Organized Panel Session
The paper explores the connection of East and West in formulating the ideal of modern literature in Japan and China. The establishment of a modern literary identity and modern modes of production marked the beginning of an era of modern humanity in East Asia.
The proposed paper focuses on Natsume Sōseki and Lu Xun, arguably the most important literary figures in both countries, who fostered the concept of “modern literature” and became respectively “the father of modern literature” and “a national writer” in China and Japan. In particular, l argue that personal experiences of studying abroad by the two authors planted the seeds for the formation of East Asian modern literatures and inaugurated a tense and constant shifting dynamic between the literary East and West.
Within the context of early twentieth century Imperialism and Colonialism, these two writers shared their views on colonialism, national character, traditional East Asian literary praxis, and the ambivalence they felt toward their roles as cultural mediators.
Using their lived experience and writings as a framework, this paper explores issues of code switching (both linguistic and cultural), race and empire, and the nature of graduated coloniality and transformative mimicry in both global and regional settings.