Modern Japanese Writers Encounter The West: the Impact of Experiences Abroad of Nagai Kafū and Arishima Takeo.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis examines two Japanese authors, Nagai Kafū (1879-1959) and Arishima Takeo (1878-1923), and their experiences in the West. Through a comparative approach it will be shown that on the one hand they share a remarkable number of similarities, but that on the other hand they also have significant differences, such as regarding personality. An overview of Japan’s early contact with the West and the impact this contact had on society and literature is provided to establish the historical setting. The attitude of the authors towards the West, their experiences in the United States and various locations throughout Europe, as well as the impact their experiences had on them, are then discussed.
The thesis also includes my English translation of Nagai Kafū’s piece “Pari no Wakare” (Adieu Paris), the final chapter from his collection titled Furansu no Monogatari (Tales of France, 1909). This is a very important illustration of the passionate nature of his feelings about Paris and France in general but, surprisingly, has hitherto only been available in Japanese.