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Recasting Red Culture in Proletarian JapanChildhood, Korea, and the Historical Avant-Garde$
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Samuel Perry

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838935

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838935.001.0001

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Writing on the Wall

Writing on the Wall

Kabe Shōsetsu and the Proletarian Avant-Garde

(p.70) Chapter 3 Writing on the Wall
Recasting Red Culture in Proletarian Japan

Samuel Perry

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter is constructed around six translated works of “wall fiction,” a literary genre that was celebrated in the early 1930s as a unique Japanese contribution to international experiments in revolutionary form. Taking up issues of gender, popular culture, antiwar activism, and colonial education, these stories collectively show how proletarian literature deserves a place in the history of Japanese modernism as well as the historical avant-garde. For proletarian cultural workers fiction followed certain artistic principles that helped writers create meanings resonating with the life experiences of their readers. But the development of fictional forms was also inseparable from the processes of history, and thus fiction could be seen as both subject to and an agent of social transformation. The story of wall fiction shows how proletarian literature thus became the sustained focus of aesthetic speculation and simultaneously an act of social participation.

Keywords:   wall fiction, Japanese literature, proletarian movement, proletarian literature, social transformation, social participation

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