This afternoon in Ithaca they held a memorial service for Kyoko Iriye Selden. Unfortunately, my responsibilities here in Chicago kept me from attending. I had the privilege of studying with Selden-sensei when I was a graduate student at Cornell. She was a great teacher, scholar, and translator. More than that, she was a warm, graceful, witty human being. I have been thinking of her often since the sad news of her passing away this past January.
I remember her fourth-year Japanese class, a literature seminar disguised as a language class. I took it my first year at Cornell. In one of the stories we read that year, I came across the following phrase: 「魑魅魍魎」. In my arrogance, I didn’t bother looking it up in a dictionary. Given the repeated use of the oni radical in all four characters, it obviously meant some kind of demon or ogre. I figured that was good enough for my purposes.
In class Selden-sensei happened to ask me to read aloud the passage containing those four characters. When I got to that phrase, I had to ask her the pronunciation: chimi mouryou. She told me it meant the evil spirits found in mountains and rivers, and then she asked me if I had had trouble finding it in the dictionary. I confessed that I hadn’t even tried: the phrase seemed too obscure to be worth the bother. After all, what were the odds that I would ever encounter it again?
The next class meeting Selden-sensei asked me to write chimi mouryou on the blackboard. Of course, I couldn’t. She sighed for effect. Then she handed me a photocopy of a page from another short story and asked me to read it. Lo and behold, there it was: 「魑魅魍魎」. And then she handed me a photocopy of a page from another story and told me to read it. 「魑魅魍魎」 again. And then another, and then another. Finally, with a playful grin, she said, “I’m just trying to show you how utterly common chimi mouryou is.”
I went home that evening and spent half an hour practicing writing out those four characters: 「魑魅魍魎」. I was prepared for her the next class meeting. But she never mentioned it again.
One of my homework projects for that class was a translation of Higuchi Ichiyo’s 1895 short story, “Kono Ko” (This Child). Selden-sensei as always read through my draft with remarkable care, correcting not only the Japanese but also the English style, making subtle suggestions for how to render the figurative language with more precision. Her attention to detail transcended the realm of scholarly precision; it became an ethical question. She was teaching by example about the responsibilities of being a scholar and a teacher.
Nearly twenty years later, she contacted me to ask if she could include that translation in the volume More Stories by Japanese Women Writers that she was co-editing with Mizuta Noriko. I couldn’t believe that she remembered my homework assignment after all those years. Then again, I knew that she had always treated with serious attention even the assignments of a first-year graduate student too lazy and conceited to look up vocabulary items. That was the kind of teacher she was; that was the kind of person she was.
Apologies for the dearth of posts recently: it’s been a busy couple of months. The coming weeks and months promise to be just as busy, with many exciting Japan-related events on the horizon here at the University of Chicago. If you’re in the area, please consider joining us for some of the following events:
March 11: William Marotti (Associate Professor, History, UCLA) will be giving a public lecture on “Perceiving Politics: Art, Protest, and Everyday Life in Early 1960s Japan” (5:00 p.m., Wieboldt 408). He’ll discuss his new book, Money, Trains, and Guillotines: Art and Revolution in 1960s Japan (Duke University Press, 2013).
March 15-16: Remediations II: A Japan Anthro Workshop. Michael Fisch has organized this exciting event, featuring presentations by a number of up-and-coming Japan scholars. I’ll be a discussant for Panel 2: “Rethinking the War Machine: Remediations of Violence.”
April 22: 2013 Najita Distinguished Lecture in Japanese Studies with Ueno Chizuko(5:00 p.m., International House). A public lecture by the respected sociologist and influential feminist critic, one of Japan’s leading public intellectuals.
April 25-26: “The Cold War in East Asia,” a conference organized by our graduate students featuring a number of guest speakers. I’ll participate as a respondent for one of the panels.
May 10-11: “The Russian Kurosawa,” an innovative event organized by Olga Solovieva that brings together specialists in Russian literature, Japanese film, and other disciplines to reconsider Kurosawa Akira’s film adaptations of Russian literary works. The event will include free screenings of several of Kurosawa’s films.
Spring quarter will also see screenings and events surrounding the films produced and distributed by Art Theater Guild, the primary force in independent Japanese cinema during the 1970s and 80s.
