The Art and Politics in East Asia Workshop Presents:
From Parliamentary Speeches to Chinese Poetry:
The Privileged Space of Popular Rights Activist Kishida Toshiko’s Diaries (1891-1901)
Ph.D. Candidate , Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations
Friday, February 6
Known as the first female orator of modern Japan, Kishida Toshiko (1864-1901) left behind a decade's worth of diaries which spanned the years after her political activism and ran concurrently with her shift in expressive mode from voice to pen. Kishida's turn toward the less controversial medium of women's educational journals to express her ideas within the public domain was a response to the increasingly restrictive world of the mid-Meiji period (1868-1901). At the same time, Toshiko found in her diaries a unique and privileged space of self-expression that helped her to construct an identity otherwise impermissible in her published writings.
In this talk, I will discuss the specific circumstances surrounding the posthumous publication in 1903 of the final two diaries (1900-1901) and how Kishida's formal language, audience, and public persona in her remaining diaries complicate way we read Meiji women's writing. Kishida also demonstrates also how the expressive space of the diary is communicating with, yet functions outside the limitations of print media and other public platforms. The diary allowed Kishida as a woman writer to multiply her narrative positions regardless of her legal subjugation and social classification and to posthumously contribute an anomalous yet parallel discourse on Meiji women.
No paper will be distributed in advance. The talk will be given at a research university for a Languages and Literatures Department position. We would appreciate comments and questions to the talk, particularly from the position of a non-Japan or non-East Asian specialist.
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