, it would be highly unlikely that the literary marketplace would be flooded with new, somewhat different versions of the same basic form.

The same exact texts could be read

ad infinitum, and booksellers would never undertake the risks involved with publishing untested texts.

This chapter will focus on and try to account for the long period of

relative stasis that occurred in Japanese long-form literature from the end of the seventeenth century until the Meiji Restoration and the dawn of modern Japan in latter half of the nineteenth. 3

3

I emphasize stasis as a corrective to the genre—modern literary history of early modern Japan—to which this text belongs because texts of this type tend to focus almost entirely on change and innovation. I am not arguing that narrative literature was completely frozen, just that the similarities over this time far outweigh the differences.

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An organizational conflict Now, because it concerns one of the most ardent of human desires, love poetry contains a remarkably large number of masterpieces. Then again, greed is also a major human desire, but to lust after profit is the epitome of gross inelegance. Thus, people are ashamed of this and do not compose [on this theme], so there are no such poems. Even if someone were to recite one, it would surely be found hateful. Ashiwake obune Motoori Norinaga (1730-1801) That giri and ninjō were important to early modern Japanese fiction is something which is often taken for granted by scholars of Edo literature.

The terms can be found

in period criticism, and many modern academics, such as Minamoto Ryōen, have emphasized the importance of this productive conflict within early modern Japanese culture and civilization as a whole. This study differs from previous scholarship in two basic ways. One is that it applies this dynamic as an analytic tool only selectively. As was stated previously, it posits that this problematic did not condition the development of the non-long-form playful genres of literary prose.

Even the longest comic

dialogue—such as the Ukiyo-buro (1809-1813) of Shikitei Sanba—or the most extended thread narrative—such as the Tōkaidō-chū hizakurige (1802-1809) of Jippensha Ikku—could develop without any influence from this ideological contradiction, and modern critics who attempt to assign meaning to the pair’s presence or absence in texts of these types are, in many ways, clouding the issue.

The playfulness of these texts derives

from their potential to be written outside—to escape—the ideological and social contradictions of their times. The other has to do with the benefits of placing this dynamic within a selectionist rectangle.

Whereas previous modern scholarship has

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drawn attention to the possibility of a union of giri and ninjō, this study will emphasize the function of the purely negative, the prospect of actions and characters devoid of both human feelings and correct principle.

More important, because the giri-ninjō

problematic itself only becomes fully meaningful in relation to those contradictions dominant during the late medieval period as well as the socialization-individuality one of modernity, it helps to overcome (or at least relativize) the epistemological limits of modernity and, thus, allows for a more purely historicist understanding of early modern Japanese literature than has previously been possible. The pull of the modern epistemological framework is clear in even the best existing scholarship on Edo-period literature. Humanist scholarship, as part of a greater tendency to universalize art and the human experience to modern standards, tends to conflate giri and ninjō with socialization and individuality, the pair of terms that form the dominant irresolvable conflict within bourgeois capitalist ideology.

In an introductory

essay to a volume of translations of Chikamatsu’s plays, Donald Keene writes: Giri untouched by ninjō may seem inhuman. It suggests at times the sense of gloire in Rancinian tragedies with its stern insistence on reason and duty. Giri denies the individual’s right to be happy at the expense of society. In so doing it preserves society, as ninjō unchecked by giri must eventually destroy it. Many Western readers find the manifestations of ninjō even harder to take than those of giri. Killing one’s child to save the child of one’s master makes a kind of sense, unspeakable though the act is, but abandoning one’s children in order to commit suicide with the woman one loves somehow seems contemptible. Koharu abandons her old mother, doing piecework in a back alley, in order to die with Jihei; Koman gives Yosaku her money and runs away with him, though she knows that this will mean a return of her father to a terrible dungeon. The human feelings which dictate such actions seem reprehensibly self-indulgent, and make us appreciate better the selflessness of giri. 4 4

Donald Keene, Major Plays of Chikamatsu (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961), pp.34-35.

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Individuality and human feelings might be seen as being more privately oriented values, while socialization and correct principles could be thought of as being more publicly directed ones, and the affinities between each half of the pairing might help to explain the continuity between the long-form fiction of the early modern period and that of the modern one in Japan. However, the incongruities about which Keene writes are a sign that there are real differences between the limiting conflicts of the two periods.

Neither

individuality and human feelings nor socialization and correct principles were one and the same phenomenon.

It is perfectly legitimate for critics to show how the

“masterpieces” of the Edo period can still be read fruitfully in the modern world. However, as has been pointed out by Franco Moretti, the power of modern scholars to create this canon is remarkably limited.

In all but the most exceptional of cases,

professors of literature at elite universities simply legitimize market decisions, consecrating the success certain texts enjoyed among the common readers of the past. 5 Thus, there is great value in restoring the ideological environment into which early modern literature was written and first read to determine the function it performed then and assess the reasons for its initial success. Historicist scholarship of a Marxist bent, on the other hand, tends see the giri-ninjō problematic as symptomatic of an underlying class conflict and often associates the terms with the two extremes of the four-class division that organized early modern Japanese society. Documentary evidence shows that this would not simply be a

5

Franco Moretti, “The Slaughterhouse of Literature,” Modern Language Quarterly (March, 2000), pp.209-210.

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retrospective invention of ideologically motivated modern scholars.

The two terms had

clear gender and class associations within the early modern period: correct principle was a masculine trait of the samurai, while human feelings were feminine and allied with merchanthood.

That is not to say that women and merchants could not be seen as acting

in accordance with correct principles.

It is simply that, when they did so, they were

often thought to be mimicking the ways of their social superiors. Likewise, it was always recognized that samurai could fall victim to human feelings, but this was often considered to have been brought upon military families by the extravagant desires of the women of the house. 6

Thus, it might seem reasonable to consider human feelings to be

part of an emergent capitalist ideological structure that was suppressed by the dominant feudal one of correct principles until the Tokugawa government’s hold on power weakened with the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the merchant class and a bourgeois revolution occurred with the Meiji Restoration of 1868.

At first glance, such

a narrative would seem almost perfectly suited to contain the history of Japanese long-form fiction.

Most scholars see the most famous love-suicide plays of Chikamatsu

Monzaemon—narratives in which male merchants and their geisha paramours choose to die together rather than live a loveless life in a duty-ridden society—as tragedies motivated by the absolute incompatibility of human feelings and correct conduct. By the early nineteenth century, however, the Tokugawa system was breaking down, and the demands of giri were destroying ninjō in the extra-literary world so the same problematic was being resolved in melodramatic fashion—the weak townsman hero, unable to act 6

A good example of this can be found in Ogyū Sorai’s Seidan.

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because of the conflict between his emotions and societal duty, is rescued, deus ex machina, and lives happily ever after—in a vain attempt rescue the social and ideological status quo. Finally, the Shōsetsu shinzui (The Essence of the Novel 小説神髄, 1886), a call for a new type of narrative fiction made by Tsubouchi Shōyō that is often thought to have catalyzed and perhaps even determined the development of the modern Japanese novel, derides the highbrow long-form fiction of the Edo period for its preoccupation with “encouraging virtue and chastising vice” (kanzen chōaku 勧善懲悪) according to the Confucian code of correct principles and states repeatedly that human feelings, especially love, should be the basis of the modern, realistic novel. There are, however, reasons to question this narrative.

The connection between

martial-Confucian values and the samurai class was not necessarily of long standing. As Nakamura Yukihiko points out, loyalty—the cardinal samurai virtue within the bushidō code—is a rarity within the military writings (gunsho) genre at the beginning of the seventeenth century. 7

Likewise, the ideal of detachment—the polar opposite of

passion within Buddhist logic—was central to the image of merchants in the late medieval period. 8

More important is the fact that, in order to be a contradiction capable

of functioning as a basic mechanism of selection, both giri and ninjō had to be generally thought of as positive but irreconcilable values throughout early modern society. inspection of the archive reveals this to be the case.

An

A code of a correct conduct

7

Nakamura Yukihiko, “Kana-zōshi no seikaku,” Nakamura Yukihiko chojutsushū (Tokyo: Chūō Kōronsha, 1987), p.51.

8

Testuo Najita, Visions of Virtue (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1987), pp.18-20.

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couched in Confucian terms is often espoused within writings addressed to a specifically merchant audience.

The Shimai monjo (Shimai Documents 島井文書, 1779) contains a

set of seventeen injunctions written by the merchant Shimai Sōshitsu in 1610 for the edification of his heir, the first of which begins: It goes without saying that, throughout life, you should be faithful and conscientious. You should be filial and warm to your parents, Sōi, your brothers and your relations. Outside of this, with your friends—and certainly in your dealings with outsiders—you should respect others, be modest and polite. You should never in the least conduct yourself in an impulsive manner. First of all, there is no use whatsoever in lying or—even when speaking ill of someone—saying something that is like a lie… 生中いかにも貞心みちき候はんの事不及申。親両人宗怡両人兄弟親類、いかにも かうかうむつましく、其外知音之衆、しせん外方之寄合にも、人をうやまいへり くたり、いんきん可仕候、ひろうずいゐのふるまい、少も仕ましくも。第一うそ をつき、たとい人ののしりきかせたる事成共、うそに似たる事、少も申出事無用 9 …

The reason for this is simple: the early modern marketplace quickly became a well-developed and complex one in which credit and merchant associations played a large role. 10

Merchants who acted purely out of self interest risked ostracization,

something which all but guaranteed long-term failure, and the value of a code of behavior linking people to their communities—even if that meant occasionally acting in ways contrary to personal desire—was recognized throughout the early modern social order. Conversely, it was very typical for Confucian texts addressed to the samurai elite to insist 9

Shimai Sōshitsu, “Shimai monjo,” Dai Nippon shiryō 12:22 (Tokyo: Tōkyō Teikoku Daigaku Bungakubu Shiryō Hensankai, 1920), p.457. 10

Even Ogyū Sorai acknowledged this to be true. In his Seidan, the power of money to override class divisions—merchants were living a lifestyle that exceeded that of the daimyō barons and were even buying ranks and family lineages from impoverished samurai—is decried, but the text recognizes the importance of associations and guilds to merchant activity.

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that governance was in many ways dependent on a knowledge of ninjō, even though human feelings were neither completely rational nor totally understandable.

The

Keizairoku (A Record of the Political Economy 経済録, 1729) of Dazai Shundai states: To know human feelings means to know the real feelings of the people of the realm. These real feelings are things such as likes and dislikes, pains and pleasures, joys and sorrows. There is no difference between great men and little ones, the nobility and the base born. There is also no difference between noble and base when it comes to the love for mother and father, wife and child. These all emerge from the authenticity of a heaven-endowed nature, and do not contain the least bit of falsehood. Thus, they are called genuine emotions… What’s more, the noble have the feelings of the noble; the petty have the feelings of the petty; samurai have the feelings of samurai; farmers, craftsmen and merchants have the feelings of farmers, craftsmen and merchants; men have the feelings of men; women have the feelings of women. Even though various feelings differ based on the type of person, that which is called feelings always indicates something without falsehood. In enacting matters of government, if one is in keeping with human feelings, then the people will follow readily. If one goes against human feelings, then the people will not follow. To keep with human feelings is to act so people are content, calm, and joyful. To go against human feelings is to make it so people are hateful, pained, and sad. Heroic samurai, because they understand correctness well and have the heart to stay on the Way, will hold back and repress feelings in order to remain obedient for awhile. However, since their hearts will never be at ease, it is inevitable that people who disobey the law and violate the prohibitions will appear in due course. The masses do not know correctness and have not the heart to maintain course on the Way. They can neither hold back nor repress their feelings. Because they are people who can only think of their own convenience, in times of governments that go against human feelings, they do not obey in the least. Even though they know the horror of punishments and penalties, they cannot bear the grief and pain before their eyes and end up disobeying the law and violating the prohibitions. Since long in the past, there has never been a case of a government that goes against human feelings being of long duration. The governments of the ancient sages all were in keeping with human feelings. 人情ヲ知ルトハ、天下ノ人ノ実情ヲ知ル也。実情トハ、好悪・苦楽・憂喜ノ類ヲ 云…人ニ此情無キ者有ラズ。大人小人、貴者賎者、少モ異ナルコト無シ。又父母 妻子恩愛ノ情モ、貴賎、異ラズ。此等ノ情ハ、皆人ノ天性ノ誠ヨリ出テ少モ偽無 キ者ナル故ニ、是ヲ実情ト云…又貴人ニ貴人ノ情有リ。小民に小民ノ情有リ。士 ニ士ノ情有リ。農工商ニ農工商ノ情有リ。男子ニ男子ノ情有リ。女子ニ女子ノ情 有リ。人ノ品ニ因テ、夫々ノ情異ルコト有レドモ、情ト云ハ、凡テ偽無キ処ヲ指 テ云也。

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凡政治ヲ施シテ、人情ニ協ヘバ、民従ヒ易シ。人情ニ悖レバ、民従ハズ。人情 ニ協フトハ、人ノ好ミ楽ミ喜ブコトヲ行フ也。人情ニ悖ルトハ、人ノ悪ミ苦ミ憂 ルコトヲ行フ也。士大夫ハ大抵義ヲ知テ道ヲ守ル心モ有ル者ナレバ、人情ニ協ハ ヌ政ニモ、情ヲ抑ヘ情ヲ制シテ姑ク従ヘドモ、本来心ノ安カラヌコトナレバ、自 然ニ法令ニ違ヒ、制禁ヲ犯ス者モ出来ルコト必然ノ理也。小民ハ義ヲ知ラズ、道 ヲ守ル心モ無ケレバ、情ヲ抑ヘ、情ヲ制スルコト能ハズ。一身ノ便利ノミヲ思フ 者ナル故ニ、人情ニ悖タル政ニハ、決シテ従ハズ。刑罰ノ畏ロシキコトヲ知ラザ ルハアラネネドモ、眠前ノ愁苦ニ甚カネテ、法令ニ違ヒ、制禁ヲ犯スナリ。昔ヨ リ、人情ニ悖タル政ノ永久ニ行ハレタルハ有ラズ。古ノ聖人ノ政ハ、皆人情ニ協 ヘタルモノ也。 11

Arguments for human feelings often noted that they were inevitable and genuine.

This

unto itself, however, is not sufficient for an understanding of why ninjō was a value capable of contending with giri during Japan’s early modern period.

In order to better

come to grips with this contradiction before using it to orient a study of early modern long-form fiction, it might be a good idea to map out its general contours by showing the way in which the giri-ninjō problematic conditioned a different family of texts, those of Confucian philosophy. Confucian philosophy, of course, was one of the dominant ideological structures in early modern Japan and, as such, served to organize the overall meta-structure that was the Tokugawa ideology.

Thus, it is of the greatest importance to note that the vast

majority of the central texts of this type weigh correct principle more heavily than human feelings.

This is clearly visible in the Jinsilu (Reflections on Things at Hand

[Kinshiroku] 近思録, 1176), a late twelfth-century anthology co-edited by Lu Xuqian (1137-1181) and Zhu Xi (1130-1200) and a foundational text of the type of Confucianism patronized by the Tokugawa shogunate in an attempt to legitimize their rule.

In this text,

11

Dazai Shundai, Keizairoku, Sorai gakuha, Nihon shisō taikei, vol.37 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1972), pp.24-25.

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feelings are seen as being originally extrinsic to humanity, something which infects people and brings about their ruin: [Man’s] original nature is pure and tranquil. Before it is aroused, the five moral principles of his nature are complete. These are called humanity, correctness, propriety, wisdom and faithfulness. As his physical form appears, it comes into contact with external things and is aroused from within. Having been aroused from within, the seven feelings (jō) emerge. These are known as happiness, anger, sorrow, fear, love, hate and desire. As feelings become strong and increasingly wild, his nature becomes damaged. For this reason, an enlightened man controls his feelings, making them accord with the mean, and rectifies his mind in order to nourish his nature. The foolish man does not know to control them. His feelings, given free reign, reach the height of depravity, shackle his nature and destroy it. 其本也、真而静。其未発也、五性具焉。曰仁・義・礼・智・信。形既生矣、外物 触其形而動其中矣、其中動而七情出焉。曰喜・怒・哀・懼・愛・悪・欲。情既熾 而益蕩、其性鑿矣。是故覚者約其情使合於中、正其心、養其性。愚者則不知制之、 縦其情而至於邪壁、梏其性而亡之。 12

and these forces are set in diametrical opposition to correct principles: Master Mingdao said: Correct principles and external forces [of feelings] are continually vying with each other. To tell the difference between a gentleman and an inferior man, look at the degree of each. When correct principles (giri) grow in intensity, then you know that the strength of the external force is weakened. He who eliminates them completely is a great worthy. 明道先生曰、義理與客気常相勝。只看消長分数多少、為君子・小人之別。義理所 得漸多、則自然知得客気消散得漸少。消尽者是大賢。 13

Hayashi Razan—the Confucian scholar whose connections with the Tokugawa rulership allowed his private school to evolve into the official Tokugawa academy—was a follower of the Confucianism of Zhu Xi, and the modern scholar Minamoto Ryōen finds a similar hierachized dichotomy in Razan’s writings. 14

A good example of this is a section on

12

Kinshiroku, Ichikawa Yasuji, ed., Shin’yaku kanbun taikei, vol.37 (Tokyo: Meiji Shoin, 1975), pp.59-61.

13

Op. cit., p.306.

14

Minamoto Ryōen, Giri to ninjō (Tokyo: Chūō Kōronsha, 1969), pp.6-7.

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“the seven feelings” (shichi jō 七情) in his Santokushō (Excerpts on the Three Virtues 三 徳少, ca.1629):

If one is to speak of happiness, anger, sorrow, fear, love, hate and desire, there is pretty much no end to the breadth of people’s minds. They are like heaven or the sky. That which can ponder a thousand or ten thousand years of the past, it is the mind. That which can know the principle of everything and anything, it too is the mind. Even though it is so broad and large, it is inherent to the human body and is not something extrinsic. This mind, before a single thought rises, is quiescent, correct, calm and bright. If something that should make one take pleasure comes along, then one takes pleasure. Should there be something that should arouse anger, then one gets angry. If there is something due to which one should feel sorrow, then one feels sorrow. At times one should be afraid, one is afraid. One loves whom one should love. One hates whom one should hate. If there are things one should want or seek, then one wants or seeks them. This is the function of the human heart. What’s more, it is happiness to enjoy all the successes of parents, siblings, wife and child. It is happiness when they like what is good and hate what is bad. It is also happiness to celebrate the governing of the state and the maintenance of peace in the realm. To be happy at things such as these is reasonable. Should one rejoice in the pain of others or enjoy it when bad things happen to oneself, all these are happiness that goes against reason. They are not justifiable happiness. When one eliminates villains, drives off petty men, kills brigands, punishes traitorous or ambitious people, or brings those who transgress before the law—at times like these, it is reasonable to feel anger. Should one transgress against the innocent or grow incensed when someone remonstrates or instructs, then it is not justifiable anger. Further, it is not reasonable anger when one gets angrier and angrier and rages against someone who has done no wrong. To be saddened at someone’s illness, to mourn someone’s death, and to be anxious about people’s troubles—sadness is reasonable. To feel for brigands or be pained over the downfall of villains, these are like mourning the death of a rat. These are not justifiable sadness. To be in awe of one’s lord as a minister, to be in awe of one’s father as a son, to be in awe of Heaven’s Way as a lord—such are reasonable fears. This type of fear cannot be said to be cowardice. It is having discretion before great things. To worry about one’s situation going bad, to worry about making a mistake, and to worry about being injured when trying to do something—these are all reasonable fears. It is unreasonable when one does such things as look out over a military encampment and fear that things will not work out without a correct death or is afraid that one will not be able to succeed by doing something wrong. To love one’s parents, to adore one’s lord, to think fondly of sages and gentlemen, and to be friendly with one’s siblings as well as one’s wife and children—these are reasonable loves. It is not reasonable to love when it’s being

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close to petty men or being fond of villains. Favoring the bad people among those with whom one mixes, or parental blindness in the face of a child’s badness—these and there ilk are love that goes against reason. They are not justifiable love. To hate vice, to hate insolence and incorrectness, to hate unfiliality and disloyalty, to hate injustice, and to hate falsehood—all of these are justifiable hatred. To hate good things, to hate sages, to hate good people due to envious bitterness, or to hold grudges against those who outstrip one in wisdom, skill, or ability—all of this is to hate against reason. Desire is having a heart that hopes and seeks. When it comes to desires, there are two types: those that are possible, and those that are not. To hope to be filial towards one parents and to wish to be loyal to one’s lord, these are eminently realizable. To hope to do good, to hope to avoid evil, to wish to be humane and correct, and to wish to not lie—these are all eminently realizable matters. It is reasonable to hope for these things. Wanting loftiness and richness not of the station into which one was born, wishing long life beyond one’s fate—these are not reasonable things for which to hope. Because that into which one is born is something decided by Heaven, even if one were to seek [something different], it would be hard for anything to come of it. For instance, it is like a short person wanting to get taller, an ugly person wanting to become beautiful, or a skinny person wanting to grow fat quickly. Even if one wants it, it probably will not happen. To scheme for unrealizable hopes and to hope for unrealizable things are the actions of villains and morons. Thus, in seeking after things that cannot be, they cause trouble, commit crimes, and as a result destroy themselves. It is reasonable not to want all these things. The aforementioned happiness, anger, sorrow, fear, love, hate and desire—the seven feelings are the functioning of the heart. Nothing could happen if they were not there from the start. Yet at times when even a single one of the seven goes against principle, the original heart is damaged, and the heart necessarily will become improper. When the heart is improper, it cannot regulate the body. When bodies are unregulated, the state becomes unregulated. At times when these seven feelings are functioning in accordance with principle, the whole and original heart will naturally be proper and bright. When the heart is proper, the body is regulated. When bodies are regulated, the house is regulated. When the houses are regulated, the province is regulated. When provinces are regulated, the realm is settled. Thus, the Way of the sage is based on making proper this heart. There is a name for this proper and bright heart—clear virtue. 喜・怒・哀・懼・悪・欲ヲワケテイハバ、凡、人ノ心ハ広大ニシテカギリナシ。 天ノ如ク虚空ノ如シ。千年万年ノ久シキ昔ヲ思フモ心ナリ。千里万里ノ遠キ所ヲ 思フモ心也。アラユルヨロヅノ物ノ理ヲ知ルモ心ナリ。如此広大ナレドモ、人ノ 身ニソナハリテ外ニアラズ。此心、一念モ起ラザルキハ、シヅカニ、タダシク、 平ニシテ、アキラカナリ。喜ブベキコト来タレバスナハチヨロコビ、怒ルベキコ ト至レバスナハチ怒リ、哀ムベキ事アレバスナハチ哀ミ、懼ルベキトキハスナハ

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チ懼レ、愛スベキモノヲバスナハチ愛シ、悪ムベキモノヲバスナハチ悪ミ、ネガ イノゾムベキ事アラバスナハチネガフ、コレ人ノ心ノ用ナリ。 又父母・兄弟・妻子以下マデ、ナニゴトナクメデタキヲ楽シムハ、喜也。国家 治マリ天下タイラカナルヲ祝フモ、喜也。此類ハ喜ブベキノ道理ナリ。若人ノ苦 シム事ヲ喜ビ、アルイハ吾身ニ悪ヲスル事ヲ好ミナンドスルハ、皆道理ニソムキ テ喜ブナリ。喜ブベキ道ニ非ズ。 悪人ヲノゾキ、小人ヲシリゾケ、盗賊ヲ殺シ、謀叛・野心ヲスルモノヲ誅罰シ、 罪アル者ヲ法ニヲコナフ類ハ、ミナ怒ベキ道理ナリ。若罪ナキ者ヲ罪ニヲコナヒ、 意見・教訓スル事ヲ腹立スルハ、怒ルベキ道ニアラズ。又怒ヲタクハヘテ咎ナキ 人ヌムカヒテナヲモ怒ルハ、イカルベキ理ニ非ズ。 人ノ病アルヲアハレミ、人ノ死ルヲオソレ、諸人ノ迷惑スルヲウレフルハ、悲 ムベキノ道理也。盗賊ヲアハレミ、悪人ノホロブルヲイタミ思フハ、鼠ノ死ヌル ヲ悲ムガゴトシ。悲ムベキ道ニ非ズ。 臣トシテハ君ヲオソレ、子トシテハ父ヲオソレ、君トシテハ天道ヲオソレナン ドスルハ、オソルベキ道理也。懼トハ臆スルヲ云ニハアラズ。大事也トツツシミ テ思フヲ云也。我身ニ僻事アランカト思ヒ、アヤマチアランカト思ヒ、事ヲ行ハ ンニケガノアランカト思フハ、皆ヲソルベキ道理也。若、軍陣ニノゾミテ義ヲ代 テ死デカナハザル所ヲオソレ、悪ヲシテ其事ノ成就セマジキ事ヲオソルルタグイ ハ、道理ニアラズ。 父母ヲ愛シ、主人ヲシタイ、賢人・君子ヲナツカシク思イ、妻子・兄弟ヲムツ マシクスルハ、愛スベキノ道理也。若、小人ヲシタミ、悪人ヲナツケントスルハ、 愛スベキ道ニアラズ。我トマジハルモノニハ悪キモノニテモヒイキヲシ、我子ノ 悪シキコトハ親ノ目ニ見ヘヌ類ハ、理ニソムキテ愛スル也。愛スベキ道ニアラズ。 悪ヲニクミ、無礼・不義ヲニクミ、不孝・不忠ヲニクミ、無道ヲニクミ、イツ ハリヲニクムハ、ミナニクムベキ道也。ヨキ事ヲニクミ、賢人ヲニクミ、我ガ為 ニ私ノウラミアレバ善人ヲモニクミ、又我ヨリマサルルル智・芸・能アル者ヲソ ネミネタムハ、皆是理ニソムキテニクム也。 欲トハ、ネガイヲモフ心也。人ノネガフテナル事ト、ナラヌ事トノ、二ノ道ア リ。親ニ孝ヲセントネガイ、君ニ忠ヲセントネガフハ、イカホドモノナル事也。 善ヲセントネガヒ、悪ヲセヌヤウニトネガヒ、仁義ヲセントナガイ、偽ヲイハヌ ヤウニトネガフハ、ネガフテイカホドモナル事也。是ネガイ思フベキ道理也。若 生レツク所、モトヨリサダマレル天命ナレバ、ノゾムトモカナイガタシ。タテェ バ、丈ヒクキモノノ丈タカクナラントシ、ミネアシキ人ノミメヨクナラントシ、 ヤセタルモノノ俄ニコヱントスルガ如シ。ネガフトモカナフベカラズ。ナラヌネ ガイヲクワダテ、カナハニノゾミヲナスハ、悪人・愚人ノザナルユヘニ、アラヌ 事ヲ思イカケテ、僻事ヲシ悪ヲツクリテ、ソノハテハテハ身ヲホロボスナリ。是 皆ネガウウマジキ道理ナル故也。 右ノ喜・怒・哀・懼・悪・欲ノ七情ハ、心ノ用ニシテ、モトヨリナクテカナハ ヌモノナレドモ、七ツノ内一ツナリトモ、理ニソムキテナス時ハ、本心ノササハ リトナリテ、心カナラズタダシカラザルナリ。心タダシカラネバ身モヲサマラズ、 身ヲサマラネバ国家モヲサマラズ。此七情ヨク理ニ叶ヒテ用ル時ハ、一心ノ大体、 ヲノヅカラタダシクアキラカ也。心タダシケレバ身ヲサマル。身ヲサマレバ家ヲ サマル。家ヲサマレバ国ヲサマル。国ヲサマレバ天下ヲサマレバ天下タイラカナ リ。サレバ聖人ノ道ハ、其心ヲタダシクスルヲ根本トス。此タダシクアキラカナ

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ル心ヲ、名ヅケテ明徳ト云ナリ。 15

Human feelings are good, but only as long as they do not interfere with a sacrosanct communal and familial order. Though this insistence that all ninjō that violates giri needs to be eradicated was criticized by Kumazawa Banzan and Ogyū Sorai as inhumane and untenable, correct principle in the absence of human feeling—duty—was recognized as a possibility during the early modern period, and it forms one of the sections of the selectionist rectangle. Figure 5: Selectionist Rectangle for Ninjō-Giri Problematic within Confucian Philosophy affection Human feelings

Correct principles

passion

duty

Not correct principles

Not human feelings calculation

If it was the ultimate irresolvability of giri and ninjō that enabled them to function as the chief mechanism of selection in early modern Japan, it is just as important to realize that the two were not absolutely incompatible.

It was often pointed out in

period texts that some human feelings—far from being inimical to proper conduct and communal harmony—could actively support correct principles and, thus, serve as a basis of public and domestic stability.

Common are statements like the one that can be found

in Itō Jinsai’s Gomō jigi (The Meaning of Words in the Analects and Mencius 語孟字義, 15

Hayashi Razan, Santokushō, Fujiwara Seika Hayashi Razan (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1975), pp.181-184.

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ca.1685): People talk of human feelings, human desires, and the collective feelings of the realm. These all have this meaning: the eyes responding to forms, the ears responding to sound, the mouth responding to tastes, and the four limbs responding to rest—these are nature. The eyes’ desiring to look upon beauty, the ears’ desiring to hear fine music, the mouth desiring to eat delicious things, and the four limbs’ desiring to obtain rest—these are feelings. The closeness between father and son is nature. A father wanting his son to be good, and a son wanting his father to live a long life—these are feelings. Again, it is said: “Liking what is good and hating what is bad—this is a feeling common throughout the world.” Inferring from passages like these, when you look at them, the meaning of human feelings becomes clear. Mencius said: “People are not the same because of feelings.” The meaning of his words is that people—depending on whether they are great or petty, sloppy or quick—each have his preferences. Thus, these are called feelings. The “feelings of the myriad of things” spoken of in the Yijing (Book of Changes) is of the same meaning. Mencius also said: “When looking upon a brute, that which they think is that he never had any inborn ability. What could the feelings of such a person be!” The meaning of his words is: the whole realm is the same in liking being held in high regard by others; the whole realm is the same in hating being looked down upon. When one is singled out and thought of as an animal—this is not something people want. Therefore, [Mencius] asked: “What could the feelings of such a person be!” [Mencius] also said: “Because there are feelings, people are able to be morally good.” This is exactly that. 人常に人情と言い、情欲と言い、あるいは天下の同情と言う、みなこの意なり。 目の色における、耳の声における、口の味における、四肢の安逸における、是性。 目の美色を視んことを欲し、耳の好音を聴かんことを欲し、口の美味を食らわん ことを欲し、四肢の安逸を得んことを欲す、是情。父子の親は、性なり。父は必 ずその子の善を欲し、子は必ずその父の寿考を欲するは、情なり。又曰く、 「善を 好みし悪を悪むは、天下の同情なり。 」おおよそこの類を推してこれを見れば、情 の字の義おのずから分曉ならん。孟子の曰く「物の斉しからざるは、物の情なり」 と。言うこころはあるいは大あるいは小、あるいは緩あるいは急、物おのおの好 むところ有り。故にこれを情と謂うなり。易にいわゆる「万物の情」と、是この 意。孟子又曰「人その禽獣なるを見て、以為えらくいまだかつて才有らざる者と。 是あに人の情ならんや。 」言うこころは人のために栄とせらるるは、天下の同じく 好むところ、ひとのために辱しめらるるは、天下の同じく悪むところなり。人わ れを指してもって禽獣とせば、人の欲するところにあらず。故に曰く、 「是あに人 の情ならんや。」と。又いわゆる「乃ちその情のごときは、すなわちもって善をな 16 すべし。 」と、即ち是この意。 16

Itō Jinsai, Gomō jigi, Itō Jinsai Itō Tōgai, Nihon shisō taikei, vol.33 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1971), pp.56-57.

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The valorization of human feelings in this particular text is often attributed to the fact that the Gomō jigi was written by a townsman (chōnin 町人) and supposedly read by a largely merchant audience.

Yet the statement is not so different from the section of

Hayashi Razan’s Santokushō quoted earlier, and it should never be forgotten that, even there, pure duty was but a last resort. Feudal bonds were never supposed to be coldly contractual. To the contrary, the ideal relationship between lord and vassal, ruler and ruled in early modern Japan was to be based on affection with superiors fulfilling the role of fathers and inferiors that of sons.

Both public and private order should have been

maintained because human feelings coincide with correct principle, and proper behavior would be a natural human response. 17

Thus, affection—the synthesis of giri and

ninjō—is the complex term of this selectionist rectangle. Not all the human desires, however, could be included in this category. One of these was romantic love. based on affection.

Intimate relationships, like all others, were supposed to be

However, it was obvious that this was not always the case and that

an alternative, passion, had the potential to disrupt domestic harmony and, thus, communal order.

The Jisilu warns:

Men and women have the order of superiority and inferiority. Husbands speak, and wives obey. These are constant principles. If people follow their feelings and do exactly as they desire, acting simply for the sake of enjoyment, men will be caught up in desire and lose their strength, while women become accustomed to enjoyment and forget about obedience. Thus, there will be misfortune, and no profit. 男女尊卑之序、夫婦有唱従之理。此常理也。若従情肆欲、唯説是動、男牽欲而失 18 其剛、婦馴説而忘其順、則凶而無所利矣。 17

Minamoto, p.49.

18

Kinshiroku, p.580. Michael J. Scanlon

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This text, for the most part, tries to eradicate everything that might damage public and domestic harmony, so passion has no positive value whatsoever in it. texts do not go as far.

Other Confucian

The Shūgi gaisho (Supplementary Writings on Accumulating

Correctness 集義外書, ca.1679), a text written by Kumazawa Banzan, contains the following response to a proposal advocating a ban on homosexual affairs: In Nakae Tōju’s Okina mondō, homosexuality is called overwhelmingly incorrect, and people are shamed and cautioned against it. To these things, I respond: in the great lands of India, China and Japan, [homosexuality] is a social practice, and it has long been something like a custom. Even if it were defended against, there would never be an end to things. Even if it is contrary to reason, one does not label incorrect something that is widespread and of long standing. As for the fact that it is not reasonable, it can be called a case where principle is pushed to the limit. If you think it lies outside reason, then you alone should not do it. It is not right to disparage others. 中江藤樹の翁問答によりて、男色を甚不義なりといひて、人をはづかしめいまし む。予これによつて云、大国天竺我国共に世の習となり、風俗のごとくなる事久 し。ふせぐともやむべからず。たとへ道理にそむける事にても、世中おしなべな し来たりて、とし久しき事をば不義といはず。道理にあらぬことは、理をきはむ る論に当てはいふべし。道理にあらぬとしらば、我のみせざるにてたれり、人を そしるべからず。 19

Passion should never be outlawed because any attempt to do so is doomed to failure—“the force of human feelings cannot be stopped” 20 —and would only serve to expose governmental weakness.

