Title

A Tale of Poe and Japan: Edgar Allan Poe’s Influence on Modern Japanese Literature

Presenter Information

Kathryn FisherFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Japanese

Minor

English

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Heneghan

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Since the Meiji era (1868-1912) began in Japan, the genres of mystery and horror have increased in popularity in Japanese literature. Furthermore, the styles of these genres have evolved since then to include more grotesque and fantastical themes. In this paper I will argue how Edgar Allan Poe’s works have influenced and changed Japanese literature from the Meiji era through to modern day. Prior to the Meiji era Japanese literature was obsessed with the natural and real. What changed this was the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe. When Japan’s borders were opened to the outside world, Poe’s literature was allowed into the country. His works influenced authors such as Edogawa Ranpo, who went as far as to adopt a form of Poe’s name as his own penname. In works such as “The Human Chair” Ranpo began to use the theme of “ero-guro-nonsense”, using elements of Poe’s literature to further establish the new genre in Japan. Through his attempt to translate the feeling of Poe’s works into Japanese literature Ranpo created something new. It nevertheless retained many of the same qualities as that of his mentor. More recently manga has become more widely recognized as literature. Among manga authors Ito Junji is known as a master of horror and the grotesque. Ito’s works include a manga retelling of Ranpo’s famous “The Human Chair.” Ito’s interesting in Ranpo’s works has resulted in similarities between his manga and Ranpo’s stories, furthering Poe’s influence in Japanese literature. Between these three writers, recurring themes such as obsession and the grotesque can be seen. By so deeply influencing Ranpo, Poe’s works have continued to influence authors in Japan, furthering the development and wide scope of the mystery and horror genres of literature.

Affiliations

Modern Languages Senior Colloquium

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A Tale of Poe and Japan: Edgar Allan Poe’s Influence on Modern Japanese Literature

Since the Meiji era (1868-1912) began in Japan, the genres of mystery and horror have increased in popularity in Japanese literature. Furthermore, the styles of these genres have evolved since then to include more grotesque and fantastical themes. In this paper I will argue how Edgar Allan Poe’s works have influenced and changed Japanese literature from the Meiji era through to modern day. Prior to the Meiji era Japanese literature was obsessed with the natural and real. What changed this was the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe. When Japan’s borders were opened to the outside world, Poe’s literature was allowed into the country. His works influenced authors such as Edogawa Ranpo, who went as far as to adopt a form of Poe’s name as his own penname. In works such as “The Human Chair” Ranpo began to use the theme of “ero-guro-nonsense”, using elements of Poe’s literature to further establish the new genre in Japan. Through his attempt to translate the feeling of Poe’s works into Japanese literature Ranpo created something new. It nevertheless retained many of the same qualities as that of his mentor. More recently manga has become more widely recognized as literature. Among manga authors Ito Junji is known as a master of horror and the grotesque. Ito’s works include a manga retelling of Ranpo’s famous “The Human Chair.” Ito’s interesting in Ranpo’s works has resulted in similarities between his manga and Ranpo’s stories, furthering Poe’s influence in Japanese literature. Between these three writers, recurring themes such as obsession and the grotesque can be seen. By so deeply influencing Ranpo, Poe’s works have continued to influence authors in Japan, furthering the development and wide scope of the mystery and horror genres of literature.