Chapter

. Objects of the Sublime in Literary Writing: Yasuda Yojūrō, Yanagi Sōetsu, Kawabata Yasunari, and Shiga Naoya

Alan Tansman

in The Aesthetics of Japanese Fascism

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780520245051
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943490 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520245051.003.0004
. Objects of the Sublime in Literary Writing: Yasuda Yojūrō, Yanagi Sōetsu, Kawabata Yasunari, and Shiga Naoya

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Whiteness covered the landscape of literature and the arts in Japan in the 1930s, an aesthetic response to a deep cultural malaise. It suggested a moment of authenticity or purity beyond the fractured space of modern life. The most provocative repository of images of whiteness in the 1930s was Yasuda Yojūrō's “Japanese Bridges,” its effectiveness in its time a direct result of its uncannily apt expression of the endemic desire for a cure to cultural and spiritual loss while signaling the impossibility of satisfying that desire. This chapter discusses how writers like Yanagi Sometsu, Kawabata Yasunari, and Shiga Naoya were committed to real objects of art, but they also sought to recreate the spatial quality of those objects in the linear time of language and literature. This spatial quality took the form of an expressive use of images of whiteness and purity, which stood for Japanese authenticity.

Keywords: whiteness; purity; Japanese authenticity; Japanese writers

Chapter.  21076 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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