October 18-20: The Association for Japanese Literary Studies Annual Meeting: Performance and Japanese Literature. The call for papers and other information are available here.
I recently finished reading Bob Mould’s See A Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody. Most of the reviews I read praised the book, but complained that it focused too little on Mould’s days as leader of the seminal hardcore band Hüsker Dü and too much on his recent activities, especially his description of growing into the identity, social and sexual, of a mature gay man.
My own response was the opposite. I appreciated the chapters on Hüsker Dü–especially since they allowed me to relive a part of my youth. I never became a huge Hüsker Dü fan, but I was a year behind Mould at Macalester College, lived in the same dorm and even had one class with him (“Introduction to Sociology,” about which I remember nothing else). I remember in particular one fiery early performance by the band at a kegger in the basement of Doty dorm. I shared many of the places Mould writes about (Cheapo’s Records, Northern Lights, Ron’s Randolph Inn, Seventh Street Entry, etc.) and I knew a number of the people that show up in his story. Reading the book was a nostalgic experience, and of course it got me digging out my copies of “Flip Your Wig” and “Warehouse.”
But it was the later chapters that really fascinated me. In part the appeal came from the sympathetic insider’s account of a scene that I don’t know: Mould helped me get a feel for what everyday life is like in a different corner of the universe. Even more than that, though, I was struck by his description of what it means to grow up, to take on and live out fully the identity that one has pieced together. The book is a real anomaly: a thoughtful, fearless account of what it means for a rocker to become a middle-aged adult. We’re not all rock stars, but we all grow old, and Mould writes well about how to do that with grace, joy, and intelligence.
I am sorry, however, that he left out my favorite Hüsker Dü story. There was a thriving underground music scene in the Twin Cities circa 1982-3, and it was starting to get mainstream media attention. Local television reporters, after getting their vaccinations updated and donning protective gear, would pay hesitant visits to the subculture and report back in half-curious, half-terrified fashion about what was happening. So the mass audience learned that something was going on in the clubs of downtown Minneapolis, but the knowledge came with real anxiety. Did we have punks in Minnesota? Would they act rude and say bad words? Were they like us?
At the time WCCO-AM radio was the most mainstream of mainstream media. One of the old clear-channel stations allowed to broadcast at 50,000 watts, it dominated the airwaves. WCCO utterly owned the local radio audience ratings–at its peak, it had twice the listeners of its nearest competitor. If you grew up in Minnesota in the 1960s and 70s, like me, you can probably still remember all of the announcers, the farm reports, the Boone and Erickson comedy routines, etc. (A nice sample of air checks is available here).
WCCO’s position had begun to slip by the early 1980s, but it was still a powerhouse. One day in 1985 a WCCO deejay risked playing the latest record from the celebrated local punk band, Hüsker Dü. It was on one of the station’s afternoon shows aimed at housewives, as I recall, and the record the deejay chose to play was the cover version of “Love is All Around,” the opening theme song from the old “Mary Tyler Moore Show.” The station’s phone bank lit up: calls flooded in from around the state. People absolutely loved the record. Hüsker Dü might be punk, but by taking up the theme song from the beloved “Mary Tyler Moore Show” (set in Minneapolis and a source of immense pride for WCCO’s audience), the band showed they were part of “us.” The cover was an affectionate joke, and WCCO’s audience got it. The station ended up having to play the record over and over again during the following weeks. All over Minnesota, housewives and their preschool offspring got their first exposure to hardcore punk, all thanks to “The Good Neighbor” (the station’s promotional slogan), WCCO-AM.
For Christmas I gave Satoko two tickets to the January 3 opening night of Buddy Guy’s annual homestand at his club, Buddy Guy’s Legends, here in Chicago. It was as much a present for myself as for her, of course–assuming she let me use the second ticket. Which she did.
The last time I saw Guy play live was back in the early 1980s. He and Junior Wells did a gig at Macalester College when I was an undergraduate. Macalester used to regularly bring in Chicago blues acts for its weekend dances: I remember seeing James Cotton, Luther Allison, Koko Taylor, and Albert Collins, among others. In addition, a number of local bars in the Twin Cities used to bring in big names–Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon…. Growing up in Minnesota in the 1970s and 80s, it was easy to get an education in blues music from the masters of the form.
