About

Twitter

Facebook

CUP Web site

RSS Feed

New Books

Author Interviews

Author Events

Keep track of new CUP book releases:
e-newsletters

For media inquiries, please contact our
publicity department

CUP Authors Blogs and Sites

American Society of Magazine Editors

Leonard Cassuto

Mike Chasar / Poetry and Popular Culture

Erica Chenoweth / "Rational Insurgent"

Juan Cole

Jenny Davidson / "Light Reading"

Faisal Devji

William Duggan

James Fleming / Atmosphere: Air, Weather, and Climate History Blog

David Harvey

Paul Harvey / "Religion in American History"

Bruce Hoffman

Alexander Huang

David K. Hurst / The New Ecology of Leadership

Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh

Geoffrey Kabat / "Hyping Health Risks"

Grzegorz W. Kolodko / "Truth, Errors, and Lies"

Jerelle Kraus

Julia Kristeva

Michael LaSala / Gay and Lesbian Well-Being (Psychology Today)

David Leibow / The College Shrink

Marc Lynch / "Abu Aardvark"

S. J. Marshall

Michael Mauboussin

Noelle McAfee

The Measure of America

Philip Napoli / Audience Evolution

Paul Offit

Frederick Douglass Opie / Food as a Lens

Jeffrey Perry

Mari Ruti / The Juicy Bits

Marian Ronan

Michael Sledge

Jacqueline Stevens / States without Nations

Ted Striphas / The Late Age of Print

Charles Strozier / 9/11 after Ten Years

Hervé This

Alan Wallace

James Igoe Walsh / Back Channels

Xiaoming Wang

Santiago Zabala

Press Blogs

AAUP

University of Akron

University of Alberta

American Management Association

Baylor University

Beacon Broadside

University of California

Cambridge University Press

University of Chicago

Cork University

Duke University

University of Florida

Fordham University Press

Georgetown University

University of Georgia

Harvard University

Harvard Educational Publishing Group

University of Hawaii

Hyperbole Books

University of Illinois

Island Press

Indiana University

Johns Hopkins University

University of Kentucky

Louisiana State University

McGill-Queens University Press

Mercer University

University of Michigan

University of Minnesota

Minnesota Historical Society

University of Mississippi

University of Missouri

MIT

University of Nebraska

University Press of New England

University of North Carolina

University Press of North Georgia

NYU / From the Square

University of Oklahoma

Oregon State University

University of Ottawa

Oxford University

Penn State University

University of Pennsylvania

Princeton University

Stanford University

University of Sydney

University of Syracuse

Temple University

University of Texas

Texas A&M University

University of Toronto

University of Virginia

Wilfrid Laurier University

Yale University

Archive for the 'Japan' Category

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Excerpt from Natsume Soseki’s Light and Dark, Part II

Light and Dark

This week our featured book is Light and Dark: A Novel by Natsume Sōseki, translated with an introduction by John Nathan. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book, its author, and its translator on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. Today, we have an excerpt of short chapters ten through fifteen of Light and Dark. Read chapters one through nine here.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Light and Dark!

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Natsume Soseki: The Merits and Flaws of -isms

Light and Dark

This week our featured book is Light and Dark: A Novel by Natsume Sōseki, translated with an introduction by John Nathan. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book, its author, and its translator on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. Today, we have an excerpt from our earlier Sōseki publication, the nonfiction collection The Theory of Literature. In this essay, Sōseki addresses the use of “-isms” in literature and literary theory.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Light and Dark!

The Merits and Flaws of -isms
Natsume Sōseki

This brief essay, first published in the Asahi newspaper on July 23, 1910, constitutes one of Sōseki’s most direct responses to the literary theories of the Naturalist (shizenshugi) school of fiction, which held sway in Japanese literary circles at the time. While Naturalists advocated a confessional literature that sought to represent even the ugliest truths about human existence, Sōseki here advocates a more fluid view of literary value.

