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Ryota Iijima <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Tue, 2 Apr 1996 13:55:47 +0900
text/plain (47 lines)
I mistakenly sent this message to AmLit-L:

Taylor Roberts wrote:
> The other day someone on the Forum wondered how Mark Twain Studies
> might be different in the U.S. from other countries, and wondered also
> about its popularity in Germany and Japan, for example.  I also find
> this topic interesting, and I'm sure many Forum subscribers would be
> interested in hearing about Mark Twain Studies in Japan.  Is there a
> Mark Twain Circle there, for example?

Because of an animated adaptation serialized on TV, every child in Japan
knows and likes Tom Sawyer.  Many of Twain's writings have been
translated to Japanese.  We have many MT scholars, some of whom belong
to MT Circle in America, and looks like few of whom are on the Internet.
Dozens of articles and a few books on MT are published every year, most
of which are written in Japanese.
> Mark Twain's (only academic?) popularity in Japan is striking, when
> one considers, for example, that there are as many (if not more)
> Japanese subscribers to the Mark Twain Forum than there are Canadian
> subscribers.  I am originally from Canada, and have been amazed to
> find that despite the fact that English is virtually the same in the
> U.S. in Canada, there is very little interest in Mark Twain among
> Canadians.
Some people say we the Japanese have been mentally colonized by the
Americans.  _A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court_ reminds me of
the Japanese soldiers during the World War II, fighting and being fried
like the knights of the Round Table against Hank Morgan.  After the war,
the American army made our people build a democratic government, and we
had our own gilded age.  As the result, most of us young Japanese have
been somehow influenced by American culture.

> If anyone feels like offering some insight into Mark Twain and Japan,
> I'm sure others on the Forum besides me would find it interesting, and
> I encourage you to post a message to <[log in to unmask]>.

Although I majored and teach American Literature, I'm a kind of novice
and lack expertise in MT studies.  So I wait for comments from other
Japanese or Forum members living in Japan.

Ryota Iijima
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