Buddy Guy may be 76 years old, but he performs with the energy and speed of someone half his age. Resplendent in a bright red suit, he played some wicked, lightening-fast runs that reminded us of how much Jimi Hendrix copped from him. But he also did a nice acoustic set, and the evening provided a kind of history of R&B music, with tributes to Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, John Lee Hooker, Albert King and others. Many of Guy’s family and friends were in the house, and at various points in the evening he brought up two daughters and one son to share the stage with him.
The club was packed. Guy did all of his patented shtick, too, playing the guitar behind his back and with a drumstick, leaving the stage to walk to length of the barroom and even outside onto the street, tossing guitar picks to fans. He told stories and jokes, made funny faces, and flirted. Sometimes, his showmanship gets in the way of his performance, but last night his musical chops–both his guitar playing and his singing–were the focus. He played loud, he played quiet; he played fast, he played slow. Highlights included “74 Years Young,” “She’s Nineteen Years Old,” “Hoochie Koochie Man,” “Someone Else Is Steppin’ In (Slippin’ Out, Slippin’ In)” (the latter became an audience sing-along), “Damn Right I Got the Blues,” and a moving version of “Feels Like Rain.” He closed with a lovely rendition of his recent song, “Skin Deep.”
When he left the stage at the end of the set he walked right past us on his way to the merchandise counter. Both Satoko and I shook his hand. My 51-year-old ankles and knees were sore from standing all night, but the 76-year-old legend had been on his feet all night, too, and he looked like he could keep going for a few more hours.
It was well past midnight when we hailed a taxi and headed for home. What a nice way to begin the year.
July brought many exciting developments. I was promoted to full Professor and became chair of my department at the University of Chicago. The Japanese translation of Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon came out from Byakuya Shobo. At around the same time, the discovery I helped make of some previously unknown 1950 Sacramento concert recordings by Misora Hibari, Kasagi Shizuko, Yamaguchi Yoshiko and many other Japanese singing stars became big news in Japan. I was apparently a featured item on television “wide shows” for a couple of days; I’m told that at least one of the shows introduced me with a photograph that was not actually of me. The Japanese edition of the book was well received, too; dozens of newspapers and magazines ran favorable reviews.
The whole family flew to Tokyo in late July. I spent a couple of days doing press interviews at my publishers’ offices in Takadanobaba. On July 29, Satoko and I were able to participate in one of the largest anti-nuclear demonstrations of the year, a march that started from Hibiya Park and ended up surrounding the Diet building. We celebrated the children’s birthdays up in Sendai with Satoko’s parents. With the help of a reporter from the Kyodo Tsushin wire service, I was able to get a copy of the 1950 wire recording of her Sacramento concert to 92-year-old Yamaguchi Yoshiko, who gave an interview about how delighted she was to hear it. As a result, once again I showed up in newspapers across Japan.
We returned to Chicago in early August. I recorded a segment for public radio’s “To the Best of Our Knowledge,” which was broadcast nationally later in the month (you can listen online here). We brought the whole family to a terrific play,”The Death of Harry Houdini,” at the House Theater. We ran up to Minnesota again to celebrate what would have been my father’s 75th birthday on August 15, and while there I saw another ballgame at Target Field. I also got to see one of my old favorite local bands, the Flamin’ Oh’s, play a show at Mears Park in downtown St. Paul. Back in Chicago at the end of the month, we attended the opening night “Tribute to Ella” with Dee Alexander, Frieda Lee, and Spider Saloff at the Chicago Jazz Festival. I returned again on the last day of the festival to catch stellar sets by the Steve Coleman Group and Pierre Dørge And The New Jungle Orchestra–two more favorite musical discoveries of the year.
In September things started gearing up in my new role as department chair, but on a stormy night we saw Bruce Springsteen give a fine concert up at Wrigley Field, and when the Twins swung through town early in the month I ran over to New Comiskey Park to take in a game. Late in the month I filled my car with grad students and drove to Kalamazoo for the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs meeting at Western Michigan University.
Classes started in October. I taught two seminars this past fall–one on Japanese literary discourses of “furusato” (hometown), the other on Japanese cultures of the Cold War. As usual, I learned a great deal from the students in both. Extracurricular activities slowed down as I resumed full-time teaching, of course, but I still managed to get out now and then. In early October, I saw a nice set by guitarist Wayne Krantz at Martyr’s and later in the month caught an intriguing performance by shamisen composer Kimura Shunsuke. In October, I attended the Association for Japanese Literary Studies meeting at Ohio State, reconnecting with many old friends and meeting some new ones. I also enjoyed the opportunity to make a presentation about the 1950 wire recordings at the annual Humanities Day celebration here on campus in Hyde Park.
