Three-Dimensional Reading: Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932
280pp. July 2013
Three-Dimensional Reading: Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932
Editor: Yiu, Angela;
A 29th-century dystopian society seen through the eyes of a mutant-cum-romantic poet; a post-impressionist landscape of orbs and cubes experienced by a wandering underdog; an imaginary sick room generated entirely from sounds reaching the ears of an invalid: These and other haunting re-presentations of time and space constitute the Japanese modernist landscape depicted in this volume of stories from the 1910s to the 1930s.

The fourteen stories selected for this anthology—by both relatively unknown and “must-read” authors—experiment with a protean modernist style in the vivacious period between the nation-building Meiji and the early years of Showa. The writers capture imaginary temporal and spatial dimensions that embody forms of futuristic urban space, colonial space, utopia, dystopia, and heterotopia. Their work invites readers to abandon the conventional naturalistic approach to spatial and temporal representations and explore how the physical and empirical experience of time and space is distorted and reconfigured through the prism of modernist Japanese prose.

An introduction and prefatory materials provide historical and critical context for Japanese modernism, making Three-Dimensional Reading a valuable teaching text not only for the study of modern Japanese literature, but for world literature, global modernism, and utopian studies as well. The volume also includes drawings by contemporary artist Sakaguchi Kyōhei, whose ability to create a stunning visual reality beyond the borders of time and place is a testament to the power and reverberations of the modernist imagination.

5 illus.
“This book makes an important contribution to our understanding of Japanese modernism. The translations, each with a helpful and thought-provoking introduction, have been skillfully chosen to offer fresh insights on canonical writers or contribute to our understanding of lesser-known authors. All of the stories are interesting, and several are truly remarkable. I highly recommend the volume for both Asian and comparative literature programs.” —William Gardner, Swarthmore College 

Three-Dimensional Reading highlights a broad spectrum of modernist approaches to the representation of space and time. All of the translations are excellent, both accurate and fluid, and the collection as a whole should attract a range of readers interested in modernism or Japanese literature and culture.” —Seiji Lippit, UCLA
Editor: Yiu, Angela;
Angela Yiu is professor of Japanese literature at the Faculty of Liberal Arts at Sophia University, Tokyo.
Read the Introduction (PDF).
Introduction by Angela Yiu 

Part I Scenes of the Mind 

Natsume Soseki 
A Strange Sound (Hen na oto, 1911) 

Uno Koji 
The Law Student in the Garret (Yaneura no hogakushi, 1918) 

Kajii Motojiro 
Scenes of the Mind (Aru kokoro no fukei, 1926) 

Kawabata Yasunari 
The Sound of Footsteps (Ningen no ashioto, 1925) 

Part II Time and Urban Space 

Inagaki Taruho 
Astromania (Tentai shikosho, 1928) 

Tamura Taijiro 
Configuration (Keitai, 1932) 

Yokomitsu Riichi 
The Underside of Town (Machi no soko, 1925) 

Hori Tatsuo 
Aquarium (Suizokukan, 1930) 

Ryutanji Yu 
Pavement Snapshots (Peibumento sunappu–yonaka kara asa made, 1930) 

Nakajima Atsushi 
Landscape with an Officer: A Sketch in 1923 (Junsa no iru fukei, 1929) 

Part III Utopia and Dystopia 

Tanizaki Jun’ichiro 
A Golden Death (Konjiki no shi, 1916) 

Akutagawa Ryunosuke 
Wonder Island (Fushigi na shima, 1924) 

Sato Haruo 
A Record of Nonchalant (Nonsharan kiroku, 1929) 

Yumeno Kyusaku 
Hell in a Bottle (Binzume no jigoku, 1928) 

Selected Bibliography 
List of Contributors