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Passionate FriendshipThe Aesthetics of Girl's Culture in Japan$
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Deborah Shamoon

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835422

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835422.001.0001

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The Emergence of the Shōjo and the Discourse of Spiritual Love in Meiji Literature

The Emergence of the Shōjo and the Discourse of Spiritual Love in Meiji Literature

(p.14) Chapter 1 The Emergence of the Shōjo and the Discourse of Spiritual Love in Meiji Literature
Passionate Friendship

Deborah Shamoon

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the emergence of the shōjo and the discourse of spiritual love in Meiji literature. In particular, it considers the formation of the patriarchal image of the shōjo in its foundational moment by analyzing three seminal novels of the Meiji period: Ukigumo (Floating Clouds, 1887) by Futabatei Shimei; Yabu no uguisu (A Warbler in the Grove, 1888) by Miyake Kaho; and Futon (The Quilt, 1907) by Tayama Katai. The chapter first explains how the concept of spiritual love entered the public discourse in Japan and how closely it was tied to the public status of schoolgirls. It then explores how the intersection of increased educational opportunities for girls and a new philosophy of romantic love gave rise to an image of the shōjo as both alluring and threatening, the embodiment of the promise and the dangers of modernity.

Keywords:   shōjo, spiritual love, patriarchal image, novels, Meiji period, Futabatei Shimei, Miyake Kaho, Tayama Katai, schoolgirls, modernity

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