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Japanese Literature and World Literature

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University of Warwick, UK

World Literature is an ascendant theme.  Seeking to revise the premises and methodologies of traditional comparative literary studies, some World Literature scholars investigate exchanges and circulation of many aesthetic and cultural practices, taking great consideration of the material and historical conditions involved.  Japanese literature is a particularly interesting subject for many who want to explore how the specificities of Japanese history – notably the drastic progress of modernity – interact with its literature.  Many of the key theorists of World Literature, such as Pascale Casanova and Franco Moretti, have wanted to gesture towards China and Japan, but the Far East has remained resistant to their models.  Conversely, it is not yet clear how Japanese research into the country’s literary canon will deal with World Literature.  The conference aims to make an intervention in positioning Japanese literature in this growing field of World Literature.

The applications for paper proposals are now closed.

Programme day 1: Wednesday 16 September

(Radcliff, University of Warwick)

17.00-              Registration and reception opening

17.30-18.30     Opening Talk and Discussion: 'New Approaches to World Literature' 

                        Sharae Deckard (University College Dublin)

19.00-21.00     Conference Dinner


Programme day 2: Thursday 17 September

(Radcliff, University of Warwick)

9.30-10.00       Registration with tea and coffee

10.00-10.10     Greeting from Organisers


10.10-11.30     Panel 1

Chair: Frances Causer (Seijo University)

10.10-10.30:William Lee (University of Monitoba) - ‘The Emergence of Domestic Tragedy in England and Japan: A Test for Comparative Literature’ 

10.30-10.50:Makiko Shikimachi (Hosei University) - Sumida-gawa or a miracle play: nothing is but what is not’ 

10.50-11.10:Cecily Nowell-Smith (University of Oxford) -‘Endless Discussions: Peter Kropotkin in the work of Ishikawa Takuboku’ 



12.00-13.30     Panel 2

Chair: Stephen Dodd (SOAS, University of London)

12.00-12.20:Takayuki Murakami (University of Osaka) - ‘Literary Kharbin: A Cultural Life at the Crossing of Empires’  

12.20-12.40:Chia-ning Chang (University of California, Davis) - ‘Ideological Conversion and War Contemplations in Early Showa Japan: The Case of Kamei Katsuichiro’ 

12.40-13.00:Jiyoung Kim (University of Tokyo) - ‘Occupation, Memory, Nation: The Narrative of Sawako Ariyoshi’s Hishoku 



14.30-15.30     Panel 3

Chair: Benita Parry (University of Warwick)

14.30-14.50: Leslie Winston (Waseda University) - ‘French Decadence/Tanizakian Decadence’ 

14.50-15.10: Stephen Dodd (SOAS) - ‘Modernism and Death in the Writing of Kajii Motojiro’



15.50-17.50     Panel 4

Chair: Michael Bell (University of Warwick) and Katsura Sako (Keio University)

15.50-16.10:Shu Sakaguchi (Tsuda University) - ‘The Transformation of the Japanese “Magical”’ 

16.10-16.30: Paola Di Gennaro (SOAS) ‘Myth and Desert in a Japanese Apocalypse. H: A Hiroshima Novel by Oda Makoto’

16.30-16.40: Break

16.40-17.00: Robin Tierney (University of Iowa) -‘Bodily Engagement with Globalisation; The Hyper-personal Critical Fiction of Tawada Yoko and Shono Yoriko’ 

17.00-17.20: Norimasa Morita (Waseda University) - ‘Literature of No Compromise: Japanese Postmodern Fictions and Weltliteratur’


17.50-18.30:Wine Reception


Please see here for the abstracts of all the papers.

Please see here for travel information

This event is funded by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation and Keio University, and is free to attend. But advance booking is required as places are limited.  Please email Katsura Sako to book your place, stating your name, affiliation (if applicable), and if any, your dietary request.


For general inquiries, please contact one of the organisers.

- Katsura Sako, Keio University, Tokyo (

- Michael Gardiner, University of Warwick (


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