In this study, Rachel DiNitto argues forcefully for the literary significance of Uchida Hyakken (1889–1971), an author whose reception was constrained by the destruction of the plates of his first book in the aftermath of the Great Kantô earthquake, by the straddling of genres and of the high–low cultural divide that his subsequent writing entailed, and by the contours of a postwar scholarly discourse that marginalized him in favor of writers who had more explicitly resisted the politics of militarist nationalism. DiNitto argues that Hyakken, a student of Natsume Sōseki and a peer of prominent writers such as Akutagawa Ryûnosuke, confronted modernity by “experimenting with critical language as he responded to the new material realities and the crisis of representation that rendered prewar everyday life fleeting and ephemeral” (p. 3).

Hyakken's approach in his prewar texts (the focus of this book) was to make “the familiar unfamiliar” and to return...

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