By Michiko Suzuki
Providing a clean exam of girls writers and prewar ideology, this publication breaks new flooring in its research of affection as a severe element of jap tradition through the early to mid-twentieth century. As a literary and cultural background of affection and feminine id, Becoming sleek Women makes a speciality of same-sex love, love marriage, and maternal love―new phrases at the moment; in doing so, it exhibits how the assumption of "woman," in the context of a colourful print tradition, was once built throughout the sleek event of affection. writer Michiko Suzuki's paintings enhances present scholarship on lady identities akin to "Modern lady" and "New Woman," and translates women's fiction along side nonfiction from a variety of media―early feminist writing, sexology books, newspapers, bestselling love treatises, local ethnology, and historiography. whereas illuminating the ways that girls used and challenged rules approximately love, Suzuki explores the historic and ideological shifts of the interval, underscoring the wider connections among gender, modernity, and nationhood.
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Extra resources for Becoming modern women : love and female identity in prewar Japanese literature and culture
By reiterating acceptable views of sentimental friendship, these stories could be published en masse by publishers eager to supply girl readers, a newly emergent consumer base for age- and genderspecific fiction. At the same time, however, Flower Tales opens up resistant modes of interpretation, allowing readers to see same-sex love and girlhood in new ways, and to question compulsory heterosexual development and ideas about female youth. In other words, Flower Tales enriches the adolescent female-female romance with layers of meaning, portraying it as a pure, positive experience necessary to achieve a modern female identity, but also as a subversive space that articulates difference.
By arguing that girlhood same-sex love is a manifestation of preheterosexual innocence, however, Yoshiya is not accepting the notion that it is girls and virgins an inferior copy of “real” (heterosexual) love. She imbues this love with so much worth that it becomes far superior to any other form of love to come in the girl’s future. In Flower Tales, therefore, same-sex love is a unique aspect of girlhood, to be cherished; it is also an impending loss to be continuously mourned. ”13 Certainly it made the constant longing for girlhood and the fear for its loss a quintessential part of female identity.
25 This theoretical concept of stuttering illuminates the textual form of Flower Tales as an encoding of girlhood and same-sex love. The narrative linking that occurs through the use of “······” and “—” connotes girlhood, a special space that is circular, closed, and separate from the heterosexual world. At the same time, however, the broken-off words and phrases ending in six-dot ellipses and dashes (in contrast to the full, grammatically stable sentence) imply incompleteness; the girls in these stories have not fully matured and are not yet complete vis-à-vis the trajectory of female growth.