The Journal of Japanese Studies



Happiness Foreclosed: Sentimentalism, the Suffering Heroine,
and Social Critique in Higuchi Ichiyo's "Jusan'ya"

Sentimentalism is often viewed as a conservative mode of literary imagination, whereby an author occludes social problems with tears.  I demonstrate that at least in the case of Higuchi Ichiyo’s “Jusan’ya” (Thirteenth night, 1895), the story of a woman who is persuaded by her family not to divorce her husband, sentimentalism can be read differently.  In this essay, I make use of historicist reading strategies in order to show how a classical rhetoric pressed into the service of sentimentality is dialogically engaged with an emergent ideology of the bourgeois nuclear family and how the text can be read as a concerted critique of that ideology.

Volume 30, Number 2 (Summer 2004)
© 2004 Society for Japanese Studies


Marie Anchordoguy and Kevin M. Doak, Coeditors     Martha L. Walsh, Managing Editor
The Journal of Japanese Studies
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