Indices of Censorship

Jonathan E. Abel

in Redacted

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780520273344
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780520953406 | DOI:
Indices of Censorship

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Chapter 2 focuses on the publication of indexes and anthologies of banned books during the high point of literary censorship in Japan, from 1924 to 1935. Echoing the vast amount of secret records kept by and held for the censors themselves, a group of bibliographers took it upon themselves to record and publish the titles removed from circulation by the publishing police. Though ostensibly beyond reproach as mere recorders of data, the compilers of these lists thought that by repeating the censors’ secret work in public, they could bring back some sense of what had been lost. The publicly accessible databases created by the compilers stand as monuments to censorship, commemorating vanished books, and as archives that hold information about the kind and degree, quantity and quality, breadth and depth, and scope and range of censorship. The indexes appropriate one of the censors’ modes of maintaining and consolidating power (here the recording of banned books) for use against censorship itself. These archives provide a sense that there is power not only in the knowledge that censorship exists, but also in an awareness of the censor's target.

Keywords: Miyatake Gaikotsu; Saitō Shōzō; Akama Tōhō; Itō Chikusui; Odagiri Hideo; database politics; collecting; indexing; bibliography

Chapter.  6929 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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