David Boyd

Associate Professor of Translation and Japanese Studies, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Faculty Adviser: Atsuko Ueda

Literary Celebrity in Early Twentieth-Century Japan


This dissertation examines the role of celebrity in early twentieth-century Japanese literary culture. It adopts the framework of literary celebrity, which was developed primarily with American and British modernisms in mind, testing its applicability vis-a-vis the modern Japanese case. I argue that this approach allows us to see early twentieth-century Japan's literary history in a radically different light and also serves to strengthen our general understanding of the interplay between celebrity and literature. This study follows a series of postwar essays by literary critics Ito Sei (1905-69), Nakamura Mitsuo (1911-88) and Hirano Ken (1907-78), who proposed a view of modern Japanese literature centered on the author, rather than on the written text. In this dissertation, I focus on magazines, scandals and literary networks in order to call attention to the author as the star of literary production and consumption, demonstrating the extent to which modern Japanese literature is a literature of celebrity.