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Date 2021-03-18


The Negative Aspects of Kinji Shimada’s Literature History


Lu, Kun-Lin

Ph.D Student, Graduate Institute of Taiwanese Literature, National Chengchi Univerisity


Discussionsin Taiwanese literary history generally label Kinji Shimada as an “other”, with native critics ignoring his concern for “realism”, and focus on his discussion of exoticism in colonial literature. In addition, critics claim his literary historical essays are unrepresentative of literature history during Taiwan’s colonial period, because he focused on the Japanese colonialists while ignoring native Taiwanese writers.

Shimada’s concept of realism was incorporated into the“kuso riarizumu” (feces realism) debate by Nishikawa Mitsuru and Kamada Hayao, who labeled Zhang Wen-huan and Lu He-ruo as proletarian writers. In fact, they expanded the object of Shimada’s definition of colonial literature. Even though Shimada did not appreciate proletarian realism, Nishikawa Mitsuru and Kamada Hayao have deliberately manipulated the political aspects of Shimada’s work to suppress native culture and reorganize the field of colonial literature to match traditional Japanese literary trends.

External reviews of the discussions on Shimada’s literature history have three negative aspects. First, from the perspective of native critics, Shimada not only ignored the native colonial writers, but was also over concerned with exoticism. Second, Shimada took the research foundation of French colonial literature as his frame of reference to establish a literary content-based discourse. However, this research approach had a profound impact on his evaluation of the Japanese writers who lived in the colony. Third, Shimada’s evaluation of the legacy of realism in proletarian literature is borrowed in the debate over feces realism by Nishikawa Mitsuru and Kamada Hayao. In this way, Shimada’s literary opinionshave cast an internal literary shadow, and his discussions have become a source of competition for literary initiatives by Japanese writers living in colonial Taiwan.

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Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature