The Journal of Japanese Studies
The understanding of literature in Japan underwent an epistemological shift in the mid-1880s, when literature came into being as an ontological category as modern fiction found its identity around the themes ninjo, fuzoku, and setai (emotions, social customs, and manners). By historically contextualizing these three components of modern fiction, first introduced by Tsubouchi Shoyo’s Shosetsu shinzui (1885-86), I argue that they were posited in opposition to what constituted the political at that historical juncture. I do so by analyzing Shoyo’s criticism of Takizawa Bakin, which signifies his rejection of the political discourse and ultimately of the Freedom and People’s Rights Movement.
31, Number 1 (Winter 2005)