Edward B. Fowler

Emeritus Professor, East Asian Languages & Literature
School of Humanities

Film & Media Studies
School of Humanities

PH.D., University of California, Berkeley

Phone: (949) 824-2227
Fax: (949) 824-3248
Email: ebfowler@uci.edu

University of California, Irvine
443 HIB
Mail Code: 6000
Irvine, CA 92697

picture of Edward B. Fowler

Modern literature, cultural studies, film
URL www.humanities.uci.edu/eastasian/people/efowler.html
After publishing a study of the fictionality of autobiographical narrative in early 20th-century Japan, I turned my attention to the politics of translation and argued that the presence of an English-language "canon" of Japanese fiction has skewed the West's perception of the literature. My general critique notwithstanding, I remain vitally committed to the practice of translation and continue to do more of it myself, most recently two stories by Tamura Toshiko for an anthology of women's literature from the Meiji period (1868-1912).

I maintain an abiding interest in the ethnic, social, and cultural diversity that is commonly written out of accounts of postwar Japan. Research in this area has resulted in (1) an article on minorities (focusing primarily on migrant workers) that challenges claims of Japan being a completely homogeneous state; (2) a book-length study -- part ethnography, part oral history, part personal account -- of San'ya, Tokyo's largest day-laborer quarter; and (3) a translation of a prize-winning memoir by a day laborer based in San'ya for fifteen years. It has also led to an essay on modern literary representations of the descendants of outcastes in Japan commonly known today as burakumin, setting several key 20th-century fictional works in the historical context of more than half a millennium of discrimination.

Another interest is the representation of urban space, particularly that of Tokyo and Osaka, in literature, cinema, and photographs. One manifestation of that interest is my essay on Ozu Yasujiro's first postwar film, A WHO'S WHO OF THE TENEMENT ('Nagaya shinshi-roku'), and its contestatory depiction of occupied Japan. Another manifestation is my participation in a collaborative project, spearheaded by my colleague, James Fujii, to translate several key essays by the late critic and literary theorist Maeda Ai, primarily from his celebrated book on city space in Japanese literature (TOSHI KUKAN NO NAKA NO BUNGAKU).

Currently I am writing a memoir of my late wife, a Japanese national, with a focus on the social meaning of 'losing' the 'battle' with cancer as well as on the differing, sometimes conflicting expectations of two cultures (American and Japanese) about illness, treatment, mourning, and memorializing.
Publications "Making Up Race: Notes on Buraku Literature in Japan." In PMLA (123:5), Oct. 2008, pp. 1703-1706
  "Lifeblood" and "The Vow," by Tamura Toshiko. In THE MODERN MURASAKI: WRITING BY WOMEN OF MEIJI JAPAN, ed. Rebecca L. Copeland & Melek Ortabasi (Columbia University Press, 2006).
  A MAN WITH NO TALENTS. A translation of SANYA GAKEPPUCHI NIKKI, by Oyama Shiro (Cornell University Press, 2005).
  Translations of essays by Maeda Ai on the fiction of Higuchi Ichiyo ('Takekurabe') and Kawabata Yasunari ('Asakusa kurenaidan'), in Maeda Ai, TEXT AND THE CITY: ESSAYS ON JAPANESE MODERNITY, ed. James A. Fujii (Duke University Press, 2004).
  "Piss and Run: Or How Ozu Does a Number on SCAP," in WORD AND IMAGE IN JAPANESE CINEMA, ed. Dennis Washburn and Carole Cavanaugh (Cambridge University Press, 2001).
  "The Buraku in Modern Japanese Literature: Texts and Contexts." THE JOURNAL OF JAPANESE STUDIES, Vol. 26 (Winter, 2000).
  "Minorites in a 'Homogenous' State: The Case of Japan." In Arif Dirlik, ed., WHAT IS IN A RIM? CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE PACIFIC REGION IDEA, (Westview Press, 1993).
  "Rendering Words, Traversing Cultures: On the Art and Politics of Translating Japanese Literature." THE JOURNAL OF JAPANESE STUDIES, Vol. 17 (Winter, 1991).
Grants John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, 2008-09
Fulbright Scholar Program, 1989-90
Japan Foundation, 1978-79; 1988-89; 2002
National Endowment for the Humanities, 1984-85
Association for Asian Studies
Modern Language Association
Link to this profile http://www.faculty.uci.edu/profile.cfm?faculty_id=2752
Last updated 06/23/2015