The Shūgi gaisho, however, does not stop there.

This

type of passion is actively supported because such strong feelings might be the motivation of soldiers who sacrifice themselves on the field of battle. This was in no way typical.

Texts of Confucian philosophy were almost always concerned with

19

Kumazawa Banzan, Shūgi gaisho, Banzan zenshū, vol.2 (Tokyo: Banzan Zenshū Kankōkai, 1941), p.186. 20

Op. cit., p.184.

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quotidian existence, and such proactive advocacy of passion is rare within this family of writing. More common are statements like the one in Dazai Shundai’s Seigaku mondō (Dialogue on Sagely Learning 聖学問答, 1732): Desire between men and women is a great desire of humanity. If it were left free, people would be no different from beasts, so the sages established the ritual of marriage and strictly separated men and women to prevent licentiousness. To have extraneous affairs with someone not one’s own wife or concubine was defined as a ritual violation. The Buddha completely cut off relations between husbands and wives and banned desire between men and women; this did not stop at physically avoiding these things, but even took it to be a sin to have such thoughts in one’s heart. In the Way of the [Confucian] sages, even if one looks at another’s wife, thinks in his heart of her as a beautiful woman, and takes pleasure in her appearance, as long as he does not commit a ritual violation, he is considered to be a gentleman who observes ritual. “Controlling the heart by means of ritual”—this means the following. This controlling the heart, it means keeping things on the level of thought. 男女の欲は、人の大欲にて、是を縦にすれば、禽獣と異なること無き故に、婚姻 の礼を制し、男女の別を厳にして、人の淫乱を防たまう。自己の妻妾に非ずして、 外に淫するを、非礼とす。釈氏は一向に夫婦を絶し、男女の欲を禁じて、身に其 の事を行ぜざるのみならず、心中に其の念を起すも罪とす。聖人の道には、外の 婦女を見て、心に美女なりと思ひ、其の色を悦ても、身に非礼を行はざれば、礼 を守る君子とす。 「以礼制心」とは、是をいふなり。心を制しといふは、只其の心 21 の欲を、思ふままに遂ざるをいふ。

Passionate feelings are allowable, but only as long as they are not acted upon.

This

semi-tolerance is also evident in the way in which the study of poetry was advocated in this corpus of texts.

An understanding of human feelings was considered to be a

prerequisite for legitimate worldly success, especially in the realm of governance, and a study of poetry was considered a preferred means to achieve this.

However, it was also

recognized that a large number of poems—including a good number in the Shijing (Book of Poetry 詩経), a text supposedly compiled by Confucius that became one of the most 21

Dazai Shundai, Seigaku mondō, Sorai gakuha, Nihon shisō taikei, vol.37 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1972), pp.125-126.

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important texts in the Confucian canon—were on the topic of love. The most common resolution to this conundrum was the “promoting virtue and chastising vice” (kanzen chōaku 勧善懲悪) approach advocated in the texts of Zhu Xi and his direct followers, a theory which stated that passionate love poems were written to provide negative examples, models of behavior that should be avoided.

In short, human feelings that

could not be reconciled with correct principles were presented in literary texts precisely for the purpose of strengthening correct principles in the extra-literary world.

But even

the Gomō jigi of Itō Jinsai, which argues against this orthodox approach, goes out of its way to insist that the poetry of the Shijing elucidates human feelings but has never caused any “evil practices” (hei 弊). 22

Passion is natural and should be recognized, but it is not

to be experienced directly by the proper Confucian gentleman.

Nevertheless, passion,

as a “valid” pure human feelings, forms the counterpart to duty in the selectionist rectangle. 23 Another feeling that cannot be contained within affection is a strong ambition for selfish profit, and the attitudes towards it display little of the ambivalence associated with passion.

Cunning attempts to fulfill these desires that interfere with the public order are

malevolent and illegitimate; those who carry out these actions are purely evil.

This is

made abundantly clear in the Jisilu: Mencius argued that that which separates [Sage King] Shun and [Robber] Zhi is simply the difference between correctness (gi) and profit (ri). The difference about which he talks, that which keeps them apart, is not very much at all. Their 22

Itō Jinsai, Gomō jigi, p.97.

23

In the first volume of Hiraga Gennai’s Fūryū Shikōden, it is written: “That which is the epitome of human feelings is first of all erotic desire.”

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point of contention is but a hair’s breadth. The difference between correctness and profit is simply that between public and private. Should one depart even a little from correctness, then it will be about profit. This thing called calculation, it happens because there is such a thing as profit and loss. If there were no profit and loss, then what use would there be for calculation? [Concern with] profit and loss is a constant feeling in the realm. People all seek out profit and avoid loss. A sage is not concerned with profit and loss. He looks only at whether, according to correctness, he should or should not do something. This allows him to stay within his [Heaven-granted] lot. 孟子弁舜跖之分、只義利之間。言間者謂相去不甚遠、所争毫末尓。義与利只是個 公与私也。僅出義、便以利言也。只那計較、便利是為有利害。若無利害、何用計 較。利害者天下之常情也。人皆知趣利而避害。聖人則更不論利害、只看義当為不 当為。便是命在其中也。 24

It was this calculating ambition that was most closely associated with conduct that violates human feelings and correct principles, and it was most certainly a pejorative term. In Ogyū Sorai’s Seidan (Talks on Government 政談, ca.1725), a general deterioration of morals and the public order is blamed on an excess of greedy desires among the elites of the samurai class and the ability of the merchant class to devise, implement and routinize means by which the financial resources of their social betters are usurped.

Though the

lion’s share of the blame is placed elsewhere, those rōnin causing unrest are denigrated as follows: In particular, the masterless samurai of the military class are people who know not the work of craftsmen or merchants and can [only] make their way in the world by counting on their relatives and neighbors. Recently, the morals of the military class have deteriorated. They have lost their feeling of trust, and only their thoughts of profit have grown strong. As will be discussed in volume three, this arises from the people above. With no one to look after them, they have a difficult time getting by and are led astray by bad social customs. Now, it has become the case that they lie constantly and commit various other villainous deeds. 殊に武家の浪人と言者は工商の業をも知らず、親類近付の力にて計り世を送る者 なるに、近来武家の風儀悪くなり、人に頼もしき心消失せ、只利勘の心強なる。

24

Jisilu, p.393.

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是又三巻目に云ふ如く、皆上たる人の心より起りたることにて、見継ぐ人なき故 渡世困り、世間の悪き風俗に引れて偽りばかりなど種々の悪事をすることに今は 成なり。 25

The Towazu katari (Unasked for Narration とはずかたり, 1728) by Nakai Shūan (1693-1758) both defends the merchant class, a group known for its skill at making profit, against accusations that its members were incapable of true human feelings as well as argues that calculation can be done within the bounds of correctness and be for the public good. 26

And yet the distrust of profit for profit’s sake can be found even in the writings

of the merchant-philosopher, Itō Jinsai.

In an essay of his entitled “Daigaku wa Kōshi

no isho ni arazu ben” (Arguing that the Great Learning is Not a Writing of Confucius 大 学は孔子の遺書にあらず弁) that is included in some versions of the Gomō jigi, it is

written: [The Daxue (Great Learning)] also says: “Thus, a state should not consider profit to be profitable; correctness can be said to be profitable.” But even this is something spoken from a profit-seeking mentality. Mencius said: “Why must the king always speak of profit? There are only humaneness and correctness.” Thus, when it comes to a gentleman practicing the Way, he reveres only correctness. In so doing, he puts no thought into profit’s profitability. At such a time that he basely has the mentality which takes correctness as being profitable, would it end there? He will without fail abandon correctness and grasp for profit. In general, the length of the Warring States period (403-222 B.C.) was a prolonged [period] of degeneracy, and people all took pleasure in profit. From king, lords and ministers down to the common people, all cared to hear only of profit. Therefore, even those who were called devoted Confucian scholars were constantly fretting over the fact that they could not sell their craft and necessarily tried to force themselves on others by means of [speaking about] profit. To get their craft used there were quotations such as “There is a great way in the production of wealth” and “Take correctness as being profitable.” As for the Daxue, it is blatantly obvious that it is not a writing of Confucius. 25

Ogyū Sorai, Seidan, Ogyū Sorai, Nihon shisō taikei, vol.36 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1973), p.285.

26

Tetsuo Najita, Visions of Virtue (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), pp.92-93.

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又曰く、 「これを国は利をもって利とせず、義をもって利とすと謂うなり」。是亦 利心をもってこれを言う者なり。孟子の曰く、 「王何ぞ必ずしも利を曰わん。亦仁 義有るのみ」 。それ君子の道を行うや、ただ義是尚ぶ。しこうして利の利たること を知らざるなり。いやしくも義をもって利とするの心有るときは、すなわちその 卒りや、義を捨てて利を取らざることなし。けだし戦国の間、陥溺の久しき、人 みな利を悦ぶ。しこうして王公大人よりもって庶人に至るまで、ただ利のみこれ 聞かんこれを欲す。故に被服の儒者といえども、毎にその術の售れざることを憂 い、必ず利をもって人に啗わしむ。いわゆる「財を生ずるに大道有り」 、又曰く、 「義をもって利とす」 、けだしこの術の用うるなり。大学孔子の遺書にあらざるこ と彰彰全然として明きらかなり。 27

Thus, it is self-serving calculation that functions as the neutral term in this version of the selectionist rectangle because it was typically seen as a violation of both giri and ninjō. 28 An extremely important question remains: why was it that passion was largely tolerated while calculation was not? each disrupts the public order.

One possible answer may lie in the way in which

Passion, as it was codified in early modern Japan, was

seen as a purely destructive phenomenon. Those overwhelmed by it to the point that they cause public disorder are simply annihilated, burned up by the flames of their love. Calculation, on the other hand, was part of a specifically anti-feudal ideal, a world based on pure competition in which each person did whatever was necessary to get ahead. This emphasis on talent-based competition coincided with an obvious disjuncture in the 27

Itō Jinsai, Gomō jigi, pp.104-105.

28

There would, of course, be Confucian texts that argued that calculation and an interest in profit could serve the public good, especially among those texts about merchant activity that were written by and for merchants. However, these tended to rehabilitate the pair by arguing that a desire for profit, as long as it was calculated to remain limited and fair, did not necessarily have to violate correct principles, rather than advocate the social benefits of purely self-interested competition and ambition. Moreover, it must always be remembered that these texts flourished in a highly circumscribed environment that was in many ways atypical. These pro-profit texts should probably be seen as the exception that proves the rule rather than as counterevidence that undermines the theory forwarded here. (See Tetsuo Najita’s Visions of Virtue.)

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relationship between Tokugawa world and worldview. This is readily apparent in an argument forwarded in Ogyū Sorai’s Sorai Sensei Tōmonsho (Master Sorai’s Responsals 徂徠先生答問書, 1727) that points out the unsuitability of the Song Confucianism of Zhu

Xi and his followers to contemporary Japan: The era of the Three Dynasties was an era of feudalism. From after the Qin and Han up to the Tang, Song and Ming—these were all times of centralized governments. Ages of feudalism and ages of centralized governments on the whole have different laws and regulations. In a feudal society, the realm is divided up among feudal lords, and the emperor barely governs directly. Vassals of these feudal lords have stipends and hold fiefs from generation to generation. Through some truly exceptional men are employed, social position is for the most part fixed. Gentlemen and worthies are always gentlemen and worthies; the feudal lords are always feudal lords. People’s minds are settled, and it is a calm society. Laws and regulations are rudimentary, and high and low are governed through feelings of gratitude and obligation. They put foremost the development of a sense of shame. The feudal lords and worthies govern the provinces and districts as their own possessions. In a centralized state, feudal lords are not set up, and gentlemen and worthies are so for one generation. They have no fiefs, but all take rice allotments, and these are meager. They take on large numbers of followers and gain power through this. The men who govern provinces and districts are called governors and chiefs, and they are all like magistrates and are rotated every three years. Their power and authority are weak, and their way of establishing laws and regulations differs from that of the Three Dynasties in strictness. The emperor entrusts them with the provinces and districts and furthermore transfers them every three years. Thus, it has become a custom that their first priority is to show quick results. Because there have been occasions on which a man has risen from commoner status to become prime minister, a success-seeking mindset is widespread among gentlemen and worthies. This is the great distinction between the Three Dynasties and all subsequent periods. In the ancient past, Japan was also a centralized state, but these days it has become a feudal one. Therefore, the explanations of the Tang and Song Confucians are difficult to adopt. 三代之時分は封建之世にて御座候。秦・漢以後は。唐・宋・明間でも皆郡縣之代 にて候。封建之世と郡縣之世とは。天下の制法の総体別にて御座候。封建之世は。 天下を諸侯にわりくれ候而。天子之直御治めは僅の事に候。諸侯の臣は。皆世録 にて代々知行所を持候而有之候。尤賢者を挙用る事にて候へ共。大体は人の分限 に定り有之候而。士大夫はいつも士大夫に候。諸侯はいつも諸侯に候故。人の心 定り落着候世にて候。法度も粗く候て。只上下の恩義にて治まり。廉恥を養ふ事

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を先といたし候。 諸侯も大夫も。皆わが物に致し候而国郡を治め候事にて御座 候。 諸侯立てず士大夫皆一代切に候。知行所も無く皆切米取に而緑薄く候。下司を 多くつけ候而。それにてはたばりを持候事に候。天下の国郡を治め候太守・縣令 と申候は。皆代官之様なる物にて。三年替りに候故。威勢薄く候間。法度之立様 三代と替り厳密に候。天子之之国郡を預かり候而して。しかも三年替わりに候故。 急に験の見え候事を第一に致し候風俗に候。士民より起こりて宰相までも立身い たし候事成立候事故。士大夫之立身を求め候心盛んに候。是三代と後世との大段 の分れにて御座候。 日本も古は郡縣にて候へども。今程封建に罷成候故。唐宋諸儒教の説には取用 がたき事共御座候。 29

This is an argument that specifically advocates feudalism by contrasting this familial brand of government to an inhumane system which approximates the social Darwinism of Herbert Spencer. system.

Yet it draws attention to the weakest point of the Tokugawa feudal

Ideology is only functional if it makes the way the world is (or could easily be)

seem as if it is the way the world should be, and the fact that talent did not necessarily coincide with inherited status was an obvious and acute problem during the Tokugawa period.

It was engaged by a great many Confucian texts written by a wide variety of

philosophers from the beginning of the early modern age in the seventeenth century to its close in the second half of the nineteenth. 30

Though a great many solutions to the

29

Ogyū Sorai, Sorai sensei tōmonsho, Ogyū Sorai zenshū, vol.1 (Tokyo: Mizusu Shobō, 1973), p.434. 30

A good example of this is Sorai’s Seidan, a text submitted directly to the Tokugawa government. In it, the societal degeneration caused by competition is decried, and a proposal meant to rectify the situation calls for the establishment of a system of fixed ranks each of which would be tied to a strictly enforced lifestyle and code of behavior. This was supposed to have a calming effect on human feelings, especially greed and ambition. The text, however, does not end there. A good deal of space is taken up detailing the way in which talent can be incorporated into the system to guard against ossification, a particularly acute problem due to the combination of the facts that talent is most free to rise during eras of war and chaos as well as that the contemporary period was one of peace. In other words, even a text that foregrounds the importance of order and fixity recognizes the importance of talent as well as the disorder and movement associated with it. Michael J. Scanlon

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problem would be proposed, and governmental reforms—all of which emphasized the importance of promoting men of talent—occasionally carried out, the talent conundrum would remain unresolved.

Though the attribute of talent was considered to be a positive

phenomenon, the coincidence of peace and feudalism in early modern Japan constituted perhaps the most unfavorable conditions possible for men of greater ability to flourish. So long as shogunal rule and the Tokugawa ideology remained operative, talent would present a problem, and a system that would resolve it, though imaginable, was largely taboo and considered to be wrongheaded or evil. 31 The approach taken thus far has been based on of Foucauldian discourse analysis, a detailing of “the functional conditions of specific discursive practices.” 32

The method

has been employed as an expedient means for the plotting of the boundaries of the giri-ninjō problematic because the functionality of individual texts is not of grave

31

As will be discussed later, it is possible that the relative success enjoyed in early modern Japan by Ming and Qing fiction might have been due to the fact that the long-form Chinese colloquial fiction of these periods was also conditioned by a human feelings-correct principle problematic. However, as was noted in a quotation included earlier in this section, the social systems of Ming and Qing China were very different from that of Tokugawa Japan, and talent may not have presented as large a problem to Ming and Qing China as it did to Edo-period Japan. The discrepancy in the fit between ideology and history in each country might help to account for the differences between the long-form fiction of China and Japan over these epochs. This is important for two reasons. One is that it is necessary to keep in mind that the same basic ideological paradigm can allow for a great variety of literary forms. The other is that everything I say about early modern Japanese long-form literature related to compromise, closure and the everyday in narrative may not be true for the long-form literature of Ming and Qing China. (I am not an expert in pre-modern Chinese literature, and it is not my place to make any strong comments on the subject.) 32

Michel Foucault, “What is an Author?” Language, Counter-Memory, and Practice (Ithica, NY: Cornell University Press, 1977), p.114.

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concern to it.

In literary evolution, however, the text is the primary unit of analysis

precisely because it is what gives the most immediate context to and guides the function of the discourse of which texts are made up.

The selectionist rectangle based on

giri-ninjō is only itself useful if it can be shown to give shape to individual texts, not by proactively forming their structures internally, but by establishing a framework of constraint that helps set the limits within which they develop. A good illustration of this is the Genji monogatari Tama no ogushi (The Genji Narrative: Little Bejeweled Comb 源 氏物語玉の小髪), a commentary on the Genji monogatari written by the Kokugaku

Nativist scholar Motoori no Norinaga (1730-1801) in the last decade of the eighteenth century.

The text is often taken to be a revolutionary one within its genre for reasons

laid out by Thomas Harper: [D]idacticism—first Buddhist and then Confucian—had been one of the principle modes of Genji criticism for about six centuries by the time of the publication of Genji monogatari Tama no ogushi. Nor had the influence of this point of view begun to wane by Norinaga’s time. Though occasionally critics of one persuasion attempted to confute the other—such as when Keichū scoffed at Confucian comparisons of Genji with the [Chun Qiu (Spring and Autumn Annals 春秋)] and Tameakira rejected the notion that Murasaki was the incarnation of the Boddhisattva Kannon—this was but part of the jostling that took place as the Confucians edged the Buddhists from the center of the stage. The didactic critics made many important contributions to our understanding of the Genji, but seldom were they made at the expense of the postulate that the Genji owed its greatness in part to the fact that it had moral lessons to teach. The first work of criticism to reject unconditionally both Buddhist and Confucian didactic interpretations of the Genji was Motoori Norinaga’s Genji monogatari Tama no ogushi. 33 The non-didacticism of Norinaga’s text might seem obvious from a section near the very beginning of the text: Well, what is the purpose [of fiction narratives]? Why do we read them? The vast 33

Thomas Harper, Motoori Norinaga’s Criticism of the Genji monogatari, PhD Dissertation: University of Michigan (1971), pp.116-117.

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majority of narratives have everything of the world. The good and the bad, the rare and the charming, the interesting and the moving—all of these make their appearance in writing, and to this pictures may be added. When we are idle, they amuse us. On occasions when we are upset or worried, they comfort us. They are things that teach us of the way of the world and make us sensitive to the moving-ness of things. Thus, that all narratives are written mostly on the relations between men and women is for the same reason that love poems are numerous in the anthologies of all ages—nothing so deeply engages the feelings of humans as love. さてそはいかなる趣なる物にて、何のためによむものぞといふに、大かた物語は、 世の中に有とある、よき事悪しき事、めづらしきことをかしきこと、おもしろき 事あはれなる事などさまざまを、書あらはして、そのさまを、絵にもかきまじへ などして、つれづれなるほどの、もてあそびにし、又は心のむすぼほれて、物お もはしきをりなどの、なぐさめにもし、世の中のあるやうをも心得て、ものノア はれをもしるものなり、かくていづれの物語も、男女のならひの事を、むねとお ほく書たるは、よよの歌に集共にも、恋の歌の多きと同じことわりにて、人の情 のふかくかかること、恋にまさるはなければ也。 34

and one at the beginning of the “Larger Purposes” section: As for the main point of this narrative, since long ago there have been various explanations, all of which do not seek the mindset of that which we call narrative fiction. They argue using the idiom of those everyday Confucian and Buddhist writings. This is not the intention of the author. Although occasionally there happens to be similarities or points of accord between it and the Buddhist or Confucian texts, it is not the case where one should seize on these and say that they speak for the work as a whole. Its overall import differs sharply from that type of thing, and all narrative fiction has a single significance that is distinctive to narrative. 此物語のおほむね、むかしより、説などあれども、みな物語といふもののこころ ばへを、たづねずsて、ただよのつねの儒仏などの書のおもむきをもて、論ぜら れたるは、作りぬしの本意にあらず、たまたまかの儒仏などの書と、おのづから は似たるこころ、合へる趣もあれども、そをとらへて、すべてをいふべきにあら ず、大かたの趣は、かのたぐひたは、いたく異なるものにて、すべて物語は、又 別に物がたりの一つの趣のある事にして、はじめにもいささかいへるがごとし、35

The concept of non-didacticism, however, is not as self evident as it might first appear,

34

Motoori Norinaga, Genji monogatari Tama no ogushi, Motoori Norinaga zenshū, vol.4 (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobō, 1969), p.174. 35

Op. cit., p.183.

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and the selectionist rectangle can be used to explicate it more fully. That the Genji monogatari Tama no ogushi was written within the giri-ninjō problematic is evident in a section that comes in the middle of the same “Larger Purposes” part of the commentary: In the Yūgiri Chapter, it is written: When it was others who were burning with ardor, it was irritating, and it looked and sounded as if they had lost their grip on reality. But, this was a first-hand experience, and it really was an unbearable occurrence. “How strange!” he seemed to think. However, as much as he turned things over in his mind, nothing could come of it. These are Yūgiri’s thoughts. At times when he had observed others consumed by love, he did not think them sane, was irritated, and thought it should never happen. Now it was he who was in love, and he thought that it really was an unbearable occurrence.… In coming into contact with the undeniability of love, he naturally came to feel sympathy for others in a myriad of situations not up to [the level of] this and came to understand the moving-ness of things. It is also written: “Indeed, in matters of this vein, one cannot follow the admonitions of others or even one’s own will.” These are the words of the same gentleman [Yūgiri]. They always say that it is only on the way of love that one cannot follow the admonitions of others or even one’s own will. It is because it has become a personal experience that he has come to realize that it really is like that. Because this gentleman is as serious minded as he is, things came to this… The previous phrases of this sort—“‘How strange that I feel this way,’ he thought despite himself” and “as much as he turned things over in his mind, nothing could come of it”—show the profundity and undeniability of the moving-ness of things on the way [of love]. It is something that, coming into contact with it, he is drawn to impossible transgressions and naturally takes part in behavior that goes against reason. In the case of Prince Genji, these are the Utsusemi affair, the Oborozukiyo affair, the Fujitsubo affair, and others like these. When they have to do with love, these types of absurd and violent matters are now the epitome of the profound moving-ness of things. Thus, [the author Murasaki Shikibu] purposefully writes of improper love in order to show the depth of feelings therein. 夕霧巻曰く「人のうへなどにて、かやうのすき心、思ひいらるるは、もどかしく、 うつしごころならぬことに、見聞しかど、身のうへにては、げにいとたへがたる べきわざなりけり、あやしや、などかうしも思ふらむと、おもひかへし給へど、 えしもかなはず。」夕霧君の心也。恋に思ひいらるるを、人のうへに、見聞たる時 は、うつし心とも思はれず、もどかしくて、いとあるまじきことと思ひしに、今 わが身のうへに、恋をして、思へば、げにたへがたかるべきわざ也と、おもひし れる也… 恋の心の忍びがたきにつけては、さらぬとろづの事にも、人の心の思

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ひやられて、物のあはれをしるなりけり。 又曰く、 「げにかやうのすぢにてこそ、人のいさめをも、みづからの心にも、し たがはぬやうに侍りけれ」。同じ君の詞也。恋の道ばかりは、人のいさめにも、み ずからの心にも、したがはぬ物と、世にいふは、まことにさること也と、我が身 のうへになりて、思ひしれるよし也、此君は、さばかりのまめ人なるだに、かく ぞ有ける、人のいさめをもといふ下に、詞おちたるか… 上件の文どもに、 「あや しの心やと、われながらおぼさる」 、又「思ひかへし給へど、えしもかなはず」 、 などあるをもて、此道のもののあはれの、ふかくたへがたきほどをしるべし。さ れば此すぢにつけては、さるまじきあやまちをも引いで、ことわりにそむけるふ るまひも、おのづからうちまじるわざにて、源氏君のうへにて、空蝉君の事、朧 月夜君の事、藤壺中宮の事などのごとし。恋の中にも、さやうのわりなくあなが ちなるすぢには、今一きはもののあはれのふかきことある故に、ことさらに、道 ならぬ恋をも書出て、そのあひだの、ふかきあはれを見せたるもの也。 36

As in the Confucian texts quoted above, passion is a purely private human feeling completely outside correct principles and disruptive of domestic and public order. However, in this text, the value hierarchy is inverted, and passion is set forth as an ideal quality that marks good characters. The giri-centric, “promote virtue and chastise vice” approach to literature dominant in Confucian texts is directly attacked: As for the aim of this narrative, to say that it is to promote virtue and chastise vice, or to state that it was nothing other than an admonition against eros, is to be horribly strained. The intentions of its creator are not like that. Further, it is less than likely that it could serve as an admonition [for those reading it]. Prince Genji is first of all created as the model of a good person, someone superior to others in all respects. Those who observe him should realize that the spirit and deeds of this man are always good. Nevertheless, many are the times in which love throws him into disorder, including one that has no parallel. Yet those who observe this are most likely to wonder if, since this behavior can be done by even such a good person, can it be all that bad? Among women, the Fujitsubo Empress is a particularly fine person and praised. A woman who reads about her is likely to be attracted by her character and emulate her, yet what can be said about [the author] writing about her affair with Prince Genji? If we were to speak logically, it seems possible that this might invite feelings of lust. How, then, is [the narrative] an admonition? What’s more, writing of those who do good meeting with good fortune and those who do bad meeting with ill fortune—this is certainly promoting virtue and chastising vice. You might think that Kashiwagi and Ukifune and the like do lose their status due to romantic love. But what, then, can be said about Prince Genji? He is a man who is often thrown into disarray on the 36

Op. cit., pp.216-217.

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road of love, including an egregious upsetting of the imperial line. Within the prevailing logic, the gods should hate him deeply, and he should meet with horrendous misfortune. Yet he enjoys all the good fortune this world has to offer: he has children who become emperor, empress and minister of state; he himself attains the honorary title of abdicated emperor (daijō tennō). Upon seeing that nothing of this world is denied him and that his descendents flourish for generations, who would be inspired to abstain from eros? It did happen that he suffered a temporary setback in mid-life. [The author] writes in such a way that, thinking this to be a matter of the Kokiden Empress’ crooked scheming, everyone everywhere grieves, and the very gods and buddhas blame her. If we were to drive the point, could it not be said that this lord through eros becomes an abdicated emperor? Can one really say this is chastising vice? 此物語の本意を、勧善懲悪といひ、殊には好色のいましめ也といふは、いみしき しひごと也、つくりぬしの意、さらにさることにあらず、又よむ人も、さらにさ るいましめにはなりがたし、そのゆゑは、まづ源氏君をば、よろづにすぐれて、 よき人の本に作りたれば、見む人も、此君のしわざ心を、何事もよしと心得つべ し、然るに此人殊に恋のみだれおほく、中にはたぐひなき不義もあるを、身む人 は、かかるよき人にだに、さるふるまひのあなれば、なにかはくるしからん、と やうに思ふ心こそつきもすべけれ、又女にては、藤壺中宮は、殊によき人にして、 はめたれば、これをよまむ女も、その心ばへを、ならひしたふべきわざなるに、 源氏君との事を書るをば、以下にとかいはむ、ことわりをもていはば、中々に好 色をいざなふかたこそ有もすらめ、いかでかそのいましめにはなるべき、又よき 事をしたる人は、さいはひあり、あしき事をせし人は、わざはひにあふさまに書 たらむにこそ、勧善懲悪にあらめ、かの柏木君浮船君などの、恋によりて、身を うしなひたるなどをもて、さも思ふめれど、さては源氏君をば、何とかいはむと する、さばかり恋のすぢには、みだれおほくして、殊にいともかしこき、みかど の御たねをさへ、みだり奉りたる人なれば、よのつねの論をもていはば、神も深 くにくみとがめ給ひて、いみしき禍にもあひ給ふべきに、よのかぎりめでたく栄 えて、帝と后と大臣とを、御子にもち給ひ、その身太上天皇の尊号をさへ得給ひ、 大かた此世にあかぬ事なく、末末までさかえたまうふを見ては、たれかは好色を つつしむ心をばおこさむ、中ごろしばししづみ給ふこと有しは、弘徽殿大后の、 よこさまにかまへ給へるすぁざとして、天の下の人みなかなしみ、神仏もとがめ 給ふさまに書たれば、いよいよ好色のいましめにはなりがたく、懲悪の意さらに なし、なほしひて、ことわりをもていひはげまさば、此君は、好色によりて、太 37 上天皇にはなり給へるにあらずや、かくてもなほ懲悪といはむとするか。

Further, correct conduct devoid of human feelings is presented as problematic.

Though

the text lists several examples of minor characters that could be placed inside this section of the selectionist rectangle, the most noteworthy is the one nominated in following 37

Op. cit., pp.222-223.

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selection: Well, it is often said that monks are insensitive to the moving-ness of things. In the Kashiwagi Chapter, it says: “I ask you to take pity on me,” says Genji. The Third Princess replies, “I have heard that people in my condition are insensitive to the moving-ness of things. And how much more so I, who have always been so…” This is something that takes place after the Third Princess has cut her hair [when taking the Buddhist precepts]. Genji`s statement means: “Even though you have become a nun, please understand my feelings and be moved by them.” The Princess’ reply could be translated: “I have heard that all people who have taken the tonsure like this are insensitive to the moving-ness of things. But it is worse for me, who am a worthless soul originally insensitive to that which is moving? What would you have me say?” This occurs because it was long said that monks are insensitive to the moving-ness of things. Well, now, the reason monks are said to be insensitive is because the Way of the original Buddha involved doing things like completely forsaking the bonds of affection with father and mother, wife and child; taking on a regrettable guise; forsaking home and fortune to take refuge in the wilderness; renouncing the tastes of meat and fish and the sounds of song and sex. These were all the most difficult things for the human heart to bear. Were his heart weak from being sensitive to the moving-ness of things, then these would have been near impossible to carry out. Thus, his was a Way on which he had to strengthen his resolve and be insensitive to the moving-ness of things. Counseling people or guiding them [on the Way] would have been most difficult were he weak willed and thinking about the moving-ness of the things of this world. Therefore, even though it may appear in the short term that he was insensitive, he taught because he was moved by the long-term sufferings of delusion. By the standards of Buddhism, he in reality was deeply sensitive to the moving-ness of things. [Buddhism] is at heart the same as the Confucian teachings and the like. “They found the sharp devotion of the Ajari Adept to be harsh and hateful”—this is written in the Shiigamoto Chapter when the daughters of the Eighth Prince are beside themselves with sadness upon his death, and the Adept—disregarding the feeling between parent and child—coldheartedly tells them that they should take up the spirit of the Way and abandon their feelings of attachment. They find him too resolute, his advice this harsh and hateful. It is due to things like this that people say monks are not sensitive to the moving-ness of things. さて法師を、物ノアはれしらぬものにいへることあり、柏木君巻曰「なほあはれ とおほせと聞こえたまへば、かかるさまの人は、もののあはれもしらぬものとこ そ聞しを、ましてもとよりしらぬことにて云云、これは女三宮の、かざりおろし 給へる後の事にて、源氏君の、出家はし給ひつれども、なほわが心ざしをば、あ

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はれとおぼせと、聞こえ給へば、宮の御答に、すべてかく出家したる人は、物の あはれはしらぬ物也と聞侍るを、まして我は、もとより物のあはれはしらぬ、い ふかひなき身なれば、何とかは御いらへは聞こえさせんと也、これ法師は、もの のあはれしらぬものに、いひならへるによりてなり。 そもそもかくほうしを、もののあはれしらぬものにいふなるよしは、先仏の道 は、はなれがたき父母妻子の恩愛を、きよくふりすて、おしき身の形をやつし、 家をもたからをもすてて、山林にこもり、魚肉の味声色の楽をたちなど、すべて 人の情の、しのびがたきかぎりなれば、心よわく物のあはれをしりては、おこな ひがたきすぢなれば、しひて心づよく、あはれしらぬものになりて、おこなふ道 也。又人をすすめみちびくにも、此世のもののあはれを思ひ、心よわくては、物 しがたし。そはしばしあはれしらぬやうなれど、長きよの闇にまどはむことを、 あはれみてのをしへなれば、其道よりいへば、まことは物のあはれを深くしれる 也。儒のをしへなども、その心ばへは、同じことぞかし、椎が本巻に、亜闍梨の、 あまりさかしきひじり心を、にくくつらしとなんおぼしけるとある。これ宇治の 八宮の、かくれ給へるほど、その姫君たちの、いみしくかなしくおぼせるに、亜 闍梨の、仏の道の意をもて、執着の心をはなれしめむとて、おやこのあはれをか へりみず、つれなきさまに聞こえしらするを、あまり心づよく、にくくつらしと 38 おぼせるにて、ほうしの物のあはれしらぬといふは、大かたかやうになる故也。

The holy man takes a coldly doctrinaire approach to a Buddhistic code of correct principle, a form of correct principle that was recognized as being dominant at the time of the Genji monogatari’s production. Obviously, this Buddhist priest is not considered to be a good character, much less a model of behavior.

