The Journal of Japanese Studies
J. VAN COMPERNOLLE
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.
30, Number 2 (Summer