Journal Articles

December 2019 - Vol.50/No.1
Humorous Othello: Tarokaja Masuda’s New Othello (1907) and the Value of Comedy
Author : Ayami Oki-Siekierczak
Keywords : Shakespeare in Japan, Othello, Tarokaja Masuda (1875-1953), Suiin Emi, Otojiro Kawakami, comedy
Ever since Shakespeare was introduced to Japan in the late nineteenth century, the Bard has been regarded as an icon of the modernized West, a teacher of wisdom, an authoritative source of knowledge, and a master to whom utmost respect was due. Tragedies, a genre invoking solemnity and thought to befit a serious playwright, dominated the scenes of early Shakespeare reception. Shakespearean transadaptations in Japan often omitted bawdy language in conformance with the Bard’s solemn stature, so that the ennobled Shakespearean language could remain “proper.” During such a period, a unique comedy writer, Tarokaja Masuda (1875-1953), went against the grain by making Othello humorous, accessible, satirical, and full of slapstick. This paper brings attention to Masuda’s forgotten New Othello (1907), a comic spin-off derived from one of the most renowned box-office hits of Shakespeare in early twentieth-century Japan—a localized Othello (1903) adapted by Suiin Emi (1869-1934) and produced by Otojiro Kawakami (1864-1911). This paper argues for New Othello’s contribution to the development of comedy as a worthy genre as well as its revision of creative approaches to Shakespeare in Japan. New Othello not only embodies the malleability of generic perception, but also familiarizes and popularizes Shakespeare for a wider, entertainment-seeking audience. Last but not least, New Othello manifests the social capacity of comedies by demonstrating the transformative power of trust and love. New Othello further grants a happy ending to a cross-cultural and cross-class marriage in stark contrast to Shakespeare’s Othello, wherein inter-racial and cross-class relationships could not last. The successful productions of this neglected play in Taiwan (1909) and in Tokyo (2018) bore witness to New Othello’s theatrical cogency and sustained legacy, currently unexplored by the academic community.
Ecological Redistribution and Historical Sustainability in Wu Ming-yi’s Two Novels
Author : Lin-chin Tsai
Keywords : Wu Ming-yi, ecocriticism, ecological redistribution, historical sustainability, settler colonialism
This paper discusses how literary imagination reflects on and intervenes in the discussion of sustainability and makes Taiwan studies sustainable on a global scale in Taiwanese writer Wu Ming-yi’s two novels, The Man with the Compound Eyes (Fuyan ren 複眼人) and The Stolen Bicycle (Danche shiqie ji 單車失竊記). Drawing on contemporary theories of ecocriticism in conjunction with French philosopher Jacques Rancière’s theorization of “redistribution,” this paper argues that The Man with the Compound Eyes performs an act of “ecological redistribution” through which it not only actively engages in global production of environmental literature but also critiques the Han-centered historiography and settler multiculturalism in the local context of Taiwan. Furthermore, by re-conceptualizing interethnic representation in The Stolen Bicycle and placing this novel into integrated world history, I contend that Wu’s novel challenges the colonial hierarchy structuring the relationship between the anthropologist and the ethnographic object by depicting an interethnic encounter between a Han novelist and an indigenous photographer. In so doing, The Stolen Bicycle demonstrates the potentiality of “historical sustainability” by revisiting the period of World War II in order to show the complexity of Taiwan’s history and its multiple connections with world history, or more precisely, Taiwan’s “sustainable relations” with the world. Thus, in Wu’s literary imagination and intervention, the relationship between Taiwan and the world is always in the process of becoming, always resilient, renewable, and sustainable.
Emily Dickinson’s Idiosyncratic Use of the Bible and Definition of Related Religious Subjects
Author : Mei-shu Chen
Keywords : skeptical, nonconformist, idiosyncratic, multiple definitions/ perceptions, exploration, interrogation
Emily Dickinson’s writing reflects features of religion which had an embedded influence on her contemporary thinking, norms, ideas about gender roles, and language. In Dickinson’s cultural, religious, and social milieu framed within the context of the theological system, she was instructed not only to adhere to the gospel principles and fixed interpretations of the Bible but also to yield to established religious authority in the definition and usage of scripture and language. She read Noah Webster’s dictionary, which reflects his “encouragement of quietude and deference” in orthodox religion, “as a priest his breviary.” She also “couldn’t get along very well without” the Bible in her early life. Nevertheless, to Dickinson, who recognized the mighty ability of the brain, the power of words, and the possible confinement of inculcated beliefs, conformity to dull received definitions, interpretations, and usage was unacceptable. This article argues that many of Dickinson’s writings reveal her intention not to be “still” in the closet of revealed religion or received notions but to be heir to Puritan constant self-examination, to actively interrogate her religious inheritance, to pass beyond the confines of established definitions, and to explore and search for truths, thereby often demonstrating her unique, inspiring, and multiple perspectives on religious themes and concepts. Poems composed by a poet with a “nimble” and unconfined brain that can divine alternative and multifaceted perceptions of religious subjects may initially appear to be exegesis or definition verse in which she tries to expound religious beliefs. In fact, however, they often conclude without an exact or final resolution and present nonconformist thinking that sometimes directly challenges, suspends, and subverts settled definitions, interpretations, or explications. In effect, Dickinson often enacts the role of a midwife, who does not directly present wisdom or instruct truths but invites an examination of received beliefs and offers insight into those explored or defined.
The Outlook of the Asian Shakespeare Association
Author : Bi-qi Beatrice Lei
Keywords :
Shakespeare in Manga and Anime
Author : Yukari Yoshihara
Keywords :
Approaching the Monstrous: A Few Thoughts on Monster Studies in Taiwan
Author : Yung-chao Liao
Keywords :
Reconsidering Love in Japanese and Korean Trendy Dramas
Author : Wan-shuan Lin
Keywords :