Johnson in Japan.
Samuel Johnson, like other Europeans of his time, knew little about Japan, and would have used the word "japan" to describe lacquered furniture more often that to describe the nation. However, when the policy of seclusion was lifted in the late 19th century, Japan very quickly knew a lot about Johnson. Rasselas was widely used as a textbook for children to learn English. In the 20th century, Japan's Johnson studies began in earnest, led by the scholar Kenji Ishada, and blossomed into studies of other writers in Johnson's sphere. This intriguing collection of essays gives Westerners a view of Johnson from the Orient, and brings hope for expanded exchanges of ideas between cultures separated by half the planet. The contributors, all members of the Johnson Society of Japan, include Hideichi Eto, Noriyuki Harada, Kimiyo Ogawa, Yuri Yohsino, Mika Suzuki, Miki Iwata, Noriyuki Hattori, Tadayuki Fukumoto, Masaaki Ogura, and Hitoshi Suwabe. You'll be forgiven for starting with Chapter Four, Yoshino's discussion of the reception of Johnson and Austen in Japan by Soseki Natsume's 1907 book Theory of Literature, with its examinations of Austen's realism. The bibliography offers a healthy mix of East and West resources for scholars. Bucknell University Press. 2021. Paper. NEW. $34.00