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【TGU Global Japanese Studies】An International Symposium: Rethinking the “Author” as an Agent of Cultural Production=Report=

Rethinking the “Author” as an Agent of Cultural Production

An International Symposium

 

July 26, 2016 (Tue) 2:00pm ~ 6:00pm

Conference Room 1, Building No. 33

Waseda University – Toyama Campus , Tokyo, Japan

Sponsors:

Global Japanese Studies model unit, Waseda University Top Global University Project, supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology – Japan

Ryusaku Tsunoda Center of Japanese Culture, Waseda University

Co-Host:

Department of East Asian Languages and Culture, Columbia University

Organizing Committee:

Haruo SHIRANE (Professor, Columbia University)

Tomi SUZUKI (Professor, Columbia University)

Sungsi LEE (Professor, Waseda University)

Hirokazu TOEDA (Professor, Waseda University)

Presenters:

Shigemi INAGA (Professor, International Research Center for Japanese Studies)

Masatsugu ONO (Professor, Rikkyo University)

Ryūichi KODAMA (Professor, Waseda University)

Kazuaki KOMINE (Professor Emeritus, Rikkyo University, and Visiting Senior Researcher, Waseda University)

Moderators:

Tomoyuki MASUDA (Professor, Waseda University)

Natsuko OZAKI (Guest Researcher, Waseda University)

Hidenori JINNO (Professor, Waseda University)

Misa UMETADA (Assistant Professor, Waseda University)

Discussants:

Hiroshi ARAKI (Professor, International Research Center for Japanese Studies)

Toshiyuki SUZUKI (Professor, Chuo University)

Akira TAKAGISHI (Associate Professor, The University of Tokyo)

Keiko NAKAMACHI (Professor, Jissen Women’s University)

Yasuaki WATANABE (Professor, The University of Tokyo)

 

Nearly half a century has passed since Roland Barthes published his seminal essay, “The Death of the Author.” To discuss the concept of the “author” today, we do not need to travel back in time and revive the conventional, modern notions of the “author” that Barthes discussed. Rather, taking the reexamination of the notions and functions of the “author” as a starting point, we need to unravel the working of a diverse range of groups, networks, media, and social environments to which producers and recipients of culture belong. We need to rethink how cultural texts, including literary works, have been created and recreated within such dynamics, historically, as well as in the world today.

The international symposium, “Rethinking the ‘Author’ as an Agent of Cultural Production,” was held on July 26, 2016 at Waseda University. The main purpose of the symposium was to reconsider the basis of research in the humanities and to explore new visions for the past, present, and future of cultural production and reception through comparative analyses of the issue of the “author” in Japanese contexts, using concrete examples from various genres and media.

The symposium was sponsored by the Global Japanese Studies model unit of Waseda University’s Top Global University Project, supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology – Japan, as well as Ryusaku Tsunoda Center of Japanese Culture, Waseda University, and was co-hosted by the Department of East Asian Languages and Culture, Columbia University. More than a hundred participants, including researchers, faculty members, and students, attended the event.

 

 

Opening Remarks

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Following the opening remarks by Hirokazu Toeda, the leader of the Global Japanese Studies model unit at Waseda University, Tomi Suzuki from Columbia University described the main objectives of the symposium. First, Suzuki summarized the development of “author” theory from the 1960s. Roland Barthes argued that the meaning of texts depend on interpretation of the readers, problematizing the notion of the “author” as the origin of meaning in literary works. Michel Foucault unraveled the historical process in which the modern notion of the “author” was constructed in the West, as well as the social, political, and economic functions of the “author.” These discussions led to the development of theories concerning the text and the reader. Suzuki pointed out that, today, half a century after Barthes and Foucault presented their essays, the boundary between the author and the audience has become even more blurred due to developments in media and technology, including the Internet, which multiply the forms and agents of cultural production. At the same time, Suzuki emphasized that it is important to recognize the vibrant histories of replication and recreation through collaboration found and developed in the cultural production process in Japan and in other areas of East Asia, a phenomenon that has continued into the twentieth century. She called for a reconsideration of various eras, genres, and areas of research through new perspectives, linking a wide range of research, including historical analyses, with past and present. She expressed her hope that the examples raised in today’s presentations by leading scholars in their fields would generate dynamic discussion and fruitful ideas for future research.

