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Lost Leaves: Women Writers of Meiji Japan by Rebecca Copeland

By Rebecca Copeland

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Most eastern literary historians have prompt that the Meiji interval (1868-1912) was once with out girls writers yet for the bright exception of Higuchi Ichiyo (1872-1896). Rebecca Copeland demanding situations this declare via studying in interesting element the lives and literary careers of 3 of Ichiyo's friends, each one consultant of the range and ingenuity of the interval: Miyake Kaho (1868-1944), Wakamatsu Shizuko (1864-1896), and Shimizu Shikin (1868-1933). In a delicately researched creation, Copeland establishes the context for the advance of lady literary expression. She follows this with chapters on all of the girls into account. Interspersed all through are excerpts from works lower than dialogue, so much by no means earlier than translated, supplying an invluable window into this forgotten global of women's writing.

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Extra resources for Lost Leaves: Women Writers of Meiji Japan

Example text

58 In an editorial dated October 15, 1887, he observed that although female reporters and columnists were not unheard of in the West, Japan did not have even one. Women’s status, he argued, could not possibly improve if women were barred from the debate. We need women journalists to write about women’s issues. Men have viewed women as slaves for the past thousand years. It is not likely that they will undergo a transformation in two or three years and start writing for women’s rights. ” Women must represent themselves.

Prostitution is just a trade like any other, I have heard it said. 84 In the next issue of Bungei kurabu an anonymous critic took venomous exception to Usurai’s essay, implying that her wanton display of “superficial” knowledge made her little better than a prostitute herself. To counter Usurai’s position as a proper woman observing the activities of the Yoshiwara district, the critic assumed the persona of a prostitute: That’s right, I was sold into the business when I was seven. And since the time I was a courtesan’s apprentice I’ve mastered .

If anything it appears that Kaho took pains to strike the appropriate moral chords. But she erred when she included conversations among servants. A critic for Kokumin no tomo (The Nation’s Friend) took her to task in August 1888. He strongly advised her to avoid any reference to the lower classes in the future. How could it possibly be that an innocent girl was able to describe the lower classes so skillfully? His answer, of course, was that she could not. Either she was not an “innocent” girl or she had had someone else write the “dirty” parts.

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