日本語 | English

■ Featuring "Tanka Collections," March 31 to April 29







Atom_feed
The Drifting Cloud
The Beginning of the Japanese Modern Literature
Date:07, Mar, 2021
Investigated and Written by Misaka Youhei
About our introductory articles


What does the 19th century mean to Asia including Japan? It was the terrible times that their peace was disturbed by the western countries like the United Kingdom and America. The western got so elated for the Industrial Revolution which happened in the latter 18th century, one by one invaded Asian countries like India and China. In 1804, Mughal Empire (India) became a protectorate of England. Affected by that, China was involved into the Opium War by England in 1940. It is very popular that China had to transfer Hong Kong to England as the result. In 1857 India, countless people rebelled to oppressive England and happened the Indian Rebellion, which caused the ruin of Mughal Empire.

Asia faced trouble by the western nations in the middle of the 19th century. In 1853, the US Navy led by Matthew C. Perry came to Japan for demanding the opening of Japan. Considering about what the world situation told, they could do nothing but obey. Or America invaded Nippon, they thought. Japan stopped the national isolation policy they had kept since the 17th century, opened and tried to modernize in a rush. Or the western would mercilessly invade Japan, they seriously thought. For modernizing themselves, they had to take in many western things. In other words, Japan needed many translators. So they set their educational system in 1872, several schools and universities were there for training intellectuals to help their modernization.

Futabatei Shimei (1864-1909) was one of the intellectuals. He learned Russian language and Russian literature so hard in Tokyo University of Foreign Studies that he entered in 1881. He translated and introduced several Russian stories by Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev and Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy. And they say he was absorbed in Russian literature. He decided to write his own novel one day. And his virgin novel appeared as the Drifting Cloud (Ukigumo) in 1887 when he was 23 years old.

Today some say the Drifting Cloud was the beginning of the Japanese modern literature. It means that our modern and present literature will never be without Futabatei Shimei. He was originally willing to become a diplomat when he got in the university, they say. On learning Russian language, he was absorbed in Russian novels. We Japanese people must thank to Russian literature.

about The Drifting Cloud

・Written by Futabatei Shimei





 

A Dark Night's Passing
Shiga Naoya Showed His Childishness?

Beast in the Shadows
Comeback of Edogawa Rampo