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Shelley Fisher Fishkin <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 22 Oct 1999 09:04:03 -0500
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        Taylor Roberts' suggestion that the Mark Twain Forum be a host for
bibliographic updates from around the world is a wonderful idea!  I attach
a copy of my cursory overview of Japanese Twain scholarship from the
current Mark Twain Circular to get the ball rolling.
        I applaud the notion of encouraging  all of the international
members of the Forum to send in news of recent Twain-related publications
in their countries.  Given the fact that web access is still not universal,
however, and given the continuing importance of  libraries to researchers
around the world, I would still urge editors of hard-copy print
bibliographies to pay attention to this scholarship, as well.

The following article appeared in vol.13, no. 3 (July-September 1999) of
the MARK TWAIN CIRCULAR, newsletter of the Mark Twain Circle of America.

"Mark Twain in Japan"
Shelley Fisher Fishkin
U of Texas, Austin
President, MTCA

This summer when I  went to Japan to lecture on Mark Twain, I  had only a
vague idea of Mark Twain scholarship there. I was overwhelmed by what I
found. Mark Twain studies in Japan are not just alive and well: (as Twain
himself would have said) they're "booming".
        My introduction to the topic of "Mark Twain in Japan" was a 1963
article by that title in the Mark Twain Journal by Prof. Shunsuke Kamei,
Professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo and Japan's pioneer
Americanist. When I met Prof. Kamei at a reception in Kyoto, he was kind
enough  to bring me a copy of his  1997 article, "Mark Twain in Japan,
Reconsidered,"  that expands on and updates his earlier piece,  summarizing
the history of when and how Twain's works were translated into Japanese,
assessing the relative success and failure of these efforts, and  providing
a brief overview of critical writing on Twain in Japan. (This essay is of
particular value to English-speaking Twain scholars since the two
book-length studies of Twain in Japan by Yoshio Katsuura remain
untranslated, as does Professor Kamei's article, "Mark Twain and Japanese
Fiction," and his books on Twain, the most recent of which came out in
             There is an increasingly large body of Twain criticism written
by Japanese scholars in English.  Indeed, two of the most illuminating
articles that exist on "A True Story" were written in English and published
in Japanese journals by two eminent Japanese Twain scholars, Prof. Makoto
Nagawara (emeritus, Ritsumeikan University) and  Professor Toshio Watanabe
(Japan Women's University). I had known about the first of these essays
previously (and cited it in the appropriate volume of The Oxford Mark
Twain.) But I had not known about Prof. Watanabe's article until he handed
me a copy (along with an excellent piece he published on Twain's
autobiography). I would certainly have my graduate students read both of
these articles when I teach "A True Story" in the future.
        I was brought to Japan by Ritsumeikan University, the Fulbright
Commission, the Japan-U.S. Educational Commission and the Japanese
Association of American Studies, to give a keynote talk at   the Kyoto
American Studies Summer Seminar,  an annual conference of about a hundred
Americanists from Japan, Korea, China and Indonesia. The focus of the
literature section this year was Mark Twain, and a number of fascinating
papers were presented in the three sessions following my keynote address
(which, at the suggestion of my hosts,  focused on Twain's writing around
the turn-of-the-century --principally  Following the Equator, "To the
Person Sitting in Darkness,"  "The Battle Hymn of the Republic (Brought
Down to Date)," "My First Lie and How I Got Out of It," etc.) At Twain
sessions chaired by Professor Watanabe, Professor Masahiro Oikawa
(Ritsumeikan Unjiversity), and Professor Kamei, the following papers were
presented: (1)  Professor Kiyohiko Murayama (Tokyo Metropolitan
University),  "A Response to Professor Fishkin's   Keynote Address";  (2)
Kazuhiko Goto  (Rikkyo University),  "Mark Twain's Sense of an Ending: A
View  on His Attitude Toward Writing at the Turn of the Century; (3)  "Yoko
Mitsuishi  (Toyo University Junior College),  "Mark Twain's Ever-Growing
Curiosity and Vision at the Turn of the Century: Stories Without an
Ending)"; (4) Masago Igawa (Science University of Tokyo), "The Outrage of
Young Satan: Mark Twain's Views on the Imperial Age";  and  (5) Ryo Waguri
(Koka Women's College), "Following the Equator: Twain's Maturity." All of
the papers were stimulating and well-written. Several contained startlingly
fresh insights. I learned something from each of them, and each provoked a
lively discussion.
