Download Japan in the Victorian Mind: A Study of Stereotyped Images by Toshio Yokoyama PDF

By Toshio Yokoyama

ISBN-10: 1349083747

ISBN-13: 9781349083749

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Additional info for Japan in the Victorian Mind: A Study of Stereotyped Images of a Nation 1850–80

Example text

Russell's writing suggests this point. In his Dublin Review article of 1852, he never resorted to European similes in order to explain things Japanese to his readers. However, Russell's case was unique. As will be shown later, many writers from this period started revelling in their discoveries of affinity between Japan and Europe. One can easily imagine that their readers, lacking many illustrations to guide them, tended to conceive 'Japan' in terms of a mental mosaic of various images which these metaphors and analogies created in their minds.

15 As regards the racial origin of the Japanese, Osborn first noted their Japan and the J:'dinburgh Publishers 25 apparent resemblance to the Kanaka races of the South-Sea Islands, 16 but gradually became convinced of Kaempfer's theory about their Semitic origin. 17 Encouraged by this belief in the original affinity between the Europeans and the Japanese, Osborn also compared the Japanese with the people of 'Morea [Peloponnesus]', and pointed out: Japan shows signs of a high order of civilisation, energy, industry and wealth, which modern Greece decidedly does not exhibit, whatever it did in olden days.

In their effort to explain Japan's 'singularity' to their readers, they were to use some effective devices. Their method was to discover various analogies from images which were familiar to British readers. For instance, Knox described this secluded country as a tempting 'forbidden fruit'. 86 Biblical metaphors as a means of explaining Japan were to flourish in magazine and review articles even after the opening of its ports to the West. Because images of the East in the minds of many Victorians had often been formed by illustrations of the Eastern world in children's editions of the Bible, it must have been natural for writers to use tales from the Bible in order to introduce readers to the country.

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