This publication presents the first translation into Russian of the essay “On the [Favorable] Moment [to Display] Reasonableness” (“Shinkiron”) written by a famous Japanese artist and intellectual, an adherent of Dutch studies Watanabe Kazan (1793-1841). This essay was written in 1838 as a response to the shooting attack on the United States trade ship “Morrison”, which delivered shipwrecked Japanese sailors, by Japanese government in the previous year (even though the author didn’t know all details concerning the incident). The main appeal of the author is to display reasonableness, that is to stop shying away from the changing world and to realize Japan’s situation in it, and for this end to turn to Western learning whose adherent the author was, and to reconsider the policy toward foreign vessels. In his essay, Watanabe Kazan pays great attention to Great Britain and Russia by presenting these two countries as greatest world powers but comparing them on several characteristics. In general, the author shows deep knowledge of the global situation and world history, making comparisons between Japan and other countries of the world, while his essay is indicative of the development of Western studies in 1830s’ Japan. The preface represents the details of the attack on the “Morrison” and the creation of the essay. The spread of “The Tale of a Dream in Bojutsu Year” written by Kazan’s friend and like-minded person Takano Choei led to punitive measures by the government against advocates of Western learning. The manuscript of “Shinkiron” was discovered during the search at Kazan’s house and the author was sentenced to home arrest and committed suicide two years later.
During the implementation of the foreign policy doctrines of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, known as "proactive pacifism", the Japanese government has done considerable work on the revision of some self-restraint in Japanese defense policy, including the ban on the arms export. The article is devoted to the analysis of Japan’s first steps on the international arms market in context with their influence on regional security environment.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a foreign culture poured into Russia in a powerful stream. The books of previously banned writers are beginning to be published, and comic books are also being actively promoted, including Japanese manga, about which former Soviet citizens heard for the first time. The spread of manga (and anime) abroad begins only in the mid-1980s, but already in the 1990s its first samples have reached Russia. Therefore in 1995 the first volume of Nakazawa Keiji's "Barefoot Gen", dated to the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was published on Russian. But a year earlier another manga was released, today it can be considered the very first manga translated into Russian. It is symbolic that this was manga "Black Jack" by Tezuka Osamu. Thanks to Tezuka Osamu manga was developed into a huge industry during the postwar period and later was able to compete with American comic books and French comics band desine. Tezuka was a doctor by education and in this manga he combined his medical knowledge with the profession of mangaka. The main character Black Jack became a sort of Tezuka Osamu alter-ego and gained a great love of the readers. However, the existence of such a character, unlike, for example, American Mickey Mouse, was hardly known in Russia, so the first issues of Japanese comics were not in great demand. Despite this, in the narrow circle of domestic fans of Japanese animation and manga (otaku) the need for such kind of cultural products was brewing. In the late 1990s, with the development of computer technologies, amateur translations of manga on the Web, including the Russian-speaking segment of the Internet, are widely spread. There are exist informal publishers who publish an unlicensed manga (piratka) on paper. Subsequently, some of them are retrained into official companies, which will mark the appearance of the first Russian publishing houses translating manga in the early 2000s. In this regard, it is important to trace the contents of these works and the specifics of their publication, as well as the experience of publishers, who decided to translate Asian comics into Russian.
The paper examines the art heritage of Niwa Tōkei (1760–1822) – an ukiyo-e book illustrator from Osaka – in terms of historical, social, and local peculiarities of his life and epoch. The edge of XVIIXVIII centuries demonstrates the flourishing of illustrated book-printing on various subjects dedicated to urban dwellers. An illustration in these books has played not a supplementary, but an equivalent to the text role. Niwa Tōkei alone or in collaboration with other artists took part in creation of more than 20 book on diverse subjects. In the paper we try to define the main genres of his books which are guidebooks meisho zue and saiken; kyoka poetry books; books for reading yomihon; encyclopedias; and we examine more properly some of the books of the following genres: Setsu meisho zue; Kawachi meisho zue; Miotsukushi; Kyōka risshō shū; Kawakoromo-no ki; Ehon sankan gunki; Ehon shūi shinchōki; Tokai hyakkatsū setsuyō shū; Kodō zuroku; Unkonshi; Chōsen chinka asagao shūi; Kengyō hinrui zukō. The art heritage of Niwa Tokei is being studied in terms of professional peculiarities, with observation of his collaboration with editors, painters, scholars, writers of his time. These are Shitomi Kangetsu, Akisato Ritō, Tetsugōshi Namimaru, Nakai Rankō, Kiuchi Sekitei, Takehara Shunchōsai, Ryūkōsai Jokei, Kamata Kansai, Minegishi Ryūfu. Special attention is paid to the reflection of the epoch’s social and economic peculiarities in Niwa Tōkei’s art heritage, such phenomenon as the growth of economic potential of population, the need for new ideals, the increasing number of inland pilgrimage. Niwa Tōkei was a wellknown author and painter of his epoch, and his books can be found in collections of Japanese art and xylographs all around the world, though the present article is one of the first attempts to analyze his art heritage.
