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Title: Of friendship and hospitality : Victorian women's travel writing on Meiji Japan
Author: Kumojima, Tomoe
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis explores the possibility and challenges of international/interracial female friendship and anti-communitarian hospitality through writings of Victorian female travellers to Meiji Japan between 1854 and 1918. It features three travellers, viz. Isabella Bird, Mary Crawford Fraser, and Marie Stopes. The introduction delineates the context of key events in the Anglo-Japanese relationship and explores the representation of Japan in Victorian travelogues and literary works. Chapter I considers the philosophical dialogue between Jean-Luc Nancy, Maurice Blanchot, and Jacques Derrida on community, friendship, and hospitality. It demonstrates the potential of applying their thinking, notwithstanding its occasional complicity, to an analysis of the place of hitherto marginalised groups, women and foreigners, in Western philosophical models. Chapter II examines relationships between Bird and Japanese natives, especially her interpreter, Ito in Unbeaten Tracks in Japan (1880) in terms of questions of stable identity and translation. It further undertakes a comparative study between the travelogue and Itō no koi (2005) by Nakajima Kyōko. I explore the afterlife of Bird in Japanese literature. Chapter III investigates friendships in Fraser’s A Diplomatist’s Wife in Japan (1898). It uncovers her connection with Japanese female writers in oblivion, Yei Theodra Ozaki and Wakamatsu Shizuko. I discuss the influence her friendships had on Fraser’s fictional works such as The Stolen Emperor (1903), especially on the fair portrayals of Japanese women. Chapter IV explores friendships between the sexes in Stopes’ A Journal from Japan (1910) and articulates its relationship with Love-Letters of a Japanese (1911) and Plays of Old Japan (1913). I examine Stopes’ romantic relationship with Fujī Kenjirō and its influence on her career in sexology. It also investigates Stopes’ collaboration with Sakurai Jōji on Nō translation and exposes complex gender, racial, and linguistic politics. The conclusion explores three Japanese female travellers to Victorian Britain, focusing on their contact with local women. It considers Tsuda Umeko’s Journal in London, Yasui Tetsu’s Wakakihi no ato, and Yosano Akiko’s Pari yori (1914).
Supervisor: Mukherjee, Ankhi Sponsor: Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English Language and Literature ; English and Old English literature ; Victorian Literature ; Postcolonialism ; Travel Writing ; Victorian Female Travellers ; Politics of Friendship ; Representation of Japan ; Japonisme in Victorian Britain