The Politics Of Dialogic Imagination: Power And Popular Culture In Early Modern Japan

Paperback | November 21, 2013

byKatsuya Hirano

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In The Politics of Dialogic Imagination, Katsuya Hirano seeks to understand why, with its seemingly unrivaled power, the Tokugawa shogunate of early modern Japan tried so hard to regulate the ostensibly unimportant popular culture of Edo (present-day Tokyo)—including fashion, leisure activities, prints, and theater. He does so by examining the works of writers and artists who depicted and celebrated the culture of play and pleasure associated with Edo’s street entertainers, vagrants, actors, and prostitutes, whom Tokugawa authorities condemned to be detrimental to public mores, social order, and political economy.

Hirano uncovers a logic of politics within Edo’s cultural works that was extremely potent in exposing contradictions between the formal structure of the Tokugawa world and its rapidly changing realities. He goes on to look at the effects of this logic, examining policies enacted during the next era—the Meiji period—that mark a drastic reconfiguration of power and a new politics toward ordinary people under modernizing Japan. Deftly navigating Japan’s history and culture, The Politics of Dialogic Imaginationprovides a sophisticated account of a country in the process of radical transformation—and of the intensely creative culture that came out of it.

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In The Politics of Dialogic Imagination, Katsuya Hirano seeks to understand why, with its seemingly unrivaled power, the Tokugawa shogunate of early modern Japan tried so hard to regulate the ostensibly unimportant popular culture of Edo (present-day Tokyo)—including fashion, leisure activities, prints, and theater. He does so by exami...

Katsuya Hirano is associate professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles. 
Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:November 21, 2013Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022606056X

ISBN - 13:9780226060569

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Table of Contents

Introduction
1. Strategies of Containment and Their Aporia
2. Parody and History in Late Tokugawa Culture
3. Comic Realism: A Strategy of Inversion
4. Grotesque Realism: A Strategy of Chaos
5. Reconfiguring the Body in a Modernizing Japan
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Hirano uses Kabuki, illustrated books, and woodblock prints to form the basis of his argument that ‘the Tokugawa government constructed its mechanisms of rule based on a fundamental distrust of the body,’ and he ‘probes the implications of social, economic, and ideological structures after 1868’ in the mind-body relationship. Literary theorists and art and cultural historians will appreciate this linkage to more universal intellectual trends and careful interpretation of specific texts and images.”