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date: 24 March 2018

U.S.-Japan Literary Interactions in the Transpacific Cultural History

Summary and Keywords

In 1853 Commodore Matthew Perry opened not only the doors of a “double-bolted land” as Herman Melville called Japan in Moby-Dick (1851) but also the possibilities of modern literature. While it is a half-Chinook, half-Scot American called Ranald McDonald who smuggled himself into Japan in 1848 and became the first teacher of English in the country, Gerald Vizenor, a distinguished Native American novelist, completed a postmodern novel Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57 (2003), remixing Moby-Dick with Matsuo Basho’s haiku travelogue Narrow Road to the Far North, Lafcadio Hearn a.k.a. Koizumi Yakumo’s Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, and Ranald MacDonald’s Japan: Story of Adventure. After the opening of Japan, Fukuzawa Yukichi (1834–1901), one of the founding fathers of modern Japan, visited Europe and the United States of America, and decided to Westernize his own country. Being the first translator of Thomas Jefferson’s composed “The Declaration of Independence,” Fukuzawa published a million-selling An Encouragement of Learning (a series of seventeen pamphlets published from 1872 to 1876), in which the author emphasized the significance of sciences and the spirit of independence in the way comparable to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” (1837) and “The American Scholar” (1841).

While Professor Thomas Sergeant Perry, a great nephew of Commodore Perry, started teaching American literature in 1898 at Keio University, which Fukuzawa established, Yone Noguchi (Noguchi Yonejiro, 1875–1947), a great admirer of Edgar Allan Poe and Matsuo Basho, became famous as a cosmopolitan poet in the United States, receiving good reviews for the first collection of poems all written in English, Seen and Unseen (1896). It is highly plausible that his correspondence with Ezra Pound provided the latter with a key to promoting the poetics of imagism. Following the example of Noguchi, Nishiwaki Junzaburo (1894–1982), another cosmopolitan poet famous for the translation of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, studied English literature and philology at Oxford University and published in 1925 the first volume of poetry Spectrum in London. Thus, Ezra Pound, who once admired Yone Noguchi in the 1910s, came to recommend Nishiwaki as the finalist for the Nobel Literary Prize in 1957.

The year 1955 saw the first postwar climax of transpacific literary history. William Faulkner, a major American modernist and recent laureate of Nobel Prize in Literature, paid his first visit to Japan in the summer of 1955, giving a series of seminars in Nagano. Speculating on Japanese culture, he gave an insight into the literary affinity between Japan and the American South in an open letter entitled “To the Youth of Japan.” American as he is, Faulkner shares the memory of lost war with the postwar Japanese, for he came from Mississippi, part of the Deep South, the very defeated nation in the Civil War. Without this memory of lost war, Faulkner could not have developed his apocryphal imagination. Therefore, it is very natural that Faulkner’s visit to Japan invited quite a few major Japanese authors to develop their own apocryphal imagination, ending up with major works published in 1973, the year of Oil Shock, all inspired by Faulkner’s double novel The Wild Palms (1939): Endo Shusaku’s Catholic novel Upon the Dead Sea, Oe Kenzaburo’s nuclear novel The Flood Invades My Soul, and Komatsu Sakyo’s science fiction novel Japan Sinks. Noting that the year of 1973 also saw the publication of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, we could well locate here the genesis of transpacific postmodern literature in the 21st century.

Keywords: transnational American studies, Monroe Doctrine, hemispheric imagination, planetarity, global diaspora, cyberpunk, creative defeat

A Transpacific Perspective: Melville, MacDonald, John Man

History has never been independent of the present moment you inhabit. For example, those living in the second decade of the 21st century might imagine that in the future the first decade of the 21st century will be remembered as the period roughly between the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City and the multiple disasters that struck northeastern Japan on 3/11. Both events, although initially limited to a national locale, had global significance. While the term “globalism” itself had been already familiar in the last century, the concept became embodied and even palpable during the first decade of the new century.

This first decade of the 21st century also gave rise to various reconfigurations of transnational American studies. Transcending the limit of “trans-national America” proposed by Randolph Bourne in 1916, a number of scholar-critics, especially in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Iraq War, started reconfiguring the discourse of globalism by introducing ideas such as “planetarity,” “hemispheric imagination,” “deep time,” “transpacific imagination,” and (echoing Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari) “deterritorialization.”1 Taking into account the 19th-century rise of the Monroe Doctrine, whose post-Jeffersonian hemispheric imagination led to the 21st-century imperative of the Bush Doctrine in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks,2 consider the paradoxical way post-Revolutionary America came to champion the cause of post-colonialism as a discourse of crypto-imperialism. It is ironic that starting with the liberal idea of post-colonialism, the first playground of Democracy in world history ended up with old-fashioned colonialism as another form of imperialism.3 While we are always already restricted by the times and places we are inhabiting now, it is also the present moment that invites us to reconsider the origins of national history and even rewind the interactions and transactions between American and Japanese literature.

The historical moment that first made possible the United States–Japan interactions occurred in 1853, when Commodore Mathew Perry’s black ships came to open Japan that had closed its door to foreigners since 1639, although trade with the Dutch and Chinese was still possible. Then, how did Japan come to compromise with the United States? At this point, let us recall that 1853 coincided with the heyday of Manifest Destiny, which saw one of the greatest books of the American literary canon, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (1851), which could not have been composed without the transnational consciousness. Published a couple of years before Commodore Matthew Perry’s negotiations with a Far East archipelago in 1853, this novel reveals the near future of American expansionism: “If that double-bolted land, Japan, is ever to become hospitable, Japan, it is the whale-ship alone to whom the credit will be due; for already she is on the threshold.”4 Certainly, in the mid-19th century, Japan was what Melville designated a “double-bolted land,” for premodern Japan prohibited any foreigner from entering the country and sentenced to death anyone who wanted to leave the country. However, it is also true that a half-Chinook, half-Scot American called Ranald McDonald (1824–1894) became the first English teacher in Japan by entering in 1848 the city of Matsumae, Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, on a small boat rewarded by the captain of the Plymouth, a whaling ship from Sag Harbor, New York, on which he had shipped as an active sailor on December 2, 1845. He made up his mind to visit Japan, for the historical Ranald MacDonald had believed that the ancestors of Native Americans came from Japan. As Native American “postindian” novelist Gerald Vizenor pointed out, “The Ainu [the indigenous natives of the islands of northern Japan] and the anishinaabe told similar stories about natural reason, their creation, animal totems, and survivance.”5 After working on the Plymouth, he asked the captain to permit him to enter Japan. “Being off the island of Japan, I left the ship at my own desire, agreeably to a previous understanding with the captain. He was to furnish me with a boat, etc., and drop me off the coast of Japan, under favorable circumstances for reaching the shore.”6 Near Rishiri Island, he capsized the boat on purpose so as to instigate a state of distress at sea. On July 2, 1849, he saw smoke on the island and was rescued by the Ainu and turned over to the Japanese on Hokkaido. He was forced to stay in Matsumae close to Hakodate for a while, and then he moved to Nagasaki in Kyushu, the only port where Dutch traders were allowed to transact business. Thus, McDonald ended up educating fourteen Japanese translators including Moriyama Einosuke, who helped the Tokugawa Shogunate negotiate with Commodore Perry very successfully. As he was writing chapter 109 of Moby-Dick, entitled “Ahab and Starbuck in the Cabin,” the author must have been keenly aware of McDonald’s narrative: “And so Starbuck found Ahab with a general chart of the oriental archipelagoes spread before him; kand another separate one representing the long eastern coasts of the Japanese islands—Niphon, Matsmai [sic], and Shikoke.” In writing this chapter, it is clear that Melville learned a lot from an article on the life of Ranald MacDonald, “A Sailor’s Attempt to Penetrate Japan,” published in the December 1, 1848, issue of The Friend, a Hawaiian newspaper useful for whaling, which reports how Ranald was accepted by the Japanese: “After being on shore eight days he was taken under the charge of four Matsmai officers. At Matsmai he was imprisoned from the 6th of September until about the first of October.”7 In the 21st century, Ronin Brown, the protagonist of Vizenor’s postmodern fiction Hiroshima Bugi, notices a similarity between his life and MacDonald’s: just as the latter’s boat was overturned by a sudden wind in the same month more than a hundred and fifty years ago, so was the former’s in this year of Atomu 53, that is, 1997, 53 years since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I washed ashore, abandoned my makeshift sailboat, and slowly made my way south, a route of spas that my father might have taken, first to the Toyotomi onsen near Horonobe, Hokkaido. My backpack was light, only a change of clothes, scant toiletries, and three wet books, Narrow Road to the Far North, a haiku journey by Matsuo Basho, Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan by Lafcadio Hearn, and Japan: Story of Adventure by Ranald MacDonald.8

Note that here Ronin Browne is a fan not only of Melville and MacDonald but also of Matsuo Basho, distinguished Haiku poet, and Lafcadio Hearn, a.k.a. Yakukmo Koizumi Yakumo (1850–1904), a Greek-Irish-American writer naturalized as Japanese. With Ranald MacDonald as the prototype of Ronin and the literary precursor of Vizenor himself, it becomes easier for us to set up a cogent analogy between antebellum pacific and postmodern transpacific. It is also unforgettable that Vizenor’s literary precursor Yoshimura Akira (1927–2006) published a novel called Umi no Sairei detailing the history from MacDonald’s Japanese dream come true through the Commodore Perry’s opening of Japan made possible through Einosuke Moriyama, one of MacDonald’s faithful disciples.9

However, what makes Hiroshima Bugi remarkable is that, partly re-creating the black humor of Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller, this novel features an atomic kabuki designed by Ronin Browne, the hybrid orphan son of Okichi, a Japanese boogie-woogie dancer, and Nightbreaker, an Anishinaabe from the White Earth Reservation who served as an interpreter for General MacArthur during the first year of the American occupation in Japan. Resembling the famous actor Mifune Toshiro in the 1950 Akira Kurosawa movie Rashomon, whose story was based on Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s 1915 short story “In a Grove” as well as Rashomon, Vizenor’s anti-hero Ronin Browne survived the postwar decades and came to love the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima as “my Rashomon.” Ronin Browne is “a dreamer, a mind roamer, a teaser of peace, and a master of irony” (p. 69), “a visionary, an aesthetic warrior of eternal survivance, a hafu samurai, but never a fanatical romancer of nationalism or the emperor” (p. 71). Wearing goggles and rubber gloves, Ronin Browne is a homeless park roamer and very often questioned by the police. Yet he never gives up the dream of performing atomic kabuki, together with his fellow roamers Oshima, Kitsutsuki, and Osaka. This characterization convinces us that Ronin Brown is a postmodern version of Ranald MacDonald, who paved the way for disturbing and even deconstructing the peace of the double-bolted land.

From the Japanese viewpoint, we should also recall that in 1841 a young fisherman John Manjiro a.k.a. Nakahama Manjiro (1827–1898) who was rescued by the John Howland, another American whaling ship as his boat was wrecked on the island of Torishima, came to study English and navigation in Massachusetts and helped the Tokugawa Shogunate’s negotiation with Commodore Perry in 1853 as a most skillful translator and interpreter. Manjiro’s career starting in 1841 very naturally recalls Ishmael’s voyage in Moby-Dick overlapping with Melville’s own in the same year. Manjiro’s exciting life invited a distinguished Japanese novelist Yamamoto Ichiriki (1948–) to write a multivolume semi-biographical novel John Man (Tokyo: Kodansha, 2010–). Speculating upon the analogy between Ishmael and Manjiro more deeply, Makino Arimichi, the current president of the Melville Society of Japan, radically reconsidered Ishmael as a Japanese sailor.10

Voices of Independence: Jefferson, Emerson, Fukuzawa

After the opening of Japan, Fukuzawa Yukichi (1835–1901), one of the founding fathers of modern Japan itself, who is also known for founding Keio University in 1858, visited Europe once in 1862 and the United States twice, in 1860 and 1867, where he and John Manjiro purchased a copy of Webster’s English Dictionary, presumably A Pronouncing and Defining Dictionary of the English Language edited by Noah Webster’s son-in-law S. G. Goodrich and published in 1859 from Lippincott in Philadelphia.11 It is no doubt that this dictionary helped him translate a number of diplomatic documents and write original books on Western civilization. It is noteworthy that Fukuzawa is the first translator of Thomas Jefferson’s composed “The Declaration of Independence” and the champion of Unitarianism who invited to Keio University a number of Unitarian ministers and scholars of Harvard University such as Arthur May Knapp. It is notable that Professor Knapp finds Fukuzawa in person comparable to Ralph Waldo Emerson, the champion of Transcendentalism. Certainly, Fukuzawa’s bestseller An Encouragement of Learning cannot help but recall Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” (1837) and “The American Scholar” (1841): “By grasping the practical matters of each science, which vary in subject matter and content, he can search for the truth of things and make them serve his present purposes . . . After acquiring learning in these areas, individuals can go on to do their duties or manage their family businesses, with independence redounding to the individuals, families, and the nation alike” (5). What is more, in 1898, Fukuzawa also invited to this campus Professor Thomas Sergeant Perry as the first teacher of American literature at Keio University, a great nephew of Commodore Perry who in 1853 unlocked Japan as the “double-bolted land” and launched this Far East archipelago into interactions and transactions with Western countries. Following the example of his great uncle, Professor Perry initiated Japanese students not only into the heritage of Western literature but also into the possibility of transpacific literary and cultural studies. Note that around the same time, Lafcadio Hearn a.k.a. Koizumi Yakumo taught English literature at the University of Tokyo from 1896 through 1903 and at Waseda University in 1904, when he passed away at the age of fifty-four. At the University of Tokyo, Hearn/Koizumi was replaced by Natsume Kinnosuke a.k.a. Natsume Soseki (1867–1916), who studied English in London from 1900 through 1902, and who ended up incorporating English literature as represented by George Meredith, Charles Dickens, and Henry James into his own creative writing.

It is symptomatic that Hearn/Koizumi and Natsume pioneered in the construction of the discourse of English literature in Japan. While Hearn/Koizumi was such a literary romanticist as to envision even in the heyday of modernization supernatural elements like ghost, which is not incompatible with the biblical tradition of Holy Ghost,12 Natsume was realistic enough to establish the anatomy of literature quite scientifically, as is evident in his formalistic approach in “Bungakuron” (Theory of Literature) (1907), which anticipates the rise of New Criticism (Kamei Shunsuke, Eibungakusha Natsume Soseki [Natsume Soseki as Scholar of English Literature]).13 Being a former journalist in the United States, Hearn/Koizumi introduced the students of the University of Tokyo to the pleasure of the text, whereas Natsume’s rigorous and even pedantic theory discouraged them from understanding and enjoying literature. Despite the contrast between Romanticism and Realism, it could well be said that without this the transnational intersection between their attitudes’ literary history could not have witnessed the rise of modern Japanese literature, an incubator for 21st-century world literature, as will be shown below.

Japanese Innocents Abroad: Noguchi, Pound, Nishiwaki

While Professor Perry was teaching American literature in Japan, Yone Noguchi (Noguchi Yonejiro, 1875–1947) became famous as an international poet in the United States and the United Kingdom. Indeed, Yone Noguchi grew up in, and felt deeply attached to, Japan, particularly his own alma mater Keio University. When he decided to study in the United States in 1893, Fukuzawa Yukichi gave him an autographed miniature portrait as a farewell gift. Studying English and poetry in San Francisco, Noguchi made his debut in 1896 by publishing his first English poems in a magazine The Lark and the first collection of works Seen and Unseen; or, Monologues of a Homeless Snail, which received good reviews. Ironically, after Professor Perry’s repatriation to the United States, Yone Noguchi returned to Japan in 1904 and started teaching in the English department at his alma mater. What matters here is that with Yone Noguchi as the pioneer, Keio University has consistently functioned as a literary incubator for Japanese surrealist poets, including Nishiwaki Junzaburô, Sato Saku, Yoshimasu Gôzô, and Asabuki Ryôji, who have also taught at Keio as scholar-critics. Especially important is Nishiwaki Junzaburô (1894–1982), who published his first volume of poetry Spectrum all written in English in 1925 while he was studying at Oxford University. His stay at Oxford was from 1922 to 1925, that is, during the heyday of modernist literature. Nishiwaki would later become a one-time finalist for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Ezra Pound, the admirer of Yone Noguchi in the 1910s, recommended Nishiwaki as the finalist for the Nobel Literary Prize in 1957. In his correspondence with another Keio professor Iwasaki Ryozo, who sent him Nishiwaki’s English poem “January in Kyoto,” Pound states, “Junzaburô has a more vital English [sic] than any I have seen for some time . . . No literary prize or jury award can alter the weight of a consonant or change the length of a vowel, but on the practical side, if you have some sort of Japanese Academy or authoritative body, it could do no harm to bring Junzaburô Nishiwaki’s work to the attention of the Swedish Academy; I do not recall their having yet honoured Nippon.”14 Although Noguchi and Nishiwaki used to work together in Keio’s English department, it is hard to know what kind of relationship they formed. All we do know is that one of Nishiwaki’s poems, entitled “On the Hill of Mita,” describes Yone Noguchi as a teacher who frequently referred to W. B. Yeats as a kind of dear old friend. However, it is also true that although they had never met each other, Nishiwaki translated Eliot’s “The Waste Land” as if it were a poem by a close friend of his. Thus, discounting the later works of Eliot, Nishiwaki goes so far as to say, “T. S. Eliot could have written better poems if he had tasted Japanese soba noodles even once.”15 Nishiwaki could not fully appreciate the works of Eliot, for to him Eliot seemed to lack the grand quality of humor.

This is the reason why the interactions between Yone Noguchi and Ezra Pound from the perspective of the latecomer Nishiwaki Junzaburô gains literary historical significance. Professor Anita Patterson called attention to Noguchi’s reading of Whitman along with Basho in his lecture given on January 28, 1914, at Magdalen College, Oxford, a reading that must have inspired Pound (Patterson, “Global America Revisited: Ezra Pound, Yone Noguchi, and Modernist Japonisme”).16 After the lapse of nearly three decades, Noguchi’s follower Nishiwaki published a highly acclaimed poem “Tabibito Kaerazu” (No Traveler Returns) as an homage to Basho as well as to William Shakespeare. The title of the poem, as Professor Hosea Hirata points out, derives from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Basho’s Oku no hosomichi (The Narrow Road to the Deep North). What Nishiwaki wanted to create within the modernist context is not only the fusion of imagisme and Japonisme but also a sophisticated sense of humor. Thus, Nishiwaki once published a poem entitled “A Sublime Humor” (included in Deer Gate [1970]) consisting of the following three lines, which reads as a modern translation of Basho’s masterpiece: “Furui ike no naka e / Kaeru ga tobikomu / oto ga suru” (Into an ancient pond / a frog jumps / causing a watersplash). While Pound and Noguchi deeply meditated on the quality of the translation especially of the 16th-century haiku poet Arakida Moritake, as Professor Patterson closely examined, it is clear that Nishiwaki, in composing his own poem, simply translated the archaic classical Japanese language used in Basho’s haiku into the language used in contemporary Japan. Can we know Basho’s original from Nishiwaki’s poem? What matters most here, however, is the title “A Sublime Humor.” Just as the Franco-American Dadaist Marcel Duchamp questioned the very system of museum by introducing readymade into highbrow exhibition, so Nishiwaki attempted to express modernist humor by means of entitling the very text of Basho’s original, that is, a literary readymade, simply as “A Sublime Humor” in the radically Dadaist sense. However simple, this poem is transnational and global, making us rethink Basho’s own trans-historical significance. Rereading Nishiwaki now illuminates what Noguchi and Pound joined forces to achieve, or failed to achieve in the early years of modernist literature.