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Session 1

Seals and Repetitions: Representations of World Art and Artists in the Works of Yasumasa Morimura and Handwriting and History in Kyūyō Ishikawa’s History of Chinese Calligraphy

Shigemi INAGA (Professor, International Research Center for Japanese Studies)

 The Powerless Author

Masatsugu ONO (Professor, Rikkyo University)

Moderators:

Tomoyuki MASUDA (Professor, Waseda University)

Natsuko OZAKI (Guest Researcher, Waseda University)

Discussants:

Akira TAKAGISHI (Associate Professor, The University of Tokyo)

Keiko NAKAMACHI (Professor, Jissen Women’s University)

Yasuaki WATANABE (Professor, The University of Tokyo)

 

Shigemi Inaga, a scholar of comparative culture, comparative literature, and art, discussed the notions of repetitions, the “author,” and the “recipient,” through consideration of works by the artist, Yasumasa Morimura, as well as the discussion of calligraphy by Kyūyō Ishikawa in his History of Chinese Calligraphy. Morimura replicates visual experiences of the works by renowned artists in the West by using his own body as a medium. Inaga argued that Morimura’s works could be described as a type of “possession,” in which artists of the past possess the living body of the contemporary artist, blurring the boundary between the author/creator and the recipient of the artwork. Using examples of Morimura’s works, such as “The Last Supper” based on the famous work by Leonard Da Vinci, Inaga noted that in the parallel universe intentionally created by the double vision of the original work and its appropriation, the past possesses Morimura’s body, much like the way in which people experience the past.

Inaga also pointed out the similarities between the ear-cutting self-mutilation of Vincent Van Gogh and a famous Kamakura-period Buddhist monk, Myōe, as well as the story of “Hōichi the Earless (Mimi nashi Hōichi)” included in Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things by Koizumi Yakumo  (Lafcadio Hearn). Inaga conjectured that severing of the ear was a way for them to salvage themselves from their personal crises and avoid falling into the world of madness. Quoting Morimura’s notion that causing injuries to oneself and trying to assume someone else’s personality are similar acts, Inaga argued that Morimura was putting such acts into practice through art.

To expand on the discussion of repetition and creation, Inaga also quoted writings by Lafcadio Hearn, as well as analyses of Hearn’s writings by Kitarō Nishida. Hearn wrote: “Inside every ultimate, microscopic atom are gazillions of experiences of the limitless, eternal universe that have already been lost.” On this point, Nishida wrote: “Our bodies are merely at a distant tip of the pillar of boundless spirit that connects the limitless past and the present. They are physical symbols of the clusters of infinite spirit.”

In History of Chinese Calligraphy, Kyūyō Ishikawa argues that the history of East Asian calligraphy has been built upon the concealment of the fact that it derives itself from repeating the history of engraved seals that were created by the combination of stones, shadows, and chisels. In the history of writing, Wang Xizhi is a representative figure for the period of transition from wood-strips to paper. What are claimed to be “original writings” of Wang Xizhi today are in fact an accumulation of imitative carvings and transcriptions from multiple historical periods ─ mere glimpses of illusion that exist in the absence of the original. Inaga noted that Ishikawa sought the truth of historical understanding in such an example.

Inaga argued that both Morimura’s works and Ishikawa’s discussion represent the pursuit of the origin of history that lie behind the traces of the original works that have already been lost, and that such an understanding can provide clues for examining the idea of the “author.”

