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Title:Kōda Rohan and the golden era of Sōgō Zasshi
Author(s):Nagata, Tsutomu
Advisor(s):Tierney, Robert
Department / Program:E. Asian Languages & Cultures
Discipline:E Asian Languages & Cultures
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"Kōda Rohan"
"sōgō zasshi"
"Takita Choin"
"Yamamoto Sanehiko"
Abstract:The mid-career, fifteen-year hiatus (1905-1919) of the modern Japanese writer Kōda Rohan (1867-1947) has been previously explained through power shift within Japanese literary world (bundan) such as the rise and fall of Naturalism and the brief but sensational writing career (1905-1915) of Natsume Sōseki (1867-1915). In this thesis, however, I re-examine the topic in the larger context of the social changes after the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) and WWI (1914-1919) by focusing on Rohan’s interaction with the two most influential sōgō zasshi (integrated magazines) of the period, Chūō Kōron (1887-) lead by Takita Choin (1882-1925) and Kaizō (1919-1955) lead by Yamamoto Sanehiko (1885-1952). Combining well-curated three types of texts (political treatises, light essays and junbungaku fiction), these magazines attracted rapidly growing population of college-educated intellectuals and white-collar workers (“salaryman”). Through their huge commercial success, they also replaced college-based literary magazines as the authority of literature, placing writers and literary works in the emerging mass economy. While on the surface Rohan’s hiatus can be explained through Chūō Kōron’s gradual dismissal of him as a master of yesteryear and Kaizō’s rediscovery of him as a living legend of Meiji literature, Rohan’s works after his return to spotlight in 1919 also reflect how much he had learned from Chūō Kōron’s editorial policy. In his works for Kaizō, he mixed his knowledge on classical literature with more approachable, conversational tone and reference to current affairs, thus creating each short story as a small sōgō zasshi. This thesis also contributes to the study of Taishō’s new media because existing researches mostly focus on their interaction with younger writers and latest trends from the West. Kaizō’s close tie with Rohan indicates how older Japanese culture from the Meiji and Tokugawa Periods was also converted to cultural commodity in the Taishō (1912-1926) and early Shōwa (1926-1945) periods.
Issue Date:2020-07-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Tsutomu Nagata
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-10-07
Date Deposited:2020-08

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