However, neither is he depicted as

a villain or evil in any way. In the end, Norinaga’s text portrays him as simply being misguided.

It should also be noted that the presence and function of this holy man is

clearly of greater importance to the eighteenth-century commentary than to the eleventh-century narrative.

In the Genji monogatari itself, this Buddhist priest is the

most minor of characters who appears but briefly, while in the Tama no ogushi he is included in the central discussion of the Genji monogatari, and his behavior is linked with some of that text’s most important characters in one of its most central stories as well as the narrative of Śākyamuni Buddha, the originator of the Buddhistic code of 38

Op. cit., pp.206-207.

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Correct principle, though not the mark of a superior person, was still

vital to the epistemological structure that helps orient the Genji monogatari Tama no ogushi.

It is simply that, in this text, human feelings are the mark of extraordinary men

and women, while correct principle is a necessary evil for the maintenance of that mundane order from which these heroes and heroines stand out. The value inversion of the giri-ninjō problematic in the Tama no ogushi explains its non-didacticism to a great extent.

Taken alone, however, it is not sufficient. The

text, after all, does provide negative examples, models to be avoided at all costs.

The

text clearly states that, if good characters are marked by their sensitivity to the moving-ness of things (mono no aware もののあわれ), the worst crime possible is the falsifying of emotion for personal gain.

Further, the main villain of the text, the

Kokiden Empress, is described as follows: Regarding the fact that being insensitive to the moving-ness of things was considered bad, it says in the Kiritsubo Chapter: At a time when the sound of the wind or the cry of an insect would plunge [the Emperor] into a fit of melancholy, the moon was captivating, at least to the Kokiden Empress who had not made her way to the imperial quarters in some time now. Deep into the night she had music made. This unrelenting and uncompromising lady must be carrying on like this to show that nothing was amiss. The ladies-in-waiting, who were witness to his condition, listened in horror. This is the manner of one who is not sensitive to the moving-ness of things. It was a time when “the sound of the wind or the cry of an insect would plunge [the Emperor] into a fit of melancholy,” how could anyone with a heart be captivated by the moon, much less hold a concert? It is like they say—all moons can appear either charming or threatening, it depends on the viewer. “Carrying on like this to 39

Though the dominant form of “correct principle” in Edo-period Japan can be categorized as Confucian, there were also recognized alternative versions of legitimate giri. Daoist and Buddhist ones had histories in Japan dating back centuries before the dawn of early modernity, and a Shinto-based version would evolve in the writings of Kokugaku Nativist scholarship.

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show that nothing was amiss” shows her disregard of the emperor’s sorrow. “His condition” refers to the sight of the grieving Emperor… For the most part, the narrative sets aside Genji’s illicit affairs. They are not even said to be all that bad. As in the foregoing citations, it terms evil and insensitive all those who think Genji to be bad and try to hurt him. This is because Genji, being sensitive to the moving-ness of things, is considered to be a good person. If one were to talk according to the standards of Confucianism or the like, as is typical in orthodox arguments, the Fujitsubo Consort would have to be called a worse person than the Kokiden Empress. Yet the former is better than the rest of the world and a model for a good person, while Kokiden, who carried on no illicit affairs, is an extraordinarily evil person. This can be said because [texts of] narrative fiction take a sensitivity to the moving-ness of things as their center and consider it to be a mark of goodness. さてもののあはれをしらぬを、あやしきことにしたるは、桐壺巻云、 「風の音蟲の ねにつけても、物のみかなしうおぼさるるに、弘徽殿には、久しううへの御つぼ ねにもまうのぼり給はず、月のおもしろきに、夜ふくるまで、あそびをぞし給ふ なる。いとおしたち、かどかどしきところものし給ふ御方にて、事にもあらず、 おぼしけちて、もてなし給ふなるべし。此ごろの御けしきを見奉るうへ人女房な どは、かたはらいたしと聞けり。 」物のあはれをしらぬ人のやう、かくぞ有ける。 帝は、風のおと虫の音にも、ものをかなしくおぼしめすころしも、心あらむ人は、 月をおもしろしとは見給ひなんや。まして御あそびなどし給ひなんや。すべて月 は、見る人から、えんにもすごくもといへるごとくなるに、ここに月のおもしろ きにとは、こきでんの御心をもて書る也。ことにもあらず、おぼしけちてとは、 帝のかなしみ給ふを、事ともし給はぬ也。此ごろの御けしきとは、みかどのかな しみ給ふみけしきをいふ也… そもそも此物語のあるやう、源氏君の不義の事をばおきて、さしもあしきさま にもいはず。ただ源氏君のかたさまに、心よからず、あしくあたれる人をば、み な物のあはれしらず。あやしき人としたること、上の件のごとし。そは源氏君を、 もののあはれしりて、よき人とするが故也。もしよのつねの論のごとく、儒の道 などのこころばへをもていはむには、藤つぼの中宮などをこそは、弘徽殿大后よ りも、あしき人にいふべきを、それをば、よにすぐれて、よき人のほんにいひて、 不義などはおはしまさぬ。こきでんなどをしも、かくいみしくあしき人にいへる は、物語は、物のあはれをしれるかたを、むねととりて、よきこととすればぞか 40 し。

Though this text would seem to imply it, it is important to realize that Kokiden was not typically seen as a paragon of feminine virtue within Confucian commentaries on the Genji monogatari, for most early modern commentaries categorize Kokiden as an

40

Op. cit., pp.204-206.

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irredeemable villain. Her concert would be seen as part of a cunning attempt to hurt her husband by making light of his grief upon the death of his low-ranking paramour, Genji’s mother.

Actions like these, though technically permissible, are not merely contrary to

human feelings.

They also openly violate correct principle. From both the Nativist

and Confucian points of view, Kokiden is evil because her self-serving ambition places the character in the neutral section of the selectionist rectangle based on the giri-ninjō dynamic. 41

This puts the valorization of human feelings at the expense of correct

conduct in this text—as well as a good deal of Nativist exegetical writings on literary and historical texts—into proper perspective. Though it can be seen as a form of opposition to the dominant Confucian ideological structures of the early modern period, an emphasis on human feelings was most certainly not intrinsically revolutionary.

Rather, protest by

means of passion was a form of rebellion provided for by the system as a whole, an allowable resistance that could be managed fairly easily. 42 In the final instance, the non-didacticism of the reading of the Genji monogatari forwarded in the Tama no ogushi stems from the way Norinaga’s text treats bonds of affection, the complex term of the giri-ninjō selectionist rectangle.

This space is barely

41

The association of Kokiden with a Confucian code of wifely behavior might make it seem as if the author of the Tama no ogushi would, were he to make use of the analytic tool, like to place her character in the section for correct principles devoid of human feelings on the giri-ninjō selectionist rectangle. However, the actions from the Genji monogatari with which she is associated in the Tama no ogushi—all of which have to do with her violating codes of proper behavior in order to further her own ends—show that, within Norinaga’s text, the Kokiden Empress fits into its neutral position. 42

In other words, although Nativist writings were used to legitimize the actions taken by the revolutionaries who brought about the Meiji Restoration and the resulting bourgeois capitalist state in the later nineteenth century, there is no necessary structural linkage whatsoever between this school of philosophy and the rise of Japan’s modernity.

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filled within the “Larger Purposes” section of the Genji monogatari Tama no ogushi. The closest possible candidate can be found in a discussion of the conundrum faced by Ukifune, who is torn between the loves of Kaoru and Niō: The way that Ukifune is drawn in so quickly by Prince Niō, while keeping Lord Kaoru on the side, is all too frivolous and feckless, and could perhaps be thought even a little hateful. However, when you read what is written at length about her feelings afterwards, it would seem that one would have to be moved. In the Ukifune Chapter, it is written: “How can I possibly receive him?” she thought, ashamed and frightened even while alone. As she began to think to herself about the appearance of that man who had been so forceful, she remembered that she was about to meet this one. She was forlorn. [Niō] had said that he had lost interest in those women whom he had been seeing for years, and it was true. Afterwards, she heard that, because he had taken ill, he had none of his wandering ways, and a great fuss was being made in prayers for him. Wondering about what he might be thinking was very painful. This man had a distinguished air about him as well as an appearance of depth and liveliness. When speaking of that long period of neglect, he said little and did not bow down speaking of love and sadness. Instead, in a well-mannered way he talked of the pain of a loving someone whom he cannot meet often. It was better than when people talk a lot, and she was moved. He was the type of man who could seize upon a person’s thoughts. Extraordinary was his charming appearance, and he had—to an unmatched degree—a disposition such that one could trust him over time. “When word of my unforeseen change of heart leaks, it will be extraordinary. Things will be bad,” she thought, and she grew dark with despair as she thought about how frivolous and wrong it was for her to be touched by the one ardent enough to lose his sanity as well as how this one might condemn and forget her… The degree of emotion in her heart is such that even a tiger or wolf would weep for her. 又浮船は、薫君をおきながら、匂宮に、たやすくなびきたるほどのさまは、あま り心かろくあだあだしく、すこしにくくさへおぼゆれども、後にその思へる心を、 かきつづけたるをよめば、又あはれさやらんかたなし。そのおもへるやう、浮船 巻云「いかで見え奉らむとすらんと、そらさへはづかしう心うき、我はとしごろ 見る人をも、皆思ひかはりぬべきここちなむするとのたまひしを、げに其の後、 御ここちくるしとて、いづくにも々、例の御有様ならで、御す法などさわぐなる をきくに、又いかに聞ておぼさむとおもふも、いとくるし、此人はたいとけはひ ことに、心ふかくなまめかしきさまして、久しかりつるおこたりなどのたまふも、 ことおほからず、恋しかなしとおりたたねど、つねにあひ見ぬ恋のくるしさを、 さまよきほどに、うちのたまへる、いみしういふにはまさりて、いとあはれと、

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人の思ひぬべきさまを、しめたまへる人がら也。えんなるかたはさる物にて、行 末長く、人の頼みぬべき心ばへなど、こよなくまさり給へり、思はずなるさまの 心ばへなど、もりきかせ給はむとき、なのめならず、いきしくこそあべけれ、あ やしううつしごころもなく、おぼしいらるる人を、あはれと思ふも、それはいと あるましく、かろきことぞかし、此人にうしとおもはれて、わすれ給ひなん心ぼ そさは、いとふかうしみぬべければ」云々。 43 …などある心のほど、まことにとらおほかみだにも、なきぬべきあはれさ也。

In this section, Kaoru exemplifies affection, while Niō is all passion.

However, neither

of these characters is important unto himself within the logic of this argument; they are only presented to show the difficulty of Ukifune’s position. This does not mean that instances of affection or characters notable for their combination of giri and ninjō cannot be found in the Genji monogatari.

In fact, it is precisely this that is stressed within

previous didactic commentaries, be they of a Nativist bent or a Confucian one. The Genji monogatari Shinshaku (A New Understanding of the Genji Narrative 源氏物語新 釈, 1758), a Genji commentary written by Kamo no Mabuchi (1697-1769), Norinaga’s

Nativist predecessor, chides Ukifune for not choosing Kaoru immediately, and Kumazawa Banzan’s Genji gaiden (Supplementary Instructions on the Genji 源氏外伝, 1677) says of the relationship between Genji and Murasaki: Though her looks might not be up to those of others in the capital, people with good hearts are the types that get better as you look upon them more closely. Good-looking people with bad hearts, even if they look good as a stranger, are types that look worse and worse as you become familiar with them. Spouses are intimate friends. The physical attraction of looks is a matter that lasts for a month or two at the outset for young people. Afterwards, they settle into a mutual friendship of the heart. The looks of a person with a good heart will naturally be not base. 都て形はおとりても、心よき人はそひよりしみまさりするものなり。かたちよく ても心よからぬ人は、よそよりみてはよけれども、馴るるに随ひてみおとりする 者なり。夫婦は内にしての友なり。色かたちをいふは、わかきどちその始、一二

43

Op. cit., pp.221-222.

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ヶ月の間の事なり。後には互いに心を友とするにうちつくものなり。心の能人は、 44 かたちもおのづからいやしからず。

Didactic texts are interested in resolving problems or even showing that problems never should have existed in the first place. Norinaga’s text, on the other hand, is much more interested in the problems themselves, and his Tama no ogushi does not argue against affection so much as it simply ignores it. That the Genji monogatari could be read within the giri-ninjō problematic is undeniable. However, the Genji monogatari Tama no ogushi goes further, claiming that the piece of eleventh-century fiction should be read in this way because it was Murasaki Shikibu who held this passion-centric worldview and providing a good deal of corroborating documentary evidence for this theory.

This is simply not correct,

something evident in the giri-ninjō reading’s absolute inability to explain the overarching plot of the Genji monogatari.

The Genji monogatari’s eponymous protagonist could at

various times be placed at either in the passion section (when he is in pursuit of women) or the affection one (when he takes care of women after his ardor calms), and the character displays is no progress from one to the other as the narrative unfolds. beginning to end, he simply oscillates between the two positions. written within a completely separate problematic. 45

From

The Genji itself was

It was Norinaga’s commentary, not

Murasaki’s narrative, that was shaped by the giri-ninjō problematic, and his “proof” only

44

Kumazawa Banzan, Genji gaiden, Banzan zenshū, vol.2 (Tokyo: Banzan Zenshū Kankōkai, 1941), p.461. 45

As was pointed out to me by Yoneda Mariko, a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Letters at Osaka University, the Genji monogatari was probably written within a conflict between beauty (bi 美) and usefulness (jitsu 実).

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shows the indirect connection between literature and literary criticism. Literary texts serve as an intermediate environment between an analytic text and the age of its production, one that in some ways serves as a limiting pressure on literary criticism. But that is all.

The imperfection in the fit between commentary and literary work needs

not be lamented, but it does show the distance between the world of the Genji monogatari and that of early modern Japan, and this might help to account for the limited popularity of Murasaki’s text during the Edo period.

In early modern Japan, the Genji monogatari

was not often read from beginning to end simply as a piece of long-form fiction that could meaningfully engage contemporary reality so much as read as a classic, often in chapbook form, or studied in piecemeal fashion by would-be poets as a model for composition.

The forms of long-form narrative that would dominate the literary

environment due to their commercial success were the ones evolved during the period in which the giri-ninjō problematic was already strong, and it is an analysis of these that will make up the rest of the body of this study. 46

46

My thesis is simply that the giri-ninjō problematic was dominant during Japan’s early modern era so the vast majority of texts which belong to genres first evolved in the Edo period were conditioned by it. I imply neither that this conflict was the only one operative during this epoch nor that there are no texts written in Edo-period Japan which were conditioned by alternative problematics. For instance, Chikamatsu Monzaemon’s Shusse Kagekiyo (Kagekiyo Victorious 出世景清, 1686) probably fits better into the logical limits of a conflict between feelings and transcendence—a problematic that was strongest during the Muromachi period—than into those of one between giri and ninjō. It is just important to keep in mind that a text like the Shusse Kagekiyo is an exception, not the rule.

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A tragic void Jōruri takes the human heart as its seed and takes form in a myriad of scenes. People in the course of their lives are stimulated by actions and events, so they use the seen and unseen, and create. When you look at domestic ones that valorize romantic love (koi) and the historical ones that clarify correct principles (giri), could there be anyone who has lived even a short while who does not like this Way? That which can cause people to feel without the application of energy, which can move even a mother-in-law who detests the bride, which can soothe the heart of a stingy father—it is this Way. Chikuhō koji (1756) Naniwa Sanjin On the sixth day of the fourth month of 1703, a one-act play entitled Sonezaki shinjū (Love Suicides at Sonezaki 曽根崎心中) written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon opened in the Takemoto-za theater of Osaka.

The play was an immediate and

overwhelming success. The theater, which had been in difficult financial straits, became profitable; the lead chanter, who performed the dialogue and narration of the play while seated to the right of the stage as puppets acted out the drama at its center, became a star; other theatrical companies began to perform the play; a stream of similarly plotted plays began to flow from the brushes of Chikamatsu and his competitors.

The play is set

within the contemporary quotidian world, and its plot is relatively uncomplicated. Tokubei, a clerk in an Osaka soy sauce shop, meets his love, the courtesan Ohatsu, and relates recent happenings.

The owner of the soy sauce shop has tried to force Tokubei to

marry into his family, but Tokubei refuses due to his love for Ohatsu.

His greedy

mother, however, has accepted the dowry money, and Tokubei is forced to travel to his hometown and force her to return it. While on his way to return the money to his

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employer, however, he loans the money to his friend, Kuheiji, who promises he will return it to him the next day and even has Tokubei write out a contract to which he affixes his seal.

Just as Tokubei finishes with his account, Kuheiji noisily makes his way into

the pleasure quarters. When Tokubei asks for the return of his money, Kuheiji denies ever having borrowed it.

Confronted with his promissory note, Kuheiji exclaims that he

had lost track of his seal during the time in which Tokubei was away, and the hapless Tokubei is accused of theft and forgery.

Tokubei tries to attack him, but is abused for

his efforts, and ends up leaving in utter defeat. The next scene begins with Ohatsu and Tokubei engaged in a conversation which is interrupted when Kuheiji enters and announces that he is going to buy out Ohatsu’s contract. Tokubei, who has hidden himself beneath Ohatsu’s robes, hears this and signals to her that he wants to commit a lover’s suicide with her. The final scene depicts their journey from the Dōjima pleasure quarters to the Sonezaki Shrine and their suicide there. A temporal integration that meaningfully links past to present, present to future is clearly operative in this play, and this is the precise function of long-form plots. They link beginnings to middles to ends in extended narrative. Thus, actions taken in the past by Tokubei are the cause of his predicament in the present, and this helps to determine his future. there.

The importance of time and its meaningful passage to this text does not end Matsuda Osamu points out that it was time—specifically the inability to make a

scheduled payment—that is the most direct cause of the hero’s flight from the quotidian world in love-suicide plays. 47

47

Moreover, in the Sonezaki shinjū, the michiyuki scene—a

Matsuda Osamu, “Kaisetsu Kōshoku ichidai otoko e no michi,” Kōshoku ichidai otoko, Michael J. Scanlon

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journey through both time and space as well as the poetic tradition that is said to function as the means by which a common and weak man becomes heroic—begins with an indication of time’s passing, the ringing of a temple bell.

Whether this serves to

accentuate the break between the normal time of life and the extraordinary one of death or simply to indicate the cause of the deaths, a conspicuous awareness of time and a strong sense of temporal integration are what makes this narrative possible and lie at its heart.

The play is also clearly written within the giri-ninjō problematic.

As many

previous scholars have noted, the hero, torn between his passion for Ohatsu and the cold duty he feels towards his manager and the public order in general, escapes by leaving this world. Most of these same scholars also categorize this play as a tragedy. 48 is something obviously wrong with this.

Yet there

Tragedies engender feelings of fear and awe in

the audience because tragic narratives have plots in which two positive values are placed into an inevitable conflict within the consciousness of a single character. The tragic hero tries to unite them, but necessarily fails, and the plots conclude with either the ruin of both values or the triumph of one in such a way that the worth of both is called into question. 49

In the Sonezaki shinjū, however, the suicide of Tokubei and Ohatsu is

Shinchō Nihon koten shūsei 48 (Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 1982), p.271. 48

Obviously enough, I use tragedy in an Aristotelian sense, which both is a still valid usage in twenty-first-century scholarship and was prevalent at the end of the nineteenth century when it was translated into Japanese as higeki (悲劇) and first associated with Chikamatsu’s love-suicide plays. It should also be noted that, within the field of Chikamatsu studies, there is some debate over whether or not this text is a true tragedy. (See Andrew Gerstle’s discussion of this in his “The Concept of Tragedy in Japanese Drama.”) 49

Franco Moretti, “The Great Eclipse,” Signs Taken for Wonders (New York: Verso, 1988), pp.42-82. Michael J. Scanlon

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completely underdetermined.

The play could easily have ended differently.

Donald

Keene notes: “the sad conclusion of the [Sonezaki shinjū] could have been averted if only somebody had proved Kuheiji was lying. (A revised version of the play, possibly written by Chikamatsu himself, added a scene in which Kuheiji’s guilt is disclosed.)” 50 reworked Sonezaki was hardly a unique exception.

This

The early eighteenth century

abounds in domestic plays (sewamono 世話物) in which similar conflicts between passion and duty were resolved happily, including seven such pieces written by Chikamatsu.

Moreover, as should be apparent in the close of the Sonezaki shinjū, the

conflict between giri and ninjō ends in a most un-tragic fashion: “Hail Amida Buddha! Hail Amida Buddha! Hail Amida Buddha!” [he says] as he cuts into her deeper and deeper, his arm going tired. When he sees her weaken, he stretches out his arms, twists the blade deeper and deeper, but strength has left his arm. The Four Sufferings and Eight Sufferings of her death throws—the sadness could never be put in words. “Must I lag behind you? Let us draw our last breathe together!” [he says], taking the razor and stabbing it into his throat, until it seems that the either the handle will break or the blade will snap. He digs away, and his eyes grow dim. At dawn, on the fated hour of his death, his painful breathing stops. Who will tell this story? It is heard by the underlying wind [of gossip] in the Sonezaki woods, and this transmits it. High and low alike hold memorial services. There is no doubt that the two will attain Buddhahood in the future. They have become models of true love. 南無阿弥陀仏、南無阿弥陀仏、南無阿弥陀仏と。刳り通し、刳り通す腕先も、弱 るを見れば、両手を押べ、断末魔の四苦八苦、あはれと言ふもあまりあり。 我とても遅れうか、息は一度に引き取らんと、剃刀取って喉に突き立て、柄も 折れよ、刀も砕けと、抉り、くりくり目もくるめき、苦しむ息も暁の、知死期に つれて絶えはてあり。 誰が告ぐるとは、曽根崎の森の下風音に聞こえ、とり伝へ、貴賎君集の回向の 種、未来成仏疑ひなき、恋の手本となりにけり。 51

50

Donald Keene, World within Walls, p.259.

51

Chikamatsu Monzaemon, Sonezaki shinjū, Chikamatsu Monzaemon shū, vol.2, Shinpen Nihon koten bungaku zenshū 75 (Tokyo: Shōgakkan, 2000), pp.42-43. Michael J. Scanlon

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The suicides are not a sign of passion’s defeat in the face of the demands of duty.

To the

contrary, they constitute an act of passion in its purest form, and the audience is assured that the two achieved rebirth in Amida’s Pure Land where the petty demands of the quotidian world are inoperative, so this moment becomes eternal.

The original function

of the Pure Land in the Amidist faiths—to provide a space free of the pressures of ordinary life in order to enable the faithful to escape all attachment—is inverted with the final, total victory of ninjō over giri. As in the Genji monogatari Tama no ogushi analyzed earlier, passion—human feeling in its purest form—is held up as the ultimate value, while correct principle is nothing more than a necessary evil for the smooth functioning of the everyday order. 52

Tokubei and Ohatsu are not defeated characters

destroyed by the mundane world, but victorious ones who decide to reject the demands of quotidian existence for the transcendent value of romantic love. It should also be noted that the action taken by the hero to resolve his predicament is completely disproportionate to the dilemma facing him.

His problem

stems from his trusting nature, and his mistake was both understandable and unlikely to happen again. Tokubei could have learned his lesson.

In addition, even though

Tokubei would have had to pay for his misstep with a loss of freedom that comes with marrying into a superior’s family and would no longer be able to see his love interest, such a violent end, so graphically portrayed, seems excessive.

Tokubei was set to

52

The similarity between the two texts is not because one directly influenced the other. Rather, it is a convergence due to the fact that they were both written under the same basic selective pressures of the giri-ninjō dynamic.

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become the heir to a thriving business, and the topic of lovers who cannot meet had a long history of being romanticized within the previous literary tradition. The avoidability and excess of the ending are important because they are hallmarks of what Franco Moretti has called “moving literature” 53 —something which could also be termed sentimental narrative—because texts of this type provoke a different reaction in their readers: tears.

It is not surprising that the last line of a later love-suicide play written by

the same author is a statement saying all who hear of the lovers’ plight are reduced to tears, 54 and there is evidence that real readers and audience members had a similar reaction, including the following poem of the Sode botan (Peony Sleeve 袖牡丹, 1731), a collection compiled by the haikai poet Chiseki: Master of masters! Master of masters! The lies of Chikamatsu Pool into real tears

名人々々 めいじん々々 近松がうそは 誠に泪ぐむ 55

In no way is the lack of tragic gravitas unique to the Sonezaki shinjū. There were, in fact, no tragedies written within the giri-ninjō problematic during the whole of Japan’s early modern period. Those works that end well for the protagonists are melodrama, and those that conclude with their destruction should be classified as sentimental narratives. 56 53

Franco Moretti, “Kindergarten,” Signs Taken for Wonders (New York: Verso, 1988), pp.157-181.

54

The play, which will be analyzed in detail below, is the Shinjū ten no Amijima.

55

Nagatomo Chiyoji, Kinsei Kamigata Jōruri-bon shuppan no kenkyū (Tokyo: Tōkyōdō Shuppan, 1999), p.13.

56

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Japanese tradition. There are many tragedies within the corpus of nō drama. This was possible because many nō plays—despite the fact that the texts that make up this genre cannot be said to possess long-form plot structures—seem to have been written within a conflict between feelings and transcendence, a problem perhaps conditioned by the positive importance of feelings within art—the plots of many nō texts are outgrowths of famous stories of the previous literary tradition—and the centrality of detachment within the teachings of Buddhism. A reading of the famous nō drama Matsukaze (松風, ca.1410) might serve to clarify matters. The text begins with a wandering monk arriving at the shores of Suma and asking a local about a pine tree to which a poem-slip has been attached. When told that it is a memorial to two sisters—Matsukaze (which could mean either “wind in the pines” or “waiting wind”) and Murasame (which means “passing rain”)—who had passed away centuries before, the monk says a prayer for the repose of their souls. The action then cuts to a scene in which the two sisters, as they gather seawater in order to make salt, sing of their plight. Having fallen in love with the court noble and famous poet Nariwara no Yukihira, who had been exiled to Suma, the two are doomed to wander the earth as spirits because they are able to overcome neither their love for him nor the overwhelming grief they felt upon being abandoned by him upon the completion of his sentence. The sisters bring the water they have gathered to the salt house, which the traveling monk approaches to request shelter. Initially rebuffed, he is allowed to enter when Matsukaze learns that he is a monk. Upon entering, he talks of the legend of Matsukaze and Murasame and asks about their strong reaction to his words. The two then relate their story, and Matsukaze puts on the robe Yukihira left behind as a keepsake. The play concludes with Matsukaze alone after she, deluded, persists that a pine tree is her beloved despite the counsel of her sister. In short, the play begins with both sisters tortured by their long-held feelings of love for Yukihira and the knowledge that they can only escape this suffering by transcending them. By the end of the play, Murasame has accomplished this and has left her sister behind to fend for herself, but the seemingly absolute logical incompatibility of these two positive values has—in a manner typical of tragic heroes—driven Matsukaze insane. Bereft of both real feeling and true transcendence, Matsukaze would be located in the neutral section of the selectionist rectangle at the terminus of the narrative. A happy ending is not offered, nor would it seem even possible. If tragedies were possible within the feeling-transcendence problematic, this in no way implies that all narratives developed within it were tragic. There was, after all, a solution to this seemingly categorical conflict: Bodhisattva compassion. This concept, which has long been the focus of much exegetical effort within Buddhist writings, is basically an aspiration on the part of fully enlightened beings to aid others escape the pains of samsara that does not bring about the sufferings associated with attachment. A vast number of plays in the nō repertoire end with the suffering protagonist achieving enlightenment and, thus, becoming able to combine legitimate feelings with proper transcendence. By the dawn of the early modern age at the latest, even the performance tradition of nō drama had evolved in such a way that tragedies took up relatively little of a day’s stage time. The Hachijō Kadensho (Writing the Teachings of the Flower, in Eight Chapters 八条花伝書), a piece of nō criticism written in the second half of the

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This assertion holds true even for the text held up by modern scholars as the exemplary tragedy of its genre, the Shinjū ten no Amijima (Love Suicides at Heavenly Amijima 心中天の網島), another love-suicide play written by Chikamatsu in 1720 to be performed by the chanter Matsuyū of the Takemoto theater. 57 the Sonezaki pleasure quarters of Osaka.

The first act is set within

The courtesan Koharu waits for her customer

explaining that her feelings for the paper merchant Jihei are not as deep as the slanderous rumors spread by the merchant Tahei—Jihei’s rival for Koharu’s attentions—would have it.

Suddenly, Tahei bursts into her room and, mistakenly thinking her arriving customer

to be Jihei in a samurai disguise, accosts him. Tahei is soon vanquished, and Koharu begins to confide to the “samurai” that she wishes to break the promise she made with Jihei to commit a lovers’ suicide with him.

Jihei, who has been eavesdropping, tries to

attack Koharu for her betrayal only to be subdued by Koharu’s guest.

Tahei suddenly

appears again on stage to abuse Jihei, but, having been wrestled down by the supposed

seventeenth century, stipulates that a typical program consists of six plays in the following order: god play, warrior play, woman play, demon play, morality play, and an auspicious play. Tragedies, such as Matsukaze, were mainly included within the third category, and it is possible to see them as somehow constituting the “center” of nō as a performance art, but it could just as easily be argued that the theatrical tradition insulated audience members from the tragedies of its repertoire to a great degree. The day’s program is contained within two almost plot-less pieces of praise, and the possibly tragic pieces were surrounded by what tended to be melodramatic narratives that resolve the conflict happily. 57

Though it lies outside the main argument of this section, the genealogy of the Shinjū ten no Amijima should be made clear. The direct ancestor of this play is said to be the Umeda shinjū (Love Suicides at Umeda 梅田心中, 1706), a jōruri text written by a different playwright, Ki no Kaion (1663-1742). Thus, even though the texts analyzed in this section were all the products of Chikamatsu’s brush, the general theory discussed in the previous chapter holds true. Texts beget texts, and these are organized into genres. Authors play only an indirect and secondary role.

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samurai and kicked by Jihei, leaves to gales of laughter.

The alleged samurai is then

revealed to be Jihei’s brother, Magoemon, who says he disguised himself to show Jihei that his love for a prostitute was misplaced. Jihei proclaims his hatred for Koharu and says that all ties between them have been sundered.

The act closes with Magoemon

reading a letter in the possession of Koharu and swearing to her that he will tell no one of it.

The second act is set in Jihei’s home.

Jihei and his wife, Osan, are visited by

Magoemon and Jihei’s aunt, who is Osan’s mother.

The guests question Jihei about

rumors they have heard concerning a customer buying out Koharu’s contract.

At first

confused, Jihei realizes that the man redeeming Koharu is probably Tahei and swears that all relations between Koharu and him have been broken.

Satisfied with the sealed oath

he writes for them, the two leave, whereupon Jihei collapses in frustration, and Osan asks why he still has feelings for the courtesan. Jihei explains that his mood is due to his defeat at the hands of his rival, Tahei, a man whom the lying Koharu had always said she hated to the point that she would rather die than marry him.

Osan suddenly grows pale

and explains that Koharu only pretended to want out of her pledged suicide because Osan had asked her to do so. She begins to gather the last of her clothing together so that Jihei may sell it to ransom Koharu and save her from certain death, when her father—Jihei’s uncle—enters and sees what is happening. At first, he tries to make Jihei divorce his daughter, but both husband and wife refuse, so he drags his daughter home. The third act begins in the Sonezaki pleasure quarter where Magoemon is searching for his brother. Jihei avoids detection, however, and he and Koharu make their way to Amijima where they commit suicide.

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Affection—the combination of human feelings and correct principles—plays a much larger role in the Shinjū ten no Amijima than in the Sonezaki shinjū.

When

analyzed according to a giri-ninjō selectionist rectangle, it is the space of the complex term that is most highly populated. It is obvious that some characters—Osan, Magaemon, her mother (his aunt)—should be placed in this section.

However, it is also

important to keep in mind that Osan’s father, despite his brusque treatment of Jihei, should also be included in this category. After all, his deepest desire is for Jihei to act according to the conventional code of correct fatherly and husbandly conduct, and everything he does is out of a parental love for his daughter. Of greater importance is the role affection plays in exacerbating the dilemma faced by the hero, Jihei. As has been mentioned before, in the Sonezaki shinjū, Tokubei is torn between the pulls of passion for his lover and the cold duty he feels towards his master and the mother for whom he no longer cares.

Thus, his decision to commit suicide is relatively easy, for he

is not forced to leave behind or hurt anyone whom he loves. Jihei, on the other hand, is torn between the passion he feels for Koharu and the affection he feels for his family—feelings that are intensified because he married into his uncle’s family so the bonds of marriage are strengthened by the pull of blood ties. 58

The last scene of the last

act begins: “Well, no matter how long we walk about, there will never be a fixed place, saying ‘Here’s the spot for death.’ In a pinch, this will do,” [says Jihei], and he takes her hand and sits on the ground. “Yes, it is true. Though you say that, when it comes to dying, all places are the 58

It is worth noting, however, that the text makes it clear that Jihei has lost any passion he may have once felt for Osan. The wife complains that her husband has not slept with her since he fell in love with the courtesan.

