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The Youth of ThingsLife and Death in the Age of Kajii Motojiro$
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Stephen Dodd

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838409

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838409.001.0001

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Illness as Empowerment

Illness as Empowerment

Chapter:
(p.7) 1 Illness as Empowerment
Source:
The Youth of Things
Author(s):

Stephen Dodd

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824838409.003.0001

This chapter explains how tuberculosis as a cultural trope provided Kajii Motojirō with a richly productive cultural framework and a literary vocabulary to explore his relationship with life and death from different perspectives. It places Kajii's literary representation of illness into a larger context by focusing on Michael Bourdaghs's views about how hygiene emerged as a matter of national concern in Japan during the Meiji period. In particular, it considers quarantine as a technique for effective population surveillance, in which infected individuals were isolated away from healthy ones. It also examines Charles Baudelaire's influence on Kajii's literary representations of illness and concludes by looking at Kajii's articulation of his evolving relationship with the real possibility of death, and especially his individualistic portrayal of darkness.

Keywords:   tuberculosis, Kajii Motojirō, life, death, illness, Michael Bourdaghs, hygiene, quarantine, Charles Baudelaire, darkness

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