A Tokyo Anthology: Literature from Japan’s Modern Metropolis, 1850–1920
528pp. February 2017
A Tokyo Anthology: Literature from Japan’s Modern Metropolis, 1850–1920
Editor: Jones, Sumie; Inouye, Charles Shiro;
The city of Tokyo, renamed after the Meiji Restoration, developed an urban culture that was a dynamic integration of Edo’s highly developed traditions and Meiji renovations, some of which reflected the influence of Western culture. This wide-ranging anthology—including fictional and dramatic works, essays, newspaper articles, political manifestos, and cartoons—tells the story of how the city’s literature and arts grew out of an often chaotic and sometimes paradoxical political environment to move toward a consummate Japanese “modernity.”

Tokyo’s downtown audience constituted a market that demanded visuality and spectacle, while the educated uptown favored written, realistic literature. The literary products resulting from these conflicting consumer bases were therefore hybrid entities of old and new technologies. A Tokyo Anthology guides the reader through Japanese literatures journey from classical to spoken, pictocentric to logocentric, and fantastic to realistic—making the novel the dominant form of modern literature. The volume highlights not only familiar masterpieces but also lesser known examples chosen from the city’s downtown life and counterculture.

Imitating the custom of creative artists of the Edo period, scholars from the United States, Canada, England, and Japan have collaborated in order to produce this intriguing sampling of Meiji works in the best possible translations. The editors have sought out the most reliable first editions of texts, also reproducing most of their original illustrations. With few exceptions the translations presented here are the first in the English language. This rich anthology will be welcomed by students and scholars of Japan studies and by a wide general audience interested in Japan’s popular culture, media culture, and literature in translation.

10 color, 89 b&w illustrations

"The texts in this groundbreaking collection are impeccably translated into evocative and elegant English even as they retain the tone and style of the original Japanese. Overflowing with pathos and humor, melodrama and satire, there are excerpts from fiction, drama, poetry, even newspaper articles and political cartoons. These selections constitute a lively and varied sampling from a time of transition and turbulence, while the editors’ introductory comments offer brilliant insights into this historical and cultural context. A Tokyo Anthology will become a classic, enjoyed by students of literature, history, and culture and by anyone interested in exploring this dynamic period when Japan was struggling to define itself as a modern nation." –Michael Dylan Foster, University of California, Davis

"A Tokyo Anthology is a fascinating, highly original collection of freshly translated works with many distinctive illustrations. It covers mid-nineteenth-century Edo to turn-of-the-century modern Tokyo, a crucial transitional era often neglected in literary history. Organized under themes as well as chronology, each piece from an array of genres—some by famous names, others by little known figures—evokes the writer’s often critical response to a particular moment in a constantly shifting landscape. The texts, through lively translations, explore both elite and popular culture and collectively chronicle the struggles of individuals coming to grips with the challenges of modernization in the rapidly growing, vast urban complex that is Tokyo. The general introduction offers a concise guide through the political, social, and cultural turns of this vibrant period, and the pocket introductions to each work set the context, succinctly enabling the reader to savor the atmosphere. An excellent anthology." –C. Andrew Gerstle, SOAS University of London
Editor: Jones, Sumie; Inouye, Charles Shiro;
Sumie Jones, a specialist in eighteenth-century comparative literature and Edo arts, is professor emerita of East Asian languages and cultures and comparative literature and a residential fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study, Indiana University.

Charles Shirō Inouye is professor of Japanese at Tufts University.