However, what matters most here in the context of transpacific literary history is the moment Western intellectuals discovered the significance of Chinese ideogramic characters in the context of modernism. Hence the collaborative preface to Ezra Pound’s annotated edition of Ernest Fenollosa’s text The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry: An Ars Poetica with a foreword and notes by Ezra Pound.17 In this preface, Fenollosa takes up the example sentence: “Man sees horse.” This sentence, if written in Chinese characters as “人見馬‎,” will enable us to “communicate continuous thought to one another as easily by drawing them as by speaking words.” Moreover, they also identify legs as part of all three Chinese characters and state that they make the readers feel that the characters are alive. Thus, the coauthors conclude, “The group holds something of the quality of a continuous moving picture” (45, emphasis mine). This redefinition of Chinese characters as a “continuous moving picture” prompts a footnote on the modern development of image as analogous with and concomitant to the rise of movie industry and the frontier of cinematography. Certainly, it is the East Asian ideogramic and even hieroglyphic representation of Chinese character that excited Pound and Fenollosa, both of whom had long taken for granted Western phonogramic representation. But here we should not forget that they understood its significance by coming up with the analogy between Chinese characters and “moving picture” whose visual rhetoric had an impact on modernists. Here lies the archetype of emoji (picture character) and kaomoji (face character) in postmodern Japanese digital culture, which Professor Barbara Stafford appreciated in Visual Analogy (2001).

The Logic of Lost War: Faulkner, Kawabata, Oe

The year of 1955 saw the first postwar climax of transpacific literary history. William Faulkner, a major American modernist and recent laureate of Nobel Prize in Literature, paid his first visit to Japan in the summer of 1955, giving a series of seminars in Nagano and publishing a letter addressed to the young Japanese intellectuals interested in American literature entitled “To the Youth of Japan.” Nearly a couple of decades later, the symbolic year of 1973 saw not only the Oil Shock but also the coincidental publication of three novels by major Japanese writers who had all perused Faulkner’s The Wild Palms originally entitled “If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem”18: Catholic novelist Endo Shusaku’s Shikai no Hotori (Upon the Dead Sea), 1994 Nobel Lauriat Oe Kenzaburo’s Kouzui wa Waga Tamashii ni Oyobi (The Flood Invades My Soul; the winner of the Noma Literary Prize that year), and science-fiction writer Komatsu Sakyo’s best seller Nippon Chimbotsu (Japan Sinks), which sold more than four million copies.

How did The Wild Palms, one of the minor novels usually excluded from the Faulkner canon, came to influence the three major postwar Japanese writers? In the first place, postwar Japanese readers could very easily sympathize with the post-apocalyptic mode of the double novel consisting of a couple of alternating and essentially separate narratives. “Wild Palms,” set in 1937, is an adultery romance between hospital intern Harry Wilbourne and a young married woman who meet in New Orleans and decide to sacrifice everything for love and freedom. “The Old Man” is a panic novel about a tall, lean, unnamed convict around twenty-five years old surviving the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. The former narrative ends up with the death of the heroine as the result of Harry’s failed abortion, whereas the protagonist of the latter rescues a female flood refugee and helps deliver her baby. The intern keeps writing romance fiction for a pulp magazine, while the convict is so innocently swallowed up in pulp detective fiction that he botches a train robbery. Harry has to accept the fate of death, while the tall convict still embraces the hope of life. Although both heroes are destined to inhabit the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, they do not meet at any point in the narratives. It is no doubt that taking the Great Mississippi Flood as the perfect metaphor for the World War II, Japanese readers and writers esteemed the novel very highly.

The second reason for its popularity in Japan is that insofar as Faulkner’s novels are concerned, it is The Wild Palms that was the first translated into Japanese. In 1950, one year after Faulkner won the Nobel Prize in Literature, translator Okubo Yasuo published the Hibiya Press edition of The Wild Palms, which was reprinted by Mikasa Publishers in 1951, and which coincided with the translation of Sanctuary (by Tatsunokuchi Naotaro and Nishikawa Masami). What is more, in 1950 a Japanese scholar-critic majoring in French literature, Kuwahara Takeo, recommended The Wild Palms as one of the best fifty modern literary works in his Bungaku Nyumon (A Reader’s Guide to Literature), published by Iwanami, one of the most academic publishers in Japan. The year 1954 saw the Japanese edition of The Sound and the Fury translated by Takahashi Masao and Pylon translated by Ohashi Kenzaburo, who became professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo in 1980 and the first president of the William Faulkner Society of Japan established in 1998, further stimulating the popularity of Faulkner in Japan. In 1955, it is notable that Akutagawa Literary Prize winner Hotta Yoshie started his ambitious but premature literary project inspired by The Wild Palms, a project that ended up not so much as a double novel but as a couple of different narratives entitled “Jikan [Time]” and “Yoru no Mori [Nightwood].”

Faulkner’s Nagano seminar of 1955 brought about fruitful discussions with Japanese scholars and students at his Nagano Seminar. This experience convinced Faulkner that Japanese people do not necessarily look for new intellectuals and that they want Japanese writers to reflect Japan’s view that literature conceals an old and meaningful common language, the simplest means of communication shared by all human races. Faulkner wanted to see “humanity” in Japan, the faces of the Japanese. Here we have to note that Faulkner defines one of his key concepts “humanity” in the terms of the late impressionist artists Vincent Van Gogh and Edouard Manet, that is to say, in terms of anthropology. What is more, unfamiliar with Far East history as he was, Faulkner set up an analogy between the American South and Japan in the aforementioned letter “To the Youth of Japan”:

My side, the South, lost that war, the battles of which were fought not on neutral ground in the waste of ocean, but in our own homes, our gardens, our farms, as if Okinawa and Guadalcanal had been not islands in the distant Pacific but the precincts of Honshu and Hokkaido. Our land, our homes were invaded by a conqueror who remained after we were defeated; we were not only devastated by the battle which we lost, the conqueror spent the next ten [sic] years after our defeat and surrender despoiling us of what little war had left . . . I believe it is war and disaster which remind man most that he needs a record of his endurance and toughness. I think that that is why after our own disaster there rose in my country, the South, a resurgence of good writing, writing of a good enough quality that people in other lands began to talk of a “regional” Southern literature even until I, a country man, have become one of the first names in our literature which the Japanese people want to talk to and listen to.19

Of course, insofar as the aftermath is concerned, the two countries ended up with radically different and even opposite results. As John Marquardt pointed out in his 2015 article “Japan and the South,” while Yankee reconstruction of the South led to the devastating effects on its economy, the United States’s occupation of postwar Japan promoted its economy, ending up with Japan’s high-growth period in the 1970s and even what is designated as “Pax Japonica” in the 1980s. In this sense, Faulkner’s analogy might be not accurate enough. However, the reason why he created this analogy is Faulkner’s deep interest in what would happen to Japanese literature starting over from the experience of defeat.

