Why Saikaku was memorable but Bakin was unforgettable

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This essay reconsiders the motivations and results of the “rediscovery” of the author Ihara Saikaku in the Meiji period. Conventionally, the re-evaluation of Saikaku is seen as a nationalist reaction to Westernization; however, this essay situates it within the increasing prevalence of reprints of texts by Kyokutei Bakin, the eclectic literary interests of Awashima Kangetsu, and the personal expectations of Uchida Roan, who represented Saikaku as an alternative to Bakin. It identifies an inversion of the Meiji literary marketplace within the English-language canon of literature of the Edo period—Saikaku is omnipresent and Bakin is all but forgotten.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-121
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Japanese Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


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