We had a quiet Thanksgiving at home, with me preparing the turkey as usual. In December, we enjoyed a show by Leo Kottke up at SPACE in Evanston, as well as a terrific performance of Barber’s Violin Concerto and Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony by the CSO. I made another trip to Los Angeles to give a talk at UCLA and to film an interview about the 1950 wire recording of Misora Hibari for a television special which was broadcast in Japan on the BS-TBS network on December 7. We spent Christmas with family in Minnesota, quiet and relaxing. On Boxing Day, we went ice skating with a big group of my cousins and their children.
Later today we’ll bring our 2012 cultural calendar to a close by attending the acclaimed production of “Annie” at the Paramount Theater in Illinois: the last few years, our family has made a tradition of attending a musical in the week between Christmas and New Years. We also have tickets to see the opening night of Buddy Guy’s annual stand at his own blues club downtown later this week, and we’re off to Second City a few days after that for some comedy.
It really has been a blessed year for us: writing this up has helped remind me how lucky I am. I’m surrounded by a supportive family, wonderful friends and colleagues, students who keep me on my toes, and a city that bustles with creativity and energy. As usual, I have compiled a long list of New Years’ resolutions, but I won’t bore you with those. Suffice it to say that I am looking forward to 2013.
Let me end by wishing you joy, peace, and health in 2013. Thanks for stopping by.
I have several projects with looming year-end deadlines. I really should be working on those this morning. Which, of course, makes this an excellent time to devote instead to an update here. 2012 is fast winding down. What kind of year was it?
A fine and memorable one, thank you. Not without its bumps and bruises, of course, but those just help remind me that I’m alive. I end the year feeling gratitude and hope.
The first half of 2012 found me on sabbatical. In early January, I flew to Seattle for the MLA convention. I saw old friends, sat in on some good panels, caught the film “The Descendants” in a cinema across from the hotel–and accepted the Scaglione Prize for the translation I co-edited of Natsume Soseki’s Theory of Literature and Other Critical Writings. Later that month, I flew up to Ann Arbor to participate in a faculty workshop, and a week later I presented a talk at another faculty seminar at Northwestern University. The month ended with Satoko and I enjoying a performance by Westside blues legend Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater at SPACE, the little-club-that-could up in Evanston.
In February, we caught Ricardo Muti conducting the CSO in Franck’s Symphony in D minor and then, a few days later, I attended the University of Chicago Folk Festival, featuring Billy Boy Arnold. The most exciting event of the month: my book, Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon: A Geopolitical Prehistory of J-Pop, came out from Columbia University Press. I heard many nice things about it from people–to the point that I started to worry that it must not be very good. If something you write doesn’t piss anyone off, how interesting can it be? But later I heard through the grapevine that a number of senior scholars in my field hated it. I felt reassured. In late February DePaul University hosted a fun workshop based on the book for Chicago public school teachers.
On the first day of March we watched Pierre Boulez lead the CSO in a wonderful performance of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. The next morning I was off to NYC for meetings. Then on March 10-11 I co-hosted a conference in honor of my colleague, Norma Field, who retired at the end of the 2011-12 academic year. “What March 11 Means to Me” brought together an amazing group of public intellectuals from Japan for personal and philosophical reflections on the first anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster: Amamiya Karin, Komori Yoichi, Ryusawa Takeshi, Takahashi Tetsuya, and Yokoyu Sonoko. The following week, I traveled to Toronto for the AAS annual meeting, where I chaired a roundtable discussion on the 1950 wire recordings of Japanese performers in concert in Sacramento (more on those anon).
In April, I was back in NYC for a lecture at Columbia University. While there, I saw the acclaimed revival of “Death of a Salesman” with Philip Seymour Hoffman and caught up with a few old friends. Back in Chicago, we attended a lively concert by Rodrigo y Gabriela and a fine performance by the Alvin Ailey dance company a few days later. Later in the month, I drove up to the Twin Cities to visit family and friends, catching a Twins game while there and a Beloit Snappers minor-league game on the drive home. During the month, I also finished up an article on Natsume Soseki’s conception of world literature, which appeared in the May/June issue of the Iwanami Shoten journal Bungaku.