        Ritsumeikan University will be publishing the conference
proceedings. Libraries and individuals interested in ordering the volume
should contact Center for American Studies at Ritsumeikan University:
[log in to unmask] or [log in to unmask]
         I was happy to to learn  about the plethora of new Twain
translations  that have recently appeared in Japan and to meet  the
scholars responsible  for  them. The most ambitious of these is the series
of twenty volumes that Sairyusha Publishing Company is bringing out.
Fourteen of the books have appeared within the last two years or so, and
the remaining volumes are due out next year. Many  include translations of
the afterwords or introductions from the Oxford Mark Twain. (Professor
Yoshio Kanaya (Kanagawa University), for example, is translating and
editing the 1910 edition of Mark Twain's Speeches  with Hal Holbrook's OMT
introduction).   In addition to the Sairyusha volumes, other Twain books
are being translated as well.  For example, Prof.  Prof. Keiko Nakagawa
(Sonoda Gakuen Women's College) and Prof. Mitsuko Miyamoto (Kobe Gakuin
University ), just published their translation of Dixon Wecter's Mark
Twain's Love Letters this summer.
        The high quality of the papers I heard at the conference, the
animated and engaged nature of the discussions, Sairyusha's translation
project, and the energy and commitment on the part of the faculty and
graduate students I encountered, suggests that Twain scholarship in Japan
will continue to thrive during the coming years. (I strongly urged the
members of the group to submit papers to the next international Twain
conference in Elmira, and I look forward to their contributions.)
          Why are the Japanese so fascinated by Twain? Surely part of
Japanese scholars' enthusiasm for him is related to their sense of him as
somehow being particularly "American."(This is, after all, a country that
also adores baseball and consumes vast quantities of Coca Cola.) But it is
more than that: Japanese scholars are deeply engaged by the moral struggles
Twain explores, the philosophical dilemmas he ponders, the social ills he
exposes, the stylistic innovations he experiments with, his efforts to come
to terms with the challenges of modernity, and his puckish determination to
disrupt our complacency with laughter when we least expect it.  In short,
they are probably attracted to Twain for many of the same reasons scholars
in the U.S. are: Twain is an amazingly rich and intriguing writer whose
works continue to enthrall and excite even after multiple rereadings.
                   Virtually none of the articles  written in English by
Japanese scholars appear in Twain bibliographies published in the U.S.
This vacuum is particularly distressing since there is no language barrier
excuse.   Also disturbing is the exclusion of Asian scholarship  from the
last two volumes of    American Literary Scholarship: An Annual. The most
recent volume, American Literary Scholarship: 1997, edited by Gary
Scharnhorst (University of New Mexico) and published by Duke University
Press contains  75 pages on "Scholarship in Languages Other than English."
I welcome the informative essays on American literary scholarship from
France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Denmark,  Poland,
the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Spain, Costa Rica,  Cuba, Peru,
Argentina, and Mexico. Yet these 75 pages on "Scholarship in Languages
Other than English" have no space for any criticism published in Japan-or
in China, or Korea for that matter
                 From 1975 to 1995, readers of American Literary
Scholarship   had the pleasure of reading overviews of Japanese
.contributions to American literary studies written first by Akiko Miyake
(Kobe College) and later by Keiko Beppu (Kobe Jogakuin University) or
Hiroko Sato (Tokyo Women's Christian University). But in 1996 this section
was   inexplicably missing, and it was still missing in 1997.