A researcher and an author of award-winning novels, Masatsugu Ono, began his analysis of the relationship between authors and texts by citing the “sullen” responses that Shigehiko Hasumi, the oldest recipient of the Mishima Yukio Prize, gave to the reporters attending the press conference for the prize. Ono noted that the discord between Hasumi and the reporters arose out the differences between the two parties’ approaches for understanding the text; one sought to understand the text through examining only the text itself, and the other tried to interpret the text based on the information concerning the intentions of the author. Hasumi has been known as a literary critic who seeks to understand the effects of the meanings that emerge out of the surface of the text itself. It is therefore understandable for him to feel uncomfortable about the reporters’ questions that assumed correlations between the meanings of the text and matters that are external to the text, such as definitive events in the author’s life, literary works that had an impact on the author, or the author’s interactions with other writers, that may have left some traces on his work. Having made these points, Ono quoted Antoine Compagnon’s notion that the text and the author are not in opposition with each other, and that the “consistency” of the author’s intention surfaces as a “net” of interwoven small characteristics, a system of details that exhibit signs, or varied repetitions, differences, and comparisons.

Ono also elaborated on the background of one scene in his Akutagawa-Prize-wining novel, “A Prayer Nine Years Ago (Kyū nen mae no inori),” to argue that the act of writing a novel is an act of weaving a “net” that captures the novel that “comes on its own” to the author through numerous, intricately intersecting impetuses. Some of the threads that are woven into such a “net” may be unconscious or forgotten memories of events, and all that the writer can do, he noted, is to simply wait for the novel’s arrival. Ono described how his encounter with Akhil Sharma, the author of the novel Family Life, and his reading of Sharma’s semi-biographic novel had an impact on the precursor of “A Prayer Nine Years Ago” that he was working on at the time. Ono noted that revealing the background of just one scene of a novel would not change the readers’ understanding of a literary work as a whole, and that the author is also “powerless” in this respect as well. Nonetheless, Ono stressed that etched into such textual details are memories of encounters that are precious to the author.

Following the presentations by Inaga and Ono, three discussants gave their comments. Akira Takagishi, a specialist in medieval art history, noted that he had also noticed the similarities between van Gogh and Myōe’s cutting of their ears. It is intriguing, he pointed out, that Myōe’s severed ear is clearly depicted in a picture-scroll painted after he died and became a legendary figure, whereas such depiction is absent in the picture of meditating Myōe created while he was still alive. Takagishi argued that Morimura’s works and Ishikawa’s discussion on calligraphy are both linked to movements between two-dimensional and three-dimensional fields, connecting Morimura’s world and the world of the painter of the original work, and linking the techniques employed by those who created stone engravings and those who created rubbed copies of such engravings later on. Takagishi also found it curious that Morimura’s recent works do not seem to be concerned with replicating the originals as closely as his earlier works did.  To this comment, Inaga responded that resemblance with the original works is a secondary matter, and that the act of replication has many meanings, similar to how the Japanese word “utsusu” has many meanings, such as “to move,” “to copy,” “to reflect,” as well as sprits’ entrance into living bodies. Inaga also noted that the harder one tries to replicate, the further the end product diverges from the original, which describes a significant part of authors’ writing process. Ono concurred on this point, noting that writers should not shy away from imitating other writers’ works, as the “net” woven in the process of writing becomes tighter through numerous acts of replication, leading the authors to their own unique destinations.

An art historian, Keiko Nakamachi, noted that East Asian calligraphy is an art not only of shapes, but also of meanings and the flow of time. They are products of single acts, and are linked to East Asian spirituality. Nakamachi also pointed out that imitating pioneering artists’ works is a well-recognized practice in East Asian painting and calligraphy. Those who imitate a famous artist’s work or style would mark their piece with the character “hō” (倣), followed by the name of the artist whose style the work claims to imitate. She added that many works with the “hōnotation in fact do not exhibit even a shred of resemblance to the techniques or the unique characteristics of the artist’s works they claim to imitate. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that the practice of noting “hōin an attempt to carry on the legacies of past artists has a long history. This tradition, she noted, may have a connection to the works by Morimura, who creates something that resembles but diverts from the original artwork, and who appears to self-deprecatingly project himself onto his artwork while pursuing the phantom of what has been lost.

