Kyoto Asian Studies Group meeting December 3

Niels  Van Steenpaal's picture

Dear colleagues,

The speaker for the December meeting of the Kyoto Asian Studies Group is Tim Young, who will present “Kanagaki Robun’s Saga denshinroku: Literature, Journalism, History, and the Nation” (see abstract below).


The talk will be held on Tuesday, December 3rd, 18:00-20:00 in Room 212 of the Fusokan on the Doshisha University Campus (see link below for access information).




Kanagaki Robun’s Saga denshinroku: Literature, Journalism, History, and the Nation


In my dissertation, I investigate the specific ways that ideologies of modern literature and nation are articulated, contested, and negotiated in the war correspondence of Japan’s Meiji period (1868-1912). Though today we usually think of journalism and literature as separate spheres, the ideologies of modern literature, nation, and “the news” are intermixed. This is true the world over, but all the more true in the case of Japan. Newspapers and reportage first emerged and flourished in the Meiji period, just when fierce debates were raging over the relationship between literature and lived reality as well as over the “proper” form that a national Japanese literature should take. It was in this context that modern Japanese ideologies of national community, journalism, and literature became inextricably imbricated. 

In this presentation, I will examine Kanagaki Robun’s Saga denshinroku (A Chronicle of the Telegrams from Saga, 1874), a very early example of Meiji war reportage which recounts the events of the Saga Rebellion (February-April 1874). The text can be counted among Robun’s “enlightenment” works, composed between 1872-1877 as the author recanted his playful gesaku literary background and declared his commitment to spreading the early Meiji discourse of civilization and enlightenment. Yet the published form and the written style that Saga denshinroku take are those of the yomihon, a gesaku genre dating well back into the Edo period.  Though this work predates the rise of a widespread discourse of national literature, then, it nonetheless puts on full display the ways that Japanese literature and journalism are intertwined from the beginning.  As early modern attitudes and modes of literary composition are put to the new modern use of news reporting, preexisting and new ideologies of history and nation overlap, merge, and clash in surprising ways.


Tim Young is a PhD candidate in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Stanford University.


Sponsored by the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies. For access information see:



Please refrain from bringing food or drinks into the meeting room.

Contact: Niels van Steenpaal,



About the Kyoto Asian Studies Group:

The KASG is a long-standing Kyoto-based research network that hosts monthly research presentations by experts from various Asian Studies fields. Emphasizing long Q&A sessions, we aim to provide an informal atmosphere in which scholars can freely exchange ideas concerning both finished and in-progress research. Admission is free, and we always welcome new members and presenters.