On the wings of a bird: Folklore, nativism, and nostalgia in Meiji letters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

In the wake of Western colonial expansion in Asia, the Meiji government of Japan (1868-1912) began a massive push toward bunmei kaika (civilization and enlightenment). This campaign was not limited to the political sphere but extended into the cultural realm, resulting in growing public interest in all things Western. Despite this sea change in Japanese cultural orientation, however, there was a constant literary undercurrent of nativism and a recurrent interest in folk practices and oral traditions as well as in the Japanese countryside, rather than the developing cityscape. Focusing on the work of ethnographer Yanagita Kunio and his impact on the Meiji literary climate and particularly on the work of Izumi Kyōka, this article will suggest some of the ways in which Japanese authors in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries mined the folklore and rural customs of Japans past in order to express their fear, excitement, and ambivalence about life in the modern age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalAsian Folklore Studies
Volume65
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006

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nativism
nostalgia
folklore
Japan
public interest
ambivalence
civilization
twentieth century
campaign
climate
anxiety
Nostalgia
Meiji
Letters
Folklore
Nativism
Birds
Civilization
Cityscape
Climate

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

Cite this

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On the wings of a bird : Folklore, nativism, and nostalgia in Meiji letters. / Eubanks, Charlotte Diane.

In: Asian Folklore Studies, Vol. 65, No. 1, 2006, p. 1-20.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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