I believe something very like that will happen here in Japan within the next few years—that out of your disaster and despair will come a group of Japanese writers whom all the world will want to listen to, who will speak not a Japanese truth but a universal truth.20

Here he gives an insight into the possibility of transpacific deep time. Actually, it is thirteen years later than Faulkner’s first and last visit to Japan and six years after his own suicide that the Sweden Academy in 1968 chose Kawabata Yasunari (1899–1972) as the first Japanese winner of Nobel Prize in Literature, who delivered on December 12, 1968, his award lecture entitled “Japan, the Beautiful, and the Myself,” emphasizing the Japanese aesthetics of “mono no aware” (the sense of pathos) very sensitive to the vanishing such as vanishing species and vanishing cultures. Illustrating his point with Ariwara no Yukihira’s text in Tales of Ise, compiled in the 10th century, the oldest Japanese collection of lyrical episodes, Kawabata redefines the Japanese significance of wistaria: “The wistaria is a very Japanese flower, and it has a feminine elegance. Wistaria sprays, as they trail in the breeze, suggest softness, gentleness, reticence. Disappearing and then appearing again in the early summer greenery, they have in them that feeling for the poignant beauty of things long characterized by the Japanese as mono no aware.” And he closes the lecture by calling the audience’s attention to the aesthetics of the emptiness, that is, the nothingness of the East in the context of Zen: “My own works have been described as works of emptiness, but it is not to be taken for the nihilism of the West. The spiritual foundation would seem to be quite different.”21 Without alluding to Japan’s lost war and bridging the cultural gap between Japanese and Western sensibility, here Kawabata beautifully expounds the aesthetics of the emptiness and the nothingness as peculiar to the Japanese discourse of the vanishing, which has been always likely to transform the experience of defeat into something wonderful. This lecture might fall short of Faulkner’s expectation, but it is undoubtedly the first step for recognizing the cultural difference and looking for the universal truth somewhere in the near future.

In 1973, Faulkner’s transpacific literary prophesy came true. This year marks the publication of Thomas Pynchon’s metafictional magnum opus Gravity’s Rainbow (1973), which radically reconstructed the history of World War II as the incubator for rocket nation and rocketman reminding us of the logic of postnuclear age. By the same token, it is also this year, eighteen years after Faulkner’s visit, that witnessed the truly Japanese literary re-creations of The Wild Palms. First, influenced by Hotta, Catholic novelist Endo Shusaku (1923–1996) completed a double novel Shikai no Hotori (Upon the Dead Sea), with two alternating narratives: “Pilgrim,” with its 20th-century viewpoint, and “A Man of the Crowd,” with its 1st-century viewpoint. Unlike The Wild Palms, Endo’s narratives wind up by drawing closer to each other. Second, although it is not a double novel, Oe Kenzaburo (1935–) published Kozui wa Waga Tamashii ni Oyobi (The Flood Invades My Soul), acutely mirroring the atmosphere of the Japanese students protesting against the renewal of the United States–Japan Mutual Security Treaty (known as “Ampo”), and creates a contemporary protagonist living in a deserted fallout shelter who will become involved with an eco-terrorist gang “Jiyu-Kokai-dan” (The Free Voyagers). While Faulkner grasped the Mississippi River Flood as the perfect metaphor for the 1930s, the apocalyptic years of the Great Depression, now Oe, who favors a passage from The Wild Palms “between grief and nothing I will take grief” (Penguin ed. 228), reconceives “flood” as the perfect metaphor for the nuclear crisis, the most contemporary apocalyptic moment.22 In 1994 Oe became the second Japanese winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. At his Nobel lecture on December 7, 1994, entitled “Japan, the Ambiguous, and Myself,” he began with homage to his favorite all-American novel Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and creatively misread Kawabata’s Nobel lecture by giving insights into the latter’s rhetoric of vagueness and reinterpreting the ambiguity of Japanese culture and literature:

My observation is that after one hundred and twenty years of modernisation since the opening of the country, present-day Japan is split between two opposite poles of ambiguity. I too am living as a writer with this polarisation imprinted on me like a deep scar. This ambiguity which is so powerful and penetrating that it splits both the state and its people is evident in various ways. The modernisation of Japan has been orientated toward learning from and imitating the West. Yet Japan is situated in Asia and has firmly maintained its traditional culture. The ambiguous orientation of Japan drove the country into the position of an invader in Asia. On the other hand, the culture of modern Japan, which implied being thoroughly open to the West or at least that impeded understanding by the West. What was more, Japan was driven into isolation from other Asian countries, not only politically but also socially and culturally.23

On one hand, American Southern modernist Faulkner attempted to invent his own deep time between the post–Civil War South of the late 19th century and the Great Depression of the 1930s. On the other hand, Japanese contemporary writers reinvented Faulkner in their own Far East framework of deep time between the horror of Hiroshima in 1945 and the persistent fear of a full-scale nuclear war after the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Global Diaspora: Komatsu Sakyo’s Japan Sinks (1973)

At this point, it is worth highlighting the publication of a novel written by Komatsu Sakyo (1931–2011), highly sensitive not only to Faulkner’s opus but also to what is going on in the world today. The year 1973 brought not only the impact of the oil shock but also the ending of the Vietnam War and investigations into the Watergate scandal. The final days of Richard Nixon’s presidency in the early 1970s ironically supported the verisimilitude of Komatsu Sakyo’s panic novel Japan Sinks, which makes use of recent plate tectonics theory to vividly describe the Pacific coast of the Japanese Archipelago sliding away into the deep, at the same time that the Japan Sea coast rises up for a brief moment, like one side of a capsizing vessel. According to Doctor Tadokoro, who prophesies the submersion of Japan, “in any case, the mantle mass on the Pacific side of the Japan Archipelago is rapidly shrinking . . . This may be the harbinger of a crust change of unprecedented kind extending over the whole earth . . . Or perhaps it will affect only this area . . . If the present speed and direction are maintained, there’s reason enough to believe that once the shift in matter reaches a certain point, the present dynamic balance existing between the mantle and the crust structure will collapse at a stroke. Up to now, you see, the pressure from the Pacific side has held the Archipelago relatively firm against the pressure coming from the continental side. And so, should the convection pattern on the Pacific side suddenly change, the result would be a crushing blow to Japan.”24 Between fears about the oil shock in the heyday of the Cold War, and the internationalization slogans that dominated the high-growth period in Japan (“A Bold Leap into the World”), this novel conveyed such realism and significance that it was quickly made into film, TV drama, and even manga, and set off Japan Sinks fever all over the nation.