Generally what we call -isms or doctrines refer to something that a man of meticulous character has conjured up by sorting through an infinite number of facts, thereby making it easier for us to abstract them and store them neatly in the drawers of our minds. Because they are tightly bound and nicely tucked away, it is rather tedious to take them apart and tiresome to pull them out; as such, they often prove useless when needed. In this respect, most -isms are unlike the compass chariots that provide direct guidance in our daily lives and instead are mere filing cabinets created to satisfy our intellectual curiosity. They are not so much a composition as an index to one.

Simultaneously, many -isms take shape when a number of arbitrary yet similar examples are filtered through a relatively sophisticated mind and are further condensed by it. It isn’t exactly a form but more like the contours of one. It has no substance. We preserve only the contours of things and discard their substance for the same reason we carry paper money instead of coins—it is convenient for small human beings. (more…)

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

John Nathan’s Introduction to Light and Dark

Light and Dark

This week our featured book is Light and Dark: A Novel by Natsume Sōseki, translated with an introduction by John Nathan. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book, its author, and its translator on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. John Nathan is an internationally renowned translator and schoalar who has brought the novels of Yukio Mishima and Kenzaburo Oe to English-speaking audiences. Today, we provide his Introduction to Light and Dark, in which he puts the novel into historical and literary context.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Light and Dark!

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Excerpt from Natsume Sōseki’s Light and Dark

Light and Dark

This week our featured book is Light and Dark: A Novel by Natsume Sōseki, translated with an introduction by John Nathan. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book, its author, and its translator on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. Today, we have an excerpt of the first nine short chapters of Soseki’s novel.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Light and Dark!

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Book Giveaway! Light and Dark: A Novel, by Natsume Sōseki

Light and Dark

This week our featured book is Light and Dark: A Novel by Natsume Soseki, translated and with an introduction by John Nathan. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book, its author, and its translator on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

We are also offering a FREE copy of Light and Dark. To enter our Book Giveaway, simply fill out the form below with your name and preferred mailing address. We will randomly select one winner on December 13th at 1:00 pm. Good luck, and spread the word!

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Interview with Michael Emmerich, author of The Tale of Genji: Translation, Canonization, and World Literature

The following is an interview with Michael Emmerich, author of The Tale of Genji: Translation, Canonization, and World Literature. In the interview, Emmerich discusses, among other subjects, how The Tale of Genji became a classic of Japanese literature, how it changed reading habits, its place in world literature, and his first experience with the novel:

The Tale of Genji, Michael EmmerichQuestion: We tend to think of The Tale of Genji as a kind of immortal classic but in fact its history is more complicated. How did it become a national classic or emblematic of Japanese culture and literature?

Michael Emmerich: Genji was written in the early eleventh century, so of course the story of how it achieved its present status as one of the preeminent classics of both national and world literature is very long—a millennium long, in fact—and very complex. I argue that while Genji came to be regarded as a “treasure” very early on at an elite level, ordinary readers had little or no interest in the tale until surprisingly recently. The work that first managed to interest a truly popular readership in Genji—if only indirectly—was a sort of early modern graphic novel called A Fraudulent Murasaki’s Bumpkin Genji that was published over the course of thirteen years, from 1829 to 1842. The way I see it, Bumpkin Genji was crucial because it inspired for the first time in a popular readership the desire to know more about Genji, and then offered itself up as an enjoyable means of satisfying that desire, without actually having to read Genji itself. In other words, Bumpkin Genji popularized the notion of the complete translation of Genji into vernacular Japanese. Then, almost exactly a century later, from 1939 to 1941, the novelist Tanizaki Jun’ichirō published a translation into the Japanese of his day that became a best-seller. That was when Genji really came to be re-canonized not just as a celebrated but unread “treasure,” but as a “national classic” in the sense of “a classic of the Japanese people”—as a work for which, and to which, Japan and its citizens were somehow responsible.

Q: What has been the role of The Tale of Genji in the popularization of Japanese literature in English?