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same, but there is something I’ve been thinking about on the way. Were our [bodies] to lie side by side in death, there will be news that Koharu and Kamiya Jihei committed a lovers’ suicide. If that is so, I was begged by Osan, and she will think I treated as scrap paper our exchange—her asking me not to kill her husband and me saying that I would not kill him and would break off all contact. She will believe that I seduced her beloved husband into a lovers’ suicide and think that I was, indeed, a one-night prostitute, a liar who knew nothing of correct principle. It is worse that Osan, just Osan, have feelings of bitterness, envy and contempt towards me than a thousand or ten thousand strangers. This I worry about. My future of delusions is all due to this. Kill me here, and change the place [of your death].” [presses Koharu] as she leans against him. Jihei joins in her tears and her pleading, “Ah, these are nothing but foolish concerns. Osan has been taken back by my father-in-law. I’ve given her her leave. Stranger and stranger, what correct principle could there be for a divorced woman? As you had been saying on the way—you and I are two people with vows to be husband and wife in the next life, the following, and all the ones after that. Should we die, our pillows next to each other, who could criticize? Who could be jealous?” “But whose work is your divorce? You are more foolish than I. Will our bodies accompany us to the next world? Dying apart, even if our bodies are pecked at by kites and crows, our spirits will be intertwined. To heaven or hell, take me with you,” [she says] and collapses into tears. “You’re right, you’re right. Our bodies are earth, water, fire, and wind. Upon death, they revert to emptiness. But they won’t decay despite five or seven rebirths, our souls as husband and wife. Want proof? Here it is,” [he says], whips out his short sword, and lops off his black locks at the base of his topknot. “Look, Koharu. So long as I had this hair, I was Osan’s husband, known as Kamiya Jihei. When I cut it off, I became a priest who left behind the Three Worlds [of Delusion], a monk who is unmoved by family or treasure. Since there is no wife named Osan, neither is there any correct principle for you to take on.” In tears, he casts it away. “What joy,” [she says,] and Koharu takes up the short sword and ruthlessly and without regret cuts off her Shimada coiffure—the hair she had so often washed, combed and stroked—and casts it aside. How moving is the tangle [of their locks] in the susuki grass of the barren field touched by the midnight frost! なう、いつまでうかうか歩みても、ここぞ人の死の場とて、定まりし所もなし。 いざ、ここを往々場と、手を取り、土に座しければ。 さればこそ、死に場はいづくも同じことと言ひながら、私が道々思ふにも、二 人は死に顔並べて、小春と紙屋治兵衛と心中と沙汰あらば、おさん様より頼みに て、殺してくれるな。殺すまい。挨拶切ると取り交せし、その文を反故にし、大 事の男をそののかしての心中は、さすが一座流れの勤めの者、義理知らず、偽り 者と、世の人千人、万人より、おさん様一人のさげしみ、恨み妬みもさぞと思ひ やり、未来の迷ひはこれ一つ。私をここで殺して、こなさんどこぞ所を変へ。つ

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いと脇でとうちもたれ、口説けば、ともに口説き泣き。ああ愚痴なことばかり。 おさんは舅に取り返され、暇をやれば他人と他人、離別の女になんの義理道すが ら言ふとほり、今度の今度、ずんど今度の先の世までも、女夫と契るこの二人、 枕を並べ死ぬるに、誰が謗る。誰が妬む。さあその離別は誰が業。私よりこなさ んなほ愚痴な、体があの世へ連れ立つか。所所の死にをして、たとへこの体は、 鳶、烏につつかれても、二人の魂つきまつはり、地獄へも、極楽へも、連れ立っ てくださんせと、また伏し沈み、泣きければ、 おおそれよそれよ、この体は、地水火風、死ぬれば空に帰る。ご生七生朽ちせ ぬ。夫婦の魂離れぬしるし、合点と、脇差ずはと抜き放し、元結際より我が黒髪、 ふつふつと切って、これ見や小春、この髪のあるうちは、紙屋治兵衛といふおさ んが夫。髪切ったれば出家の身、三界の家を出て、妻子珍宝不随者の法師。おさ んといふ如房なければ、おぬしが立つる義理もなしと、涙ながら投げ出す。ああ 嬉しうござんすと、小春も脇差取り上げ、洗ひつ、梳いつ、撫でつけし、酷や、 惜し気もなげ島田、はらりと切って投げ捨つる。枯野の薄、夜半の霜、ともに乱 るるあはれさよ。 59

The gesture is makeshift and empty, neither Jihei nor Koharu truly believes it has released them from their bonds of affection to Osan and her children. The two decide to die in what could be imagined to be different places—he on the sluice gate, she by the stream—to honor their obligation to Osan, and Jihei is soon reminded of his children: “Death is never trifling, whether it comes by hanging or throat cutting. Do not let your mind wander to unimportant things so that your final thoughts are disturbed. Pray to the Buddha and do not take your eyes off the moon moving westerly, westerly. Just don’t let the Western Paradise slip from your mind. If you have any regrets, voice them now, then die,” [says Jihei]. [Koharu replies,] “I have none at all, none at all. But, truly, you must worry about your two children.” “My, what a strange thing to have blurted out! You make me cry all over again! I can almost see—how adorable!—their sleeping faces, peaceful and without a care in the world, even though their father is now about to die. This, and this alone, I cannot forget.” 首くくるも喉突くも、死ぬるにおろかのあるものか。よしないことに気を触れ、 最期の念を乱さずとも、西へ西へと行く月を、如来と拝み目を放さず。ただに仕 方を忘りやるな。心残りのことあらば、言うて死にや。なんにもないない。こな さん、さだめてお二人の子たちのことが気にかかろ。あれひよんなこと言ひ出し て、また泣かしやる。父親が今死ぬるとも、何心なくすやすやと、かはいや寝顔

59

Chikamatsu Monzaemon, Shinjū ten no Amijima, Chikamatsu Monzaemon shū, vol.2, Shinpen Nihon koten bungaku zenshū 75 (Tokyo: Shōgakkan, 2000), pp.427-428.

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見るやうな。忘れぬはこればっかりと、 60

Thus, Jihei is allowed to forget neither the affection he feels for his family nor the pain his suicide will cause them.

Nevertheless, he, in the end, chooses to die for his passion.

In the early modern period, Jihei’s suicide was not typically seen as a betrayal, nor was he often looked down on for what might seem to be an incredibly selfish act. To the contrary, the difficulty of this choice and his ability to make it are exactly what make him heroic.

He is, however, a sentimental hero, not a tragic one. The sad

conclusion of the Shinjū ten no Amijima is more highly determined than that of the Sonezaki shinjū, but this later text is also clearly a sentimental narrative, not a tragedy. The play concludes as the morning services are being held at the Daichō-ji Temple: Her encouragement becomes a source of strength. “Hail Amida Buddha,” he says, thinking that the invocations of the sacred name carried by the wind are urging him on, and plunges in Amida’s Saving Sword. Though restrained, she falls backwards, writhing in pain. Why? The tip of the blade has missed her windpipe, and her final karmic destiny is to not be able to die. He, too, is thrown into confusion and suffers. He recovers his wits, drags her close, and plunges his sword into her up to its hilt. He, in pain, bores in and twists the blade in the wound. Her life fades away like an unfinished dream at dawn. He puts right her corpse—head to the north, face to the west, body lying on its right side—and throws his haori coat over her. His tears unexhausted on the sleeve he leaves behind, he pulls the sash to him and fastens a noose around his neck. The sound of the closing prayer—“Believers and unbelievers, all everywhere equally…”—reaches its end, and he steps off the sluice gate, saying, “May we be reborn on the same lotus! Hail Amida Buddha!” It is as if he were a gourd twisting in the wind, but his breathing passage is gradually closed, and his breath stops in front of the damming sluice gate. Here his ties with this life are snapped. The fishermen find him in their nets and variously say: “Someone’s died! Wow, someone’s died. Come here! Come here!” The narrative is spread by their voices. People say that they who were caught in the net of the Buddha’s vow immediately gained deliverance and became buddhas, and tears form in every eye of those who see the Love Suicides at Amijima. 60

Op. cit., p.429.

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女が勇むを力草。風誘ひ来る念仏は、我に勧むる南無阿弥陀仏。弥陀の利剣と、 ぐつと刺され、引き据ゑてものりかへり。七転八倒、こはいかに、切つ先喉の吭 をはづれ、死にもやらざる最後の業苦。ともに乱れて、苦しみの。 気を取り直し引き寄せて、鍔元まで刺し通したる一刀ゑぐる苦しき暁の、見果 てぬ夢と消え果てたり。 頭北面西右脇臥に羽織うちさせ、死骸をつくろひ、泣ひてつきせぬ名残の袂、 見捨てて抱へをたぐり寄せ、首に罠を引つ掛くる。寺の念仏も切回向。有縁無縁 乃至法界、平等の声を限りに、樋上より、一蓮托生、南無阿弥陀仏と、踏みはづ し、しばし苦しむ。 生瓢、風に揺らるるごとくにて、次第に絶ゆる呼吸の道、息堰き止むる樋のく ちに、この世の縁は切れ果てたり。 朝出の漁夫が、網の目に、見つけて、死んだ、やれ死んだ。出合へ出会へと声 声に、言ひ広めたる物語、すぐに成仏得脱の、誓ひの網島心中と、目ごとに、涙 をかけにける。 61

The audience cries because the ending was hardly inevitable. As in the case of the Sonezaki shinjū, a melodramatic ending in which the two are rescued was imaginable. Had Jihei more money and a greater degree of familial understanding, the suicides could have been avoided, and Jihei and Koharu could have lived on.

It was just such a

conclusion—Magoemon bursting onto the scene immediately before the suicides are committed and announcing that Osan’s father has become aware of Tahei’s evil machinations and has decided to buy out Koharu’s contract so she and Jihei can maintain their love affair—that brings a 1778 adaptation of the play, Shinjū Kamiya Jihei, to its end. 62 61

The Shinjū Kamiya Jihei is obviously not a bildungsroman.

Jihei survives, but

Op. cit., pp.430-431.

62

The lack of suicides at the end of this play written by Chikamatsu Hanji (1725-1783) should not be directly linked to changes in late eighteenth-century ideology or history. Even during the heyday of love-suicide plays, melodramatic plays with happy endings were more common than sentimental ones with sad conclusions. Furthermore, the Tokugawa government issued a directive in the first half of the eighteenth century proscribing love suicides in newly produced plays. From a Darwinian perspective, this law was a strong negative pressure that selected against the suicide shukō plot device, but it is just as important to note that it did nothing to prescribe any legitimate endings, such as the one that can be found in the Shinjū Kamiya Jihei. The same holds true for laws regulating the publishing industry, such as those that banned erotic books and stories Michael J. Scanlon

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not because he learns to make compromises in order to live in this world, nor because his feelings for Koharu mature from a fiery love of passion to a more solid one of affection. Jihei lives on, never having to give up his passion, because the situation changes. This is a crucial point: passion can interfere with domestic and public order, but it does not necessarily have to do so.

The conflict between duty and passion is merely

circumstantial and, therefore, cannot support tragedy. The neutral section of the selectionist rectangle is, as it had been in the Sonezaki shinjū, filled by a villain whose main attributes are a calculating greed and a firm belief in the power of money to corrupt.

This is clear in the exchange Tahei has with Koharu

and her “samurai” client: “Even if you won’t listen to me, the sound of my gold coins will make you hear. What good karma you must have! Out of the many men in Tenma and the rest of Osaka, you have Jihei the paper dealer, father of two children, with his cousin for a wife and his uncle for a father-in-law. Every sixty days he is chased after by wholesalers wanting to settle accounts. Him paying the ten kanme to ransom you, this it is like that praying mantis who tried to stop a carriage with its pincer. Me, I have no wife and no child, no father-in-law, no parent, and no uncle. I am a man known as Unencumbered Tahei. I cannot match Jihei when it comes to bragging and boasting in the pleasure quarters. Only when it comes to having money does Tahei win. Were I to push with the power of money—Well, how about it, men?—what might I conquer?” [says Tahei, who continues,] “Tonight’s customer is Jihei, isn’t it? I’m taking over, I’m taking over. I, Unencumbered, am taking over. Bring in sake, hostess, bring in sake!” [The hostess replies,] “What on earth are you saying? Her customer for the evening is a samurai, and he’ll be showing up any minute. Please amuse yourself somewhere else.” Nevertheless, he has a playful look [and says,] “Well one has swords, while the other doesn’t. But, whether a samurai or a townsman, a customer’s a customer. Even those with swords don’t have five or six. For the most part, their swords are two: a sword and a short sword. Even if it’s a samurai, I’m taking Koharu…” about current affairs. They could select against certain pre-existing forms, and this may have allowed new forms to develop or previously recessive ones to rise to prominence, but these laws did not proactively create these new forms, nor can they be directly credited for the success of those forms that would later rise to dominance. Michael J. Scanlon

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He storms about yelling out [his mocking song based on the nembutsu chant]. Meanwhile, there is a man at the gate hiding—at night—under an amikasa wicker hat. “Well, Wastepaper’s made it. My, great disguise! Why don’t you come in, Wastepaper? If it’s that my ‘namu Amida butsu’s are scary, I’ll just take that amikasa hat of yours!” [Tahei says and] drags the man in to get a better look at his appearance. It is a genuine samurai with a dark expression who glares through his amikasa hat, his eyeballs like gongs. Neither a “hail” nor an “Amida” are forthcoming, and he gasps—“Aaahh”—but does not quail, saying, “Well, Koharu, I am a townsman. I’ve never worn a sword, but I am pretty sure that the glint of the mound of new silver at my place could twist and turn a mere sword. As for that man from the wastepaper shop whose capital is as thin as cheesecloth trying to contend with me, it’s the height of insolence! I’m off to saunter past Sakura Bridge to the Nakamachi district. If I meet Scrappaper somewhere along the way, I’ll trample him underfoot. Let’s go, let’s go.” 聞きともなくとも、小判の響きできかせてみせう。貴様もよい因果ぢゃ。天満、 大坂三郷に男も多いに、紙屋の治兵衛二人の子の親、如房はいとこ同士、舅は叔 母婿。六十日六十日に問屋の仕切りにさへ追はるる商売、十貫目近い金出して、 請け出すの、根引きのとは、蟷螂が斧でござる。我ら、如房、子なければ、舅な し、親もなし、叔父持たず、身すがらの太兵衛と名を取った男、色里で僭生言ふ ことは治兵衛めにはかなはねども、金持つたばかりは太兵衛が勝った。金の力で 押したらば、なう連れ衆。何に勝たうもしれまい。今宵の客も治兵衛めぢゃ、貰 ほ貰ほ。この身ずがらが貰うた。花車、酒出しや出しや。え何おしやんす。今宵 のお客はお侍衆。おつけけ見えましよ。お前はどこぞ脇で遊んでくださんせと。 言へども、ほたえた顔付きにて、はて刀差すか差さぬか。侍も町人も客は客。な んぼ差いても二本。侍ぐるめに小春殿貰うた… 暴れわめく門の口、人目を忍ぶ夜の編笠、はああ塵紙わたせた。はて、きつい 忍びやう、なぜ入らぬ。塵紙。太兵衛が念仏怖くば、なむあみ笠も貰うたと、引 きずり入れたる姿を見れば、大小くすんだ武士の正真。編笠越しにぐつと睨めた る。まん丸目玉は叩き鉦、念とも仏とも出でばこそ、はああと言へども、怯まぬ 顔、なう小春殿。こちは町人、刀差いたことはなけれど、おれが所に沢山な新銀 の光には、少々の刀も捩ぢゆがめうと思ふもの、塵紙屋めが漆漉しほどな薄元手 で、この身ずがらと張り合ふは慮外千万、桜橋から中町くだりぞめいたら、どこ ぞでは紙屑踏みにぢつてくりよ。皆おぢやおぢやと、身振りばかりは男をみがく。 町一杯に、はばかつてこそ帰りけれ、 63

This self-proclaimed voice of merchant-hood was, however, hardly a typical merchant. The play makes clear that his riches simply flowed to him from his hometown.

63

Because

Op. cit., pp.389-391.

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he does not have to make his living by interacting with customers and wholesalers, Tahei is able to engage in behavior in violation of correct principles without it bringing him to financial ruin.

Furthermore, this villain plays a decidedly undersized role in the

narrative as a whole. As Donald Keene has pointed out, Tahei makes “a comically maladroit exit” 64 relatively early in the text.

Jihei’s suicide was due to general

circumstance, not the maneuverings of a singular villain.

This comes to be of the

greatest importance in light of the fact that, even though there are no characters within the play who can be fit into the section of the selectionist rectangle for correct principles devoid of human feelings, duty plays a vital role in this narrative.

Never concretized,

duty becomes omnipresent, and its pull is all the more powerful for this. A world of unnamed customers and wholesalers demand a strict adherence to a code of proper merchantly behavior with no exceptions being granted to those in love. Jihei, who has long since run out the money necessary to support his passion while meeting the demands of duty, is powerless to fight back against this situation.

Thus, in the final instance,

calculation plays but a catalytic role, and affection has only an exacerbating function. The problem engaged by the Shinjū ten no Amijima is the same as that of the Sonezaki shinjū: the conflict between duty and passion. Domestic plays, be they sentimental or melodramatic, were an important type of early modern narrative. It is, however, vital to keep in mind that they were not the dominant form of jōruri narrative. That position was occupied by what was known as historical drama (jidaimono 時代物), five-act plays set outside the quotidian time and 64

Keene, World within Walls, p.259.

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space of early modern Japan. One of the most successful of these plays was the Kokusen’ya kassen (The Battles of Coxinga 国姓爺合戦), a 1715 play also written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon that enjoyed an unprecedented seventeen-month theatrical run after its debut and spawned a large number of similar but different texts written both for the jōruri theater as well as for the direct fiction market.

The complicated plot of this

narrative has been outlined by Donald Keene as follows: This play opens in the Chinese court. The villainous Ri Tōten, urging the emperor to accept humiliating conditions of peace with the Tartars, gouges out his left eye as proof of his absolute loyalty. Later we learn that this gesture was in fact a signal to the Tartars that he would betray the country to them. The Tartars soon arrive in force. The loyal minister Go Sankei attempts to defend the emperor and empress, but he stands alone against the enemy hordes. The empress, who is momentarily expecting to give birth, is struck by a bullet and dies. Go Sankei is so determined to preserve the succession that he performs a caesarean operation on the dead empress and delivers the baby. Realizing, however, that the Tartars will never relent in their search for the missing heir if they find the empress’ body without an infant in her womb, he kills his own baby and pushes it into the empress’ abdomen. “Noble child,” he cries, “you have been blessed by fortune! You were lucky to have been born at a time when you could die in place of the prince destined to be our emperor.” In the meantime, Go Sankei’s wife has safely escorted the emperor’s sister, Princess Sendan, to the coast, before she herself is killed by the Tartars. In the second act we see Watōnai, the future [Kokusen’ya]. He is a fisherman who lives on the coast near Hirado. The boat bearing Princess Sendan is washed ashore on that very coast, and she informs him (he understands Chinese because his father came to Japan from China) of the disasters she has witnessed. Watōnai and his parents leave at once for China, resolved to oust the usurpers. In the second scene we see Watōnai and his mother struggle through a bamboo forest in China, heading for the castle where his half-sister lives. Suddenly a great tiger springs out on them. Watōnai grapples with the beast, but it is subdued only when his mother points at the tiger a sacred charm from the Great Shrine at Ise. A force of Chinese soldiers appears, and this time Watōnai and the tiger join to conquer them. The third act, by contrast, is devoted mainly to the “human” situation and involves little fantasy. Watōnai’s half-sister, Kinshōjo, is the wife of General Kanki, the lord of the Castle of Lions. At first she is delighted to learn that her long-lost family has arrived from Japan, but before long she is forced to mediate between Watōnai’s insistence that Kanki join him, and Kanki’s refusal to be

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swayed by a request emanating from his wife’s family. She kills herself, freeing Kanki to join Watōnai. Kanki gives Watōnai the new name [Kokusen’ya], Lord of the Imperial Surname. The fourth act is taken up by supernatural doings. Go Sankei, wandering in the mountains with the baby prince he has saved, encounter two immortals who reveal to him in a vision the triumphs [Kokusen’ya] has won all over China. Five years flash by in a moment. Now Go Sankei is joined by [Kokusen’ya]’s father and by Princess Sendan, who has returned from Japan. They are quickly surrounded by Tartars, but a miraculous bridge of clouds spans the gorge before them and they cross safely. When the Tartars follow them onto the bridge it collapses, and they plunge to their deaths. The last act depicts [Kokusen’ya]’s decisive battle with the Tartars and his victory. Ri Tōten is killed and the young prince is enthroned as emperor. The play concludes: “This joy they owe to the divine, and the saintly virtues of the Emperor of Great Japan, a land endowed with perpetual blessings which will prosper forever. [All pray that by this benefaction the five grains will continue to ripen in abundance, and the emperor’s reign will endure a hundred million years.]” 65 This play can also be analyzed using the giri-ninjō selectionist rectangle. However, it becomes clear that it is the vertical axis—the relationship between the neutral and complex terms—which orients its narrative. The Kokusen’ya kassen is clearly a narrative that pits good guys against bad guys.

The heroes are Watōnai and all those who join his league fighting to restore the

Ming empire.

Each and every one of these characters fights not for his own personal

gain as mercenaries or would-be rulers, but as proper feudal subjects who engage in battle for the sake of their beloved lord, the infant crown prince of the Ming dynasty. Human feeling devoid of correct principle and correct principle devoid of human feelings play little role in the narrative.

Watōnai is prone to a rage which causes him to rush

headlong into hopeless situations that has the same self-consuming effect as lustful 65

Keene, World within Walls, pp.564-565. The sentence in brackets is the last line of Keene’s translation of the play, which was omitted from his plot summary.

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passion in the domestic plays. 66 self-destructive impulses. 67

Yet he can be reasoned with and is able to resist his

Times in which the pull of duty causes characters to act in a

way contrary to their desires can be found in such incidents as General Kanki’s initial refusal to join Watōnai.

Yet he, like every other character placed in a similar position

within the Kokusen’ya kassen, takes advantage of the first opportunity to escape these bonds of duty with honor intact in order to unite correct principle with human feelings by joining Watōnai’s righteous crusade against the Manchu usurpers. 68 to show where duty cannot be found.

It is also important

Go Sankei’s killing of his infant son in order to

66

The fact that rage was a possible fit for the ninjō, not giri section of the selectionist rectangle can best be seen in the protagonists of a sub-genre of narrative known as murderer plays (or criminal plays). Characters such as Yohei in Chikamatsu’s Onna-goroshi abura jigoku (Woman-Killer and the Hell of Oil 女殺油地獄, 1721) rage against the dictates of correct principle, but not in a way such that a new, alternative world based on a non-feudal value system is being advocated. Instead, their actions become more and more egregious and self-destructive until they are simply consumed by them. It is important to realize that these characters are not heroic villains marked by calculation, but criminal heroes, who like Tokubei and Jihei transgress against the public order in a “respectable” way. (Though relatively few in number, there are calculating protagonists in early modern Japanese narrative, but these men tend to undergo a sudden conversions upon witnessing social injustice and, combining human feelings with correct principles, become champions of feudal ideals.) It should also be noted that the neutral term can also house characters notable for their cowardice. Such figures, however, either play extremely minor roles in the narrative or, like Yoshiaki in Chikamatsu’s Tsu no kuni meoto ike (Man and Wife Lake in Tsu Prefecture 津国女夫池, 1721), have epiphanies similar to those undergone by the calculating villain-protagonists mentioned above. 67

Another character with a structurally similar role is Watōnai’s wife, Ryūkakun, who flies into jealous rages thinking her husband is carrying on an adulterous love affair with the Chinese princess who has washed ashore, but later heads off to China as a sister in arms with this self-same princess.

68

This synthesis of giri and ninjō is the extraordinary time equivalent of the “warm giri” Minamoto Ryōen talks about in his analysis of sewamono domestic plays and other texts set in ordinary time. It could, I suppose, be referred to as “hot giri.”

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save the crown prince is definitely not an example of affection for one’s kin losing out to a feeling of duty to one’s lord.

The loyal minister is instead torn between two bonds of

affection, wherein—as is typical in early modern plays involving the sacrifice of children—the more public bond is stronger than the more private one. Against this group stands the villainous Ri Tōten and his Manchu allies. The cunning desire for self gain of this character is obvious the scene in which he reveals his treachery: [The emperor says,] “Truly, the rust on a blade does emerge from the sword and corrodes it; the fire on a cypress-covered mountain emerges from the cypresses and burns them. I now have come to realize that the hatred and amity [one receives] emerges from oneself. I, not making use of the advice of Tei Shiryū [Watōnai’s father] or Go Sankei, was taken in by your flattery. Posterity will remember me for having lost my country and my life. How dumb was I not to have known that food delicious in the mouth causes harm once in the stomach! As you must know, my child has been in my wife’s womb for ten months now. The birth cannot be long off. Let [the child] see the light of sun and moon. Just this kindness,” begs [the Emperor] in tears. “What? No, never! For what reason did I gouge out my precious eye? Not out of loyalty, nor due to correct principle. It was to throw you off guard and join in the Tartar conspiracy. A single eye became a fief. Your head will be a province,” says [Ri Tōten] as he grabs [the Emperor], pulls him near, and chops off his head in one fell swoop. げに刃の錆は刃より出でて刃をくさらし、檜山の火は檜より出でて檜を焼く。仇 も情けも我が身より出づるとは、今こそ思ひ知られたれ。鄭芝龍呉三桂が諌めを 用ひず。おのれらがへつらいにたぶらかされ。国を失ひ身をいしなひ、末代に名 をながす。口に甘き食物は腹中に入って、害をなすと知らざりし我が愚かさよ。 汝らも知るごとく夫人が胎内に、十月にあたる我が子あり。誕生も程あるまじ。 月日の光を見せよかし。せめての情けとばかりにて御涙、にぞくれ給ふ。 ああならぬならぬ。大事の眼を刳り出したはなんの為、忠節でもぎりでもない。 君に心をゆるさせ韃靼と一味せんため、目玉一つが知行に成り。君の首が国にな ると、取って引き寄せ、御首を水もたまらず打ち落とし 69

The nature of villainy in domestic plays and historical plays is close enough that Koharu, 69

Chikamatsu Monzaemon, Kokusen’ya kassen, Chikamatsu Monzaemon shū, vol.3, Shinpen Nihon koten bungaku zenshū 76 (Tokyo: Shōgakkan, 2000), pp.266-267.

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in the Shinjū ten no Amijima, refers to Tahei as a Japanese Ri Tōten.

Yet it is readily

apparent that villains play a much more central role in historical plays than they do in domestic ones.

In the Shinjū ten no Amijima, much of the narrative plays out after Tahei

has been dispatched.

The Kokusen’ya kassen, on the other hand, ends a scant few lines

after the ambitious Ri Tōten is put to death by Watōnai in conjunction with Kanki and Go Sankei.

This is absolutely typical of historical plays. One of the chief reasons that endings almost immediately follow the death of the

villain is the unsuitability of this type of hero to the post-villain world. Watōnai and Ri Tōten, though obviously different in many ways, 70 have one disturbing trait in common. Both use their talents to rise in the world: Watōnai’s martial prowess takes him from a mere fisherman to the possessor of a highly coveted title, while Ri Tōten uses his deviousness to rise from a minister within the Chinese bureaucracy to the administrator of a portion of the Manchu empire.

Watōnai’s rise in the world was by no means an

intrinsic threat to the martial-Confucian ideals of the Tokugawa ideology. As Ogyū Sorai pointed out in his Seidan, the chief benefit of war is that it tests the talents of men and allows those with ability to rise in the world, while an era of prolonged peace leads to

70

Andrew Gerstle once wrote an article about a group of Chikamatsu plays with the title “Hero as Murderer.” A more apt description might have been hero as moron. Though there are some clever and wily heroes to be found within early modern Japanese long-form fiction, Watōnai is hardly the only one to lack foresight and self-preservation skills. In fact, many of the most popular early modern Japanese heroes are prone to charge headlong into deathtraps. This heroic recklessness is often ascribed to the emphasis placed on sincerity in the Japanese spirit. A more likely, though indirect, cause is the role calculation played in villainy. The pressure to make the hero be as un-villain-like as possible probably helped condition the near-humorous thoughtlessness on the part of many of the most famous martial idols of early modern Japan.

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the ossification of the social order, moral decline, and governmental corruption. Watōnai’s rise is allowable because it is accomplished during a time of war and is done for the sake of a proper feudal cause.

However, when the threat of a new, malevolent

social order based on calculating greed has been put down, and a legitimate government founded on correct principles in harmony with human feelings has been restored in perpetuity, Watōnai’s adventures must immediately come to an end lest he disrupt the public order and, thereby, risk his status as a hero. 71

The end of the villain brings about

an end of narratability. 72 71

If one keeps in mind that the giri-ninjō selectionist rectangle could shape the structures of long-form narrative in early modern Japan only because it was the chief lens through which Edo-period Japanese made sense of the world, the differences between the quotidian and extraordinary versions of it can help to account for the astonishing degree of interest in (and argument surrounding) the deeds of the famous Akō rōnin, a band of forty-seven men who lay in wait for nearly two years before avenging the death of their lord by killing his enemy in 1703 and were put to death on orders of the Tokugawa government two months later. If judged by the giri-ninjō selectionist rectangle for extraordinary times, these were clearly heroes, exemplars of the Warring States bushidō. (It is hardly coincidental that the most famous literary retellings of this story set the action in the late medieval period, a time of war, and were, thus, able to depict these men as nearly perfect heroes.) The acts of the historical Akō rōnin, however, were done in peacetime and, thus, could also be judged by the domestic version of the rectangle. When this was done, they could fit into either the pure ninjō section as romantic, but ultimately self-destructive, Robin Hood-like heroes or even the neutral section as villains who schemed to kill one of the shogun’s loyal ministers. Their acts fell into the final, irresolvable differences between the two “meaning-making” mechanisms, so different people could—and did—offer different interpretations with none ever driving the rest to extinction.

72

There would, of course, be sequels and prequels to this story written over the years, including one written—against the advice of the theater owner for whom he worked—by Chikamatsu Monzaemon during the height of the original play’s popularity. This drama—entitled Kokusen’ya gonichi kassen (The Latter-Day battles of Kokusen’ya 国姓 爺後日合戦)—begins with a restoration of a crisis that initiates another period of extraordinary time. Another unscrupulous minister of the Ming Emperor has sprung up and taken control of the kingdom, and it is again Kokusen’ya who leads the fight to put down this rebellion. Moreover, just as in the Kokusen’ya kassen, the play ends once peace and order are restored. Michael J. Scanlon

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The texts analyzed thus far were some of the most popular texts of the puppet theater in early modern Japan and have come to form the center of the jōruri canon as it is studied in modern times.

Previous criticism has, in many ways, been correct to

concentrate on explications of the differences between these texts and the mass of similar but different ones that were written and performed but soon forgotten in an attempt to show why these particular plays and not others were able to become “classics.” however, is most definitely not the reason for their inclusion in this study.

This,

Rather, the

presence of analyses of these literary narratives is all but necessary because it allows this scholarly text to engage some of the issues basic to the genre to which it belongs, that of modern literary histories of early modern Japanese literature. For the purposes of this study, it is also vital to note that it was the pre-existing generic context that helped condition both the structures of these “masterpieces” as well as their initial popularity. Long-form narrative written within the giri-ninjō paradigm was not new to the eighteenth century.

The encyclopedic study of early jōruri conducted by Wakatsuki Yasuji shows

that the basic plot structures of early modern long-form fiction appeared in rudimentary form in the puppet theater over the second quarter of the seventeenth century. 73

The

second half of that century is also considered to be one of great evolution within the early modern Japanese theater because elements evolved separately in the kabuki and jōruri traditions began to cross over. Perhaps spurred on by the shogunate’s banning of youthful male actors from the stage, kabuki plays, which had largely focused on songs

73

Wakatsuki Yasuji, Ko-jōruri no shin-kenkyū, vol.1 (Tokyo: Shingetsusha, 1928), pp.186-189.

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and improvised dialogue within set vignettes, 74 began to include long-form plot paradigms evolved in the jōruri tradition, while jōruri came to include more dialogue, and the plots of its individual pieces would become more complicated and specialized as time went on.

Within both types of theater, long-form plot types developed,

differentiated and diversified, so that most of the basic plot paradigms of early modern long-form narrative were already in existence by the turn of the eighteenth century.75

It

is also important to keep in mind that the turn of the eighteenth century did not coincide with the start of an era of complete structural ossification, for the first half of the century witnessed the evolution of a hybrid domestic-historical type of play as structures from domestic plays would be incorporated into those of historical ones. Nevertheless, a long period of relative stasis had been entered by the turn of the eighteenth century. Developments would happen within the basic parameters of the previously established plot paradigms, and this would continue until the Meiji Restoration of 1868 and the consequent rise of Japanese modernity. Critics such as Donald Keene lament the artistic stagnation in jōruri drama after the death of Chikamatsu in 1724 and attribute the continued popularity of the jōruri theater to developments within the arts of puppetry and chanting. 76

However, it needs

74

See the “Gei kagami” (Mirror of the Art 芸鑑) section of the Yakusha hanashi (Actor’s Analects 役者論語) first published in second half of the eighteenth century but perhaps written as much as a half century or so earlier.

75

Wakatsuki, Ko-jōruri no shin-kenkyū, vols.1 and 2 (Tokyo: Shingetsusha, 1928 and 1929), pp.449-463 and 1668-1678.

76

Keene, World within Walls, pp.275-278.

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to be remembered both that some of the most popular individual texts of the tradition—the Sugawara denju tenarai kagami (Mirror of Sugawara’s Secret Teachings on Calligraphy 菅原伝授手習鑑, 1746), the Yoshitsune senbon-zakura (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees 義経千本桜, 1747), and the Kanadehon Chūshingura (The Writing Primer Treasury of Loyal Retainers 仮名手本忠臣蔵, 1748)—were formulaic texts written during this time as well as that plays written by Chikamatsu himself were normally performed only in revised form. 77

In other words, the jōruri tradition

remained vital after the death of its genius author as well as the end of radical development, and the stage during the latter three quarters of the eighteenth century was dominated by texts with new, slightly different versions of pre-existing structures.

This

is typical of the literature produced during the long periods of stasis that come between short intervals of great formal development.

Success leads to imitation, one text

replaces another to which it is highly similar, and drastically divergent texts are crowded out of the marketplace. The underlying “cause” for this stasis is the success that the array of typical signs, figures, relations and structures which mark the genre had in engaging and resolving the giri-ninjō problematic in which it evolved.

So long as the

basic irresolvable conflict between the two remained central to the overall ideological environment, there was no “need” for new forms, and the pre-existing long-form narrative structures would represent formidable competition to any newly evolved forms. These factors combined to constitute an enormously strong negative pressure selecting against large-scale innovation. 77

Thus, the basic long-form plot structures that had

Ibid.

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evolved and risen to dominance within the domain of performance culture sometime over the seventeenth century would retain their position until the end of the early modern period itself.