Komatsu grew fascinated with The Wild Palms in his twenties, probably after its Japanese edition (translated by Ohkubo Yasuo) was published from Hibiya Publishers in 1950 as his classmate recollected.25 It is this double novel that must have implanted the seeds of apocalyptic narrative within the author’s mind. Fifteen years after the publication of Japan Sinks, in the summer of 1987, he came to the United States to interview Faulkner’s daughter Jill Faulkner Summers at her house in Virginia. Since The Wild Palms is a kind of panic novel featuring the Mississippi River Flood, it is very natural that it inspired Komatsu to write another panic novel dramatizing the submersion of the Japanese archipelago. While Faulkner compared the flood refugees to the passengers of Noah’s ark, Komatsu compared the submersion of Japan to the sinking of the legendary continent Atlantis. There is no doubt that Faulkner and Komatsu both treated the planetary post-apocalyptic fate of humanity, and both in times of politico-economic crisis. Furthermore, as Faulkner reconsidered the history of race as the history of sexuality, Komatsu tried to speculate with a fictional analogy between the history of the Jews and the Japanese facing the death of their own country. A character who seems to be a monk states, “The Jews have the experience of a two-thousand-year period of exile. Whereas this island people of ours have had the happy experience of living secure in their own country for a like period. Therefore it would be no easy matter to take on the other role. Would we gain some wisdom from our Diaspora over the course of the years? And throughout such a period, would the Japanese people remain the Japanese People?”26 Is it possible for the Japanese to simulate the diaspora of the Jews? This is the greatest philosophical question Komatsu raises in this panic novel. However, his first novel Nippon Apattchi-Zoku (The Japanese Apache, published in 1964) also suggests a kind of what I called the sensibility of “creative masochism”27 as the author draws inspiration from historically defeated though resilient peoples such as Native Americans and Jews. At this point, the vision of planetarity will lead us to question the artificial discursive framework of ethnicity. Gerald Vizenor once mocked the Western racist discourse of “Indian” by calling himself “post-indian,” and I once coined the term “Japanoid” in order to speculate on the rise of a fake Japanese or neo-Japonistic or simply Japanophilic culture globally cherished by younger Japanese and non-Japanese. In these ways, the discourse of ethnicity has been revealed to be an effect of modern Western culture from the beginning. The political stance that remains to us is no more than “strategic essentialism,” as Gayatri Spivak pointed out.

Ninja and Ninjette: Unspeakable Transactions between Thomas Pynchon and Yamada Futaro

After his silence of seventeen years, Thomas Pynchon published an alternately fun and melancholic West Coast romance, Vineland (1990), the fourth novel by the master of American postmodern literature (1990), which probes the essence of 1980s culture from the perspective of 1960s radicals. Yet we should not overlook the host of Japanese signifiers playing beneath surface of the simple narrative. In addition to the ninja master Inoshiro-sensei and his student DL Chastain, who belongs to the Caucasian female ninja corps called “Kunoichi Attentives,” over-the-top ninja signifiers are deployed one after another—from the Fist of the North Star-like “Vibrating Palm” that dooms its victims to death one year later, to the high-tech Eastern regenerative machine called the Puncutron that can save them.

The average American reader of Vineland will see the influence of stereotypically “Japanesque” ninja novels and Hollywood films that rose to sudden popularity in the wake of 1980s-era go-go capitalism and Pax Japonica. Shimura Masao points out that Columbia University professor Eric Van Lustbader’s 1980 novel The Ninja was followed by the hit films Enter the Ninja (1981), Revenge of the Ninja (1983), and Ninja III: The Domination (1984), starring the Japanese actor Shô Kosugi. Also riding the ninja boom were the Caucasian ninja series American Ninja (1985), starring Michael Dudikoff, and then starting in the late eighties the various 1989 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films and TV series, about turtles from New York raised by an Eastern rat accomplished in the ninja arts.

Each of these works was popular in its own way, so it is by no means a coincidence that cyberpunk texts like William Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984) and Bruce Sterling’s Schismatrix (1985), which triggered the boom in cyberpunk science fiction, were so keenly aware of ninja culture and so easily integrated it into the hacker’s culture of jacking into cyberspace to steal information and sell it off, bit by bit. Gibson’s best cyberpunk heroine, Molly Millions, who has had her sockets sealed with vision-enhancing mirrorshades, is a typical “razor girl,” that is, “ninja warrior.” While Pynchon’s taste for the Japanesque dates back to the kamikaze combo in Gravity’s Rainbow (1973), what is new and important here is that cyberpunk writers, whose development was tremendously influenced by Pynchon, mixed in the figure of the ninja when they created the postmodern Luddite saboteur called the “hacker” in the 1980s; then at the start of the 1990s Pynchon himself took this and made it the basis of an impressively comical series of reciprocal literary-historical negotiations in Vineland, with its cadre of Caucasian kunoichi female ninja.

However, the average reader in Japan might respond very differently to the same ninja-based context of Vineland. For ninja narratives undoubtedly constituted part of postwar Japanese youth culture by appealing to the oppositional spirit of junior high or high school students, who deeply and even nostalgically sympathized with the lost tribes of ninja as Japanese archaic secret agents. Postwar years very creatively transformed Japan’s defeat into Japanese original ninja narratives, inducing younger readers to accept what Marilyn Ivy calls the “discourses of the vanishing” as most attractive.28 Although Leslie Fiedler is not mentioned in the book, it is clear that Ivy set up an inspiring analogy between Native Americans as the vanishing American as is detailed in his masterpiece The Return of the Vanishing American29 and northeastern Japanese especially in a legendary town Tono as the vanishing Japanese. Instead of running on about Pynchon’s Japanesque interests, the contemporary Japanese audience would more likely point out that the book was like something out of Yamada Fûtarô (1922–2011), whose Ninpô chô (Ninja scrolls) series first appeared in 1958 and became a bestseller in 1963. As Kasai Kiyoshi and others have indicated, Fûtarô’s novels have influenced later Japanese ninja mangafilms like Shirato Sampei’s Ninja bugei chô (1959–1962, Ninja martial arts scroll), Yokoyama Mitsuteru’s Iga no Kagemaru (1961–1966, Kagemaru of Iga), and Hisamatsu Fumio’s Kaze no Fujimaru (1964–1965, Fujimaru of the wind).

