Tokyo's suburban landscape has been treated in two distinct fields of research to date: urban history and literary studies. Urban historians have traced the effects of suburban population growth along the rail lines extending into the Musashi Plain to the west of the city from the beginning of the twentieth century. At the same time, literary scholars have identified the Musashi Plain as a special site or topos of modern nature writing since the publication of Kunikida Doppo's Musashino in 1898. This essay brings the issues of these two fields together to reappraise the meaning of suburban living within the mental landscape of the early twentieth-century Tokyo suburbanite. The focus is on two texts by popular novelist Tokutomi Roka, who moved to the suburban farming hamlet of Kasuya in 1907. Roka's romantic sensibility toward the landscape and his internal emotional dilemmas are interpreted as integral to one another and forming an archetypal pattern for the bourgeois male intellectual's experience of the modern suburb in Japan.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations