Open Seminar

Vol. 26.

Zhou Zuoren and Japanese Literature

  • Date: 25th September 2020, 17:30-19:30
  • Speaker: Noriya Ito (Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo)

Cultural exchange between Japan and China has a history of at least 1,000 years. But it's only in the last century or so that Chinese people have widely translated and read Japanese literary works. Since the 1980s and especially in recent years, a huge number of Japanese literary works have been translated and introduced to Chinese readers ── an unprecedented phenomenon. In this lecture we will introduce the pioneering literary figure Zhou Zuoren (1885−1967), the most prolific translator and advocate of Japanese literature in the first half of the 20th century, when there were fewer readers of Japanese literature in China than there are today. In 1925, Zhou Zuoren established China's first educational research organization for the study of Japanese literature at Peking University. It was as a strong advocate for a new cultural movement in China, rather than as a Japanese literature specialist, that he focused on Japanese literature. In this lecture we will present an overview of Zhou Zuoren's connection with Japanese literature, while looking as closely as possible at modern Chinese cultural history.