ME: Scholars have long recognized the importance of Arthur Waley’s translation of the tale, The Tale of Genji, which was issues in six volumes from 1925 to 1933. Waley’s version was widely read, and was praised by reviewers from the time its first volume appeared as one of the great works of world literature. In my book, though, I explore the role an earlier partial translation that has now been largely forgotten played in making Genji known—though less as a literary classic than as a portrait of eleventh-century Japan, and as a work by a woman writer. This translation, published in England in 1882, was done by a young Japanese named Suematsu Kenchō. At the time, the publication of a work translated from Japanese was such a rarity that it was actually considered newsworthy, and the notion that women writers had played such a crucial role in creating what is now known as classical Japanese literature made its appearance even more sensational. It’s hard to say how much of an effect the attention Genji garnered, first in 1882, then in 1925, then in 1976 with the publication of Seidensticker’s translation, and again in 2001 when Royall Tyler’s appeared, has had in popularizing Japanese literature more broadly, but I do think it has helped give people an image of Japanese literature as something worth paying attention to.

Q: How has the reception of The Tale of the Genji changed over time?

ME: To tell the truth, I’m somewhat skeptical of the notion of “reception.” In the case of Genji, hardly anyone reads it in the original classical Japanese these days, and even fewer people read it in the form in which it was originally circulated—in calligraphic manuscript rather than typeset book. Instead, most people come into contact with Genji through what I call “replacements.” Translations are perhaps the paradigmatic form of replacement, but there are all kinds of other replacements, too: digests, guides, movies, manga, artworks, designs on kimono. So many people have created so many different kinds of replacements of the tale over the millennium since it first appeared that it would take a book even to begin to explore the trajectory they have followed—as it happens, Columbia University Press has published just such a book: Envisioning the Tale of Genji, edited by Haruo Shirane—but I think one might at least say that, over the centuries, the forms Genji’s replacements take have moved further and further away from the forms in which it was first circulated.

(more…)

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Samuel Moyn: Global Intellectual Life Past and Present

Global Intellectual History

This week our featured book is Global Intellectual History, edited by Samuel Moyn and Andrew Sartori. Today, we are cross-posting a short article by Samuel Moyn, originally published on Interdisciplines, which uses David Mitchell’s novel The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet as an interesting portrayal of global intellectual relationships.

Be sure to enter our book giveaway for Global Intellectual History!

Global Intellectual Life Past and Present
Samuel Moyn

Adam Smith in Nagasaki

In his bestselling recent novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, David Mitchell provides a vignette of global intellectual history, as he imagines it took place in the last years of the eighteenth century at Dejima, the manmade island in Nagasaki’s harbor, which was the sole contact point between Japan and “the West” for more than two hundred years.

In Mitchell’s portrait, however, the intended isolation of the country that Dejima is supposed to secure is not working perfectly. The novel begins with the title character’s success in smuggling in his Bible – which in spite of a wave of Japanese conversion long before is now banned. He has help in doing so, thanks to the connivance of a young Japanese translator, Ogawa, with whom he strikes up a nervous friendship.

When the two first meet, instead of calling de Zoet on his illegal smuggling, the Japanese translator asks him about another book in his chest, “book of Mr. … Adamu Sumissu.” Jacob de Zoet replies: “Adam Smith?” It turns out that he is carrying a Dutch translation of Smith’s 1776 Wealth of Nations, a copy of which Ogawa had borrowed from someone else four years ago. But he had had to return it to its owner in the midst of translating it. Now he has a new copy at hand, and can finish the job.

The presence of Smith at the outset of the novel seems right, for it reminds the reader of the history of capitalism that Smith portrayed, one of whose effects was the creation of new global relationships, such as those Mitchell imagines in his depiction of Dutch commerce.
(more…)

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Japan Embraces Donald Keene

“[W]hat is perhaps most remarkable about Dr. Keene is that Japan, a racially homogeneous nation that can be politely standoffish to non-Japanese, has embraced him with such warmth.”

Chronicles of My LifeDonald Keene began teaching Japanese literature at Columbia University in 1955. Over the course of the second half of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first, he has written and translated over thirty books (many with Columbia University Press), has been awarded the Japanese Order of Culture (the first Westerner to be given this prestigious honor), and was an instrumental figure in bringing the classics of Asian literature to the attention of Western academia. Already a beloved figure in Japan, Keene earned “status approaching that of folk hero,” according to Martin Fackler in a profile in the Saturday New York Times, when he applied for and gained Japanese citizenship in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident after last year’s earthquake and tsunami.