The article deals with the problem of “inner space” in the two prominent works of kokkeibon, a genre of gesaku, light popular fiction of Tokugawa period (1603–1867), “Tōkaidōchū hizakurige” by Jippensha Ikku (1765–1831) and “Ukiyoburo” by Shikitei Sanba (1775–1822). The creation of the unique settings, namely, the Tōkaidō road and its post stations in “Tōkaidōchū hizakurige” and a public bath in “Ukiyoburo” is considered to be a special artistic method, which is not just a device to develop a light funny atmosphere of the literary works mentioned, but also a mechanism, uncovering deeper layers of psycologism and mindset. There are two types of “inner worlds” found in the works of Ikku and Sanba: an “anti-world” of “Tōkaidōchū hizakurige”, where the spirit of grotesque, absurdity and situational comedy prevails, and an “idealistic world” of “Ukiyoburo”, in which humor and morality are found in the everyday situations and conversations. It is also assumed that the tags of “anti-world” and “idealistic world” in terms of these literary works can correspond with the “men’s world” and “women’s world” respectively.
Kouta, the songs of the licensed quarters, still remain one of the most poorly explored genres of the Edo period literature. These songs, created by anonymous female authors from luxurious brothels with the assistance of the bohemian literati of the time, were known for many centuries as the treasury of Japanese folklore. The highest level of education and considerable poetic skills typical for many authors became a token of close connection with classical poetry and predestined the role of the genre in the formation of literary canon in Kabuki and Joruri drama.
In the meantime, kouta present a brilliant example of the most successful adaptation and transformation of the whole palette of folklore lyrical songs – from the dancing tunes with rhythmic refrains free of any semantic functions to the long dramatic ballads and descriptions of specific locations in the genre of a poetic guidebook. Professional compilers and editors of the kouta collections deserve great appreciation both for the amount of the preserved songs and for the skillful composition of the books. Impressive achievements of the editors reveal the existence of a folklore studies trend in premodern Japan – a phenomenon that can be compared only to the infatuation with folklore so typical for the age of Romanticism in Europe.
Kouta anthologies compiled in the 17–18th centuries essentially constitute one great poetic monument, a unity in diversity revealing the slightest details of the city life and featuring primarily customs and mores of the licensed quarters. Unlike the most provocative, sometimes even grotesque imagery of the shunga erotic woodblock prints, kouta tell the stories of true love and suffering of the joro sexual slaves from “tea houses”.
Musical and poetic merits of the kouta songs gained them great reputation not only in the professional geisha community, but also among the public at large. Kouta influenced the formation of the Japanese Romanticist shintaishi poetry in the late 19th century and made a strong impact on enka, the most successful folk song genre of the 20th century.
The article touches upon the phenomenon of Japanese handmade paper given the example of “The Precious Notes on Papermaking” (“Kamisuki Chohoki”) as the first printed illustrated manual on papermaking in Japan. When Japanese masters borrowed first samples of paper from China, they spent long time to adopt new technology of papermaking and find the most fitting materials. Apart from western masters, who engaged in making this process more mechanized, Japanese masters maintained manual way of papermaking up to 1872. All this time they considered quality more important than quantity. This probably made Japanese paper an example of the highest quality. The manual on papermaking “Kamisuki Chohoki” (1798) was published for the first time. It became well known not only among Japanese masters, but also among foreigners.The article also provides full translation of “The Precious Notes on Papermaking” into Russian language.
The article is devoted to play forms in traditional Japanese poetry.
