Modernism and Japanese culture /

"Offering an in-depth and comprehensive account of the complex history of Japanese modernism, in this book Roy Starrs considers the concept of modernism as encompassing not just the aesthetic avant-garde but a wide spectrum of social, political and cultural phenomena. He looks at Japanese moder...

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Main Author: Starrs, Roy, 1946-
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Houndmills, Basingstoke ; New York, NY : Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
Series: Modernism and--
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Review by Choice Review

Japan's frenzied push for modernization in the mid- to late-19th century has been well documented, but this very readable volume by Starrs (Univ. of Otago, New Zealand) brings the story of the country's ambivalent relationship with Westernization and the attendant beliefs of individualism and nationalism through to the present day. Readers witness the rise of modern Western thought in the late 19th century with Fukuzawa Yukichi and the "anxiety of influence," then journey to the less well-documented Fascist turn in the early 20th century. Finally, the closing chapters of this thought-provoking volume explore the "rival modernisms" of Japan's own "postmodern turn" with contemporary figures such as Haruki Murakami and Takashi Murakami. Despite the impressive reach of this work, however, there is one caveat. Although offered under the title Modernism and Japanese Culture, a far more appropriate name would have been "Modernism and Japanese Literature." This is not to say that the author ignores other aspects of culture, such as art and film, but the overwhelming focus is on the written word, specifically prose fiction. Still, this is a lively and informative read. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. T. S. Munson Randolph-Macon College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.