Reflecting on his own past the uncle realizes that

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Unformatted text preview: century Europe, that man and society could be portrayed with scientific realism through careful observation and clinical recording of the most minute, mundane aspects of human behavior. The Japanese naturalist writers have been strongly criticized, however, for at least two major reasons: first, unlike the European naturalists, they concentrated almost entirely on the individual and made little attempt to relate him to the larger concerns of society; and second, by relying heavily on their own personal experiences to describe life as it really is, they were guilty of immense egoism. Yet, however much they may be criticized for their approach and methods, the naturalists certainly addressed with vigor the theme that has held greatest fascination for modern Japanese novelists: the innermost psychological and emotional life of the individual. The Broken Commandment (Hakai) of Shimazaki Tòson (1872–1943), published in 1906, is generally regarded as the first naturalistic novel in Japan. Shimazaki, a convert to Christianity, had earlier been a contributor of romantic poetry to Bungakukai, and his emergence as a pioneer novelist of the naturalist school suggests that, despite the great differences between the two movements in the context of their historical development in Europe, romanticism and naturalism tended to merge in Japan, particularly in their mutually intense, egocentric concern with the individual. The Broken Commandment tells of Ushimatsu, a member of Japan’s pariah class of eta, who has vowed to his father that he will never reveal his class origins. Even after he completes school and becomes a teacher, Ushimatsu maintains the secret in spite of a growing feeling of guilt that he should speak out and join others who are struggling to achieve social equality for the eta. In the end, Ushimatsu decides to reveal his identity; but, rather than join the fight for minority rights in Japan, he accepts the offer of a job on a ranch in Texas owned by another, expatriate eta. Unlike m...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.

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