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Nagai Kafu's Occidentalism
Defining the Japanese Self
Nagai Kafu's Occidentalism
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Rachael Hutchinson - Author
Price: $80.00 
Hardcover - 299 pages
Release Date: November 2011
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3907-5

Price: $24.95 
Paperback - 299 pages
Release Date: July 2012
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3906-8

Price: $24.95 
Electronic - 299 pages
Release Date: November 2011
ISBN10: 1-4384-3908-3
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3908-2

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Describes how writer Nagai Kafū (1879–1959) used his experience of the West to reconcile modernization and Japanese identity.

Nagai Kafū (1879–1959) spent more time abroad than any other writer of his generation, firing the Japanese imagination with his visions of America and France. Applying the theoretical framework of Occidentalism to Japanese literature, Rachael Hutchinson explores Kafū’s construction of the Western Other, an integral part of his critique of Meiji civilization. Through contrast with the Western Other, Kafū was able to solve the dilemma that so plagued Japanese intellectuals—how to modernize and yet retain an authentic Japanese identity in the modern world. Kafū’s flexible positioning of imagined spaces like the “West” and the “Orient” ultimately led him to a definition of the Japanese Self. Hutchinson analyzes the wide range of Kafū’s work, particularly those novels and stories reflecting Kafū’s time in the West and the return to Japan, most unknown to Western readers and a number unavailable in English, along with his better-known depictions of Edo’s demimonde. Kafū’s place in Japan’s intellectual history and his influence on other writers are also discussed.

“…the book presents a freshly accentuated approach on Kafū.” — Journal of Japanese Studies

“Hutchinson’s powerful contribution will take its place among the most important books published on Kafū. It stands apart because she expands on important issues in his writing, including Orientalism/Occidentalism, identity, and social critique.” — Douglas N. Slaymaker, author of The Body in Postwar Japanese Fiction

Rachael Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Delaware. She is coeditor (with Mark Williams) of Representing the Other in Modern Japanese Literature: A Critical Approach.

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Table of Contents



1. Constructiong the “West”: Binarism and Complexity in Kafū’s America

2. Imagining Authenticity: Literature and Civilization in Kafū’s France

3. Positioning the Observer: Kafū’s ‘Orient’ and Orientalism

4. Occidentalism: Contrast and Critique in the Returnee Stories

5. Resistance: Defining and Preserving the Japanese Self



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