With this context in mind, a Japanese reader of Vineland might look at the importation into English of Fûtarô’s trademark term “kunoichi” and other elements—the blending of sexual relations with ninja killing techniques, the creation of a fantastic machine for bringing people back to life, or tricks for brainwashing minorities that make free use of feminist theology—and wrongly assume that Pynchon (resurrected by cyberpunk) had set out to write a sequel to Yamada Fûtarô’s Kunoichi ninpô chô (1961, Kunoichi ninja scrolls). Whether Pynchon was able to read Japanese does not matter here. It is only notable that Japanese readers take for granted that “kunoichi” signifies the three Chinese and Japanese characters: “く‎”(ku), “ノ‎”(no) and “一‎” (ichi meaning number one) all constituting the whole Chinese character of “女‎” (onna meaning woman). Thus, kunoichi is the contact zone between the hieroglyphic signifier of “女‎” (designed in the form of woman) and its phonogramic signifier (meaning female ninja). What is fascinating now is that the ninja culture that proliferated through a web of cultural misreadings in Hollywood films and American paperbacks went round and round and incredibly—without anyone’s being aware of it—converged again with the Yamada Fûtarô narrative elements that constituted the origin and orthodoxy of the genre in Japan. If African American author Toni Morrison once made her heroine a black girl who yearned for blue eyes, now protagonists are increasingly Japanophilic Caucasian-outlaw-technologists longing to dress in black ninja garb. In this way, those who draw near to the cyborg dimension also approach creolization at the same time. While it is plausible that Yamada Futaro had been influenced by modern American hardboiled detectives, it is his ninja and kunoichi narratives that through complex multimedia effects had tremendous impacts upon American ninja novels, cyberpunk novels, and even mainstream metafictions as represented by Thomas Pynchon.

Conclusion: After the Postmodern Quake: Murakami Haruki in a Global Context

This essay could well be concluded with the transpacific literary and cultural interactions caused by Murakami Haruki (1948–), a perennial candidate for Nobel Prize in Literature. Murakami’s literary influence is so global that it is not unusual to find allusions or homage to his works in many Western novels. In retrospect, it is noteworthy that in the 1970s Murakami started his literary career by imitating or pastiching Kurt Vonnegut, whose major works such as Cat’s Cradle and Slaughter-House Five had been beautifully translated by Norio Itoh before Murakami made his debut with Hear the Wind Sing (1979). To put it another way, Murakami came to establish his literary style by reading and re-appropriating the contemporary Japanese style established by postwar translators of American literature. In this sense, while Murakami fully imbibed the masterpieces of American literature and ended up by writing his own fiction, the translated Murakami in the 21st century inspired younger Euro-American writers to create their own styles. How conscious Murakami himself became of the literary and cultural recycle between his literary precursors and children still remains obscure. Now that Murakami is well known for being not only a distinguished novelist but also a translator of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Truman Capote, Raymond Carver, Raymond Chandler, Tim O’Brien, and others, what matters most is the transnational interactions between translation and creative writing.

In order to clarify Murakami’s global influence, glance at distinguished British novelist Steven Hall’s post-cyberpunk novel The Raw Shirk Texts,30 which so deeply imbibed not only Melville’s Moby-Dick but also Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle as to represent the super-anachronistic evolution of Darwinian gene and Dorkinsian mime in a virtual reality called “Un-Space.” Indeed, the epigraph to Book Three is taken from the aforementioned novel by Murakami: “What we see before us is just one tiny part of the world. We get into the habit of thinking, this is the world, but that’s not true at all. The real world is a much darker and deeper place than this, and much of it is occupied by jellyfish and things.”31 Although the chronology of literary history has told us that British literature influenced American literature, which helped construct modern Japanese literature, it is a contemporary British author Steven Hall who was happy to incorporate the world literary fruits of Melville, Borges, Calvino, Carver, and Murakami into The Raw Shirk Texts. Whether it is transatlantic does not make sense here. The Taw Shirk Texts transgresses the boundary between transatlantic and transpacific, and succeeds in paving the way for transnational and even planetary literary and cultural studies.

Review of the Literature

During the first decade of the 21st century, new trends in critical theory reorganized the framework of comparative literature and culture. The symptom could well be located in what Gayatri Spivak designated “planetarity,” in her 2003 book Death of a Discipline, in which she proposes “the planet to overwrite the globe,” radically criticizing the concept of digital globalization as another name for Americanization in the age of electronic capital and appreciating Mahasweta Devi’s novella Pterodactyl, which describes the paleontological other in our time as a perfect allegory of the species of alterity the planet inhabits (72).32 At first glance, Spivak seems to pick this novella arbitrarily, primarily because she translated it. However, the selection unveils her ambition to deconstruct literary history and cartography based upon Western canon. Inspired by the concept of planetarity, in her 2006 book Through Other Continents, Wai Chee Dimock championed the concept of “Deep Time” by starting with an inspiring analogy between the United States–led coalition’s destruction in 2003 of the Iraqi National Library and the Islamic library in the Religious Ministry and the Mongols assault in 1258 on Baghdad and its libraries.33 Gretchen Murphy’s insightful reconsideration of the Monroe Doctrine helps to comprehend the geopolitical and literary historical metamorphoses of the relationship between East and West.34 Yunte Huang started by criticizing Spivak and speculating on the possibility of Ezra Pound as the inventor of Chinese poetry.35 Of course, it is well known that 20th-century literary criticism has long questioned the Europe-specific spatio-temporal order. In 1919, T. S. Eliot already revolutionized literary history in “Tradition and the Individual Talent” by redefining the historical sense: “the historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence; the historical sense compels a man to write not merely with his own generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer and within it the whole of the literature of his own country has a simultaneous order” (34, emphasis added).36 Here let us note a coincidence between the synchronic Ferdinand de Saussure contrasted with the diachronic and what Eliot calls “simultaneous order.” While Saussure’s theory of synchrony was published in his posthumous book Course in General Linguistics (1916), it is highly plausible that Eliot had a chance to read and reexamined it in his own way. Thus, despite his belief in Western canon, Eliot achieved the simultaneous order of world literary history in “The Waste Land” (1920), where European works from Petronius through Chaucer casually mingle with Buddha’s sermon, the Upanishads, and even African American ragtime. What matters here is that Eliot bravely transgresses the distinction not only between the ancient and the modern, but also the boundary between the Western and the rest. What Eliot accomplished a century ago was inherited and further expanded by quite a few provocative critics such as Shelley Fisher Fishkin, whose theory of DEEP MAPS serves as a theoretical groundwork for her inaugurated academic periodical the Journal of Transnational American Studies,37 and Paul Giles, whose theory of “Deterritorialization” also decenters the United States and constructs another literary history viewed from Australia.38 My own 2006 book Full Metal Apache39 and Gary Okihiro’s 2006 book Island World40 coincided with the rise of this trend of planetarity theory and transnational American studies. Greil Mercus and Werner Sollors’ coedited A New Literary History of America is undoubtedly one of the first achievements based upon transnational American studies, which is also useful for understanding the potentiality of transpacific literary history between the United States and Japan.41

