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  • The Proletarian Literature Movement: Japan’s First Encounter with Working-Class Literature

    Mats Karlsson

    Chapter from the book: Lennon J. & Nilsson M. 2020. Working-Class Literature(s) Volume II: Historical and International Perspectives.

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    This essay explores Japanese working-class literature as it developed within the wider context of the so-called Proletarian Cultural Movement that was in operation for about ten years, peaking in the late 1920s. While tracing the origins of the initiative to create a “proletarian” literature in Japan to Marxist study circles at universities, it discusses the movement’s quest to foster “true” worker writers based on the factory floor. Next, the chapter highlights literary works by female writers who were encouraged at the time by international communism’s focus on the Japanese women issue due to their high inclusion in the industrial work force. Finally, the chapter discusses the legacy and continuing relevance of Kobayashi Takiji’s The Crab Cannery Ship, the flagship of working-class literature in Japan. Throughout, the essay endeavors to paint a vivid picture of writer activists within the movement.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Karlsson, M. 2020. The Proletarian Literature Movement: Japan’s First Encounter with Working-Class Literature. In: Lennon J. & Nilsson M (eds.), Working-Class Literature(s) Volume II. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16993/bbf.e

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on Dec. 21, 2020


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