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Connecting the dots From 1686, when he was asked by Takemoto Gidayū and wrote a new one called the Shusse Kagekiyo, he began making a name for himself in Japan—his first writings were for the Takemoto [theater], and he went on to write several hundred new pieces in his lifetime. From this point forward, authors’ names were attached to advertising signs and printed books—he was the originator of this. Because originally Chikamatsu wrote from a deeply held desire to convert the masses, [his writings] differed from previous books of fiction (sōshi-mono). He tempered rumors and idle stories, imparted human feelings (ninjō) to stupid and benighted people, and displayed every last bit of the innermost teachings of Shinto, Confucianism, and Buddhism. When it comes to popular writings, his fame in the present and past as a magnificent first-rate writer is a given. When you read a hundred volumes of Chikamatsu’s jōruri libretti, you will hear—without ever studying—the enlightenment of the Three Teachings; you will penetrate the human feelings (ninjō) of everyone from the first person in the realm [the emperor] to the masses at its depths. There will be nothing in all of creation that you will not understand. It truly can be said that he was a dragon among men! Jōruri authors Sakusha shikihō Kezairoku (1801) Nyūgatei Ga’nyū (d.1801) That a literary history one of the chief foci of which is the relationship between literature and print should emphasize texts evolved within the theatrical tradition might seem counterintuitive. After all, issues of performativity surely played a significant role in the success or failure of individual texts in their initial environment of the jōruri or kabuki stage, and spectacle and performance factors would have to play a part in modern academic arguments about these texts as theatrical objects. It needs to be remembered, however, that these originally theatrical texts were also being printed and put out on the Michael J. Scanlon

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commercial book market, and plot was hardly inconsequential to their function in this form.

From the final decades of the seventeenth century, illustrated books with

plot-summary redactions of kabuki plays—called e-iri kyōgen-bon—came to be printed, but it would be jōruri-based texts that would be of far greater importance to the commercial book market.

By the latter part of the seventeenth century, it became

customary for jōruri libretti to be printed in full at the time of a play’s debut.

Early

jōruri texts were not formatted in exactly the same in style as that used for sōshi (books of fiction 草子) texts written for the sole purpose of being printed, 78 but they were nevertheless obviously being printed to be read as pieces of fiction.

Though often

written using a bolder and thicker style of character than that employed when making woodblocks for sōshi texts, jōruri books contained pictures, had many lines of text per page, and lacked musical notation. At the three-quarter mark of the seventeenth century, however, two famous jōruri chanters began to publish selected scenes from various plays with extensive musical notation, and the majority of published full-text libretti soon came to include all the musical notations necessary for amateur chanters to practice the art. Characters vastly increased in size and the number of lines per page shrank precipitously. A concern with book history typical of scholars specializing in early modern Japanese literature had once led to a situation in which it was widely believed that the chief 78

Texts of fiction written to be printed were, from the second decade of the eighteenth century, most often categorized as sōshi (books of fiction 草子) or yomihon (books for reading 読本). Proof for this includes the kana-mono sōshi (vernacular fiction book 仮名 物草子) category from the 1729 booksellers’ catalogue and the fūryū yomihon (fashionable books for reading 風流読本) section of the 1754 and 1777 booksellers’ catalogues. Hasegawa Tsuyoshi, Ukiyo-zōshi no kenkyū (Tokyo: Ōfūsha, 1969), pp.12-16.

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audience for this type of book was amateur chanters, not simply fiction readers. However, it has now become clear that the texts contained in these books were also being read as pieces of fiction: a nineteenth-century overview of fiction produced by the famous author Kyokutei Bakin includes a category for jōruri; in the holdings of the Daisō commercial lending library of Nagoya upon its closing at the end of the nineteenth century, there was an extremely high number of jōruri items, and this category’s percentage of duplicate items—a sure sign of popularity—was higher than all genres of sōshi narrative save one sub-genre of gunsho military writings; 79 Nagatomo Chiyoji has uncovered a good deal of documentary evidence showing that individual readers were renting and buying jōruri libretti for their literary qualities throughout the early modern period. 80

The extensive musical notation means simply that these books could be used

to practice chanting, not that this was their sole, necessary, or even primary function. 81 There was, however, a vitally important difference between theatrical texts and

79

Nagatomo Chiyoji, Kinsei kashihon’ya no kenkyū (Tokyo; Tōkyōdō Shuppan, 1982), pp.153-158.

80

Nagatomo Chiyoji, “Yomi-mono toshite no jōruri-bon,” Kinsei Kamigata Jōruri-bon no kenkyū (Tōkyōdō Shuppan, 1999), pp.80-104.

81

The argument that jōruri libretti over the eighteenth century were read only as aids for amateur chanting seems to be based on an argument concerned with efficiency, something that is crucial to a Darwinian understanding. To some degree, the argument is correct. It is true that each printed page of a jōruri libretto contained relatively less text than a piece of sōshi fiction would have held and that this probably affected the price. It needs to be kept in mind, however, that consumers who wished to use these books to practice chanting were not mutually exclusive from those who might want to use the book as an object of literary reading. Unlike books containing excerpts of famous passages, which would be a more efficient form for the amateur chanting market, full-text libretti could be read for both purposes and, therefore, were not as inefficient as it might first appear.

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sōshi fiction, one that helps explain the evolution of the dominant long-form plot structures within the domain of drama.

Jōruri and kabuki texts were written for the

stage, and their later success or failure on the book market was but a secondary concern for their authors and the theater owners who financed each project.

The primary

financial outlays in the theater world—be it kabuki or jōruri—were not specifically tied to individual texts. The stage and seating area, props and performers could be re-used to put on different plays. Thus, a good deal of the negative pressure against formal innovation associated with woodblock print technology simply was not operative in either the kabuki or jōruri worlds.

The theater was also a more efficient environment.

Plays could be brought to market with incredible speed.

The Sonezaki shinjū was based

on an extra-literary incident that took place a scant three weeks before the play opened, and yet apologies had to be made to the audience on the night of the premier because a competing kabuki troupe had already put on a play involving the same subject matter. 82 Furthermore, the success or failure of individual plays was immediately recognizable to authors and theater owners.

Plays either drew an audience sufficient to justify a

continued theatrical run or closed almost immediately.

As always, commercial success

was almost always linked to evolutionary impact, for hit plays were sometimes put on by competing theatrical companies, and similar but different texts were written and performed in the hopes of capturing the previous play’s audience. The negative pressure associated with xylographic print culture was a general one that inhibited all innovation; it was never directed specifically against the 82

Keene, World within Walls, p.254.

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Chart 6: Fiction Publication over the First Half of the Eighteenth Century (Based on categories used in Noda Hisao’s Nihon kinsei shōsetsu shi: Dangi-bon hen) 83 Text Type Years

Erotic texts (kōshoku -mono)

True records [of current events]

Samurai stories

Ghost stories

Classicalstyle texts

Urban merchant

(bushi-mono)

(kaidan-

(giko-

(chōnin-

Jōruristyle texts

mono)

mono)

mono)

(jōruri-

(jitsuroku)

GenrokuShōtoku

mono)

99

23

22

20

13

9

12

20

10

16

7

4

12

66

1688-1716

KyōhōKan’en 1716-1751

development of long-form narrative structures or the prosperity of such plot paradigms per se.

Thus, as certain long-form plot structures showed an ability to draw customers

to both the theater and the bookstore, similar ones began to appear in sōshi fiction in ever increasing numbers and soon came to dominate. 84

The downfall of the kōshoku-bon

genre can, of course, be linked to directives put out by the Tokugawa government in 1722 that banned the publication of newly written erotic books. Yet it is important not to make too much of this. Texts of erotica and pornography continued to be written and read; the appearance of texts with long-form plot structures fit to the early modern ideological environment is traceable to the 1680s, the time of kōshoku-bon ascendancy. 85

83

Noda Hisao, Nihon kinsei shōsetsu shi. Dangi-bon hen (Tokyo: Benseisha, 1995), pp.11-12. 84

Previous to this, the pieces written within the giri-ninjō dynamic were still competing with those that combined contemporary characters and settings with the long-form plot structures of medieval war narratives and classical long-form fiction. 85

Nakamura Yukihiko, “Hachimonjiya-bon no tenmatsu,” Nakamura Yukihiko chojutsushū, vol.4 (Tokyo: Chūō Kōronsha, 1987), pp.137-140. Michael J. Scanlon

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More important, it was a type of content, not form, that was selected against by this law, and the edict could have (at absolute most) only upset the literary status quo and, thus, either set off a period of evolution within the previously dominant genre or opened up space for heretofore recessive genres to rise to prominence.

Laws, in general, are but

negative pressures that neither proactively create new forms nor can even be directly credited for the success of those that rise to dominance after their issue. It is also worth noting that the rise of long-form fiction on the eighteenth-century Japanese book market cannot be tied to an evolution from within the kōshoku-bon genre. A seminal work on eighteenth-century fiction written by Hasegawa Tsuyoshi makes it clear that sōshi fiction with long-form plots were typically not the result of a process wherein the individual narrative units of a sōshi short story collection or thread narrative became integrated as kernels and satellites of an overarching plot.

Lines of text and an occasional plot device

(shukō 趣向) are lifted directly from pieces of sōshi fiction, especially several texts written by Ihara Saikaku, but the most direct ancestry of all the texts of literary fiction with long-form plots analyzed in his Ukiyo-zōshi no kenkyū can be traced to the theater. Two examples should suffice to show the importance of theatrically evolved texts to the domain of sōshi fiction. One is the Kokusen’ya Minchō kassen (The Ming Battles of Kokusen’ya 国姓爺明朝合戦), a text authored by Ejima Kiseki and published by the Hachimonjiya house in 1717. The text was part of what could be termed a “Kokusen’ya boom” that followed the success of the original jōruri play, and its narrative core is a combination of two texts written by Chikamatsu Monozaemon—the Kokusen’ya

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kassen and its similarly structured, but less commercially successful sequel, the Kokusen’ya gonichi kassen—to which grafts from other texts were added.

Though the

majority of Hasegawa’s investigation of this text involves a delineation of what texts were put together to form the Kokusen’ya Minchō kassen as well as a description of the ways in which Kiseki’s text adds, augments, truncates or omits sections to make the later text different from those that preceded it, he also makes it clear that the success of Kiseki’s piece was likely due to the similarity between it and previously successful texts, its ability to fit into a successful formula. This was a text that appealed to the demands of a wide readership, not one that was a product of a singular authorial will to artistry, and it hardly revolutionized the literary field. 86

Yet its proximity to “greatness”—the

original Kokusen’ya kassen—is in some ways distracting because it is overly tempting for modern scholars or readers to use it a reverse touchstone, a means for understanding the “masterpiece” from which it derived, rather than study it as an example of “normal literature.” For this reason, an even better example might be the Budō Ōmi hakkei (Eight Views of Martial Ōmi 武道近江八景, 1719), a text written by the same author and put out by the same publishing house as the Kokusen’ya Minchō kassen.

This text, which

evolved out of some kabuki texts that, though popular in their time, did not achieve the status of “classics,” is unmistakably an example of a literary text that enjoyed a short period of popularity and then faded to the background without greatly affecting generic norms. 86

The text’s plot is as follows:

Hasegawa, Ukiyo-zōshi no kenkyū, pp.378-385.

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Sasaki Takayori of Ōmi province falls in love with a beautiful lad, Ashigaru Ekinosuke, and the boy’s father, Ashiura Ekizaemon, rises to power and is obsessed with profit. The young lord [of Takayori’s house], Biwa Gorō, has become attached to the courtesan Hanagiku and is banished from the province due to Ekizaemon’s plotting. Ekizaemon schemes to usurp the province. Shiga Mondayū and the other loyal retainers work hard for the return of the young lord and the expulsion of Ekizaemon. Mitsui no Ban’uemon secretly meets with Ekinosuke, and Mikamiyama Momosuke also [professes] his love. The two part: the former trying to obstruct Ekizaemon’s power by being struck down by Takayori, and the latter having plans to strike down Ekinosuke under the pretext of a homosexual love. Meanwhile, the sacrifice of Mondayū’s brother-in-law, Kagamiyama Benjūrō, has given Mikenjaku no Mokuumon heart. Ekinosuke purposefully drops a letter written by Mitsui in front of his lord and is imprisoned for this. An envoy is sent to kill Mitsui, but Mitsui, by means of Momosuke’s strategy, is able to repulse him. Echigawa Tōzō and others go to Ashiura as shogunal envoys. Ekinosuke admonishes his father and resolves to commit ritual suicide. At this point, Musa Mikinoshin brings the daughter betrothed to Ekinosuke in order to marry them. Ekinosuke and his wife take the tonsure and depart on a pilgrimage, and Biwa Gorō returns to the province. Mondayū attacks Ekizaemon, and all the loyal retainers prepare to commit ritual suicide together. Just then, however, the peasantry rises up. When Takayori tries to gather his troops, there are few who obey his orders. When a letter by Ekizaemon placing a curse on Takayori is discovered, Takayori repents, and Biwa Gorō succeeds to the head of house. 87 This synopsis leaves out a few important details that become clear in the denouement of the text: Thereupon, Biwa Gorō was added to the [shogunal government] at Rokkaku, and Takayori took on a hermit’s life. It was commendable of him to give up swords and horses in order to focus on Zen studies. Well, the whole family of Ekizaemon—each and every one—was banished; the stipends of the loyal retainers grew, and the province became rich. Hanagiku, having obtained a stipend by becoming the nurse of Mokuemon through a connection to a great house of the capital, was added to the household. From this point forward, the house was kept in order, and the province’s populace sang songs of joy. The province overflowed with rich harvests. The loyal retainers did not leak out of Kagami Mountain, and the time of good governance was like the thousand years of the cranes and the ten thousand years of the turtles that live in the waters of the lake. A household run as quietly as the waves of the lake—that is truly auspicious. 87

Hasegawa Tsuyoshi, “Budō Ōmi hakkei,” Nihon koten bungaku daijiten, vol.5 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1984), p.345.

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すなわちびわ五郎を六角判官とあらためられ高頼公は御隠居あそばし御法体あっ て長剣馬上をやめて禅学にもとづきせ玉ふぞ殊勝なる。さて益左衛門一族はみな みな国を追放あり忠義の人々に御加増あって国ゆたかにおさめられ。都の高家方 へ縁につけられ木工右衛門夫婦をめのと分にして御扶持をつけて花菊にそへつか はさるる。是よりして御家ととのひ国民よろこびのうたを唄ひ五穀豊饒国はんじ ゃう。忠臣の鏡山もらぬ政道久かたの春千鶴万亀のすめる湖水の浪しづかに治る 家こそ目出たけれ。 88

Father and son, distracted by their passions, fall victim to the evil machinations of a calculating villain.

However, the affectionate ties between lord and retainer, ruler and

ruled spur actions that eventually shock the father into realizing the error of his ways, and he vanquishes the ambitious rogue before leaving behind the quotidian world.

The son

rises to power and restores eternal peace to the land as a ruler who combines human feelings with correct principle without ever having to give up the woman whom he loves, for she has been given a secondary role in his household that allows them to be together. When passion leads to conflict, either characters are forced to leave this world or the world itself changes to allow for its fulfillment, and passion—so long as it is kept in its proper place—needs not be given up totally. Compromise is not the solution taken by either father or son character, nor is it even presented as a viable course of action. Just as in the various versions of the Sonezaki shinjū and the Shinjū ten no Amijima, this narrative is an all-or-nothing affair that ends with complete closure.

The plot of this text

is spelled out at length for purposes that go beyond an illustration of how it fits into the giri-ninjō selectionist rectangle.

The narrative structure of the Budō Ōmi hakkei is also

absolutely typical of the so-called “disturbance in the great house” (oie-sōdō 御家騒動)

88

Ejima Kiseki, Budō Ōmi hakkei, Hachimonjiya zenshū, vol.7 (Tokyo: Kōko Shoin, 1994), p.268.

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plot paradigm, which was the dominant long-form plot type in early modern Japan. 89 Andrew Gerstle abstracts the oie-sōdō narrative as follows: The heir to a samurai or merchant household is disinherited, due either to his own profligacy or to an evil plotting stepmother or villainous retainer. He goes into hiding, using a disguise (yatsushi) as a palanquin bearer, wandering minstrel, or some other humble calling. He bides his time with his lover in the pleasure quarter or is continually harassed, until, in the end, he is restored to his rightful place either by the efforts of a loyal retainer or by his own fortitude. 90 Just as in the above-analyzed text, bonds of affection are momentarily disrupted by passion or self-interested calculation, and virtue is mistaken for vice, but a melodramatic close to the story brings about the recognition of true virtue, the bonds of affection are restored permanently, and the harmony and good fortune of the house and community are said to continue in perpetuity. If the typical-ness of the Budō Ōmi hakkei makes it a fit example for this study in which genre plays a great role, this same factor selects quite strongly against the scholarly approach taken earlier in this text to analyze early modern texts that were written during the periods of morphological diversification that come between long stretches of formal stasis.

It is not that in-depth and tightly focused examinations of the

micro-environments in which the Budō Ōmi hakkei formed and initially became active cannot be carried out. However, such scholarly endeavor is bound to be counterproductive and cloud a proper understanding of the evolutionary role of genre and

89

It is vital to keep in mind both that the oie-sōdō plot type with its happy ending predates the shinjū-mono love-suicide narrative paradigm with its sad ending and that most scholars agree that the latter evolved out of the former.

90

Andrew Gerstle, Circles of Fantasy (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Council of East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1986), p.68.

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the formulaic texts which constitute it.

This text’s author is significant, not because of

anything particular to his personality or socio-economic circumstance that would distinguish him from competing authors, but simply due to the fact that he, as an author who wrote many texts concerning the theater, was a repository of many theatrical as well as literary texts.

Likewise, the publishing house, which got its start putting out jōruri

libretti and later came to publish e-iri kyōgen-bon, absolutely dominated the market for fiction texts during the first half of the eighteenth century, but this only matters because such an environment was one that would favor texts written within generic norms.

As

for any deviations from generic formula linkable to these or other extra-literary factors, they might be present, but it must be understood that idiosyncrasies are at least as likely to have either hindered a text’s success or had little to no effect upon it as to have aided it, much less been its source.

In short, though the abstractness of the approach taken here

might seem hasty or inaccurate because most modern scholarly paradigms have been superintended for the study of extraordinary texts, it is necessary: normal-ness is key to genre, and genre qua genre is central to literary evolution. Paying too much attention to minute differences and a willingness to argue for syntactic relations between phenomena that may well have paratactic ones can have a deleterious effect on a properly Darwinian understanding of literary history. 91 91

For instance, though most scholars of literary history make much of the fact that Chikamatsu Monzaemon was born into a samurai family, it plays no role whatsoever in the analyses of his texts that are offered in this scholarly piece. The reason for this is simple: many non-samurai wrote similar texts before, during and after Chikamatsu’s career, while many samurai wrote dissimilar texts before, during and after Chikamatsu’s career. The supposedly causal connection between the class into which Chikamatsu was born and his artistic writerly output seems to be based almost entirely on mere convention, and this is, in turn, supported by an almost compulsive desire within the human sciences Michael J. Scanlon

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If, by the 1720s, these long-form narratives displaced the erotically themed short story collections that had dominated the sōshi fiction market since the time of Ihara Saikaku, the trend seems to have reversed itself after the century’s midpoint.

Comic

genres made up of texts that typically lack long-form narrative structures rose to the fore, and the second half of the eighteen century would seem to have been dominated by nearly plot-less dialogues, short story collections, and thread narratives. Modern scholars generally forward two explanations for this development.

One is that the place

of production for fiction moved from the merchant-centric Kyoto-Osaka region to the samurai-dominated one of Edo.

After all, it was an Edo publisher and writer who put

out the Imayō heta dangi (Trendy Inept Sermons 当世下手談義, 1752), a hugely successful collection of short, comic sermons that gave rise to a genre now known as kokkei-bon (humorous books 滑稽本).

Whereas the appearance of a highly successful

text probably did have a great effect on the literary environment, tying its appearance to a geographic factor is simply mistaking proximity or coincidence for causality.

There is

absolutely no reason to believe that an Edo audience would be a more apt one for escapist fiction than a Kamigata one, much less that the Imayō heta dangi had any less appeal to those readers outside the shogunal capital.

Texts of the comic genres were bought,

borrowed and read throughout Japan, and sōshi texts with long-form plots were dominant in the Kantō area during the first half of the eighteenth century and would regain their position at the turn of the nineteenth century.

The other explanation is linked to a

historical event: the death of the eighth shogun, Tokugawa Yoshimune (徳川吉宗, to “discover” as much meaningfulness as possible.

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313

The governmental policies of Yoshimune, referred to as the

Kyōhō Reforms in modern scholarship, are said to have drawn “the bakufu more deeply into the management of society than at any time in the past.” 92

The policies greatly

increased the amount of governmental exhortation, regulation and supervision, and this undoubtedly made the irresolvable conflict between human feelings and correct principles all the more acute for the reading public of commercially produced fiction over the first half of the eighteenth century. Moreover, the facts that the rise of the above-mentioned literature of wit came during a period of relative freedom due to the corrupt government headed by the social riser, Tanuma Okitsugu (田沼意次, 1719-1788), and that the re-emergence of long-form fiction occurred after the Kansei Reforms of the 1790s restored an ideological environment similar to that of pre-1750 Japan would seem to argue very strongly for this thesis.

Political events, such as these, can have

significant, if indirect, effects on a literary environment, and it is quite possible that a re-invigoration of non-long-form, comic genres was in some way conditioned by these extra-literary happenings. A more inclusive examination of the literary book market over the last half of the eighteenth century, however, reveals that the stark contrast drawn by some modern literary historians between an eighteenth-century literature of wit, which was written read by an educated elite, and a nineteenth-century one of melodrama and sentiment—the rise of which accompanied a process of literary popularization and commodification that can

92

Conrad Totman, Early Modern Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), p.281.

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be tied to the rise in importance of lending libraries to textual dissemination—has been somewhat exaggerated. 93

Non-long-form texts of the playful genres continued to be

written, published and read long after 1800, and it should never be forgotten that the jōruri theater was producing some of the most commercially successful plays in its history at the midpoint of the eighteenth century.

Furthermore, though modern scholars

tend to look down on their aesthetic value, new plays would continue to be produced in abundance over the second half of the eighteenth century, and jōruri libretti remained an important type of long-form fiction on the commercial book market during this period. According to the data collected in the Gidayū nenpyō, from the time of Chikamatsu Monzaemon’s death in 1724 until the end of the Kanpō period in 1743, there are records for slightly over 100 debuting jōruri plays and a nearly equal number of newly published jōruri libretti for an average of approximately five new libretti per year. During the so-called golden age of jōruri, which occurred over the Enkyō [1744-1748] and Kan’en [1748-1751] periods, there was an average of around seven new libretti per year with libretti for nearly all the approximately fifty debuting jōruri plays for which there are records.

Between 1751 and 1788, there are only about 250 libretti for the more than 350

jōruri plays known to have debuted, but the average of slightly more than 6.5 newly

93

An early and nuanced example of this basic narrative can be found in Nakamura Yukihiko’s Gesakuron, a text which appeared about one half century ago and, in many ways, helped set a dominant paradigm for the study of early modern Japanese literature that has maintained its vitality to this day. Again, it must be said that the later eighteenth century also abounded in supernatural texts, such as those now categorized as Kamigata yomihon which were written by Tsuga Teishō and Ueda Akinari. However, these tended to be short story collections that (I believe) had the same function as the comic genres. (See Nakamura’s Gesakuron.)

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published libretti per year is actually higher than had been the case during the second quarter of the eighteenth century when jōruri-evolved plots were dominating the domain of sōshi fiction.

(The market for newly published libretti only seems to have dried up

when long-form plots began to make their way back into sōshi fiction: for the 350 or so debuting plays between 1789 and 1867, there are only slightly more than sixty libretti, an average of less than one new title per year.) 94

Furthermore, Kotani Seiko has made two

crucial observations concerning the publication of jōruri texts after the century’s midpoint.

First, from the latter portion of the 1750s onwards, books called yomihon

jōruri (jōruri books for reading 読本浄瑠璃)—basically libretti from which much musical notation had been omitted and reading glosses had been added—were being brought to market.

Second, even though the theatrical jōruri tradition had evolved in

such a way that only certain acts of a play were ever performed on stage, jōruri texts—whether they included musical notation or not—were still published in full. 95

It

seems possible that the increasing number of jōruri books being published over the second half of the eighteenth century at least helped to fill the void left by the demise of long-form sōshi fiction. Such an understanding would help to account for the holdings of the lending library located in the hot spring town of Kinosaki mentioned earlier. Though this particular business venture opened at the start of the nineteenth century and closed at its end, its collection of 324 titles is actually indicative of the reading practices

94

Hara Michio, “Ayatsuri jōruri no taisai to tenkai,” Kinsei engeki wo manabu hito no tame ni, Sakaguchi Hiroyuki, ed. (Tokyo: Sekai Shisōsha, 1997), pp.77-90. 95

Kotani Seiko, “Jōruri yoteki,” Setsurin 25 (1976), pp.12-22.

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of the later eighteenth century because it was compiled at the turn of the nineteenth century based on the holdings of an earlier lending library, and its stock remained virtually unchanged until it was sold off after the Meiji Restoration. Haikai texts and sōshi fiction (in which non-long-form texts prevail) each make up one quarter of the total titles.

The remaining half of the collection is composed of jōruri libretti, the vast

majority of which were of popular plays of the second half of the eighteenth century, not the “classics” written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon. 96

Though the data set is far from

perfect, it seems likely that long-form fiction remained an important object of pleasure reading during the height of popularity of the non-long-form comic genres participating in the culture of play and before the dominant forms of nineteenth-century long-form literary fiction had evolved. Lending libraries had an important effect upon the literary environment. Fiction and lending libraries had what could be termed a symbiotic relationship.

Books

held by lending libraries could be rented by readers at a cost much lower than the purchase price, and the number of times each of these books could be read was on an order that dwarfs that which would be typical for a privately owned book.

This, of

course, leads to an explosion in the textual population for the work in question. 97

It also

96

Nagatomo Chiyoji, Kinsei kashihon’ya no kenkyū (Tokyo: Tōkyōdō Shuppan, 1982), p.111.

97

It will be recalled that, in this study, an individual unit is tallied each time a text is produced, reproduced, or enacted. Therefore, an increase in number of readers per book has an overwhelming effect on the textual population. In fact, the difference between texts that were commonly held by lending libraries and those that were not is far greater than the difference between those that were disseminated by print and those that spread via scribal publication.

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allows a much wider audience access to books with high purchase prices, which means basically all books prior to the mid-eighteenth century and certain genres through the end of the Edo period itself.

The family of texts that benefited most from the changes to the

book market brought about by a proliferation of lending libraries was fiction. A good deal of documentary evidence unearthed by Nagatomo Chiyoji and other scholars indicates that readers tended to rent fiction and buy more serious books such as medical texts, home encyclopedias, and religious works. This makes great economic sense. Because texts of popular fiction possess extremely low marginal utilities of rereading, the cost-pleasure ratio meant that there was little advantage in guaranteeing lifelong access to a specific text by buying it rather than simply renting it for a limited amount of time at a much lower price. Conversely, the evolution of successful forms of fiction—be they long-form melodramatic and sentimental narratives or comic texts from the playful genres—around the turn of the eighteenth century proved to be the environmental factor that would allow for an explosion in the population of commercial lending libraries. Peter Kornicki writes: Readers were certainly accustomed by the end of the seventeenth century to renting books as an alternative to buying them, but at this stage this was just one of the facets of a bookseller’s business, which might also include dealing in second-hand books and publishing. Peddlers dealing in books were in existence long before 1650, and they appear in a number of book illustrations in the second half of the century with packs of books on their back, the familiar trademark of the kashihon’ya until the late nineteenth century. In the course of the eighteenth century it became common for specialized kashihon’ya to be at work in the large towns, and in the nineteenth century these became widespread.98 The increase of the number of kashihon’ya in operation changed the environment for

98

Kornicki, The Book in Japan, p.391.

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commercially printed fiction in a profound way.

Popular fiction remained a highly

perishable commodity, so commercial libraries—especially those in large urban centers—were in constant need of new texts to offer their customers.

This fostered the

establishment of connections between publishing houses and lending libraries that helped to largely assure a certain level of sales for texts of popular literature, which, in turn, made this kind of text a better investment for publishing houses.

Thus, not only did

individual kashihon’ya vastly enlarge the number of possible consumers for texts of fiction, the evolution of a commercial lending library system helped to create an environment that could support far more new texts than before, and this eventually led to a great increase in the number of new titles put into circulation. At the turn of the nineteenth century, the city of Edo alone was home to well over six hundred commercial lending libraries, and the publishing industry—the center of which was now also located in the shogunal capital—was putting out far more titles of new fiction than it ever had in the past. The managers of these establishments did, of course, choose the books that made it into their collections, and there were some powerful lending library owners whose opinions could help determine whether or not a certain text ever made it to print. However, this amounted to nothing more than one more restricted environment that a text had to survive before reaching the general readership. In other words, texts had to be fit to author, publisher, and kashihon’ya in order to be given the chance to succeed or fail in the widest domain of the popular reader.

Again, this amounts to nothing more than a

negative pressure, one that would typically select against radical innovation.

There is

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not a single unprecedented plot structure or even formal device that can be linked directly to the rise in importance of lending libraries for textual dissemination.

However, these

commercial enterprises could—and did—divide large texts into sections which were then rented separately to customers, 99 and ownership of complete texts was of greater importance to commercial lending institutions than it was to individual readers. After all, customers who liked the first part of a given text that they read were likely to return to rent a subsequent portion, and multiple-volume texts from which even a single volume is missing—especially when the text in question either possesses a long-form structure or is one of extended fiction—would find few renters and are very nearly complete losses. Consequently, warnings to the effect that the loss or destruction of a single volume of a multiple-volume book would result in a fine equal to the price of the entire set can frequently be found in books which were once owned by kashihon’ya. 100

It would also

seem reasonable to assume both that rental libraries would be inclined to buy subsequent installments of most extended texts the first portion of which they had already purchased as well as that, once this became apparent, publishing such texts became a less unattractive investment for booksellers. 101

This, of course, means that any negative

99

For example, the rental library at Kinosaki separated the Kōshoku ichidai otoko containing the graffito analyzed earlier into two sections—one being volumes one through four, the other being volume five to the end—and rented these out individually. Nagatomo Chiyoji, Kinsei kashihon’ya no kenkyū (Tokyo: Tōkyōdō Shuppan, 1982), p.223. 100

Op. cit., p.64.

101

Of course, this does not mean that the publication of some texts, especially those that sparked little to no interest among period readers, did not break off in the middle. However, even if a given text was not a runaway hit, as long as a certain number of customers rented the first installment, the manager of the library would be likely to buy Michael J. Scanlon

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pressures selecting against a proliferation of fiction of considerable length and published incrementally are far weaker under these conditions than when lending libraries were less numerous, and the decades surrounding the turn of the nineteenth century witnessed the quick evolution of several new narrative genres that were longer than had previously been normal and were put out in installments. 102

The revival of long-form sōshi fiction

coincided with—and probably helped bring about—the downfall of jōruri libretti as an important part of the commercial book market, but the narrative paradigms evolved in the theater world remained dominant. The increase in textual length brought with it an escalation in the complexity of the plots of individual texts, but the long-form plot structures that can be found in these genres are mostly either outgrowths and combinations of those that developed on the Japanese stage at the turn of the eighteenth century or admixtures of these structures with those of Chinese colloquial fiction (baihua xiaoshuo [hakuwa shōsetsu] 白話小説), a type of fiction that happened to be fit for an environment conditioned by the long-form narrative paradigms of the kabuki and jōruri traditions.

the next one in order to keep from completely voiding his initial investment in the text. 102

Most were published in two installments one year apart, but there were also cases of extremely long texts the publication of which could stretch on for a decade or more. It should also be noted that these new genres included both non-long-form ones of wit as well as long-form ones of melodrama and sentiment.

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Books from Edo; Books from Nanjing One day Keiga Dōyo, a book merchant, paid a visit to my thatched hermitage. After a bout of small talk had ended, he spoke, saying, “Even though one can say that recently things like fiction (shōsetsu) and Japanese-language books for reading (wabun yomihon) are published year in and year out, the elevation of their style—something beyond the literacy of women and children—brings about a great number of places which are difficult to understand. Seeing this, I grow sick of it. Therefore, taking into account the fact that young people do not detest the common language and vulgarisms, why don’t you put together a two-volume book and give it to me?” From the beginning, my style has been dim, coarse and clumsy, and I have found it difficult to compose. Though this might be called a good thing, until recently, books for reading (yomihon) have not been the playthings of young people, so hasn’t it been that a group of famous people have used their powers to write in a half-Chinese style? If it’s one of those fashionable books for reading (fūryū yomihon) being put together and published in recent years, what is to be done about the women and children who want to read something like those picture books (kusahon)? When I realized that my unlearned common style and vulgar words could be useful, my intention was to compose this piece using a jōruri style deriving from the theater in order to meet the demands of the publisher. Postscript Kanrei fukushū (1808) Kanwatei Onitake (d.1818) The last decades of the eighteenth century witnessed a renaissance of long-form fiction written to be printed.

At first, these were isolated texts belonging to playful

comic genres into which long-form narratives were added. Eventually, however, new plot-based genres of fiction began to form.

The first of these was what modern scholars

refer to as the chūhon-gata yomihon (mid-sized books for reading 中本型読本), a genre Michael J. Scanlon

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of mostly long-form narratives with either domestic (sewamono) or hybrid domestic-historical (jidai-sewa) settings. 103

The first texts now recognized as being of

this genre were written during the 1780s and are basically offshoots of jōruri narrative. The genre’s progenitor, the Kataki-uchi Renri no tachibana (Vengence: Renri’s Orange Tree 敵討連理橘, 1781), resembled jōruri narrative to the point that its postscript could assert that the preceding text was a jōruri narrative written for the press, not the stage. Over time, this jōruri-derived base would include ever more elements—methods of characterization, shukō plot devices, a prose style combining aspects both Chinese and Japanese as well as elegant and coarse, and even long-form plot structures—deriving either directly from colloquial-language fiction produced in China (hakuwa shōsetsu 白 話小説) or from Japanese translations or adaptations thereof.

The genre was at its most

vigorous during the first decade of the nineteenth century, but trailed off precipitously after that. In its place would arise two new genres—the ninjō-bon (human feelings book 人情本) and the Edo hanshi yomihon (half-sheet book for reading 半紙読本)—that would

come to dominate the non-picture book sector of the commercially printed sōshi fiction market until the decades after the Meiji Restoration. With the evolution of these two genres came a spilt of the fiction market into the commercial and the artistic. Period literary criticism makes it clear that ninjō-bon were seen as objects of large-scale production, nothing more than pieces of fiction written for the satisfaction of the demands of a mass audience and fit to be read by only women and

103

Nakamura Yukihiko, “Ninjō-bon to chūhon-gata yomihon,” Nakamura Yukihiko chojutsushū, vol.5 (Tokyo: Chūō Kōronsha, 1982), p.467.

