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The space of childhood memories: Hasegawa Shigure and Old Nihonbashi


Hartley, Barbara, The space of childhood memories: Hasegawa Shigure and Old Nihonbashi, Japan Forum, 25, (3) pp. 314-330. ISSN 0955-5803 (2013) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2013 BAJS

DOI: doi:10.1080/09555803.2013.804109


Recognised as the founder and principal moving force behind Nyonin geijutsu (Women's arts), Hasegawa Shigure expended enormous energy coordinating the activities of the women associated with this magazine coterie. Shigure's own contribution to the journal included commentary essays, editorial notes and at least one dramatic work. Her most enduring Nyonin geijutsu textual product, however, was a series of zuihitsu, an essay form that literally translates as miscellaneous brushstrokes, each with the principal title, ‘Nihonbashi’. The first of these essays was published on 1 April 1929 while the remainder featured intermittently over the four years or so of the life of the journal. In this article, I focus on Shigure's representation of the topos of old Nihonbashi in the early essays of the set. Particular attention will be given to the work that commences the collection, ‘Machi no kōsei’ (The structure of the town), and to three other early pieces, ‘Sobaya no Rikyū’ (Rikyū of the soba shop), ‘Gensen shōgakkō’ (Gensen Primary School) and ‘Daimaru no gofukuten’ (Daimaru kimono store). Through a close reading of excerpts of these texts, I will argue that Shigure uses the old Nihonbashi zuihitsu to create a series of childhood memory maps that exercise an evocative and consolatory power similar to the work of more recognised writers of memory both inside and outside Japan. I will further draw on the ideas of Gilles Deleuze and Julia Kristeva to argue for a place for Shigure in the modern Japanese canon.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Cultural studies
Research Field:Asian cultural studies
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture
UTAS Author:Hartley, Barbara (Dr Barbara Hartley)
ID Code:80662
Year Published:2013
Deposited By:School of Humanities
Deposited On:2012-11-07
Last Modified:2017-11-14

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