Abe Yoshishige on 'Masaoka Shiki as a person'
This is a video of a talk by Reiko Abe Auestad (University of Oslo) for the "Haiku as World Literature: A Celebration of the 150th Birthday of Haiku Poet Masaoka Shiki", which took place on October 12 & 13, 2017 at Barristers Hall, Boston University. Recorded on October 12, 2017 by the Geddes Language Center.Reiko Abe Auestad is Professor at the University of Oslo. She is the author of Rereading Soseki: Three Early Twentieth-Century Japanese Novels (1998) which was republished in a digital form from CEAS Reprint Series for Rare and Out of Print Publications at Yale University (2016). Her recent essays include "Invoking Affect in Kawakami Mieko's Chichi to ran (Breasts and Eggs 2008)," Japan Forum (2016) and "Ibuse Masuji's Kuroi Ame (Black Rain 1965) and Imamura Shōhei's Film Adaptation (1989)," Bunron (2017). "The Affect that Disorients Kokoro" in The Review of Japanese Culture and Society and "Colliding Forms in Literary History: A Reading of Natsume Sōseki's Light and Dark" in the Routledge Companion to World Literature and World History are forthcoming. Together with Alan Tansman and Keith J. Vincent, she is also co-editing two collections of essays on the novelist Natsume Sōseki.
Auestad, Reiko Abe
In his essay on Masaoka Shiki on the fiftieth anniversary of his death, Abe Yoshishige discusses his view of Shiki "as a person," based on the anecdotes he has heard from his friends, relatives, and the novelist Natsume Sōseki, as well as on his own reading of some of Shiki's works (sixteen years his junior, Abe's first-hand experience with Shiki was rather limited). Abe's father, Abe Yoshitō, studied the Chinese classics under Shiki's maternal grandfather, Ōhara Kanzan, and his family closely associated with Shiki's mother, uncles and cousins. Yoshitō the doctor even saved Shiki's life when he suffered from cholera as a fourteen-year-old. Abe also talks about Sōseki's jestful description of Shiki as a "nikui otoko," (hateful, or headstrong person) which, together with other comparative observations of them which Abe makes, adds color to his characterization of Shiki. Beneath the tone of characteristic Confucian austerity, we get glimpses of Abe's warm feelings and pride about Shiki's achievement as a native of Matsuyama. Through a reading of this very personal, meandering essay, and Sōseki's short piece titled "Masaoka Shiki," this paper tries to take stock of the figure of Shiki as he appeared to Abe and others, as well as of the homosocial cultural milieu of which Shiki, Sōseki, and Abe Yoshishige were a part in the late nineteenth century.