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children, while Edo hanshi yomihon were considered to be the result of a more artistic endeavor on the part of their authors and seen as literary texts worthy of an educated, male audience.

Though it is true that Edo hanshi yomihon tended to be exceptionally

expensive books, were printed in limited numbers and, accordingly, sold far fewer copies per title than did ninjō-bon, it is relatively easy to undermine this period understanding. After all, there is a good deal of evidence showing that men of the early modern intelligentsia read ninjō-bon, and Edo hanshi yomihon certainly reached a fairly wide audience during the Tokugawa period, for commercial lending libraries allowed a wider, less elite group of readers relatively inexpensive access to these texts, even if few members of this reading “underclass” could afford to buy personal copies. 104 Nevertheless, on the symbolic and discursive levels, the fracture of the fiction market was real.

Kyokutei Bakin (曲亭馬琴, 1767-1848), prolific man of letters who authored texts

from a wide variety of genres, lambasted Tamenaga Shunsui (為永春水, 1790-1843), the most successful writer of ninjō-bon, for his willingness to sacrifice artistic integrity for commercial appeal.

More important, the narratorial asides found within Edo hanshi

yomihon as well as the prefaces and postscripts appended to texts of this genre are addressed to audiences of at least equal stature as the presumed author, whereas these same phenomena are aimed downward towards a less educated presumed reader in ninjō-bon. The ninjō-bon is thought to have fully diverged from its share-bon roots and

104

Nakamura Yukihiko, “Yomihon no dokusha,” Nakamura Yukihiko chojutsushū, vol.5, p.448.

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become a full-fledged genre at the dawn of the Bunsei era (1818-1830). That a type of literature based on nearly plot-less dialogue, the chief function of which was to draw laughter by means of a satiric pointing out of characters’ foibles, could give rise to a plotted genre meant to elicit tears—an alternative name for this type of fiction was “crying books” (naki-hon 泣本)—might seem counterintuitive.

However, the

connection is made clear in Nakamura Yukihiko’s analysis of a series of three texts published over three years—the Keisei-kai Futasuji-michi (Bought at the Pleasure Quarters: Forked Path 傾城買二筋道, 1798), the Sato no kuse (The Routines of the Quarters 廓の癖, 1799), and the Yoi no hodo (In the Space of a Night 宵の程, 1800)—that he posits makes up the most direct ancestor of the genre: Futasuji-michi, as the title suggests, combines two stories: [one being about] a randy and dandyish client who—due to his self centeredness—earns the contempt of the courtesan who at first was drawn to him, [the other being about] a middle-aged and ugly client whom that courtesan hates at first but is later moved due to the sincerity of his love. In share-bon, the character type of the first man is not rare; however, as for the second kind, this is a completely new way of handling characters. The subsequent installment, the Sato no kuse (chūhon mid-sized book), depicts scenes—as is the way in the pleasure quarters where things do not go as expected—wherein the courtesan’s true feelings for the client who has run into money troubles has her ignore the money of a different client as well as the [man] collapsing in illness due to his excess of love and their separation. It has left the very format of the share-bon and become filled with a melancholy and a sad beauty that in no way resembles the world of irony and laughter. The third installment, Yoi no hodo (chūhon mid-sized book) concentrates on the fidelity between the disowned male protagonist and his wife as well as on the affection between this official wife and the female protagonist who continues to suffer in the pleasure quarters. In the end, it concludes with [the courtesan] together with the wife splendidly cohabitating. If the three are put in succession, though each continues to use a share-bon-like form, it becomes endowed with a plot that has a conclusion wherein hopes are fulfilled at the end of a sad love. 105 105

Nakamura Yukihiko, “Ninjō-bon to Tamenaga Shunsui,” Nakamura Yukihiko chojutsushū, vol.4 (Tokyo: Chūō Kōronsha, 1987), p.469.

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The Futasuji-michi was eminently recognizable as a share-bon.

The addition of a

character incompatible with the conventions of the genre has deformed the narrative structures slightly, and jōruri-derived elements can be seen in the style of the sections containing the non-dialogue, direct narration (ji no bun 地の文) as well as in the way scenes are introduced. 106

However, the text was dialogue-centric, and the inconsiderate

lover and the way in which he is dispatched are absolutely typical of the genre.

The

book format was also that of a standard share-bon, for it was printed on a kohon small-sized book.

In the Sato no kuse and the Yoi no hodo, dialogue still takes up the

vast majority of the discourse, but plot elements and scenes typical of jōruri have become much more noticeable. These divergences from share-bon norms were conspicuous enough that the text’s publisher printed it on a chūhon mid-sized book, a format that was used when putting out those deformed texts that did not fit into any pre-existing literary genre. The process through which the ninjō-bon formed was not yet complete. It would be nearly two decades before an array of similar but different texts appeared in substantial numbers, and a new genre of fiction coalesced. However, the basic nature of the ninjō-bon had been hit upon, for texts of this type narrate a jōruri-style plot by means of share-bon-style dialogue and are printed in chūhon mid-sized books. The dominant text of this genre was undoubtedly Tamenaga Shunsui’s Shunshoku Umegoyomi (Spring Scene: Plum Calendar 春色梅暦), which was published in two installments of 1832 and 1833.

Not only was it sold and read more than other

106

The opening of each book is introduced with a song that is marked with jōruri-based musical notation, contains onomatopoeic imitations of samisen music, and even has references to the way in which the musical instrument should be tuned.

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texts of its type, it also spawned a series of sequels and prequels printed under the name of the same author, and a group of highly related works were put out by competing writers.

The plot of the Umegoyomi has been summarized by Alan Woodhull as

follows: The story opens with a view of the downcast circumstances of the young hero, Tanjirō, the heir to a Yoshiwara brothel [the Karakotoya]. On his father’s death, he is tricked into being adopted into another House, one that is in precarious financial condition. The finishing touches to the plot are rendered by a dishonest servant who absconds with a precious tea caddy, making Tanjirō responsible for an enormous debt. Tanjirō goes into hiding, and for the duration of most of the story, is supported by the loyal efforts of his betrothed [Ochō] and his courtesan lover [Yonehachi]. A wealthy merchant named Tōbei, who is also the secret agent for the [feudal lord] whose tea caddy was stolen, steps into the picture. Due to Tōbei’s perspicacious investigation, not only are the villains captured and the debts paid off, but Tanjirō is discovered to be the long lost heir to the [fief] of Tōbei’s patron (thus making Tōbei Tanjirō’s loyal retainer). All ends happily as Tanjirō marries his betrothed, and takes his courtesan lover as his concubine. 107 The summary gives only the main plot, and the Umegoyomi itself is made up of several intertwining plot lines, all of which—with one important exception—are resolved by the end of the text.

Woodhull’s synopsis makes it clear that the backbone of the

Umegoyomi is an oie-sōdō plot. The text begins with the hero, accused of behavior that violates both human feelings and correct principle, fleeing his section of the mundane world because he is unable to meet the demands of duty required by his community, and it ends with Tanjirō—along with several other characters—being invested with a new, better past that assures him a future as well as a complete restoration of stability and peace within the family and the greater public order. It is the specific way in which this is accomplished—one that is basically the same as that of the Yoi no hodo—that is of 107

Alan Woodhull, Romantic Edo Fiction, PhD Disseration, Stanford University (1978), p.25.

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particular interest to this analysis. After the final line of dialogue is spoken by a minor character who states baldly that his only function in the text is to tie together loose plot lines, the Umegoyomi ends with its longest bout of ji no bun direct narration.

The reader

is assured that the three-person household arrangement is unproblematic: As for Ochō, a bit later, an investigation by [Hanzawa] Rokurō Narikiyo [Tanjirō’s long lost father] lets everyone know that she is the offspring of [Honda Jirō] Chikatsune [Hanzawa’s retainer who set Tōbei out on his search for the missing heir]. Because of what could be called an obligation due to her secretly taking care of Tanjirō’s affairs, [Tanjirō’s father] realizes that she is a virtuous and wonderful girl, not to be taken lightly. By his offices, his son’s heartfelt desire to enter the family is fulfilled, and a time with a chance for opening new prosperity has come. Ochō becomes his official wife. Yonehachi also has uncommon virtue, so his father, Rokurō, without hesitation has her honored as [Tanjirō’s] concubine. They are forever harmonious… May they continue to have many children and, like the spring plum which gives off scent for many generations, may their income bear fruit. On that felicitous note, I set aside my brush. お蝶が素生はこれより後、六朗成清の正しにて、近常が種なるよし相わかり、丹 次郎がことを内々世話になりし恩といひ、操めでたき娘なれば疎略にならずと、 我子丹次郎が別段に名跡をたつる心願かなひ、繁昌の基をひらく時に臨んで、お 蝶は本妻となり、米八もひとかたならぬ貞実なれば、親の六朗へはれてお部屋さ まとうやまはれ、いづれもその中睦まじく… 子宝おほくまうけつつ、幾代かか ほる春の梅、実いりをここに寿て、めでたく筆をおさめはべりぬ。 108

The relationship between the women, who have made a vow of sisterhood, is governed by affection, as are those between each of them and Tanjirō. As in other oie-sōdō, this happens not because feelings of passion have to be given up, but because the situation has changed with the influx of money and familial understanding so that passion need not interfere with affection.

Thus, the text ends with complete closure and without anything

even approaching compromise.

At the conclusion of this narrative, the recognition of

virtue has returned everlasting harmony to the land, and the text’s hero ends up with the 108

Tamenaga Shunsui, Shunshoku umegoyomi, Nihon koten bungaku taikei 64 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1962), pp.237-238.

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girl, the money, and the other woman. To readers conditioned by the modern novel, such an ending would seem ludicrous, especially given the fact that a jealous rivalry between Ochō and Yonehachi is one of the central elements of the Umegoyomi’s plot.

It could even be argued that there

is no reason to take the final statement of this text seriously. The narrator is obviously unreliable, and much of the narratorial comment directed at the supposed reader is obviously self-parodic with the supposed author often jokingly apologizing for letting dialogue interfere with the plot or making facetious pleas for readerly patience and understanding. Yet the ending was sacrosanct within the early modern period.

The

next book of the series, the Umegoyomi yokyō Shunshoku tatsumi no sono (Excess Interest from the Plum Calendar—Spring View: Southeast Garden 梅暦余興春色辰巳園, 1834), does revolve around a contest between two women for Tanjirō’s attention, but this time it is not between Ochō and Yonehachi, but between Yonehachi and Adakichi whose rivalry composed the unresolved plot line in the Shunshoku Umegoyomi.

Moreover, like

the previous text, this one ends with Adakichi, having had her virtuousness recognized, being added to Tanjirō’s household. This basic structure in which a long-form narrative begins with a problem from the outside and ends with its (at least) near total resolution is true for all the sequels in the series. The prequel, however, might seem to be a radically different matter. The Shunshoku Megumi no hana (Spring Scene: Flower of Blessing 春色惠の花, 1836) begins with the familiar cast of characters already in trouble and terminates in medias res where the Umegoyomi starts.

Of this text, Woodhull writes:

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Shunshoku Megumi no hana, the shortest of all the works in the [Shunshoku] series, is composed of two Sections in six volumes—exactly half the length of the ordinary format. As the subtitle, Umegoyomi hottan [Preface to the Umegoyomi], indicates, the subject of the work is the lives and origins of Umegoyomi’s characters prior to the beginning of the work. The story begins, “long, long ago in the Northern section of Kamakura there was a thriving licensed Quarter, and within that Quarter was a House known far and wide as the Karakotoya. Its prosperity was beyond description, and all of the girls of the House were treated with Compassion and Respect as though they were the very children of the owner, Uraemon, who raised them out of pity. Through some karmic bond, however, misfortune piled on misfortune, and in a very short time the House was in embarrassed circumstances.” Of all the works in the series, Megumi no hana is the most disorganized, and as [Yamaguchi Takeshi] notes, and “an obvious rehash of the Umegoyomi.” It bills itself as an exposition of the origins of the characters, and yet it does nothing more than describe their various predicaments just prior to the bankruptcy of the Karakotoya. Questions such as how Tanjirō came to be adopted into the Karakotoya—or how it was that Kihei, the villainous manager, came to take control of the house are left blank. As such, the story is completely dependent upon the structure afforded by its proximity to Umegoyomi, and by itself is extremely fragmentary. The standard romance plot requires a story to begin more or less on a downward note, to progress through a series of misfortunes, and finally to end on an upward, felicitous note. Megumi no hana guarantees the reader that it will present the “origins” of Umegoyomi. From that one might expect to see the main emphasis fall on the description of the idyllic, happy lives of the characters, which in romance is presumed to exist at some point just previous to the beginning of the work. Instead of seeing the characters living happily with their families, oblivious to the coming storm, Shunsui has pushed the romance motif back even further, so that the story of Megumi no hana too, begins on a downward note. 109 Thus, even the Megumi no hana, which in its final form is so unusual as both a book and a text, begins in the same way as other texts of its genre and ends in uncharacteristic fashion due to the extraordinary circumstances in which it was written and read.

This is

of vital importance to the Darwinian theory of literary history being forwarded in this scholarly text.

For the study of literature as an ideologically or historically significant

phenomenon as opposed to a record of human genius or accomplishment, the rule is of 109

Woodhull, pp.166-167.

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far greater importance than an exception, and exceptions do not typically destroy rules. The two-step model for literary development—something basic to the theory of literary evolution—accounts for imperfection, and the presence of exceptions are, in fact, a sign that literary evolution is a Darwinian process rather than a Lamarckian one.

Most

important, however, is the fact that the very irregularity of the circumstances that helped to condition the Shunshoku Megumi no hana means that its open-ended-ness does not undermine the general thesis but serves as an exception that proves the rule.

This

prequel, which is less a completely independent text than an extended preface or pre-history, can end without any resolution to the initial conflict because closure is already provided for by the ending of the Umegomi.

Though texts of the Shunshoku

series are set in the quotidian world and trace the lives of common folk, the complications of everyday life are not a fit topic for this type of long-form literary narrative, and novelistic compromise and open-ended-ness are neither typical of this group of texts nor a hallmark of the ninjō-bon genre as a whole. That a lowbrow genre of fiction would have such qualities might not be so surprising. After all, even in the modern world, popular fiction is often considered to be a Manichean domain of wholly good and evil characters engaged in extraordinary melodramatic or sentimental adventures, and nearly all texts of this type end in complete closure, most having happy endings that highly educated and socially active modern scholars see through even if they enjoy them anyway.

Yet these “popular” elements are

even stronger in Edo hanshi yomihon, the more intellectual long-form fiction of the day, for this is a genre of melodramatic historical pieces (jidaimono).

Early modern critics

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and modern scholars agree that the first text of this genre was the Chūshin suikoden (Loyal Retainers, Heroes on the Marsh 忠臣水滸伝) by Santō Kyōden (山東京伝 1761-1816) published in two installments of 1799 and 1801.

As Nakamura Yukihiko

has pointed out, the narrative combines the setting and plot structure of a famous jōruri narrative, the Kanadehon Chūshingura, with a style derived from adaptations of Chinese colloquial fiction and character attributes from a famous text of this type, the Shuihu chuan (Heroes on the Marsh [Suikoden] 水滸伝). 110

Though the base of the first text of

the genre lay within jōruri narrative, it is normally the Chinese elements that are stressed in modern studies of the Edo hanshi yomihon genre.

There are good reasons for this.

Period critics and authors emphasized the genre’s sinific aspects. More important, over time, the long-form texts of the genre did begin to incorporate more and more elements from Chinese colloquial fiction, and no place was this truer than on the level of plot. Many modern scholars have noted that, in Japanese narratives produced before Chinese colloquial fiction had come to exert a strong influence on the literary environment, it is the individual shukō plot devices which dominate to the point of interfering with the overarching plot line, whereas these are well integrated as kernels and satellites in hakuwa shōsetsu and later Edo hanshi yomihon. The higher degree of organization in the plots of Chinese fiction compared with those of jōruri and its sōshi offspring meant that it is hardly surprising that the conventions of long-form Chinese fiction would displace natively evolved forms within this most plotted of genres.

110

Nakamura Yukihiko, “Goki yomihon no suii,” Nakamura Yukihiko chojutsushū, vol.4 (Tokyo: Chūō Kōronsha, 1987), p.416.

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There is another reason why the influence of Chinese fiction is so strongly emphasized in modern, Japanese-language scholarship on early modern literary history. Note the opening of Yayoshi Mitsunaga’s article about the importation of Chinese books during the Edo period: There is the popular misconception that Japan, over the three hundred years of the early modern period, was cut off from the outside world and developed a unique Japanese culture because of the coercive isolationist conditions of the so-called sakoku (closed-country) policy. Traffic with foreign countries was limited to Nagasaki in the southwest. The Dutch who came by ship were cooped up on Dejima [Island], and the Qing Chinese were restricted to a residence for Chinese. Interaction outside official translators was not permitted. It is severely doubtful that Japan cut off ties with outside culture and underwent no influence, to say nothing of [the idea that] Japan constructed a completely separate world. The interaction with those people who were flooding in from the hole to the west and the importation of Chinese books may have started off small. However, due to the natural inclination of the Japanese to like rarities, Chinese books were reprinted [in Japan] or, being read often, were copied out and passed on. At some point, this became a great flood, and [these books] ended up dominating Japanese consciousness and thought. 111 Yayoshi is clear that this point was not a new one.

In the realm of literary studies,

attacks on the conception of history that equated the birth of Japan’s modernity with the Meiji state’s opening the country to foreign cultures after a long period of national isolation, which was brought on by shogunal policies implemented in the mid-seventeenth century, can be traced back at least to the early 1930s, particularly in the work of Nagasawa Kikuya. 112

One set of evidence that has long played a role in this

strain of scholarship is a group of documents, produced as a byproduct of shogunal

111

Yayoshi Mitsunaga, “Kara-hon no yunyū to hanro,” Edo jidai no shuppan to hito, Yayoshi Mitsunaga chosakushū, vol.3 (Tokyo: Nichigai Associates, 1980), p.233. 112

Nagasawa Kikuya, “Edo jidai ni okeru Shina shōsetsu ryūkō no ippan,” Shoshigaku 4:1 (1933), pp.20-38.

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attempts to regulate foreign trade, that contain detailed evidence about the books brought to Japan on Chinese ships for less than two score years scattered between 1714 and 1855. 113

Since the archive is so incomplete, most Japanese-language scholarship simply

concludes from this evidence that a lot of Chinese books arrived in Japan during the Edo period, and the majority of scholarly effort is directed towards finding out whether or not specific Chinese texts were read on the archipelago by looking for proof that they were reprinted or exerted influence on texts produced in Japan. Recently, however, Jonathan Zwicker has put these documents to a much more ambitious use.

Basing his analysis on the titles listed as the Classics as well as those

included in the categories of Historical Novels of the late Ming Period, Qing Military Romance Novels and Qing Scholar-Beauty Romance Novels in Robert Hegel’s Reading 113

These have been reprinted in typographic form in Ōba Osamu’s Edo jidai ni okeru Tōsen mochiwatarisho no kenkyū. Of the situation that led to the evolution of these documents, Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716), a physician in the employ of a Dutch trading company who spent two years at the end of the seventeenth century in Japan, writes at the conclusion of a list of goods brought to Japan by Chinese merchants the following: …and last but not least, various books on philosophy and theology printed in China. As I have mentioned, among these books were a few works about the teaching from Rome. When this was first noticed, the carrier of these books (perhaps unaware of this fact) had to convincingly vouch not to have any knowledge of this matter, nor himself to be a Christian, but all the same had to return in his junk with all his goods, unable to sell any. From then on, it was ordered that before being sold, all imported books have to be examined, and a copy of each book must be read and censured. Two local learned men have been appointed by the shogun for this purpose and receive an annual stipend. One is the abbot of a monastery, Shuntoku, who has to read and censure religious books. The other is a Confucian philosopher and physician of, as he says, the dairi [the emperor], residing on Tateyama. Kaempfer’s History of Japan also makes clear that, although many more Chinese ships were allowed into Nagasaki harbor than Dutch ones, the total amount of sanctioned Chinese trade was only double that of the allowance granted European merchants. Beatrice Bodart-Bailey, Kaempfer’s Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1999), pp.226-227, 207-228.

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Illustrated Fiction in Late Imperial China, he finds that: ‘Scholar-Beauty Romances’ do well: we have records for just over seventy percent of the set; late Ming ‘Historical Novels’ fare comparatively poorly: just under forty percent; and ‘Qing Military Romance Novels’ are somewhere in between at fifty-five percent. But overall, the numbers are extremely high. 114 He then analyzes this data, writing: [The] breakdown by sub-genre is suggestive: the numbers are of course fragmentary but the relative success of Scholar-Beauty romances is quite striking and somewhat counterintuitive. Counterintuitive because Nagatomo Chiyoji, for instance, puts military tales at the center of his study of early modern reading habits and there is good data to suggest that military romances were the most popular prose genre in Japan from the mid-seventeenth century into the eighteenth century. And of course many Chinese military and historical narratives were imported, translated, and circulated in Japan from the eighteenth century on. But the success of the scholar-beauty romances is unequivocal: we have records for sixteen of the twenty-two titles and some, like the Jin Yun Qiao, were imported more than once and had remarkable literary afterlives. 115 The implicit argument of this section is that the popularity of native versions of “military romances” kept the Chinese genre at bay. In other words, meaning is sought for the numbers and kind of Chinese fiction arriving on the shores of early modern Japan, and the answer forwarded nominates a type of cultural lockout wherein native popularity fends off foreign competition: the success enjoyed by Japanese military narrative meant that there was no need for a foreign version of it, so Qing military romances were not imported in numbers that approach those of genres for which there were no popular Edo-period equivalents. According to the narrative of literary history forwarded in Zwicker’s text, however, the situation seems to have completely reversed itself after the Meiji Restoration.

This is readily apparent in the section in which he tries to show the

114

Jonathan Zwicker, Tears of Blood, PhD Dissertation: Columbia University (2002), p.168. 115

Op. cit., p.169.

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“limited nature” of the success of the Western novel in Meiji Japan.

Basing his analysis

on the holdings of the Japanese National Diet Library which he divides into reprints of early modern literature, literary translations, and modern novels written in Japanese, Zwicker finds: After a slow start, the Japanese novel takes off and reprints of the previous dominant form—early modern fiction—sharply drop off after an initial period of dominance. But where are foreign books in all this? This is where it gets interesting because foreign literature never achieves—numerically at least—the sort of hegemonic position described by Gramsci. A few points: the last time there are more foreign novels published in Japan than Japanese novels is 1885; the first time there are more foreign novels than reprints of early modern fiction is 1893; and the largest proportion of the total numbers of titles that translations make is 36% in 1904—not insignificant, to be sure, but far from hegemonic. 116 He also stresses that the vast majority of Western fiction translated were plot-based adventure stories or melodramatic and sentimental narratives, not character-based realistic fiction, and this leads him to conclude that nineteenth-century Japanese literary narrative “is a field bordered on one end by the works of a long tradition of Japanese prose and on the other by the introduction of European forms and yet its aesthetic and readerly sensibilities were dominated by the forms of a third tradition, the Chinese novel.” 117

Thus, in a complete inversion of the cultural lockout that led to the seeming

under-representation of Qing military romances during the early modern period, he theorizes that, in the modern period, it was those Western novels that approximated the structures of the pre-existing sentimental and melodramatic long-form fiction of Japan that were imported into the country and translated first and most often while those with

116

Op. cit., p.188.

117

Op. cit., p.206.

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radically different forms were effectively rebuffed.

Thus, the same sinified Japanese

“novel” evolved by the beginning of the nineteenth century is said to have largely kept out similar non-native versions of fiction during the first two thirds of that century and held off dissimilar foreign versions during its last three decades. Zwicker’s thesis is a provocative one.

He does not simply continue to attack a

long since discredited narrative of history, but actually inverts it.

In nineteenth-century

Japan, it is the period before the Meiji Restoration that narrative literature was most open to foreign influences. The hypothesis—part of a larger argument theorizing that, because extra-literary events like the Meiji Restoration do not exert a strong influence on literary history, the literary production of nineteenth-century Japan should be studied as a unified whole—is fundamentally mistaken.

The problem is not that Tears of Blood

argues for two separate versions of cultural lockout.

The radical contextualization of

literary evolution is necessary because it is posited that similar phenomena can both be superintended by different conditioning environments and are able to serve multiple functions depending on the conditions of the environments in which they are active. Both versions of cultural lockout might very well be possible. The flaw in Zwicker’s argument lies in the fact that it is based on a juxtaposition of two absolutely disparate sets of data.

In his study, success for Chinese fiction during the early modern period is

constituted solely by texts of its type arriving on Japanese shores, while that for the Western novel in Meiji Japan involves texts being translated into Japanese.

It must be

kept in mind that, though no single obvious set of easily accessible records summarizing this trend is available to modern scholars, a vast amount of foreign books were being

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imported into Japan in the decades following the Meiji Restoration.

The later nineteenth

century was a time when many universities and other schools in which foreign studies played a great role were being established.

These institutions were both filling their

libraries with foreign-produced books and producing a population of readers who could buy and read foreign texts, be they of “occidental” or non-Japanese “oriental” origin. 118 Books from the Asian mainland as well as America and Europe were flooding into Japan over the final three decades of the nineteenth century, and it is simply unbelievable to think that, in the Edo period, “if anything, ‘foreign books’ probably comprise a proportionately larger percentage of the book trade than during the Meiji era.” 119 Conversely, as can be seen by the existence of categories for translated Chinese literary narrative included in the 1729, 1754 and 1772 versions of the booksellers’ catalogues, foreign fiction was also being translated into Japanese during the early modern period. However, the data available in these period catalogues as well as that collected in the Kokusho sōmokuroku and the Kotenseki sōgō mokuroku—two modern reference works which provide bibliographic information for all extant, catalogued books (including translations) written or published in Japan prior to 1868—indicate that the share of the Edo-period fiction market held by translations of Chinese fiction was much, much lower than the share of the Meiji-era fiction market held by translations of Western fiction.

118

Occidental (seiyō 西洋) and oriental (tōyō 東洋) were the terms used at the time. It is also worth noting that it was Maruzen, a store that traded in Western books and books on the West, which in 1869 became the first joint stock corporation in Japan. Foreign books were a lucrative business in Meji-era Japan. 119

Zwicker, p.165.

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Finally, it needs to be emphasized that, during the Edo period, Western long-form fiction, the novel, almost certainly enjoyed the same type of “success” that Chinese colloquial fiction did. The officers and crew aboard the Dutch vessels arriving in Nagasaki surely had with them copies of this type of writing; these books certainly circulated among the foreign community on Dejima and most likely came to the attention of the Japanese officials stationed there.

Yet, even though texts of Western science were finding their

way into the Japanese book trade, not a single translation of a text that is today considered to be a “novel” was made during the early modern period.

In fact, the only

Western narrative that seems to have been translated and published was a short Dutch chapbook version of Robinson Crusoe from which the most “novelistic” parts—the diary and the depiction of everyday life—had already been basically excised, and the text itself had no evolutionary impact on Japanese narrative literature.

It spawned no similar but

different texts, and all evidence indicates that it did not even sell well.

The Robinsun

hyōkō kiryaku (An Abbreviated Chronicle of Robinson’s Adventures 魯敏遜漂行紀略, 1857) barely survived in a meager population at the very edge of the domain of narrative literature. Novelistic success would have to wait for the great developments in the ideological environment that became possible after the catastrophe that was the Meiji Restoration selected strongly against the early modern paradigm. In order to give a more accurate assessment of the role Chinese fiction played in early modern Japan, it is necessary to adjust the conceptualization of the means by which Chinese books came to Japan.

Previous scholarship tends to refer to this process as one

of importation (yu’nyū 輸入), a term that emphasizes the Japan half of Sino-Japanese

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trade and draws analytic attention to the market demands of the Edo-period reading public.

There were undoubtedly cases in which specific works of Chinese colloquial

fiction were ordered by Japanese customers, just as there were also assuredly times when other commodities were brought to Japan by direct request. However, this was hardly typical of international commerce in early modern Japan.

The normal process through

which foreign merchandise entered the Japanese market is laid out clearly in Edward Kaempfer’s History of Japan (pub.1727).

Goods were sent by foreign exporters on ship

to the port of Nagasaki where they were unloaded, inspected and stored by Japanese officials. Japanese merchants were then allowed into these storehouses to look at the foreign items and submit bids on them.

Finally, what amounted to a wholesalers’

auction took place in which bids were read out starting with the highest.

When the first

merchant stepped forward to take credit for his offer, the sale was confirmed. Ōba Osamu, a recognized authority on the Sino-Japanese book trade, is of the opinion that books went though an even more complex process that widened the gap between the exportation of commodities from China and Japanese demand for these goods.

Before

becoming available to the booksellers who would offer their wares on the retail market, books both had to be approved by censors in the employ of the shogunate and were made available for purchase to the administrators of the Tokugawa library as well as libraries associated with other powerful academic institutions or politicians. 120

Ōba’s work also

120

Ōba Osamu, Edo jidai ni okeru Tōsen mochiwatarisho no kenkyū (Osaka: The Institute for Oriental and Occidental Studies, Kansai University, 1967), pp.46-63. It is even posited that the lists of imported books originally functioned as an order form for the central elites. This, of course, is another indication that the Japanese side had no idea which books were being sent by Chinese merchants to their shores.

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makes two things extremely clear. First, literary fiction titles, though numerous, made up only part of the overall book trade: there were also many poetry collections, medical manuals, as well as books of religion or philosophy loaded onto the junks that arrived in Japan.

Second, books made up relatively little of the total allotment of Chinese trade. 121

In light of these facts, it is hardly likely that the Chinese exporters, who had to determine what articles to send to Japan without ever having been able to mix freely with its populace, had a particularly clear idea of the specifics of the Japanese demand for literary fiction.

The “success” various types of fiction had in being exported to Japan was

mostly conditioned by their popularity in Qing China, particularly in those port cities involved in the Japan trade, and it is only reasonable that it would be the bestsellers and longsellers in China that would arrive in Japan in the greatest numbers. 122 The process by which these texts made it to Japan—to say nothing of the way in which Chinese-language texts in books printed on the continent became translated pieces of fiction being published and sold in Japan—should be thought of as a migration.

Like

all objects of migration, Chinese fiction was able to thrive because it fortuitously met with an environment to which it was fit.

Thus, given the popularity that military-themed

narrative enjoyed in the Edo period, it is hardly surprising that the most dominant text of Chinese colloquial fiction in early modern Japan was the Shuihu chuan, a piece of fiction that C.T. Hsia posits was the most important precursor of the so-called military-romance 121

Op. cit., pp.12-30.

122

Peter Kornicki also emphasizes that the initiative in the Sino-Japanese book trade lay almost completely with the Chinese exporters in his discussion of the phenomenon in his The Book in Japan.

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genre in China. 123

Far from being the source of a cultural lockout for the military

romance genre, the success enjoyed by this type of natively evolved narrative may have been the chief factor that helped condition the great popularity of the Suikoden in early modern Japan.

On a more general level, the success long-form Chinese colloquial

fiction had in Tokugawa Japan was enabled by the fact that this type of fiction (at the very least) could be read without difficulty within the human feelings-correct principles dynamic, 124 whereas the European novel, written within a conflict between individuality and socialization, could not be so easily reconciled with the early modern epistemological paradigm, and, consequently, was much less suited to this environment. 125

Unlike its

123

All evidence would seem to show that it was published and read more often than any other piece of Chinese fiction in Tokugawa Japan. Moreover, its structures and characters can be found in a good deal of fiction produced in Japan as is evidenced by the sheer number of texts with Suiko(den), the Japanese reading for the Chinese characters, in their titles. 124

After all, in Edo Japan, just as in Ming and Qing China, it was absolutely typical for proponents of this type of literature to argue that they served to “promote virtue and chastise vice,” while those who would denigrate it argued that it brought out the base feeling of passion in its readers. The above statement, however, does not mean that I am implying that the early modern Japanese ideology was the same as those of Ming and Qing China. I do not know enough about China to make such judgments. Moreover, even if this were the case, it would seem likely that the fit between world and worldview in these two countries would be different. 125

There would, of course, be critical texts written after the Meiji Restoration in which European novels or Japanese versions thereof were interpreted by means of the “praise virtue and chastise vice” approach. However, this came to be seen as an inferior, retrograde type of criticism that lacked nuance. The career of Tsubouchi Shōyō, the Meiji critic and scholar of literature known for his knowledge of Western literary theory, is famously said to have been launched when the young Shōyō, asked to analyze the character of Gertrude from Hamlet by his American professor, William Houghton, did so according to a ninjō-giri-based kanzen chōaku point of view and received a bad mark. Moreover, the birth of modernity brought about a semantic paradigm shift which included ninjō and giri being subsumed into and reoriented by the individuality-socialization conflict. Michael J. Scanlon

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European counterpart, Chinese long-form colloquial fiction had structures that were viable in a literary environment largely conditioned by jōruri narrative, and the origins of the Edo hanshi-bon yomihon genre are of great symbolic importance.

In the Chūshin

suikoden, it was the structures of jōruri narrative that served as the route through which Chinese elements entered this text and perhaps the genre. It is hardly surprising that, like all the long-form narratives discussed earlier, the highbrow Edo hanshi-bon yomihon was also a domain wherein closure thrived and compromise as a valorized survival strategy was completely atypical.

This is particularly clear in the dominant text of the

genre, Kyokutei Bakin’s Nansō Satomi hakkenden (Legends of the Eight Dogs of Satomi in Nansō 南総里見八犬伝), which was not only read in great numbers, but was also thought of by the early modern intelligentsia as the nearest thing to a masterpiece of fiction.

The text, which was written in numerous installments from 1814 to 1832 and

takes up hundreds upon hundreds of printed sheets, has nothing approaching an open-ended finish.

At the end of this highly complex narrative, which is really a

meta-narrative composed of a large number of nearly discrete long-form plot strands, the problems facing the house of Satomi have been resolved, and peace is restored to the land. This, moreover, is achieved through bold action, not through negotiation and conciliation, and characters are never made to learn the value of compromise.