On May Day I joined the protest march that started out from Union Park and made its way past the site of the Haymarket Massacre (the historical origin of May Day) before ending at a rally downtown. A few days later, we caught a live performance by one of my favorite musical discoveries of the year: Kids These Days. The group manages to combine rock, funk, jazz, and hip hop and make it all work; their debut album Traphouse Rock came out later in the year and was one of my favorite records of 2012.
Later in May I attended the Atomic Age II conference at Chicago. It featured a keynote address from Koide Hiroaki, one of the most important critics of Japan’s “nuclear village.” The next day, we joined a group to visit the nature preserve in the western suburbs where the remains of Chicago Piles 1 and 2 (the world’s first nuclear reactors) are buried. Later in the month we caught a surprise cameo appearance by Ray Davies at a public television benefit concert, and then I was off to Tokyo for a quick one-week visit. During that trip, I attended the May sumo tournament, met a number of scholars, visited libraries and bookstores, and stopped by an exhibit of photographs by Mike Nogami. After coming back to Chicago, I survived the NATO conference shut-down of the city, dragged the kids to the reunited Beach Boys concert at the Chicago Theater, and enjoyed a Millenium Park performance by Kelly Hogan (another key musical discovery of the year). We ended the month by catching Court Theater’s production of “Angels in America” with Larry Yando’s memorable turn as Ray Cohn.
As June began, I flew to Los Angeles to join in the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the UCLA Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies. It was lovely to catch up with old friends from UCLA, and while there I got to meet and chat briefly with one of my childhood heroes, Daniel Inouye (RIP, Senator Inouye). It turned out that he was one of the 442nd veterans involved in inviting Misora Hibari to Hawaii in 1950 for a charity concert–which led in turn to the 1950 Sacramento concert recordings. Another quick trip to Minnesota followed, and I was back home to catch the last day of the Chicago Blues Festival, including an uplifting headliner set by Mavis Staples. During June we also caught the CSO a couple times, including an eye-opening public rehearsal led by Ricardo Muti, and we visited the Roy Lichtenstein exhibit at the Art Institute. But the cultural highlight of the month was the acclaimed production of “The Iceman Cometh” at the Goodman Theater, with an ensemble cast so strong that the supposed stars, Brian Dennehy and Nathan Lane, mostly just blended into the scenery.
July is when things really got busy. I’ll write about the second half of the year tomorrow. In the meantime, I really should get hopping on those year-end projects….
(Recycling something originally posted here in 2009)
In 1967, Group Sounds superstars The Spiders recorded a song composed by their rhythm guitarist, Kamayatsu Hiroshi. Not much was expected of “Ban Ban Ban,” a crude three-chord rocker with throwaway lyrics and a riff supposedly lifted from a song by The Mindbenders. The tune was originally used as the B-side for a single and later included on the band’s fourth album. Here’s the original Spiders’ version, taken from one of their movies:
There was something about “Ban Ban Ban,” though, that made it stick in people’s minds: the rhythm, the catchy chorus, the sheer joy of it all. It’s become a J-rock classic now, one that every J-Rock band has to know, something akin to the status of “Wild Thing” or “Smoke on the Water” in the West.
Here are 1990s rockers Flying Kids performing the song on a drive through Tokyo. They get bonus points for digging up replicas of The Spiders’ old red doorman costumes:
And here are today’s fave-rave indie rockers Go!Go!7188 performing the song live.
Probably the most memorable cover of the song comes from “Monsieur” Kamayatsu himself. In early 1990, he was recording a new album in London. Word came down that all hell was breaking lose in Berlin, and so Kamayatsu headed over to Germany to see what was happening. The Wall had been breached, but not torn down yet, and there were still military patrols on both sides. Kamayatsu writes in his autobiography that he figured out that patrols walked by at two-minute intervals. Timing it carefully, he waited for one patrol to pass, then scrambled up to the top of the wall with acoustic guitar in hand. He dashed off an impromptu rendition of “Ban Ban Ban” for the assembled crowd, and luckily the moment was captured on video.
