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Time, Death and the Empire: Natsume Sõseki's Omoidasu koto nado (Remembrances)


Flutsch, M, Time, Death and the Empire: Natsume Soseki's Omoidasu koto nado (Remembrances), Japanese Studies, 23, (3) pp. 239-251. ISSN 1037-1397 (2003) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1080/1037139032000156324


This article enters the current debate about So¯seki's attitude towards the Japanese government's imperialistic project through a new reading of his autobiographical piece Omoidasu koto nado (1910â€"1911). Julia Adeney Thomas's work on the transformations of the conceptions of nature, the body, and society in Japan from late Meiji to early Showa is applied to So¯seki's treatment of these subjects. It is evident from the powerful depictions of So¯seki's personal experience of a life-threatening illness that he finds the three major ‘configurations’ of nature in late Meiji identified by Thomas incompatible with the realities of his experience. Omoidasu koto nado pleads with the politically influential elite to whom it is addressed for a recognition of the centrality of human consciousness, personal experience and memory in the human condition. The absence of any reference to these basic features of the human being, particularly in the new ideologies whose meta-narratives scorned the personal, made them anti-human and cruel. I contend that given the socio-political context and its readership, Omoidasu koto nado is primarily an expression of So¯seki's deep apprehension of, and antagonism towards, the emerging fascism of officialdom in Japan. © 2003, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Literary studies
Research Field:Literature in Japanese
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Communication
Objective Field:Literature
UTAS Author:Flutsch, M (Dr Maria Flutsch)
ID Code:26970
Year Published:2003
Deposited By:Asian Languages and Studies
Deposited On:2003-08-01
Last Modified:2004-06-16

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