日付変更線 International Date Line

Mark McHarry wrote a thoughtful, detailed review of my book Writing the Love of Boysfor the online Australian journal Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific.  He begins, 

Edogawa Ranpo (1894–1965) and Inagaki Taruho (1900–1977) were widely read in early twentieth-century Japan. Murayama Kaita’s (1896–1919) works would prove influential among other authors. Writing the Love of Boys shows how they sought new ways to describe non-heteronormative sexuality in literature, and in so doing developed an aestheticism that would be taken up, in part, by boys’ love.[2] Of the three, and in English, Ranpo’s works may be the most anthologised, but his keen interest in male homoeroticism is not widely known, and the homoerotic writings of Kaita and Taruho perhaps less so. Jeffrey Angles situates their work in modernist Japanese literature, mainly during the Taishō (1912–1926) and pre-war Shōwa (1926–1989) periods. His book is a fascinating glimpse of male-male desire in literature at a time of cultural and political ferment in Japan, and well worth reading by anyone interested in Japanese modernism, Japanese homoeroticism, or boys’ love.

Thank you, Mark, for the review!

Roland Barthes, by Roland Barthes
Here Barthes anticipates queer theory before the word “queer theory” ever came into existence. 

Roland Barthes, by Roland Barthes

Here Barthes anticipates queer theory before the word “queer theory” ever came into existence. 

高橋睦郎の英訳の表紙(近刊)
ミネソタ大学出版部(2012年秋予定)

In fall 2012, University of Minnesota Press will be publishing two books by one of Japan’s most important poets, TAKAHASHI Mutsuo 高橋睦郎.  One is my translation of Twelve Views from the Distance 『十二の遠景』, a sumptuously beautiful book first published in 1970.  This book describes Takahashi’s troubled, impoverished early life in rural, southern Japan and the ways that his family’s fortunes intersected with the rise of the Japanese empire and World War II. Takahashi’s friend, the novelist MISHIMA Yukio 三島由紀夫, lauded the book with these words.  

It is magnificent that in this book, Twelve Views from the Distance, the poet Mutsuo Takahashi has managed to achieve firm prose that, while unmistakably the work of a poet, shines with a black luster much like a set of drawers crafted by a master of old. This book is a magnificent collection of sensations and of memories, much like the toys we might find in a dark closet.

The other forthcoming book by Takahashi is a reissue of Hiroaki Sato’s translation Poems of a Penisist, which brings together much of Takahashi’s most important early poetry, much of which deals with existentialist themes and homoerotic material.  This collection includes the long poem Ode ( Homeuta), which the publisher Winston Leyland has called “the great gay poem of the 20th century.” It is said that Allen Ginsberg was so impressed by this collection of poetry that he personally lobbied Lawrence Ferlinghetti at City Lights Books to publish more of Takahashi’s work. 

A big section from the introduction of my book Writing the Love of Boys, about the ways that a key group of early twentieth-century Japanese authors helped re-invent the language used in Japan to talk about love between men, is on Google Books. 



The beautiful cover image is a painting called “Portrait of Two Boys” 二人少年図 painted in 1914 by the painter and poet MURAYAMA Kaita 村山槐多, one of the major figures that I talk about in this book.  Other figures that feature heavily in this book are the mystery writer EDOGAWA Ranpo 江戸川乱歩 and the modernist innovator INAGAKI Taruho 稲垣足穂. 

Also, click here to see the book on amazon.com