Preface — Sumie Jones and Charles Shirō Inouye
Introduction — Sumie Jones and Charles Shirō Inouye

1. Responses to the Age of Enlightenment
Kanagaki Robun — Things Heard Around a Pot of Beef (Ushiya Zōdan Agura Nabe, 1872) — Translation by Joel Cohn
Catfish, Prostitutes, and Politicians: Satirical Cartoons (1874–1902) — Translation by Peter Duus and Charles Shirō Inouye
Mantei Ōga — Toad Fed Up with Modernity (Kinsei Akire-Kaeru, 1874) — Translation by John Mertz
Anonymous — Monsters! Monsters! Read All About It! (1875–1886) — Translation by Matthew Fraleigh

2. Crime and Punishment, Edo and Tokyo
Shunkintei Ryūō — The Bad Girl Prefers Black and Yellow Plaid (Adamusume Konomi no Hachijō, performed 1873) — Translation by Sumie Jones
Kanagaki Robun — Takahashi Oden, Devil Woman (Takahashi Oden, Yasha Monogatari, 1879) — Translation by Sumie Jones
Shōrin Hakuen — Rat Boy (Nezumikozō, 1913) — Translation by Scott Miller
Kuroiwa Ruikō — Wedlock (Kon’in, 1890) and Electricity (Denki, 1890) — Translation by Scott Miller

3. The High and Low of Capitalism
Kawatake Mokuami — Money Is All That Matters In This World (Ningen Banji Kane no Yo no Naka, 1879) — Translation by Alan Cummings
Kawakami Otojirō — Oppekepe Rap (Oppekepe-bushi, 1889) — Translation by Dylan McGee
Matsubara Iwagorō — In Darkest Tokyo (Sai-Ankoku no Tokyo, 1892–1893) — Translation by Charles Shirō Inouye
Tanizaki Jun’ichirō — The Jester (Hōkan, 1913) — Translation by Howard Hibbett

4. Modernity and Individualism
Nakajima Shōen — To My Fellow Sisters (Dōhōshimai ni Tsugu, 1884) — Translation by Rebecca Copeland and Aiko MacPhail
Futabatei Shimei — Why I Write in the Colloquial Style (Yo ga Genbun’itchi no Yurai, 1906) and Mid-Life Confessions
(Yo ga Hansei no Zange, 1908) — Translation by Joel Cohn
Ishikawa Takuboku — The Impasse of Our Age (Jidai Heisoku no Genjō, 1913) — Translation by James Dorsey

5. A Sense of the Real and Unreal
Tayama Katai — Raw Depiction (Rokotsunaru Byōsha, 1904) — Translation by Joel Cohn
Tayama Katai — In the Next Room (Rinshitsu, 1908) — Translation by Joel Cohn
Izumi Kyōka — Messenger from the Sea (Umi no Shisha, 1909) — Translation by Charles Shirō Inouye

6. Romance and Eros
Kitamura Tōkoku — Pessimist Poets and Women (Enseishika to Josei, 1892) — Translation by Eiji Sekine
Tokutomi Roka — The Cuckoo (Hototogisu, 1898) — Translation by Ken Ito
Yosano Akiko — Tangled Hair (Midaregami, 1901) — Translation by Laurel R. Rodd
Izumi Kyōka — At Yushima Shrine (Yushima no Keidai, 1907) — Translation by Cody Poulton

7. The City Dreams of the Country
San’yūtei Enchō — A True View of Kasane Precipice (Shinkei Kasanegafuchi, performed 1873) — Translation by Sumie Jones
Ozaki Kōyō — A Woodcutter Falls in Love (Koi no Yamagatsu, 1887) — Translation by Matthew Koningsburg
Maidens, Stars, and Dreams: Poems by Shimazaki Tōson and Kanbara Ariake — Translation by Takashi Wakui

8. Interiority and Exteriority
Wakamatsu Shizuko — My Grandmother’s Cottage (Omukō no Hanare, 1889) — Translation by Rebecca Copeland
Nagai Kafū — Tales of America (Amerika Monogatari, 1905) — Translation by Stephen Snyder
Natsume Sōseki — Short Pieces from Long Spring Days (Eijitsu Shōhin, 1909) — Translation by Anthony Chambers
Iwano Hōmei — Rich Boy (Bonchi, 1913) — Translation by Charles Shirō Inouye