This article is a review of the collective monograph “Japan in the Retrospective of Generation Change”. The main object of study here are the changes which happened to two young generations of Japanese people whose lives were influenced by complicated reality of the past 30 years when the economy started to stagnate and rate of economic growth slowed down. Authors of this monograph are making an attempt to figure out what do such matters as family, labor, leisure time mean to modern Japanese people and also analyze their attitude towards the global society and specifically their attitude to the USA, China and Russia. Here one can also find information concerning gender issues in Japan, modern Japanese women outlook on their relationship with the men matter, marriage, career and political ambitions.
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.
This paper examines the perception of Western optics and projection technologies in Japan from the 18th through the 20th centuries, which led to the development of film, television, and other forms of media. Film was brought to Japan at the end of the 19th century and was quickly adapted to local cultural specificities. Despite the influence of traditional Japanese theater, literature, and painting, film in Japan continues to be heavily associated with the cultural and aesthetic influence of the West. Japan’s introduction to film was preceded by its encounters with the telescope, microscope, camera obscura, magic lantern, and other Western technologies. The circulation of these devices contributed to the formation of an associative link between the West, the improvement of vision, and the mechanization of optics, which affected Japan’s perception of cinema. The magic lantern (which became widespread in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries and laid the foundation for the development of the majority of contemporary projection devices) was brought to Japan twice: in the second half of the 18th century (through Nagasaki), and after the Meiji Restoration (1868), when the politics of Westernization were adopted. The magic lantern of the Edo period, known as utsushi-e, was regarded as a mass spectacle, an element of low, urban entertainment culture, while gentō (imported during the Meiji era) was actively employed by the authorities for educational and propaganda purposes. Japanese film has inherited much from both of these media, including their terminology. The Japanese kanji sha (utsusu) used in the word utsushi-e can be found in the term katsudō shashin, used in the 1900s and early 1910s to denote cinema. The term eiga, which replaced katsudō shashin by the late 1910s and early 1920s, was initially used to denote glass slides for the projection of gentō. This paper traces the major milestones in the development of Japanese laterna magica, analyzes its influence on the formation of specific terminology as well as on the social status of film in Japan, and indicates further prospects for studying Japanese media in the context of its interactions with the “culture of seeing” generally associated with the West.
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.
The article reviews the book by Ludmila M. Ermakova “Russian-Japanese Reflections: History, Literature, Arts” (Moscow: Vostochnaya Literatura, 2020. 327 pp. ISBN 978-5-02-039851-1). The book is a collection of the author’s recent articles which are devoted to a variety of subjects covering the history of Russian-Japanese cultural interaction and the history of Japanese studies in Russia. The review notes the breadth of the author’s interests and the depth of elaboration of each topic, the integrity of the collection and its importance for the history of Japanese studies in Russia
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.
. Sport occupied an important place in the ideological speculations of Japan both in the prewar and post-war periods. In the twentieth century, Tokyo twice successfully applied for the Summer Olympics. However, the Japanese government refused to support the 1940 Olympics and it did not take place. The Tokyo Olympics of 1964 won full support of the government and became the first Olympics to be held outside of Europe and America. The process of Tokyo nomination and the preparation for the Olympics sheds additional light on the political and cultural situation in pre-war and post-war Japan. A comparative analysis of the two Olympics allows us to evaluate the way that Japan had walked during the quarter of a century. During this time, Japan managed to abandon its pre-war totalitarian past and come to a radically different understanding of its place in the world. The Olympics is inherently an instrument of “soft power”, which has come into dramatic conflict with the prevailing sentiments in the pre-war political elite, who relied on “brute force”, and this led to the refusal to hold the 1940 Olympics. In present-day Japan, these failed games are commonly referred to as the “Ghost Olympics” (maboroshi no orinpikku). Instead of the “true” Olympics, the Far Eastern Games (which were informally called the “Asian Olympics”) were held in 1940. In the post-war period, Japan became a peaceful country, and all her hopes were associated with “soft power”. This policy allowed Japan to host the 1964 Olympics successfully and it increased country's self-esteem and international prestige. After the 1964 Olympics, the government’s attention to the sport of higher achievements has been weakened and the country's prestige has been enhanced primarily through the development of the economy and science, the improvement of living standards, and the promotion of cultural achievements. The bet on soft power proved to be much more effective in ensuring Japan's rightful place in the world.
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.