This article is devoted to one of the most well-known discussions in the literary circles of Japan at the beginning of the twentieth century, the dispute between Akutagava Ryunoske and Tanizaki Junichiro about the essence of prose, which was called the “plotless novel” debate. In 1927, when the discussion was published in the magazine “Kaizo”, literary life was concentrated in the circles of the creative elite or bundan, within which various associations and magazines were created. During the discussion, Akutagawa proposed the concept of “poetic spirit” in a prose work as the central category of his aesthetic theory, implying the dominant role of the hero’s lyrical mood over the storyline. Akutagawa considered the work containing the “poetic spirit” to be the pinnacle of prose creativity and called such a prose “a story without a story”, believing that the “interesting story” and interest in the story as such diminishes the quality of the work, bringing it closer to the mass, entertaining literature. Tanizaki, whose works Akutagawa criticized for “an interesting plot,” defended the story with many plot lines, arguing that this creates the “architectural beauty” of the work, which implies, firstly, its structural complexity, and secondly, provides internal energy. In contrast to Akutagawa, Tanizaki did not consider the general availability of literature as a quality that crossed out its artistic value. In essence, this discussion, in which the recognized classics of modern literature present the basis of their aesthetic views, is a dispute about the role of pure literature (junbungaku) and mass (taishu: bungaku) - a problem that will be most developed after Akutagawa’s death. This is the main significance of this dispute, which should be rather called a discussion, since there was no fundamental difference between the writers.
The discussion took place due to differences in attitude, character, aesthetic perception, psychological organization of the writers, as well as the polarity of their life moments at that time. For Akutagawa, prone to melancholy, rational analysis and intellectually perceiving the world, the end of his life and the end of the era of "pure" literature was nearing, and Tanizaki, demonstrating a sensual-mystical worldview and confidently gathering the fruits of glory, still had much to do in his literary career.
The problem of the classification of numerous characters in Jippensha Ikku’s Tōkaidōchū Hizakurige, one of the prominent works of kokkeibon (“funny books”), a genre of entertaining literature gesaku, is raised in the article. Typical features of the characters, whose comical interaction is the main motive of the narration, altogether with their primary functions are the objects of the research. The system of the characters is perceived here as one of the most significant factors of the literary work’s popularity, taking into consideration the fact that Tōkaidōchū Hizakurige was one of the first gesaku bestsellers of such scale. All the characters are divided into three groups, namely, the protagonists, the “wandering” characters, and the “provincial” characters, among which smaller categories are pointed out. The protagonists are typical edokko, the citizens of the capital, who despise provincial traditions and are concentrated on sensuous pleasures. A narration developed around the journey of two male characters is a typical literary device for the traditional Japanese travel literature, however, compared to his literary predecessors, Ikku shows some new tendencies as well. The comical interaction of the main characters varies and takes place mainly in the form of “situational comedy”, or kyōgen. The “wandering” characters are presented by such categories as transportation sphere’s characters, swindlers, travelers, religious characters, warriors. Each category has its own features and functions, for instance, swindlers stimulate the narration’s flow as well as cause comical situations, whereas religious characters smooth out the conflicts between the protagonists and other characters. The same is also relevant for the “provincial” characters, who are represented by the staff of post station inns, traders, owners of tea houses, and provincial residents. Girls from the inns create the special atmosphere of Hizakurige and introduce new locations into the narration, while traders present the famous products of various provinces. The main points of analysis are illustrated with the fragments of the original text, translated by the author of the article.
The Japanese described Okinawa as “external land” (gaichi), believing that they themselves live on “internal land” (naichi). Yanagita Kunio played a very significant role in the integration of Okinawans into Japanese life. Having visited Okinawa only once (in 1921) and closely communicating with Iha Fuyu (1876–1947), an Okinawa native, for the rest of his life he was of the opinion that the Okinawans were the ancestors of the Japanese. At first, this idea was not very popular. However, after the end of World War II, when Okinawa came under the control of the American military administration, a widespread movement was launched in Japan to return Okinawa to Japanese jurisdiction. At this time, Yanagita became a scholar recognized by the state and enjoyed its support. Yanagita rehabilitated the concept of an "island country" (shimaguni) and gave it a positive meaning. Against the background of heated discussion about the ethnogenesis of the Japanese people, the last book by Yanagita, “Kaijo-no Michi” (“Sea Route”, 1961), which justified his hypothesis about Okinawa as the ancestral home of the Japanese, became widely known among non-professionals (for instance, it was highly praised by Oe Kenzaburo) primarily for political and emotional reasons, although the scientific basis of this work has always caused serious objections in the academic world. The popularity of the book declined after Okinawa was returned to Japan. Nevertheless, the role of this book in the history of social and political thought in Japan is hard to overestimate.