Far from it,

compromise—much too close to the reviled concept of calculation because it puts self preservation above ideals—was not fit to any type of early modern Japanese long-form

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fiction. 126 The typical-ness of narrative closure and the lack of compromise basic to all Edo-period genres of long-form fiction are important in several ways.

If compromise as

a valorized survival strategy is the mark of the “novel,” then that genre did not exist as a produced literary form in Japan until after the Meiji Restoration. Furthermore, though development was occurring within the giri-ninjō paradigm, there was no movement out of this early modern problematic into what is sometimes referred to as an “alternative modernity” specific to Japan or East Asia. Structures evolve to fit present conditions, not future developments, so the form assumed by the modern Japanese novel at the turn of the twentieth century was neither inevitable nor even the outcome of a long, steady process that can be traced back to the Edo period or beyond. This does not in any way imply that it was a difference in the value systems of a dynamic West and a stagnant East which brought about the nineteenth-century experience of colonialism in this part of the globe.

The ideology and long-form literature of the West had also long since entered a

period of relative stasis by this time. Moreover, although, as has been pointed out by numerous modern historians, there was an ever widening gap between world and worldview in Japan over the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it was not the case that the end of the Tokugawa ideology was brought about by some sort of intrinsic flaw or 126

It should be emphasized that this lack of compromise due to the resolvability of the human feelings-correct principle problematic is true only of long-form narrative literature. In everyday life, the conflict between ninjō and giri was experienced as fundamentally irresolvable, and those who lived in early modern Japan, of course, had to make compromises in order to make their way in the world. This is just another indication both that literature and the lived experience of history are different phenomena as well as that the linkages between the two are indirect and not particularly close.

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weakness, and long-form fiction written within a correct principles-human feelings dynamic was still able to make the world meaningful deep into nineteenth-century Japan. Rather, Japan’s early modern period came to a close due to the occurrence of a series of large historical events for which the Tokugawa ideology could not account in combination with a widespread awareness that the way things had been was quite different from the way they were supposed to be.

A phase of great ideological change

opened, only settling into another period of stasis at the turn of the twentieth century. Of far greater importance to this study, however, is the fact that the valorization of compromise and the narrative open-ended-ness which often accompanies it in the modern novel should be seen merely as adaptations to the ideology of bourgeois capitalism, not as marks of aesthetic or intellectual superiority. In fact, the exact opposite of this chauvinistic modern assumption could be argued.

Compromise is weak.

During times

in which long-form fiction is written between conflicts caused by circumstantial factors as opposed to logically irreconcilable ones, it does not flourish simply because there is no “need” for it.

Though it would have been possible for narratives with a compromised

and compromising hero that end inconclusively to either be written in early modern Japan or at least arrive upon its shores, they simply would not be able to compete with those long-form narratives that bestow absolute meaningfulness on their worlds by having an ending that establishes a final causal connection linking beginnings, middles and ends. 127 127

There are, of course, examples of texts that do not fit into this general rule, including one which is very well known. The Tōkaidō Yotsuya kaidan (Ghost Story of Yotsuya on the Tōkaidō 東海道四谷怪談, 1825), a popular kabuki play by Tsuruya Nanboku (1755-1829), ends with the text’s raging criminal hero, Iemon, locked in battle with the fiancé of one of his victim’s relatives. The accepted theory explaining this unusual occurrence is that the Tōkaidō Yotsuya kaidan was first written to be staged in Michael J. Scanlon

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Compromise can only thrive in ideological environments able to support tragedy, those in which the ideological conflict is categorical or nearly so. The dawn of the Meiji period in Japan brought with it the rise of an inflected version of bourgeois capitalist ideology. As has been mentioned before, the most major fault line within this worldview is a conflict between individuality and socialization, and this problematic is endemic, for it can never be solved in any ultimate sense. It would be within this shared ideology of the “modern world” that the Japanese novel would evolve.

conjunction with a performance of the Chūshingura, a play that concludes with heroes combining human feelings and correct principles killing a wholly evil villain who possesses neither quality. Acts from separate plays were put on in series over two days, and the overall performance ends with the highly determinate finale of the Chūshingura. Thus, it might be that the lack of resolution in the Tōkaidō Yotsuya kaidan was made possible because a strong ending to the theatrical performance was already provided for by the Chūshingura. Just as in the case of the Shunshoku Megumi no hana, the irregularity of the circumstances necessary for a viable early modern long-form narrative to end without closure means that the existence of the Tōkaidō Yotsuya kaidan in no undermines the thesis argued above. To the contrary, it is another exception that proves the rule. Michael J. Scanlon

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The Modern World and Its Literature It is a floating world where everything changes as time passes! During the period in which the bakufu flourished, it was a time of the warrior class in Edo. The capital at some point was renamed Tokyo—it must be the growing enlightenment of the world with each passing year. All distinctions between the noble and base, high and low are gone, and those with talent can be employed. To give some examples, the son of a seaweed vendor might ride in a black lacquered carriage treasuring his whiskers, while there might be a rickshaw driver from a noble house running along major roads despite the solemnity of his name [derived from] this or that street. Narrator Tōsei shosei katagi (1885-1886) Tsubouchi Shōyō (1859-1935) As has been argued numerous times in previous scholarship, Japan’s early modern period came to an end with the Meiji Restoration of 1868.

After the last shogun

left his post, military forces loyal to the Tokugawa regime were defeated in battle, and a centralized state was established.

The revolution, of course, did not occur ex nihilo.

Signs that all was not right with the Tokugawa bakufu and the early modern system as a whole can be traced back long before this catastrophic event.

By the middle of the

nineteenth century, peasant uprisings and governmental reforms had been occurring in ever increasing amounts due to financial problems and natural disasters; arrivals by foreign merchants requesting access to the Japanese market and news of China’s defeat in the Opium Wars were making both the leadership and populace nervous; governmental corruption, incompetence and infighting were all topics that could not be ignored. Michael J. Scanlon

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Specialists in economic or institutional history may be able to show that there were inexorable trends leading to the fall of the Tokugawa system.

The domain of literature,

however, lies within the greater ideological environment, and the first half of the nineteenth century was not a time of acute ideological breakdown.

There was a great

awareness that the gap between Tokugawa world and worldview was growing ever wider, and both ruler and ruled knew that depravity had to be reformed and righteousness re-established. relatively stable.

However, the ideals against which reality was measured remained The Tokugawa ideology maintained its general hegemony, and the

feudal system itself was safe. In 1853, however, an event occurred which selected strongly against the status quo.

Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in his black ships in Uraga near Edo and

relayed a message stating that the American government was insisting Japan rescind its isolationist policy and open its markets to foreign trade.

Japanese military technology

lagged far behind that of the Western powers, and the shogunate was unable to reject outright these radically more aggressive foreign demands.

The Edo government was

forced into signing unequal treaties, and the symbolic stature of the shogun—the accepted translation of the full title of the office is “barbarian-quelling generalissimo”—began to crumble.

Longstanding conflicts between the regional

daimyō powers and the Edo government were exacerbated when the Kyoto court entered the fray to compete for authority and power. Reform was no longer the only possibility. The destruction of the Tokugawa government began to seem like a feasible option. More and more samurai zealots to the bushidō code started to act out by attacking

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members of the established bakufu elite, and recalcitrant daimyō with fiefs in the southwest portion of Japan were becoming brazen in their willingness to ignore or disobey shogunal commands. doomed.

The shogunate and the Tokugawa ideology were hardly

It is often pointed out that the reform plans of the loyalists and the insurgents

were quite similar.

Further, it is common for political systems and ideological

meta-structures to survive near-disasters only to flourish once more.

It is even possible

for governments to be overthrown without upsetting too greatly the established ideological meta-structure.

In this case, however, that did not happen. In the spring of

1868, a year after the retirement of the last shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu (徳川慶喜, 1837-1913, r.1866-1867), a government under the nominal rulership of the newly inaugurated Meiji Emperor issued a five-article charter oath that ran: 1. Deliberative councils will be established widely and all matters decided by public debate; 2. Both high and low will come together and vigorously carry out the rule and management of the state; 3. It is taken to be essential that the people do not despair, so each and every one—from the civil and military officials down to the common people—will be allowed to follow his will; 4. Bad customs of the past will be ended, and [everything] will be based on the just laws of creation; 5. Knowledge will be sought throughout the world to bolster the imperial base. 一 一 一 一 一

広ク会議ヲ興シ万機公論ニ決スベシ 上下心ヲ一ニシテ盛ニ経綸ヲ行フベ 官武一途庶民ニ至ル迄各其志ヲ遂ゲ人心ヲシテ倦マザラシメン事ヲ要ス 旧来ノ陋習を破リ天地ノ公道ニ基クベシ 1 智識ヲ世界ニ求メ大ニ皇基ヲ振起スベシ

A highly centralized state would develop and give rise to the modern nation of Japan.

1

Based on a translation that can be found in W.T. de Bary, et. al., Sources of Japanese Tradition, vol.2 (New York: Columbia University, 1958), p.137.

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This constituted a revolution, and all chance for a renaissance of the Tokugawa system had been foreclosed upon. The revolution that was the Meiji Restoration was not brought about by merchant concerns, nor did this class much participate in the struggle against the Tokugawa government.

Instead, it was set off by samurai looking to re-invigorate

samurai ideals, and the overthrow of the shogunate was meant to be “little more than a shift in power within the old ruling class.” 2

However, intentions do not matter in

evolution. With the pressures that had helped maintain social and ideological stasis themselves selected against, a new world and a new way of making sense of it would evolve over the coming decades. Where once there had been a feudal Tokugawa state, an inflected form of a bourgeois capitalist nation developed, a process visible in Carol Gluck’s description of the opening of Japan’s modern period: Narrative accounts often characterize the first two Meiji decades (1868-1887) as the pragmatic—and dramatic—years. Epoch-making political developments included centralization, conscription, tax reform, the movement for parliamentary government, and the drafting of a constitution. Social change, too, had been considerable, with the legal leveling of classes, compulsorily elementary education, westernization, leaps in material culture, and increased stature for the rural agricultural elite. Industrialization on a strong agrarian base, an aggressively entrepreneurial sector, the chastening experience of the government deflation in the early 1880s—Japan’s capitalist economy began to take shape during the same period. There would be accelerations and setbacks, but by 1890 the direction of the economy was clearly set. Equally under way was the development of the national infrastructure: railroads, communications, financial institutions. 3 By the 1890s, a period of ideological settlement began, and it was largely during the final 2

Marius Jansen, “The Meiji Restoration,” The Emergence of Meiji Japan (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995), p.144. 3

Carol Gluck, Japan’s Modern Myths (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985), p.17.

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decade of the nineteenth century that certain routes of possible development were selected and became dominant, while others were regulated to the periphery of the ideological environment.

By the opening decades of the twentieth century, a new

hegemony had formed, one that in most ways has continued to the present day. This modern ideology can be described as being bourgeois capitalist, but it was not simply imported whole from America or Western Europe.

Rather, it is a complex

bricolage of ideological formations inherited from Japan’s early modern period combined with elements evolved first in the West.

The rise of modernity also brought about a

weakening of the centrality of the giri-ninjō conflict. The modern world and worldview in many ways solved the talent conundrum that lay at its heart.

Modern men were

supposed to rise or fall according to the individual ability of each.

The emergence of the

ideal of the free and autonomous individual as well as the positive value granted to competition within the bourgeois worldview, because they are so different from previous norms, are often over-valued by scholars of Meiji ideology. Having explained that it was not until after the Meiji Restoration that various words—dokuritsu (独立), kojin shugi (個人主義), kindaiteki jiga (近代的自我)—were coined for the originally Western term of individuality, Janet Walker writes in her study of the Meiji novel: Individualism, or the myth of the individual freedom associated with the rise of the middle class, could be called the modern myth… As the ideal of the free individual slowly penetrated middle-class intellectual circles in Japan, writers began to turn their attention to themselves for the first time, with a seriousness that showed the ideal of freedom was one of the most inspiring of their age. Though their attempts to define the new individual as they saw him, they succeeded in shifting the focus of their traditional culture to a new type of culture hero—the private individual who is interesting not because of his virtues or heroic exploits in the world but because of his inner uniqueness and the quality of his

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everyday existence. 4 It would be impossible to gainsay the importance of individuality to Meiji fiction. However, Walker is simply mistaken when she says of the author of the first modern Japanese novel and hero of that text: Without the dissemination of logical thinking in Japan, Futabatei would not have been able to see Bunzō as a separate individual. Logical thinking, which made possible for Japanese to see the individual for the first time as being with a social and legal existence apart from others, was the basis for the ideals of independence and human rights that were popularized in early Meiji by Fukuzawa Yukichi and the Enlightenment movement. Essentially, logical thinking meant scientific thinking, the rational observation of things with the intent of discovering their laws. It involved a spirit of doubt and experiment that went directly counter to traditional moral modes that stressed the harmonious unity of man and nature. 5 Rationality and logical thought are not unique to the modern period, nor are they somehow the sole possession of the West.

Botanical and medical texts written by

pre-modern scholars, such as Kaibara Ekken (貝原益軒, 1630-1714), remained perfectly viable even after the importation of Western scientific methodology and nomenclature, and many logically nuanced arguments found in Edo-period philosophical texts thrived in the modern ideological environment.

Furthermore, as is witnessed by the mass of

calculating villains each out for his own gain populating Edo-period long-form fiction, that one’s self interest could be different from those of one’s neighbors or even that of the common good was something which early modern Japanese knew all too well.

The idea

that subject and object, self and other were not seen as completely separate entities in pre-modern Japan is an absurd orientalist myth that should be forgotten. Edo Japanese

4

Janet Walker, The Japanese Novel of the Meiji Period and the Ideal of Individualism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979), p.3. 5

Op. cit., p.35.

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were not unaware that each person was an entity separate and different from everybody else.

Individuality was not a subject written about in early modern Japan simply

because it was not a problematized concept. Individuality only became an issue when it was put in relation to the equally valued ideal of socialization, and the importance of each in modern Japan can only be understood properly in relation with its counterpart. 6

The term for society—shakai (社

7

会)—was itself coined during the modern period, and an ability to fit into its norms so

that Japan could act as a harmonious whole was considered paramount in a nation which felt the need to catch up to the Western powers threatening to dominate Japan as they had China.

Socialization lies at the center of Bunmei-ron no gairyaku (An Outline of a

6

Perhaps the best way to indicate the degree to which this irresolvable contradiction shapes the bourgeois mind is to see how the slots of a selectionist rectangle based on it form the limiting structures for the basic terms of modern psychoanalysis. (I am writing only of the limits for the following terms. The definitions I use are not based on those forwarded by Sigmund Freud or any other single theorist. Nor am I trying to establish the “true” definitions of these terms.) The neutral slot is filled by the id, which, devoid of both individual and social components, is seen as an amorphous force, which cannot lead directly to action because it is nothing more than a mass of indistinct urges and undirected desires. The superego—the internalized link between self and society that pressures strongly for individuals to act in a socially acceptable way—can be placed in the position for the complex term. The pleasure principle—that purely self-oriented drive to fulfill the desires of the id which allows for action because it focuses desire through the medium of the self—can be fit into the pure individuality position, while the reality principle can be placed in the opposite side, for it is the drive that urges the self to fit into the norms of the world—something sometimes referred to as the Real—rather than risk ostracism, which may come in the form of expulsion, confinement, or even exaltation. The obvious implication of this is that modern psychoanalysis should never be used to analyze the ways in which texts were produced or understood in non-bourgeois times and places. Whether or not the giri-ninjō selectionist rectangle or the feelings-transcendence one could form the basis of a historically and culturally specific psychoanalysis is a question that might be worthy of further investigation. 7

Gluck, pp.27, 320.

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Theory of Civilization 文明論之概略, 1875) by Fukuzawa Yukichi, probably the most famous Meiji “modernizer.”

This is clear in the text’s opening passage:

A Theory of Civilization is an argument about the development of the human spirit. Its purpose is not to debate the spiritual development of a single person. It gathers into one whole the spiritual development of entire realms and theorizes on the development of that whole unit. Therefore, as for A Theory of Civilization, this could have been called a theory of the development of the masses’ mind. All in all, there are an overwhelming number of cases in which people, as they conduct their lives, make mistakes because their vision is obstructed by localized profit and loss, advantage or disadvantage. 文明論とは人の精神発達の議論なり。其趣意は一人の精神発達を論ずるに非ず、 天下衆人の精神発達を一体に集めて、其一体の発達を論ずるものなり。故に文明 論、或いは之を衆心発達論と云ふも可なり。蓋し人の世に処するには局処の利害 得失に掩はれて其所見を誤るもの甚だ多し。 8

The third chapter, Bunmei no honshi o ronzu (Theorizing on the True Aim of Civilization 文明の本旨を論ず), argues that it is social intercourse is a necessary condition for

progress and that pure individualism is antithetical to civilization: …there is another category of people. Each is free and not hindered. Each can exert his energies as he pleases, and there are no distinctions between great and small, strong and weak. If one pleases to go, one goes; if one wants to stay, one stays. There is no difference among each person’s rights and duties. Nevertheless, these people do not as of yet know the taste of human society. Each person expends his energy on himself, and they do not set their sights on public gain. Knowing nothing of the burden of a whole country, they speak not at all about social interaction. Generation after generation, era after era, they live and die. One is born; one dies. The state of things at one’s birth is no different than the state of things at one’s death. No matter how many generations pass, there is no trace on the land of human vigor and growth. To take an example, were one to talk of today’s primitive races, they would be this. Though you can say that they do not lack in the spirit of freedom and equality, can you really call this civilization and enlightenment? …爰に亦一群の人民あり。人々其身を自由にして之を妨るものなく、人々其力を 逞ふして大小強弱の差別あらず。行かんと欲すれば行き、止らんと欲すれば止ま りて、各人其権義を異にすることなし。然りと雖も、此人民は未だ人間交際の味 8

Fukuzawa Yukichi, Bunmei-ron no gairyaku, Fukuzawa Yukichi shū, Kindai Nihon shisō taikei 2 (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobō, 1975), p.81.

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を知らず、人々其力を一人のために費して全体の公利に眼を着けず、一国の荷物 たるを知らず交際の何事たるを弁ぜず、世々代々生て又死し、死し又生れ、其生 れしときの有様は死するときの有様に異ならず、幾世を経ると雖ども其土地に人 間生々の痕跡を見ることなし。例えば方今野蛮の人種と唱るもの、即是なり。自 由同権の気風に乏しからずと雖も、之を文明開化と云ふ可きや否。 9

The ideal of the autonomous individual is, nevertheless, fundamental to the text’s argument: [The highest stage of civilization] is when, even if one skillfully argues that all the things of the universe are contained within a set of rules, those within it can act freely. The spirit of each person is fostered, and none are besotted by old ways. Each governs himself independently, and none depends on the favors of others. Of his own accord, each pursues virtue and hones his knowledge. Neither yearning for the past nor being satisfied with the present, he does not take comfort in small comforts, but plans great future accomplishments. Advancing, he does not retreat; accomplishing, he does not rest. The way of learning is not empty; it opens the basis of invention. The ventures of commerce and industry grow more vigorous by the day and deepen human happiness. Human knowledge is employed in the present, and some is left over to be used for the plans of tomorrow. This can be called modern civilization. One would have to say that it leaves far behind the primitive and semi-developed stages [of civilization]. 第三 天地間の事物を規則の内に籠絡すれども、其内に在て自ら活動を逞ふし、 人の気風快発にして旧慣に惑溺せず、身躬から其身を支配して他の恩威に依頼せ ず、躬から徳を脩め躬から智を研き、古を慕はず今を足れりとせず、小安に安ん ぜずして未来の大成を謀り、進て退かず達して止まらず、学問の道は虚ならずし て発明の基を開き、工商の業は日の盛にして幸福の源を深くし、人智は既に今日 に用ひて其幾分を余し、以て後日の謀を為するものの如し。これを今の文明と云 ふ。野蛮半開の有様を去るもと遠しと云ふ可し。 10

Individual free will is a prerequisite for proper socialization. The modern bourgeois capitalist system is predicated on individuals choosing to relinquish their freedom and adhere to the norms of society in order to enjoy the comforts of civilization, and there is no indication whatsoever in Fukuzawa’s text that the subjugation of individual autonomy could result in trauma or alienation. Instead, the willingness of autonomous subjects to 9

Op. cit., pp.106-107.

10

Op. cit., p.90.

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do this confirms the worth of society’s norms and imbues social conventions with meaningfulness. The significance of socialization to the modern ideology meant that this worldview was most certainly not a form of the social Darwinism that was so hated and feared during the Edo period.

Even the Saikoku risshi hen (A Compilation of Successes

from the West 西国立志編, 1870-1871), an adaptive translation by Nakamura Masanao of Samuel Smiles’ Self Help, emphasizes that individuality and competition among autonomous subjects should never destroy the ties that hold society together.

To be

legitimate, competition had to occur within the boundaries of established and accepted rules, and the importance placed upon competition in the bourgeois worldview is offset by the esteem granted to cooperation, charity and other values that help bind communities together. At the same time, however, the conceptualization of self-interested action in quotidian settings was undergoing a radical transformation.

During the early modern

period, it—lacking both human feeling and correct principles—marked people as being less than human.

“Ambition,” in the words of Donald Keene, “had always possessed

sinister implications, and actual ambition was condemned by moralists as an offense that Heaven would punish.” 11

In the modern period, an excess of ambition that leads to

either behavior in violation of societal convention or an abandonment of individual autonomy is still frowned upon, but those who indulge in such conduct, because they can still be seen as possessing one of the two central bourgeois values, are still eminently rehabilitatable. This stands in stark contrast to those figures who, lacking both qualities, 11

Donald Keene, Dawn to the West (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), p.61.

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are seen as purely evil villains.

Destruction, repulsion or containment are normally seen

as the proper way of dealing with these types, and those few who are “cured” are typically thought to achieve this by epiphanic conversion rather than by steady progress. Thus, despite the facts that socialization and correct principles are both public values, while individuality and human feelings are both private ones, and that the similarities between these pairings of ideals meant that the vast majority of texts evolved in the Edo period seemed to remain unproblematically comprehensible long after the birth of Japanese modernity, there were real differences between the limiting epistemological structures of the early modern and modern ideologies. The transformation from early modernity to modernity in Japan was, of course, no more instantaneous than had been the change from the medieval Muromachi period to the Tokugawa era over two and a half centuries earlier.

Perhaps the single best scholarly

resource that can be used to contextualize the effect that the extra-literary epochal events of 1868 had upon literary evolution is a chronological table of early Meiji fiction compiled in 1927 by Ishikawa Iwao which is based on the holdings of the Japanese National Diet Library. 12

The Meiji Restoration selected strongly against all genres of

fiction. Although reprints of texts written during the Edo period continued to be published, sold and read in the years following the political revolution, extremely few newly produced literary texts were brought to market over the first decade of the modern era.

The first genre to recover was gōkan (bound together 合巻) fiction—a highly

12

Ishikawa Iwao, “Meiji gesaku nenpyō,” Nihon kindai bungaku no shosi, Meiji-hen, Nihon bungaku kenkyū shiryō sōsho 99 (Tokyo: Yūseidō, 1982), pp.1-80.

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illustrated type of long-form fiction published in many short installments during the Edo period—which, though now often set in the Meiji era, still used narrative structures that were evolved in the Tokugawa era. This form of early modern fiction was, in fact, expanding its range during the beginning of the modern period, for the first pieces of extended newspaper fiction were gōkan.

These long-form texts were also clearly

written within the giri-ninjō problematic, 13 and that was hardly exceptional. 14

The

continued vitalities of early modern literary forms as well as the giri-ninjō problematic over the first decades of the Meiji period serve as reminders of the nature of epochal change.

As has been discussed previously, new epochs allow for developments that

were previously near impossible, and they neither materialize immediately nor assume their finished form instantaneously. It would take several decades for the modern ideology to evolve and even longer before it achieved hegemony.

Moreover, although

the intensity of the conflict between correct principles and human feelings would 13

See the plot summaries included in Honda Yasuo’s Shinbun shōsetsu no tanjō.

14

Even some of the most famous of “modern” texts may have been formed largely within the early modern epistemological paradigm. For instance, Tsubouchi Shōyō’s Shōsetsu shinzui, which is often seen as the text that directed the course of Japan’s modern novel, forwards an argument—similar to the one which can be found in the Genji monogatari Tama no ogushi from which it often quotes—that the giri-centric “promote virtue and chastise vice” (kanzen chōaku) coloring of highbrow Edo fiction should be cast aside so the modern artistic novel (shōsetsu) can concentrate on a realistic examination of human feelings. That said, the text does call for a psychological realism based on investigations of unique and complicated individuals, so it is possible to argue that, by the time of Shōyō’s writing, the term “ninjō” had already been assimilated to and reoriented by the relationship between the modern “master signifiers” that are individuality and socialization. I will not even attempt to offer a definitive answer as to whether the Shōsetsu shinzui is a “modern” or “early modern” text. It would probably be better to simply remind the reader that Shōyō’s text was written during a moment of great upheaval between the early modern and modern paradigms, so it is only to be expected that it does not fit particularly well into either.

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diminish as the modern ideology set in, it would never disappear entirely, and this problematic would continue to influence the Japanese worldview long after the end of the Tokugawa regime.

In evolution, the past never disappears entirely, but the decades after

1868 were a period of transition between ideological epochs inaugurated by a catastrophic political event. Literary narrative would enter a period of great formal evolution over the last decades of the nineteenth century, and there were several striking developments occurring in the domain of fiction.

One of the most clearly visible of these in Ishikawa’s work

was a rise in the number of translations of occidental foreign fiction into Japanese over the 1880s. Translated texts were not merely increasing in quantity, they were also undergoing a great qualitative transformation.

Marleigh Ryan writes:

[T]ranslations of Western fiction in the early Meiji period generally bore little resemblance to the original. Translators, eager to convert Western novels into recognizable Japanese stories, usually made no attempts to suggest the style employed by Western authors. Novels were generally pared down to the barest elements of the plot; descriptions of foreign cities might be rendered in some fashion, but passages analyzing the personality and motivation of the characters were often omitted. 15 As time went on, however, translated texts became more faithful to the originals from which they sprang.

Texts evolved within an individuality-socialization problematic

were becoming more understandable as the modern ideology took hold.

Another

striking change is a population explosion in a type of fiction Ishikawa refers to as “old and new novels” (shin-kyū shōsetsu 新旧小説) after the midpoint of the 1880s.

Of this

heading and the texts gathered therein, Ishikawa writes: 15

Marleigh Ryan, Japan’s First Modern Novel: Ukigumo of Futabatei Shimei (New York: Columbia University Press, 1967), p.99.

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Though there are cases in which, looking at content and form, [texts] could be clearly distinguished [as either new or old], there are also many among these that are hard to categorize clearly and readily… Originally, I had planned to make separate categories that would distinguish between new and old, but it ended up being overly taxonomic, and that went against the real purpose of the chronology… 16 New fiction was different from old fiction, yet the divergence between the ideological orientations of the early modern and modern periods was not so great that forms evolved during the Edo era were simply driven to extinction with the birth of the Meiji period. Unprecedented genres of Japanese-language fiction, such as the political novel (seiji shōsetsu 政治小説), appeared as Edo period forms adjusted to the modern world by including new characters and settings and having their long-form plot structures deformed to fit the individuality-socialization problematic, Western forms adapted to the Japanese ideological environment, and these two originally separately evolved narrative traditions intermixed.

The most remarkable development occurring over these decades,

however, may have been a radical modification in the constitution of highbrow literary fiction.

All early modern vernacular narrative—even the formerly well-regarded Edo

hanshi yomihon of Kyokutei Bakin—came to be seen as popular literature fit for an uneducated audience due to their psychologically uncomplicated characters and simplistically complete plots.

Artistic fiction became the domain of open-ended

narratives that featured complexly compromised and compromising heroes. It is hardly surprising that the text said by scholars and critics to be Japan’s first modern novel—Futabatei Shimei’s Ukigumo—is a long-form narrative that is fit to the new standards of “artistic” fiction. The novel was published in three separate parts. 16

Ishikawa Iwao, p.48.

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The first appeared in 1887 “as a single, illustrated, paperbound volume of [one hundred sixty-five] pages,” 17 and this section had the following plot: In the opening chapter of Part One, we learn that the hero, Utsumi Bunzō, has lost his job as a clerk in the government. The second and third chapters are devoted to an account of Bunzō’s impoverished boyhood, his life as a young man in his Aunt Omasa’s house, and the beginning of his love for his cousin, Osei. In the fourth chapter Bunzō tries to summon up the courage to tell Omasa that he has been dismissed, but cannot discover a convenient occasion. In the fifth chapter, which takes place the next morning, he at last informs Omasa and makes her furious with him. She never liked Bunzō as a child and clearly resented having a dependent relative in her home. Bunzō’s late father was her husband Magobei’s brother, but Magobei is rarely in Tokyo, and it is left to Omasa, as head of the family, to look after Bunzō. Originally she felt much imposed upon by the addition of this boy to her family, but once he had taken a job with the government, he became more acceptable. Now when he loses his position, however, Omasa considers him a failure and wants no more of him. To complicate matters, her daughter, Osei, indicates a fondness for Bunzō, and Omasa is on the point of allowing the two to marry. But nothing had actually been said about an engagement, and Omasa can therefore conveniently pretend ignorance of such a plan. She orders Osei to keep her distance from Bunzō. In the final chapter of Part One, Bunzō’s colleague Honda Noboru comes to visit Omasa. Noboru, far from being dismissed, has been promoted. At the close of this chapter, Omasa, attracted by Noboru’s assertiveness and good looks, makes the contrast which plays a major role in the novel: Bunzō is a failure, Noboru a success. 18 The next part, printed in the same format as before, appeared towards the beginning of 1888 and told the following story: In Part Two Osei becomes increasingly attracted to Noboru. Omasa, Osei, and Noboru take an excursion together. Noboru deserts them for a few minutes to greet his supervisor, his supervisor’s wife, and her pretty sister. Osei is momentarily jealous of the girl, and Noboru uses her jealousy as a weapon to tease her. Bunzō begins to grow suspicious, but his love for Osei at first prevents him from believing that she could be interested in a coarse person such as Noboru. Proud of his influence in the office, Noboru offers to help Bunzō get reinstated. He makes the offer in front of Omasa and Osei. Bunzō is insulted and refuses, unwilling to accept a favor from the man he now considers his rival. He watches the flirtation between Osei and Noboru develop with Omasa’s encouragement. He 17

Ryan, p.107.

18

Op. cit., pp.108-109.

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tries to assert himself to Noboru; they quarrel and Bunzō comes off poorly in the exchange. The next day Omasa, warning Bunzō not to quarrel with Noboru again, suggests he profit by Noboru’s help to recover his position. She hints that she might let him court Osei again if he resumed his work. After much reflection, Bunzō decides that he cannot take Omasa’s advice. He goes to Osei, hoping that she will confirm him in his decision. The girl is instructed by her mother to persuade Bunzō to accept Noboru’s help, and when she opposes Bunzō’s contrary decision, he abuses Noboru, calling him a “lackey” and a “loathsome insect.” Osei feels obliged to defend Noboru, and in the end admits that she is fond of him. Bunzō swears he will never speak to her again. Omasa arrives shortly after their quarrel and extracts a promise from Osei that she will have no more to do with Bunzō. 19 The last part, serialized in the magazine Miyako no hana over the second half of 1889, runs as follows: In the closing chapter of Part Two, Bunzō, having quarreled with Osei, vows never to speak to her again. Part Three, chapters xiii to xix, opens with Bunzō alone in his room immediately after the quarrel. He decides he must move from Omasa’s house but, after finding an adequate room elsewhere, he still cannot arouse himself to make the change. He begins instead to regret his quarrel with Osei. The next day, seeing her weeping alone in her room, he resolves to make his peace with her. Two days later his first opportunity presents itself, but when he addresses Osei, she immediately leaves the room. At lunch, in the presence of Omasa and the maid, Onabe, she turns on Bunzō and attacks him mercilessly for having first insulted her and then attempting to make amends. Omasa commands her to leave and informs Bunzō that in the future he may not speak to her daughter. During the days that follow, he realizes that he can no longer justify his remaining with the Sonada family: he has been insulted by both mother and daughter and cannot hope for a reconciliation with Osei. He begins to see that he was mistaken in his evaluation of Osei, that she is too superficial to appreciate him. Still he does not leave. By chapter xvii, Omasa and Osei, drawn together by their mutual dislike of Bunzō, realize that they have become rather bored with their lives. Noboru has been so busy with giving English lessons to his chief’s wife and sister-in-law that he hardly ever appears. One day Noboru stops by for a visit; the delighted Osei joins freely with him in flirtatious interplay. Noboru’s visits again become more frequent, but he is still more interested in discussing business with Omasa than in joking with Osei, who is frustrated in her attempts to join their adult conversations. Her only way of holding Noboru’s attention is to engage him in childish banter. Omasa’s suggestion that Noboru might make a good husband awakens Osei to the 19

Op. cit., pp.112-113.

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realization that she may be in love with him. Noboru senses the change in attitude but fails to respond. He continues his light banter with her, though eventually it makes Osei grow cold. Depressed, Osei persuades her mother to allow her to take knitting lessons. Noboru stops coming to the house. Finally, in chapter xix, the events of chapters xvii and xviii are related from Bunzō’s point of view. He is horrified by Osei’s flirtation with Noboru and convinced that she has fallen into evil ways. He decides he must warn her that she is destroying her life and tries in vain to find some means of conveying this warning. Instead, he spends his time in his room brooding about Osei’s problems. Then, suddenly, Noboru’s visits cease. Osei still maintains her silence towards Bunzō, but because she no longer glares at him, hope springs in Bunzō’s heart. At the end of the novel Osei favors Bunzō with a kind smile, suggesting to him that the time may have come for a reconciliation.20 To spend so much time on the plot of Ukigumo might seem counterintuitive. Strongly integrative plots, though a central feature of highbrow early modern narrative, became a mark of commercial fiction in modern times, and the educated elite that helped canonize Ukigumo were drawn to aspects quite separate from the text’s story. The critic Ishibashi Ninbetsu, in an extended review published in Jogaku zasshi (Women’s Study Journal 女学雑誌), argues against complaints, supposedly made by “retrograde” readers, as follows: I will start by bringing up a some points worthy of praise in Ukigumo to bring them to the attention of cold-hearted readers and inconsiderate critics. First: Because the author of Ukigumo understands the novel, he makes people the proprietor of the story and the plot (style) the guest. He does not make characters work for the sake of plot (style). The focus of the novel is on characters, and the plot (style) is nothing more than decoration. Second: Because the author of Ukigumo understands the novel, he portrays character and ideas. Moreover, he is incredibly detailed when depicting the relation between changes in circumstance and the development of character and ideas. The fruit of his towering brilliance is this. Third: Because the author of Ukigumo understands the novel, he faithfully depicts humble customs and frivolous human feelings. Therefore, he is a person who will have the effect of allowing future generations to imagine the Meiji present. Fourth: Because the author of Ukigumo understands the novel, he intentionally makes a mediocre, incomplete man his protagonist and does not forcibly create 20

Op. cit., pp.127-128.