        That's a real loss to all Americanists, but particularly to Twain
scholars-and not only because Twain, in his characteristic lucidity, has
helped sensitize us to the dynamics involved in implicitly dismissing the
creative and intellectual achievements of people of another race as
undeserving of our attention. Since 1995, the last year that Japanese
criticism appeared in American Literary Scholarship, a wealth of Japanese
Twain criticism has been published.  I am now personally aware of as many
as  twenty-two  critical articles   published in Japanese journals and
books in 1997 alone by Japanese Twain scholars on works such as  Huck Finn,
No.44,The Mysterious Stranger, Connecticut Yankee, and "The Private
History of a Campaign that Failed." The list includes new essays on
Huckleberry Finn by  Hiko Morishita,  Hisao Fukushi, Fumiko Goto, Masago
Igawa, Yoko Mitsuishi, Kiyohiko Murayama,  Yoshinobu Nakajima, Sumiko
Niimi, Okoshi Takashi,  Hidekazu Tachizaki, and Noboru Yamashita, many of
which appeared in  a Japanese anthology of criticism on Huckleberry Finn
in 1997  co-edited by Professor Igawa  with Professors  Kiyokiko Murayama ,
Hisao Fukushi, and Sumiko Niimi (I welcome the news that a number of these
essays will be noted in the checklist of scholarship on Southern literature
prepared by Prof. Yasuhiro Yoshizaki (Kita-kyushu Univ.) in the forthcoming
Mississippi Quarterly Supplement,  due out later this fall).  Twain
research by Japanese scholars continues to appear; 1998 and 1999 have
brought many additional publications, including two articles by Tsuyoshi
Ishihara on The Innocents Abroad.  When American Literary Scholarship again
includes work by Japanese scholars--and I understand that plans are under
way to  do so in the next volume, the 1998 annual--I hope that research
published during the  "missing" years (1996 and 1997) will be included, as
        While readers of American Literary Scholarship have been deprived
of two years of publications by Japanese Twain scholars, they have never
had the opportunity to acquaint themselves with publications on Twain or
other American writers by their colleagues in China.  Between 1979 and 1989
alone, Chinese scholars published some three hundred thirty articles on
American literature in Chinese journals (Yang). To the best of my
knowledge, not one of these articles-nor any of the hundreds of articles
published in China during the last ten years-made  it into American
Literary Scholarship. The same is true of the hundreds of articles on
American literature published in Korea.
           Americanists in the West  have cut ourselves off from important
primary as well as secondary sources through our insularity. Thirty years
before he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, Japan's Nobel laureate,
Kenzaburo Oe, wrote an important essay on Huckleberry Finn  that is
well-known in Japan but remains untranslated   Americans lose out when
we're deprived of a Nobel Prize winner's extended meditations on
Huckleberry Finn, just as we lose out when our bibliographies omit the two
excellent articles in English on "A True Story" by Japanese scholars.
         In her 1998 Presidential Address to the American Studies
Association, Janice Radway pondered whether the association should change
its name; the current name struck her as perhaps too arrogant and
imperialistic. (When I  asked the Literature Section of the  Kyoto American
Studies Summer Seminar what they thought of the possibility she  raised,
hands shot up from professors from Korea and China. A professor of American
Studies from Korea was aghast. "Don't do it," he warned. "If you do, a lot
of us will be out of jobs!" The professor from Beijing expressed
puzzlement: "In my University we have Japanese Studies, Chinese Studies,
American Studies. What's the problem?")   The American Studies community in
the U.S. may well have a problem on the arrogance front, but not one that
can be solved by a name change. It would be more productive to target what
Maureen Montgomery (University of Canterbury, New Zealand), chair of the
International Committee of ASA, has called the "one way only" flow of
ideas. It would be more constructive to pay more attention to valuable work
in the field that is being done in parts of the world that scholars in the
U.S. tend to ignore.
        The Longfellow Project at Harvard has recently pioneered in
recovering literature written within the geographical borders of what is
now United States in languages other than English. The most recent
publication to come out of the project,  Multilingual America;
Transnationalism, Ethnicity and the Languages of American Literature
edited by Werner Sollors, features essays about American novels, poems,
stories and plays written in Spanish, Yiddish, German, Japanese, Chinese,
etc.  Given Radway's fears that "American Studies" as a field needs to
beware of  indulging in imperialistic arrogance, and given the Longfellow
Project's recognition of the existence of American literature in languages
other than English, giving more attention and respect to work in American
literature by scholars outside the U.S., and in languages other than
English would seem to be a logical next step.
                   As Twain scholars, we need to develop strategies for
making sure that more of this interesting work by Japanese scholars (in
both Japanese and English) finds its way into Twain bibliographies in the
future. And as American literature specialists, we need to encourage the
editors  of American Literary Scholarship  to open its pages on a regular
basis to work  published in Japan, China and Korea. There is no shortage of
qualified scholars who could do the job. Indeed, many of them appear in the
photos in this circular.

Works Cited

(Works with asterisks have not been translated into English. What follows
is of necessity only a very abbreviated and partial listing of the
voluminous scholarship on Twain in  Japan. I am grateful to Tsuyoshi
Ishihara  for his assistance.)