Fackler and Keene agree that the most important factor in Keene’s popularity in Japan is his genuine affection for that nation:

Dr. Keene has spent a lifetime shuttling between Japan and the United States. Taking Japanese citizenship seems a gesture that has finally bestowed upon him the one thing that eludes many Westerners who make their home and even lifelong friendships here: acceptance.

“When I first did it, I thought I’d get a flood of angry letters that ‘you are not of the Yamato race!’ but instead, they welcomed me,” said Dr. Keene, using an old name for Japan. “I think the Japanese can detect, without too much trouble, my love of Japan.”

That affection seemed especially welcome to a nation that even before last year’s triple disaster had seemed to lose confidence as it fell into a long social and economic malaise….

BUT what is perhaps most remarkable about Dr. Keene is that Japan, a racially homogeneous nation that can be politely standoffish to non-Japanese, has embraced him with such warmth. When he legally became a Japanese citizen this year, major newspapers ran photographs of him holding up a handwritten poster of his name, Kinu Donarudo, in Chinese characters. To commemorate the event, a candy company in rural Niigata announced plans to build a museum that will include an exact replica of Dr. Keene’s personal library and study from his home in New York.

He says he has been inundated by invitations to give public lectures, which are so popular that drawings are often held to see who can attend.

“I have not met a Japanese since then who has not thanked me. Except the Ministry of Justice,” he added with his typically understated humor, referring to the government office in charge of immigration.

(more…)

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

National Poetry Month: National Haiku Poetry Day

Far Beyond the Field

April is National Poetry Month, and yesterday, April 17, was National Haiku Poetry Day. In honor of the occasion, our selection today is taken from Far Beyond the Field: Haiku by Japanese Women, an innovative anthology of haiku by female poets, edited by Makoto Ueda. Ueda selected poems from twenty poets living between the 1600s and the 2000s. We have selected a few haiku from five of the poets featured in Far Beyond the Field for today’s post.
(more…)

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

National Poetry Month Selection: Kanshi of Ema Saiko

Breeze Through Bamboo

April is National Poetry Month, and over the next three weeks, we will be posting poems from our poetry titles and from those of our distributed presses. Our second selection is taken from Hiroaki Sato’s translation of the kanshi of Ema Saiko, Breeze Through Bamboo. Kanshi is a Japanese term that refers to poems written by in classical Chinese, and Ema Saiko was famous in her lifetime as one of the best female Japanese writers of kanshi. The four poems below are a set of four poems on the four seasons. Breeze Through Bamboo is part of Columbia University Press’s Translations from the Asian Classics series.
(more…)

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Chage & Aska “Say Yes” — More from Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon

In “Bubblegum Music in a Postbubble Economy,” the concluding chapter to Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon: A Geopolitical History of J-Pop, Michael Bourdaghs discusses the very popular Chage & Aska (C&A), whose 1991 single “Say Yes,” became a breakout hit.

Bourdaghs’s discussion focuses on the ways in which the song, reflected concern about shifting gender roles in Japan. Bourdaghs writes:

It is also hardly surprising that the lyrics reflect a celebration of heterosexual, romantic marriage. As the chorus insists, all will be right if you (the woman [kimi]) simply say yes to me (the man [boku]). But the persona of the singer is not entirely self-assured [and] betrays a touch of panic, of hysteria. The man is insisting that the woman say yes precisely because he is not certain that she will. The man tries to define for the woman her own thoughts, a paranoid stance that tries to preempt alternative and (from his perspective) undesirable responses to his proposal. The weakened stance of the male speaker can be read as another manifestation of the strategy of male feminization.