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guiltless and refined characters. He is not someone who records only actions of great fidelity and beauty on an outward or surface level, nor does he jump to conclusions as he delves into human feelings. Particularly at times before an action is not yet taken, he, with heart laid bare, considers this and thinks of that. He hesitates wavering between the two, wandering between deciding and being lost. He wants to lift his leg, but does not lift it; he wants to lower his hand, but does not lower it. He decides; he is lost. The way he digs into ideas at these times must be said to be the most fantastic of [the novel’s] fantastic points. 予は先づ浮雲の褒誉す可きの点を揚げて冷淡なる読者と不親切なる批評家の注意 を仰がんとす。 第一、 浮雲の著者は小説を知る故に人物を主として脚色(文章)を客とし脚色 (文章)の為に人物を使役せざるなり。小説の主眼は人物に在って脚色 (文章)は末技なるのみ。 第二、 浮雲の著者は小説を知る故に性質、意想を写し又は地位境遇の変化と其 性質、意想の発現との相関を描く甚だ精密にして「嶄然頭角」の実之に 存す。 第三、 浮雲の著者は小説を知る故に卑賤の風俗浮薄の人情及び言行不伴の社 会を実写したり。故に後世をして明治の今日を推相せしむるの効ある者 なり。 第四、 浮雲の著者は小説を知る故に故意に平凡なる不完全の人物を以て主人 公となし強いて廉潔優美の人物を作らざるなり。表面上交際上の高操華 美の運動のみを記して人情を穿ちたりと早合点する者に非るなり。殊に 未だ之を所為に発せざる以前心裸に於て彼を思ひ之を考え一決一迷躊 躇両岐に彷徨し足を挙んと欲して挙げず手を下さんと欲して下さざる 時の意想を穿つが如きは妙所中の最妙所と謂ざえるを得ず。 21

The review is certainly correct to insist that the focus of Ukigumo is on character rather than plot and that the characters of the novel were of a type different from those which had populated early modern fiction.

In the Edo period, both protagonists and minor

characters were highly stereotyped and, lacking psychological nuance, can be meaningfully characterized by means of a handful of defining traits, while the central personages of Futabatei’s text are “polyparadigmatic characters,” entities “defined by various, heterogeneous traits that may even contradict each other.” 22

Note the opening

21

Ishibashi Ningetsu, “Ukigumo no home-otoshi,” Futabatei Shimei zenshū, supplementary volume (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobō, 1993), pp.313-314.

22

Franco Moretti, The Way of the World (New York: Verso, 2000), p.42. Michael J. Scanlon

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passage of the work: [It is] around three o’clock on the twenty-eighth day of the vigorous godless month, which now has the fastest remaining two days. As for those who come boiling out from Kanda Gate, swarming and teeming like baby spiders falling or ants emerging from their hole, each is a gentleman concerned with his chin. However, when you look carefully and make a close inspection, here, too, there are various types. To start the enumeration from whiskers, there are mustaches, sideburns, Vandykes, Napoleon beards that are recklessly supported, Bismarck beards like those of a spaniel and, otherwise, bantam beards, badger beards, and phantom beards that may or may not exist. They spring variously forth, thick and thin. After beards, there are differences in clothes. Common are pairings of all black [clothes] from the stock at Shirokiya and French leather shoes; the gentlemen who don these can be said [to be morons who] grow their nose hair to catch fireflies. 23 Lower down than these [are those with] creased suits with the epithet “Scot” and cow leather shoes tight enough to creak. Due to the fact that the decoration does not end at the heel, [these are] tortoise trousers that trail their tails in the mud. They, every one, have the look of not soon being able to shed the suffering of being from the sales bin. Nevertheless, their owners are triumphant, having expressions which seem to conclude that, having beards and clothes, one could want nothing more. Like the shaving of a fire grown dim, they return home with their chests thrown out. My, how enviable this is! Those that continue to emerge behind these all have salt-and-pepper hair. Even though they are bent like a bow, they dangle empty lunch boxes—how cruel!—from their slack hips and make their way home with difficulty. Well, though they are old and withered, they can still probably bear a job. Their positions are light, so they can still work in Japanese-style clothes, but it is pitiful nonetheless. When things empty out, two young men emerge from the same gate while talking. One is a man of twenty-two or twenty-three. His complexion is seventy percent blue and thirty percent pale—it simply is not good. But his outstanding eyebrows give him a dignified expression, and the bridge of his nose runs straight. It’s a shame—his mouth is just a bit not normal. However, his assiduousness seems fine, so, even if he were to stand in front of a picture-book store, there would probably be no need to worry about him holding his mouth agape. Anyway, his chin is pointed, and his cheekbones are prominent. Maybe because he is extremely thin, the features of his face are harsh. When it comes to charm, he doesn’t have a speck of it. He’s not ugly, but there is a certain sharpness to him. His posture was straight so, though not all that tall, his thinness led to a shameful nickname having to do with [the giant] Hanshō something or other. He is dressed in a pepper-and-salt “Scot” suit that is old and wrinkled and wears a wool wide-brimmed hat banded with a braided strip. The other is two or three years 23

This comes from a Japanese proverb.

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older than the first man. He is of medium height and build with a fair complexion and a round face. His mouth is normal, and his eyes are bright. Thus, he is a fine-looking fellow. However, his features are pinched and fussy, so somehow [he comes off as] a man without substance. Under his black woolen half “frock coat,” he has a “[vest]” of the same color, and his pants are a chic striped wool. He is a sharp dresser. He wears low on his brow a hat shaped like an iron pot with an upturned brim. His left hand inserted in his pocket, his right hand toys with a very thin cane. He turns to the tall man [and says], “Well, now. If, as I see it, the chief has faith in me, then it perhaps was out of something inevitable. Why do I say this? Look, since you can say there are over forty clerks, it seems like there are a great number. Of these—and I know my saying this is strange—among the young ones, well, when it comes to those who can grasp the original and those who can take up the work and make progress, there are not but two or three of us. Therefore, if, as I hope, he has faith in me, it was inevitable.” “But look at Yamaguchi. There was no other man who, when given work, could make progress like him, but he got fired all the same, didn’t he?” “What about that guy? It was because that guy was stupid.” “How?” “What do you mean, how? The guy was stupid. Didn’t you see him turn to the chief and talk about recent developments? Positively stupid.” “That was completely the chief’s fault. While he himself was making unreasonable instructions, he had no right to reprimand people like that.” “The chief may have been unreasonable, but, nevertheless, turning to someone like the chief and trying to offer resistance—that is the height of stupidity. Think about it. What is Yamaguchi? He is an underling, isn’t he? If he is an underling, whether or not he thinks the chief’s orders are reasonable, he has to proceed accordingly and move on while saying, ‘Yes, yes.’ That’s doing one’s job, isn’t it? But, like that guy, to turn to someone such as the chief and in an order-like way…” “No, that was not an order. It was advice.” “Really? How strange that you would defend Yamaguchi! Well, birds of a feather… Ha, ha, ha.” 千早振る神無月も最早跡二日の余波となつた廿八日の午後三時頃に、神田見付け の内より、塗渡る蟻、散る蜘蛛の子とうようよぞよぞよ沸出でて来るのは、孰れ も頤を気にし給ふ方々。しかし熟熟見て篤と点検すると、是れにも様々種類のあ るもので、まづ髭から書立てれば、口髭、頬髯、頤の鬚、暴に興起した拿破崙髭 に、狆の口めいた比斯馬克髭、そのほか矮鶏髭、狢髭、ありやなしやの幻の髭と、 濃くも薄くもいろいろに生分る。髭に続いて差ひのあるのは服飾。白木屋仕込み の黒物づくめには仏蘭西皮の靴の配偶はありうち、之を召す方様の鼻毛は延びて を蜻蛉をも釣るべしといふ。是より降っては、背皺よると枕詞の付く「スコッチ」 の背広にごりごりするほどの牛の毛皮靴、そこで踵にお飾を絶やさぬ所から泥に 尾を曳く亀甲洋袴、いづれも釣しんぼうの苦患を今に脱せぬ顔付、でも持主は得

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意なもので、髭あり服あり我また何をか求めんと済した顔色で、火をくれた木顔 と反身ってお帰り遊ばす、いやお羨しいことだ。其後より続いて出てお出でなさ るは何れも胡麻塩頭、弓と曲げても張の弱い腰に無残や空弁当をぶら下げてよた よたものでお帰りなさる。さては老朽しても流石はまだ職に堪へるものか、しか し日本服でも勤められるお手軽なお身の上、さりとはまたお気の毒な。 途上人影の稀になった頃、同じ見付の内より両人少年が話しながら出て参った。 一人は年配二十二三の男、顔色は蒼味七分に土気三分、どうもよろしくなが、秀 でた眉に厳然とした眼付で、ズーと押徹った鼻筋、唯惜しい哉口元が些と尋常で ないばかり。しかし締はよささうゆえ、絵草子屋の前に立っても、バックリ開く などといふ気遣ひは有るまいか。兎に角頤が尖って頰骨が顕れ、非道く痩れてい る故か顔の造作がとげとげしていて、愛嬌気といったら微塵もなし。醜くはない が何処ともなくケンがある。背はスラリとしているばかりで左而己高いといふ程 でもないが、痩肉ゆえ、半鐘なんとやらといふ人聞の悪い渾名に縁が有りさうで、 年数物ながら畳皺の存じた霜降「スコッチ」の服を身に纏って、組紐を腹巻にし た帽鍔広な黒羅紗の帽子を戴いてい、今一人は、前の男より二つ三つ兄らしく、 中肉中背で色白の丸顔、口元の尋常な所から眼付のバッチリとした所は仲々の好 男子ながら、顔立がひねてこせこせしているので、何となく品格のない男。黒羅 紗の半「フロックコート」に同じ色の「チョツキ」、洋袴は何か乙な縞羅紗で、リ ウとした衣裳付、緑の巻上った釜底形の黒の帽子を眉深に冠り、左の手を隠袋へ 差し入れ、右の手細々とした杖を玩物にしながら、高い男に向かい、 「しかしネー、若し果たして課長が我輩を信用しているなら、蓋し已むを得ざ るに出でたんだ。何故といって見給へ、局員四十有余名と言やア大層のやうだけ れども、皆腰の曲った爺さんに非ざれば気の利かない奴ばかりだらう。其内で、 かう言やア可笑しい様だけれども、若手でサ、原書も些たア噛っていてサ、而し て事務を取らせて捗の往く者と言ったら、マア我輩二三人だ。だから若し果たし て信用しているのなら、已むを得ないのサ。 」 「けれども山口を身給へ、事務を取らせたら彼の男程捗の往く者はあるまいけ れども、やっぱり免を喰ったらやアないか。 」 「彼奴はいかん、彼奴は馬鹿だからいかん。 」 「何故。 」 「何故と言って、彼奴は馬鹿だ、課長に向かって此間のやうな事を言ふ所を見 りやア、愈々馬鹿だ。 」 「あれは全体課長が悪いサ、自分が不修理な事を言い付けながら、何にもあん なに頭ごなしにいふこともない。 」 「それは課長の方が惑は不修理かも知れぬが、しかし苟も長官たる者に向かっ て抵抗を試みるなぞといふなア、馬鹿の骨頂だ。まづ考へて見給へ、山口は何ん だ、屬使ぢゃアないか。屬使ならば、たとひ課長の言付を修理と思ったにしろ、 ハイハイ言って其通り處弁して往くやア、職分は尽きてるぢゃアないか。然るに 彼奴のやうに、苟も課長たる者に向かってあんな差図がましい事を…」 「イヤあれは指図ぢやアない、注意サ。 」 「フム乙う山口を弁護するネ、やっぱり同病相隣れむのか、アハヽヽ。」 24 24

Futabatei Shimei, Ukigumo, Futabatei Shimei shū, Nihon kindai bungaku taikei 4, Tanaka Yasutaka and Hata Yūzō, eds. (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1971), pp.40-42.

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From a background of types, two unique personalities begin to emerge through conversation.

At first, it might appear that Bunzō could be placed into the individuality

with no socialization section of the modern selectionist rectangle and that Noboru would be fit for the exact opposite position. Bunzō’s remains unwilling to give up his ideal of self-determination despite the fact that his subsequent inability to fit into societal norms has a deleterious effect on his life, and the text makes clear that Noboru, though he is generally affable and can get along well with strangers and acquaintances, lacks the substance necessary to form interpersonal relationships of any depth or meaning. the complexity of their characters undermines this simple categorization.

Yet

Noboru

displays a willingness to forgive and forget—even to help smooth over—Bunzō’s sometimes overly aggressive and erratic behavior, and this most often suave man is not always absolutely certain as to what the “proper” course of action might be.

(The

demands of socialization are more fluid and unknowable than those of correct principle.) Conversely, Bunzō’s individuality is connected to an alternative, ideal form of bourgeois socialization—one that, not coincidentally, would seem to be based on a traditional “samurai-like” affection—which he sees as lacking in the contemporary “merchantly” world of calculation, and even he is often portrayed as being unable to act upon his desires out of fear of destroying completely his place in the world.

The psychological

complexity of these compromised and compromising characters stems from the fact that their personalities are drawn to the center—the crosshairs—of the modern selectionist rectangle. 25

25

Not coincidentally, this is the exact location the non-pathological ego—torn between Michael J. Scanlon

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The Meiji critic’s comment about the weakness of plot in Ukigumo also hits the mark.

The vast majority of the text’s discourse is taken up by satellites, and it is, in fact,

difficult to discern fully which incidents constitute kernels. Events that seem momentous at first lose their importance, while comments and gestures that were seen as trivial can eventually take on ominous qualities. The narrative meanders: the causal connections linking beginning to middle to end are weak, and there is nothing resembling a drive to a conclusion that would give time and its passage a meaningful pattern and directionality.

All the same, like the long-form fiction of the Edo period, Futabatei’s

novel begins with a problem: Bunzō has lost his job and, therefore, cannot marry.

The

major difference between this novel and early modern fiction is that, in Ukigumo, there is no sense that a solution to either the original issue or the resulting complication will bring a complete end to Bunzō’s tribulations.

The position lost was hardly a fulfilling one:

Afterwards, when, through the agency of a certain person, he became a low-ranking civil servant in one agency or another having to do with administration, his spirits soared to the heavens, and he heaved a sigh of relief. When he first started to work, he had a strange feeling. At the start, he received things to check and sat upright at his place. He then calmed and looked around at those in the area near him. There were various and sundry types, such as one who prepared documents with his head tilted to the side with care, one who edited with an eye like a monkey picking out lice, one who, writing brush between his teeth, turned the pages of an account book with a busy air. Among them, and directly facing Bunzō, was an old man of about fifty who, while furrowing his brow and blinking rapidly, was tirelessly working [the beads of] an abacus. Suddenly, he stopped his hands and, while fingering the beads, spoke as if the fate of the realm lay in this one act, saying “Well, six and five is seventy-two. … Wait, no, it isn’t. Sixty-five.” He raised his concerned face and had his mouth wide open. Fixing his eyes on Bunzō over his glasses, he caused his voice to take on a higher pitch and began to snap [the beads] with undivided attention after saying, “Yes, eighty-two, no?” Unable to bear the surfeit of foolishness, Bunzō without thinking smiled. the demands of the superego and the id, the pleasure principle and the reality principle—occupies in some of the foundational texts of modern psychoanalysis.

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However, upon thinking about it, [he realized] the one laughing and the one being laughed at [were in] situations not all that different. He thought that, ah, the scholastic achievements obtained by immersing his persevering will in elbow grease and not sleeping despite his tired eyes—was it to be used for meaningless, stupid things like these? The more he thought, the sadder and more pitiful [things seemed]. Unthinkingly, he sighed and sat there as a foolish person in a daze. No, no, this would never do; he recovered, and from that day set himself to work. For the short while of four or five days, he could only sigh each time he saw that old man’s face, but everything can be adjusted to, and his pain disappeared as the days passed. 其後或人の周旋で某省准判任御用係となった時は天へも昇る心地がされて、ホッ ト一息吐きは吐いたが、始て出勤した時は異な感じがした。まづ取調物を受取っ て我座になほり、さて落着て居廻りを見回すと、子細らしく頸を傾けて書物をす るもの、蚤取眼になって校合をするもの、筆を銜へて忙し気に帳薄を繰るものと 種種さまざま有る中に、恰ど文三の真向ふに八字の浪を額に寄せ、忙しく眼をし ばたたきながら弛みもなく算盤を弾いていた年配五十前後の老人が、不図手を止 めて珠へ指ざしいながら、 「エー六五七十の二、 、、でもなしとエー六五」と天下の 安危此一挙に在りと言った様な、さも心配さうな顔を振揚げて、其癖口をアンゴ リ開いて、眼鏡越しにジット文三の顔を見守め、 「ウー八十の二か」ト一越調子高 な声を振立ててまた一心不乱に弾き出す。余りの可笑しさに堪へかねて、文三は 覚えずも微笑したが、考へて見れば笑ふ我と笑はれる人と余り懸隔のない身の上。 アア嘗て身の油に根気の心を浸し、眠い眼を寝ずして得た学力を、こんあ果敢な い馬鹿気た事に使ふのかと、思へば悲しく情けなく、我になくホット太息を吐い て、暫くは唯茫然としてつまらぬ者でいたが、イヤイヤ是れではならぬと心を取 り直して、其日より事務に取り掛る。当座四五日は例の老人の顔を見る毎に嘆息 而己していたが、其れも向ふ境界に移る習ひとかで、日を経るままに苦にもなら なく成る。 26

Work, desultory and meaningless, destroys one’s individuality and spirit. Likewise, marriage to Osei would hardly bring about a resolution of Bunzō’s sense of alienation. The text includes far too many instances in which Bunzō confidently interprets Osei’s actions only to discover later that he has misread the situation. Note his ruminations after Osei has left to go flower viewing with Noboru: After Osei and her mother had left, Bunzō finally calmed down a little. Idly crouching by his desk, he folded his arms, buried his chin in his collar, and immersed himself in anguished thoughts. He was really worried, worried about things with Osei. While he realized that it 26

Op. cit., pp.49-50.

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was bad to worry about trifling matters such as these, in the end he worried anyway. The two hearts of those in love with each other do not stand alone in separate bodies, and that couldn’t happen even if one tried. Therefore, when one is happy, the other joins in the happiness; when one is sad, the other joins in the sadness; when one is pleased, the other joins in the pleasure; when one is pained, the other joins in the pain. Both joyful laughter and angry yells are felt together; joyful pleasure and dissatisfied worries are felt together. [One’s] feelings are communicated to [the other’s] feelings; [one’s] heart calls forth [the other’s] heart. There is never a case in which they are contrary or run up against each other. This Bunzō had believed right up until this very day. Why was it that Osei did not care a wit about Bunzō? He simply couldn’t comprehend it. He could not grasp the mindset of Osei who had nonchalantly disposed of Bunzō. If she were not also in love with him, it would have been unlikely that she, after becoming close to Bunzō, would have reformed her choice of words and changed her demeanor and behavior, ceasing to be frivolous and becoming gently and graciously ladylike. Moreover, during that impassioned talk of this year’s summer evening, she removed all barriers separating her from me, had a special look, and used awkward words—there is no reason to worry on occasion. If she did not love him, it would be unlikely that Osei, when there was talk of marriage, would make a pretext of joking while really searching for Bunzō’s feelings. Moreover, there would be no reason for her, when he had trouble with his aunt, to protect Bunzō, who was the same as a stranger, and confront her own mother. “No, it is not a mistake. Without a doubt she cares for me… But…” Osei, the girl for whom he cared; his shadow with whom he had sincerely vowed to be buried in the same grave upon death; the part of his body that was to feel, think and breathe together with him—she was his cousin and his future… She had inattentively seen that Bunzō, who would be her husband, was gloomily not at ease. Even though she asked if he would go, she did not encourage it. Did she unconcernedly end with things and seem indifferent? She was accompanied by someone like Noboru whom she had always said she, too, hated because he couldn’t get along with Bunzō. She went out to go sightseeing… “I don’t get it. I simply don’t get it.” お勢母子の者の出向いた後、文三は漸く少し落ち着いて、徒然と机の辺に蹲踞っ た儘、腕を組み頤を襟に埋めて懊悩たる物思ひに沈んだ。 どうも気に懸かる、お勢の事が気に懸かる。こんな区々たる事は苦の病むだけ が損だヽと思ひながら、ツイどうも気に懸かってならぬ。 凡そ相愛する二つの心は、一体分身で孤立する者でもなく、又仕ようとて出き るものでもない故に、一方の心が歓ぶ時には他方の心も共に歓び、一方の心が悲 しむ時には他方の心も共に悲しみ、一方の心が楽しむ時には他方の心も共に楽し み、一方の心が苦しむ時には他方の心も共に苦しみ、喜笑にも相感じ怒罵にも相

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感じ、愉快敵悦、不平煩悶にも相感じ、気が気に通じ心が心に呼起こし決して齟 齬し感覚する者では無いと今日が日まで文三は思っていたに、今文三の痛痒をお 勢の感ぜぬはどうしたものだらう。 どうも気が知らぬお勢ぬ、文三には平気に澄ましているお勢の心意気が呑込め ぬ。 若し相愛していなければ、文三に親しんでから、お勢が言葉遣ひを改め立居振 舞を変へ、蓮葉をやめて優に艶しく女性らしく成る筈もなし、又今年の夏一夕の 情話に、我から隔ての関を取り除け、乙は眼遣をし麁匇な言葉を遣って、折節に 物思ひをする理由もない。 若し相愛していなければ、婚姻の相談が有った時、お勢が冗談に託辞けてそれ となく文三の腹を探る筈もなし、また叔母と悶着をした時、他人同前の文三を庇 護って真実の母親と抗論する理由もない。 「イヤ盲想ぢゃ無い、おれを思っているいるに違ひない…が…」 そのまた思っているお勢が、そのまた死なば同じ穴と心に誓った形の影が、そ のまた共に感じ共に思慮し共に呼吸生息する身の片割が、従兄弟なり親友なり未 来の…夫ともなる文三の鬱々として楽しまぬのを余所に見て、行かぬと云っても 進めもせず、平気で澄まして不知顔でいる而己か、文三と意気が合はねばこそ自 家も常居から嫌ひだと云っている昇如き者に伴はれて、物観遊山に出掛けていく … 「解らないナ。どうしても解らん。 」 27

The logic of the text would seem to indicate that, even if the two were to end up together, Osei would always remain her own person, opaque to Bunzō, and life with her would not result in psychological plenitude. Ukigumo is not concerned with an extraordinary problem subject to a final resolution.

It is about the endemic complications of everyday

life, and this—said by critics and scholars to be one of the distinguishing features of the novel—is something that is not typical of any genre of early modern long-form fiction. Though psychologically complex compromised and compromising characters in fiction and everyday life as subject fit for literary narrative are not phenomena unique to bourgeois culture, their emergence in the long-form fiction written in Japan towards the end of the nineteenth century was most certainly conditioned by the rise of the

27

Op. cit., pp.116-118.

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individuality-socialization problematic in the modern ideology. 28 civilizations are, of course, a myth.

Integrated

There has never been a time of perfect ideology

providing “ready-made, ever-present meaning.” 29

In every age, there are points of

incongruence among ideological structures as well as between ideology and experience, and alienation—the result of this lack of perfect meaningfulness—has been experienced by all members of all societies.

However, the ideological fault lines of some ages are far

deeper than others. As has been noted earlier, in early modern long-form narrative, the conflict between correct principles and human feelings was a circumstantial one caused by discrete problems that were subject to a final resolution. This was as true for sewamono domestic texts—such as those of the ninjō-bon or three-act jōruri genres—as it was for jidaimono historical pieces—such as Edo hanshi yomihon or five-act jōruri plays.

Everyday life was not the subject of long-form fiction written during Japan’s

early modern period because it was not itself seen as being intrinsically problematic. The individuality-socialization conundrum that formed during the opening decades of the Meiji period was far more intractable. There are privileged moments—weddings, funerals, graduations, battles, games—wherein individual and social values can be unified, and these events even seem to offer the hope of closure.

But these are, at best,

short-term solutions. Life goes on, and the antimony returns as strong as ever. The 28

An obvious example of a long-form text with the formal feature of compromise and a concern with the everyday in the pre-novel Japanese narrative tradition is the Genji monogatari. Likewise, it is hardly the case that the rise of bourgeois modernity drove narratives concerned with extraordinary times and events and populated by non-compromising, stereotypical characters to extinction.

29

Georg Lukacs, The Theory of the Novel (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1971), p.32.

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conflict between individuality and socialization is a categorical one that can never be ultimately resolved, and this supports a disquieting sense that modern life is—to borrow a phrase from Elbert Hubbard—just one damned thing after another. 30

Thus, this was an

environment fit for both the rise of open-ended narratives as well as the emergence of compromise as a valorized trait within long-form fiction.

Plots without closure seem

less fantastic and naive, and compromise allows for survival in an otherwise extraordinarily hostile ideological environment.

Nevertheless, Ukigumo develops

within the epistemological limits of the modern ideology that can be mapped out by the individuality-socialization selectionist rectangle, and plot and plotting continue to play vital roles in the text. Characters may sense that the world is unknowable and maybe even not fully meaningful, but they do not revel in the play of chronicity. To the contrary, they all rebel strongly against the potential insignificance of time’s passage and desperately try to integrate past, present and future into a meaningful whole in order to give purpose to everyday life. The means employed, as Georg Lukács noted was true of the European novel in his The Theory of the Novel, are hope—the creation of a future ending that will bestow meaning on the experience of the present—and memory—the invention of a retrospective immanence of significance to past experience. Though Bunzō’s attempts 30

It should also be kept in mind that Futabatei Shimei was writing Ukigumo at the exact time Darwinian thought was beginning to thrive in Japan. As many historians of science and intellectual history have pointed out, Darwin’s work in many ways grew out of Adam Smith’s writings, with the main innovation of The Origin of Species being the severing of Smith’s invisible hand. In evolution, change wrought over the passage of time is thoroughly amoral, and progress of a Hegelian or Marxian variety becomes much less the given.

Michael J. Scanlon

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to create a logic and necessity to events and actions come to naught again and again, he continues to try, and the overarching plot of the novel breaks off with him waiting at his uncle’s home, unemployed, for his erstwhile sweetheart to return home from what very well may be a date hoping to ask her to marry him.

The precise circumstances of the

novel’s end are vital to the role it could play in the larger ideological environment. Nearly all elite critics and scholars see Bunzō’s attempt at decisive action as being doomed to failure.

Using notes written by Futabatei in his diary as evidence, these

highly educated readers create a far bleaker ending—Osei turns Bunzō down: he is crushed, she goes mad—than the one in the actual text. important.

This imaginable ending is

By the final decades of the nineteenth century, the majority of newly

produced highbrow bildungsroman in the wider bourgeois world ended in “failure.” Idealistic young men (or, occasionally, women) either could not integrate with society or lost their soul in the process. Thus, Ukigumo remains a highly viable text in the domain of artistic literature.

At the same time, however, a happy ending that would bestow

significance and pattern to (at least some) of the events narrated previously remains imaginable, and this optimistic reading should not be simply dismissed because it—in the realm of scholarly writing—is noticeably “weaker” than the pessimistic one.

As Frank

Kermode noted, the fundamental function of plots and plotting is to assure the meaningfulness of experience and existence, even though—(academically) “objectively” speaking—there may be none. Highbrow literature is of vital importance to literary evolution.

Most often,

formal innovations begin in its more restricted domain before later spreading to popular

Michael J. Scanlon

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376

genres, and it is quite understandable that scholars of literature focus on what is new and different.

The problem lies in the conclusions sometimes reached when the scope of

analysis becomes too constricted. D.A. Miller, for example, theorizes: [The] narratable inherently lacks finality. It may be suspended by a moral or ideological expediency, but it can never be brought to term. The tendency of a narrative would therefore be to keep going, and a narrative closure would, in Mallarmé’s phrase, be a ‘faire semblant.’ 31 This is undoubtedly correct logically. The final irresolvability of the individuality-socialization problematic—the sense of “disequilibrium, suspense, and general insufficiency from which a given narrative appears to arise” 32 —would make it seem that narratibility and closure are fundamentally different and incompatible forces, so texts coming to strong conclusions probably should be seen as fantastic and naïve, weaker and less fit to modernity than those which do not suppress or betray instability and indeterminacy at their termini.

Yet this is not necessarily the case. The vast

majority of literary bildungsroman and their cinematic offshoots produced and enacted into the twenty-first century would have to be categorized as traditional examples of the genre, something Franco Moretti describes as follows: Self-development and integration are complementary and convergent trajectories, and at their point of encounter and equilibrium lies that full and double epiphany of meaning that is ‘maturity’. When this has been reached, the narration has fulfilled its aim and can peacefully end. 33 The classical form of this narrative type continues to dominate long after a more advanced and highly adapted version evolves, and a properly Darwinian study must 31

Miller, Narrative and Its Discontents, p.xi.

32

Op. cit., p.ix.

33

Moretti, The Way of the World, pp.18-19.

Michael J. Scanlon

Epilogue

account for this.

377

The best way to do this is to relativize some of the fundamental

assumptions about the novel as a literary form.

The attenuation of closural force in

some texts is simply a sign that the modern ideological environment is more hospitable to such formal developments than had been the case in Edo Japan.

In no way does it mean

that these newer forms are necessarily stronger or better than those evolved before them. The same could be said for the quality of compromise that Lukács is said to put forward as the distinguishing feature of the novel as well as the supposed disjuncture between narrative middles and ends to which Miller refers.

Melodramatic and sentimental pieces

of fiction—narratives in which protagonists become heroic due to their refusal to find the middle ground—continue to appear in great numbers in the modern world, and there is even the occasional tragedy which has a protagonist who is unable to compromise.

It

should also be noted that an extremely large number of modern long-form narratives do have strong drives towards their conclusions, and the discursive middles of these might seem a betrayal or frustration of a teleological impulse.

These are texts which feature

wholly evil villains (or “Others”) that lack both positive bourgeois values—characters which tend to be of inhuman origins (aliens, viruses, robots, “lesser races,” and so on) or people who have lost their humanity (the insane, the drug-addled, religious zealots, or adherents to “illegitimate” non-bourgeois worldviews such as communism or fascism)—at their center and end soon after a final confrontation. 34

Just as in the case

of early modern jidaimono historical fiction, long-form narratives with plots pitting 34

This is not to say that characters of these types are always or necessarily represented in such a way that they would be included within the neutral section of the selectionist rectangle.

Michael J. Scanlon

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378

characters that can be placed along the vertical axis of a selectionist rectangle end when extraordinary time yields to a restoration of normalcy. It could be argued that narratives which either lack compromise or possess a strong drive to a conclusion are examples of what is sometimes referred to within academic circles as “the simultaneity of the non-contemporaneous.”

In other words,

these pieces of fiction could be seen as survivors from pre-modern times unworthy of the appellation novel.

Yet such a conclusion could seem arbitrary. Perhaps it might be

better to simply adjust the category of the novel itself.

For most of the world, novels are

pieces of extended fiction written in times and places where an individuality-socialization problematic prevails, and the overwhelming majority of texts possessing long-form plot structures will seem to engage this most central of bourgeois ideological aporia.35 Therefore, the prose literary output of twenty-first-century Japan and the rest of the bourgeois world can still be termed novelistic. The so-called postmodern novel is both rare and, tending either to possess a thread-narrative structure or to have a discourse 35

This theoretical assertion might not hold true for the case of the European novel because it seems likely that the individuality-socialization problematic might have long predated those texts now thought of as being the first novels of the Western tradition. However, it needs to be recognized that most of the world is not Western Europe, and it might even be time for Europeanists to treat the objects of their studies as an exception rather than the rule. At the same time, it might also be argued that the concept of the novel should be expanded to include all those extended prose fiction texts read in modern times. Thus, talk of the “early modern Japanese novel” is perfectly acceptable so long as the analyst makes it clear that this is a matter of modern reception, not pre-modern production. Similarly, early modern texts such as the Sonezaki shinjū or the Shinjū ten no Amijima are, when read in a time and place wherein the individuality-socialization paradigm is dominant, eminently classifiable as tragedies. It must, however, be kept in mind that this should be seen as an example of the refunctionalization of a given structure in a changed environment that has nothing to do with a tragic quality that is somehow intrinsic to the structure itself. Michael J. Scanlon

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379

dominated by digression, is simply written and read outside the ideological conflict between individuality and socialization that can be diagrammed on a selectionist rectangle as opposed to being formed within a competing problematic.

This type of

literature, in other words, fulfills the same function in the modern world as the non-long-form genres of literature belonging to the culture of play did in the early modern Japanese one. The lack of postmodern long-form plots is hardly surprising. There may very well exist an economic postmodernity in some twenty-first-century nations as the service sector displaces manufacturing at the center of capitalist profitability.

On an ideological level, however, announcements of a new postmodern

age seem premature, for the supposed starting dates of the new epoch—1945, 1968, 1989—are linked with occasions on which bourgeois capitalism emerged triumphant from a challenge. too, will fall.

Bourgeois capitalism is not a final stage of evolution. Someday it,

However, when, where, how and why this will happen are questions that

are simply unanswerable by those in the middest, and we moderns have little choice but to live our lives within its limits, either creating narratives that link beginnings, middles and ends into meaningful wholes as a way of giving significance and direction to our existences or attacking the given-ness of these narratives through pure negation in an attempt to bring about a radically different (and unforeseeable) future by sundering the present from the past.

Michael J. Scanlon

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380

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