*Igawa, Masago, Kiyohiko Murayama, Hisao Fukushi and Sumiko Niimi, editors.
Ima "Huck Finn" wo Do
        Yomuka [Rereading 'Huck Finn' in the 1990s](Kyoto: Kyoto
Shugakusha, 1997)
        [includes essays by Hisao Fukushi, Fumiko Goto, Masago Igawa, Yoko
Mitsuishi, Kiyohiko
        Murayama, Yoshinobu Nakajima,Sumiko Niimi, Hidekazu Tachizaki,
Noboru Yamashita].
 *Ishihara, Tsuyoshi. "Shohi no Monogatari toshite no The Innocents
        Abroad" ["The Innocents Abroad as a Consumer Narrative.]
        "The American Review 33 (Tokyo: The Japanese
        Association for American Studies, 1999).
*_____"Kindai to Zenkindai no Hazamade: The Innocents Abroad ni okeru Mark
["Mark Twain in the
        Modern and Pre-Modern World: A Study of The Innocents Abroad."]
Albion 44, (Kyoto:
        The English Literary Society at Kyoto University, 1998).
Kamei, Shunsuke. "Mark Twain in Japan." Mark Twain Journal 12.1
        (spring 1963): 10-11.
_________  "Mark Twain in Japan, Reconsidered," in  Crosscurrents in the
Literatures of Asia and the
         West: Essays in Honor of A. Owen Aldridge, Edited by Masayuki
Akiyama and Yieu-nam
         Leung (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1997).
*_____ "Mark Twain to Nihon no Shosetsu," ["Mark Twain and Japanese
Fiction," in Meriken kara
        Amerika  he: Nichi-Bei bunka koshoshi oboegaki [Essays on Cultural
Relations Between Japan
         and America](Tokyo:Daigaku Shuppankai, 1979)
*_____  Mark Twain's World  (1995). (Tokyo: Nan'un-Do, 1995)
*Katsuura, Yoshio, Nihon ni okeru Mark Twain [Mark Twain in Japan, A Survey
and Bibliography]
        (Tokyo: Kirihara Shoten, 1979 )
*__________ Zoku Nihon ni okeru Mark Twain  [Mark Twain in Japan,
Continued] ((Tokyo: Kirihara
        Shoten 1988)
Montgomery, Maureen. "Introduction: The Construction of an
        International American Studies Community," in "Roundtable:
        The Imagined Community of International American Studies,"
          American Studies International, June 1999, vol. XXXVII, No. 2.
*Morishita, Kazuhiko ["Changes in Mark Twain's View  of American
        History"] in Hyakunen Mae no America: Seikitenkanki
        no America Shakai to Bunka [American Society and Culture at
        the turn of the Century], ed.Takashi Sasaki, et al., (Kyoto:
        Shugakusha, 1995).
 Nagawara, Makoto. "'A True Story' and Its Manuscript: Mark
        Twain's Image of the American Black," Poetica: An International
        Journal of Linguistic Literary Studies xxix:xxx (Tokyo, 1989)
*__________Mark Twain wo Yomu [Reading the Works of Mark
        Twain] (Kyoto: Yamaguchi Shoten, 1992)
*Oe, Kenzaburo, "America Ryokosha no Yume: Jigoku ni iku
        Huckleberry Finn" ["The Dream of a Traveler in America:
        Huckleberry Finn Going to Hell] Sekai 1966 Sep. (Tokyo:
        Iwanami): 229-240.
Scharnhorst, Gary, editor, American Literary Scholarship: An  Annual, 1997.
Durham: Duke University
        Press, 1999.
Sollors, Werner, ed. Multilingual America : Transnationalism, Ethnicity and
the Languages of American
         Literature (New York: NYU Press, 1998).
 Watanabe, Toshio. "In Search of a New Edition of Mark Twain's
Autobiography." Kyoto American
        Studies Summer Seminar Specialists Conference (Kyoto,1986), pp.
________"Mark Twain's Debut in 'The Atlantic Monthly': A Study in
        Comparison of 'A True Story.'" Studies in American Literature,
        No. 4, 1967 (American Literature Society of Japan), pp. 48-63.
Yang, Aching, A Guide to Essays of American Studies in China, 1979-
        1989, cited in Poping Lin, "Integrating American Studies with
        China's Intellectual  Discourse." American Studies International.
        February 1997, Vol. XXXXV, no.1, pp. 72-90.