Further Reading

Devi, Mahasweta. Imaginary Maps: Three Stories by Mahasweta Devi. Translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. New York: Routledge, 1995.Find this resource:

Lye, Colleen. America’s Asia: Racial Form and American Literature, 1893–1945. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005.Find this resource:

Moore, Stephen D., and Mayra Rivera, eds. Planetary Loves: Spivak, Postcoloniality, and Theology. New York: Fordham University Press, 2011.Find this resource:

Murakami, Haruki. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. 3 vols. Translated by Jay Rubin. London: Vintage, 1999.Find this resource:

Nishiwaki Junzaburô. “Surrealist Poetics.” Translated by Hosea Hirata. Hirata 9 (1954): 27, and 39.Find this resource:

North, Michael. The Dialect of Modernism: Race, Language and Twentieth Century Literature. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.Find this resource:

Patterson, Anita. Race, American Literature and Transnational Modernisms. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.Find this resource:

Roe, Jo Ann. Ranald MacDonald: Pacific Rim Adventurer. Pullman: Washington State University Press, 1997.Find this resource:

Yoshihara, Mari. Musicians from a Different Shore: Asians and Asian Americans in Classical Music. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2007.Find this resource:

Wolfe, Tom. “The Doctrine That Never Died.” New York Times (January 30, 2005).Find this resource:


(1.) On “planetarity,” see Gayatri Spivak, Death of a Discipline (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003); on “hemispheric imagination,” see Gretchen Murphy, Hemispheric Imaginings (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005); on “deep time,” see Wai Chee Dimock, Through Other Continents (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006); on the “transpacific imagination,” see Yunte Huang, Transpacific Imaginations (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008); and on “deterritorialization,” see Paul Giles, The Global Remapping of American Literature (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011).

(2.) Tom Wolfe, “The Doctrine That Never Died,” New York Times (January 30, 2005).

(3.) Gretchen Murphy, Hemispheric Imaginings: The Monroe Doctrine and Narratives of U.S. Empire (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005), vii–xi.

(4.) Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 24, “The Advocate.”

(5.) Gerald Vizenor, Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003), 51.

(6.) MacDonald’s report, April 30, 1849 (Senate Executive Document 32nd congress 1st session V9, Doc 59), Kawasumi 126.

(7.) Kawasumi Tetsuo, ed., Shiryo: Nippon Eigakushi (A History of English Studies in Japan: Texts and Contexts), vol. 2. (Tokyo: Taishukan, 1998), 123, 125.

(8.) Vizenor, “Ronin of the Ainu Bears,” chap. 9 in Hiroshima Bugi, 123.

(9.) Yoshimura Akira, The Rituals of the Sea (Tokyo: Bungei Shunju, 1989).

(10.) “Nihonjin Ishumeiru: 1850 nen wo oudan suru Manjiro” (Ishmael as a Japanese: Manjiro Crisscrossing the Year of 1850), Eureka (April 2002): 126–135.

(11.) Nishiwaki Shunsaku, “Introduction: The Life and Works of Fukuzawa Yukichi,” in An Encouragement of Learning, trans. David A. Dilworth (Tokyo: Keio University Press, 2012), xviii.

(12.) See his lecture “The Value of the Supernatural in Fiction,” in Interpretations of Literature, ed. Ikeda Masayuki (Tokyo: The Hokuseido Press, 1981), 49–67.

(13.) Tokyo: Shohakusha Publishers, 2011, 113–167.

(14.) Quoted in Hosea Hirata, The Poetry and Poetics of Nishiwaki Junzaburô: Modernism in Translation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), xvii.

(15.) Kagiya Yukinobu, Shijin Nishiwaki Junzaburo (Poet Nishiwaki Junzaburo) (Tokyo: Chikuma, 1983).

(16.) Nanzan Review of American Studies 33 (2011): 55.

(17.) Eds. Haun Saussy, Jonathan Stalling, and Lucas Klein (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008).

(18.) If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem [The Wild Palms], eds. Joseph Blotner and Noel Polk (New York: The Library of America, 1990).

(19.) William Faulkner, “To the Youth of Japan,” Faulkner at Nagano, ed. Robert A. Julliffe (Tokyo: Kenkyusha, 1956), 185–187.

(20.) Faulkner, “To the Youth of Japan,” 187.

(21.) Yasunari Kawabata, “Japan, the Beautiful and Myself,” Nobel Lecture, December 12, 1968.

(22.) For Oe’s obsession with the passage, see Fujihira Ikuko, “Oe Kenzaburo,” A Reader’s Encyclopedia of William Faulkner, ed. The William Faulkner Society of Japan (Tokyo: Shohakusha, 2008), 444–445.

(23.) Kenzaburo Oe, “Japan, the Ambiguous, and Myself,” Nobel Lecture, December 7, 1994.

(24.) Japan Sinks, trans. Michael Gallagher (London: New English Library, 1976), 81–82.

(25.) Tachibana Masanori, “Komatsu Sakyo to Faulkner” (Komatsu Sakyo and Faulkner), Komatsu Sakyo Magazine 46 (August 2012).

(26.) New English Library ed. 124.

(27.) Tatsumi, Full Metal Apache: Transactions between Cyberpunk Japan and Avant-Pop America (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006).

(28.) Cf. Ivy, Discourses of the Vanishing: Modernity, Phantasm, Japan (New York: University of Chicago Press, 1995).

(29.) New York: Henry Holt, 1968.

(30.) Edinburgh: Canongate, 2007.

(31.) Quoted in Shark, 175.

(32.) Spivak, Death of a Discipline.

(33.) Wai Chee Dimock, Through Other Continents: American Literature Across Deep Time (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006). Also see Dimcock and Lawrence Buell, eds., Shades of the Planet: American Literature as World Literature (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007).

(34.) Murphy, Hemispheric Imaginings.

(35.) Yunte Huang, Transpacific Imaginations: History, Literature, Counterpoetics (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008).

(36.) T. S. Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” in Literary Criticism: Literary and Cultural Studies, eds. Robert Con Davis and Ronald Schleifer, 4th ed. (New York: Longman, 1998), 33–38.

(37.) Shelley Fisher Fishkin, “‘DEEP MAPS’: A Brief for Digital Palimpsest Mapping Projects (DPMPs, or ‘Deep Maps’),” Journal of Transnational American Studies 3.2 (2011).

(38.) Giles, The Global Remapping of American Literature.

(39.) Takayuki Tatsumi, Full Metal Apache: Transactions between Cyberpunk Japan and Avant-Pop America (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006).

(40.) Gary Okihiro, Island World: A History of Hawaii and the United States (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006).

(41.) Mercus, Greil and Werner Sollers, eds., A New Literary History of America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009).