I think I’m the last human being on earth who actually cares about this. NHK yesterday announced the line-up for this year’s “Kohaku Uta Gassen,” its annual New Years Eve pop music spectacle. At first glance, the only thing that caught my eye was the fact that recently reunited J-Rock veterans Princess Princess were going to be making their debut appearance on the show. Beyond that, it was just a ho-hum list of the usual suspects. You can check out the whole roster here (Japanese-language).
But then press reports (e.g., here and here) started pointing out a conspicuous absence. In recent years, the bill has always included top K-Pop idols, but this year nary a single performer from across the Sea of Japan (or, depending on one’s geopolitical allegiances, the East Sea). NHK cites “public opinion” as the reason for this, referring obliquely to the flare-up earlier this year over the disputed Dokdo/Takeshima islands (see this report from the NY Times on the increasingly bitter row).
This carries on a news thread from earlier this year: the odd fact that Japan was the one place on earth where PSY’s Internet sensation “Gangnam Style,” now the single most watched video in YouTube history, failed to become a hit. According to news reports, South Korea was “irked” about this indifference. Ian Martin, writing in the Japan Times last month, speculates that this may be entirely to Japan’s credit:
But it’s Psy who is the first Korean artist that the West gathers to its collective heart, while Japan stands by nonplussed, and I have to wonder if a lot of the reason for “Gangnam Style” ‘s Western popularity still boils down to, “Hey, look at the funny little Asian man dancing!” (This was essentially the gist of a sketch on comedy show Saturday Night Live that parodied “Gangnam Style” on Sept. 15. Psy also made an appearance in that sketch.)
It’s an awkward area to go into; no one likes to think of themselves as prejudiced. However, even if you’re not, mass media still wields influence on what society collectively considers cool. So think for a moment: How many genuinely “cool” Asian celebrities are there in the West? I don’t mean subcultural or art-house cool, so scrub Cornelius and Tony Leung off your list. I’m talking about Asian stars in the Western mainstream whose image is something people aspire toward and seek to imitate.
What’s struck me most about the “Gangnam Style” phenomenon is its close resemblance to 1963 and Sakamoto Kyu’s accidental worldwide hit, “Sukiyaki.” As I argue in my book, Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon, that incident has to be understood within its specific historical context, including the massive 1960 protests in Tokyo against renewal of AMPO–the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty–and the Cold War strain of Orientalism that transformed Japan into an object of fetishistic desire. Not to mention the escalating Vietnam War, for which Japan and Okinawa would serve as major staging areas.
The current tensions recall to mind something that Karatani Kojin wrote about a couple of decades ago. We have to always keep in mind that historians someday will write that we were living in the pre-war era.
Apologies for the lack of updates these last two months. Not only have I returned to teaching from my sabbatical, I’ve also become department chair. Life is busy, in other words–but it keeps me off the streets.
This has come up rather suddenly, but I’ll be giving a talk at UCLA next week (Friday, November 16) on “Tokyo Boogie Woogie in California: The 1950 Sacramento Recordings in Japanese and Japanese-American Cultural History” (details available here). In the presentation, I’ll introduce the collection of 1950 concert recordings of Japanese musicians (Misora Hibari, Kawada Haruhisa, Yamaguchi Yoshiko, Watanabe Hamako, Kasagi Shizuko, among others) that I helped authenticate and that were in the news in Japan this past summer (see, for example, here and here). The man who discovered the recordings has now donated the entire collection to the UCLA library. While in Los Angeles, I’ll also be filming an interview for a television special about the recordings that will air later this year. I’ll post details about broadcast times when they become available.
I was also recently a guest on the NPR radio program “To the Best of our Knowledge,” talking about my book, Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon: A Geopolitical Prehistory of J-Pop. You can listen to or download my segment here. And don’t forget about the online companion for the book that I’ve put together: I’ve heard from a few people who are teaching the book this all that the webpage was very useful.
In the meanwhile, I am moving on to other scholarly projects: co-editing a two-volume series of new scholarly essays and translations related to early postwar Japanese literary criticism, finishing up a translation of Karatani Kojin’s magnum opus The Structure of World History (Sekaishi no kozo), and returning to a longstanding project that involves rethinking Natsume Soseki in relation to the problems of modern property regimes and world literature.
I’ll try to blog here a little more regularly in the coming months, too. It keeps me off the streets–the wild, wild streets.