Here is a video for the song:

Later in the chapter, Bourdaghs continues his discussion of how the song reflected the political and geopolitical concerns of 1990s Japan:

(more…)

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Happy End — More from Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon

In the early 1970s, more Japanese rock bands started to sing in Japanese rather than English. One of the first groups to do this was the folk-rock group Happy End. Some might be familiar with the band from their song “Kaze Wo Atumete,” which was on the soundtrack for Lost in Translation. Below is a tribute video to the band, in which you can hear their song “Natsu Nandesu”:

In a discussion of the band from his book Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon: A Geopolitical History of J-Pop, Michael Bourdaghs discusses Happy End in the context of the politics of 1960s Japan and Japan’s struggle with its past. In this passage Bourdaghs discusses the debates and meanings surrounding Happy End’s choice to sing in Japanese:

The assertion by Happy End that rock could be sung successfully in Japanese challenged this common sense and provoked a sharp and sometimes negative response. Skeptics pointed out that the rock-in-Japanese position was self-contradictory. As one noted, “If you’re going to say, sing it in Japanese because we’re Japanese, then why don’t you just go the whole way and come out in favor of enka sung in naniwabushi style and reject rock? Neither rock in Japanese nor folk in Japanese can lay claim to any traditional lineage.”But Happy End sang in Japanese not to lay claim to an authentic tradition: the band explicitly denied that any authentic tradition was available to them. Rather, they chose to sing in a form that no reference to the past could authenticate, precisely so as to create a new authenticity in the present.

(more…)

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

“We’re The Spiders!” — More from “Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon”

“Made-in-Japan Beatles? I hate it when they call us that. We’re the Spiders!”—Tanabe Shochi on why The Spiders passed on opening for The Beatles

Michael Bourdaghs has a very informative and fun companion blog to his new book Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon: A Geopolitical Prehistory of J-Pop. (You can also follow him on Twitter). In a recent post, Bourdaghs discusses Kamayatsu Hiroshi a member of The Spiders, a sixties band that part of the Group Sounds movement in Japan.

In the post Bourdaghs posts a clip of a great Spider song, “Little Roby,” whose opening riff borrows from the Kinks’ “Set Me Free”:

(more…)

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Sakamoto Kyu’s “Sukiyaki”

In Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon: A Geopolitical Prehistory of J-Pop, Michael Bourdaghs discusses the aesthetic, cultural, and geopolitical implications of a range of musical styles that were popular in post-war Japan. Rockabilly first gained a wide audience in Japan in the late 50s due in large part to the popularity of Elvis Presley and Gene Vincent. Among Japanese musicians Sakamoto Kyu not only found a legion of fans in Japan but his single “Ue wo muite aruko” (1961) became an international hit under the title “Sukiyaki.” Below is a promotional video for the song:

(more…)

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Book Giveaway!: Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon: A Geopolitical Prehistory of J-Pop

This week our featured book is Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon: A Geopolitical Prehistory of J-Pop, by Michael Bourdaghs. (To browse the book.)

Throughout the week we will highlight aspects of the book and we are also offering a FREE copy of the book to one winner.

To enter our book giveaway, simply e-mail pl2164@columbia.edu with your name and address (U.S. and Canadian mailing addresses only, unfortunately). We will randomly select one winner on Friday at 1:00 pm. Good luck and spread the word!

Praise for Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon: A Geopolitical Prehistory of J-Pop:

“Michael K. Bourdaghs’s compellingly readable Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon imaginatively conceives an original account of how Japan, in the postwar and Cold War years, broke with a historical narrative centered on the United States military occupation and Japan’s subsequent confinement within the American imperium to enter the actual world.” — Harry Harootunian, Duke University, author of Overcome by Modernity: History, Culture, and Community in Interwar Japan

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Donald Keene interviewed by Japan Times

Donald Keene’s recently published So Lovely a Country Will Never Perish: Wartime Diaries of Japanese Writers represents the latest in the scholar’s influential oeuvre in Japanese literature and culture.

In the book, Keene weaves archival materials together with personal reflections and the intimate accounts from writers’ diaries to produce an entirely original portrait of Japanese wartime attitudes. Writers included in the book include Nagai Kafu, Takami Jun, Ito Sei, Hirabayashi Taiko, Yamada Futaro, and the scholar Watanabe Kazuo.

Last Fall, the Japan Times taped an interview with Donald Keene on a variety of issues. Here are some excerpts, the first of which is his response to a question about his first impressions of Japan:

(more…)