Yasuaki Watanabe recalled that one of Ono’s novels, “The Ship Shouldered by the Jolly Bay (Nigiyaka na wan ni seowareta fune),” had a scene in which a soldier rips off a character’s ear, and conjectured that losing an ear might lead a person to “strain his or her [lost] ear (mimi o sumasu)” and pay more attention to the inner sounds, rather than the sounds that come from outside. Watanabe praised Ono’s notion of the interwoven “net” of memories, and noted that the uniqueness of the moment when various and fluid pasts interconnect to shape one form may provide opportunities for experiencing things that are out of the ordinary.  “How does a ‘powerless author’ attempt to hear something that comes toward him?” Watanabe asked, positing the notion that there may be something that fortuitously bridges what people sense concretely and intuitively with something that transcends the worldly realm. Building on Watanabe’s statement regarding the act of “straining one’s ear” to listen attentively to the inner sounds, Inaga cited a psychologist’s notion that “straining one’s body (karada o sumasu)” allows a person to recognize what is best for him or her to do, and noted that the interwoven “net” of memories is akin to such a network that transcends intentions, and that “straining one’s body” is an important part of a writer’s work. Ono cited Jorge Luis Borges’s idea that reading poems turns readers into the authors of the poems at the time when they were written, and noted that just like writing is an uncontrollable act that opens up the writer to others, reading also opens up the reader to others and transforms him or her into another being.

 

Session 2

Ryūichi KODAMA (Professor, Waseda University)

“Who Creates Theater? Kabuki as a Theatrical Art in which the Actors are the Directors”

 Kazuaki KOMINE (Professor Emeritus, Rikkyo University and Visiting Senior Researcher, Waseda University)

“Forgeries and Traditions Concerning Authors in Medieval Japan”

Moderators:

Hidenori JINNO (Professor, Waseda University)

Misa UMETADA (Assistant Professor, Waseda University)

Discussants:

Hiroshi ARAKI (Professor, International Research Center for Japanese Studies)

Toshiyuki SUZUKI (Professor, Chuo University)

 

Ryūichi Kodama, who specializes in Japanese theater, discussed the “author” in the world of theater, especially in relation to kabuki. Kodama noted that theater is a difficult genre for academic research due to the ephemeral nature of theatrical performances and the characteristics of available textual resources. The “author” in the world of theater arts, Kodama argued, sways between individuality and anonymity.

According to Kodama, names of the author for specific theatrical works began appearing around the time of Kan’ami and Zeami, but it is doubtful that the audience at the time recognized specific performances they attended as works “written by Zeami” and so forth. It was around the time of Chikamatsu Monzaemon when playwrights’ names began to be recognized by the public. Kodama noted that promoting the title “Chikamatsu, the author” was criticized at the time, but that it arose out of the socio-economic context of early-modern Japan in which commercial performances aiming to attract large audiences became viable. Many of Chikamatsu’s works were handed down with modifications, and joint production became the mainstream after Chikamatsu’s death. Kodama pointed out that in many cases the allotment of specific parts among joint authors was not recorded, and the scholarly attempts made in the 1950s and 1960s to determine such details can be understood as an effort to retrieve individuality of the authors out of anonymity. Many kabuki scripts and programs did not list the names of the authors of the works being performed, which indicates, Kodama argued, that the authors’ names were erased through the process of repeated performances that made such theatrical pieces anonymous, shared legacies that continued to transform. Kodama also noted that the selection of “kata” (form) for specific kabuki performances began to precede the selection of suitable scripts, and that the selection of the kata and the script came to be in the hand of the “actor-cum-director,” casting away the “author” of the piece into obscurity. In other words, in the process of transmission of kabuki and jōruri works, the “author” was already dead long before Barthes penned “The Death of the Author.” Kodama argued that while many authors are buried in anonymity, authors with strong individual characters “draw” anonymity toward themselves, or, in the opposite direction, are pulled out of anonymity. In the end, Kodama noted, the ultimate power to let the performance live or die lies in the hands of the audience, and some theatrical works are written in ways that make audience participation an indispensable part of the performance.

Kazuaki Komine discussed the topic of “gisho”(forgery, 偽書), which has received positive reassessment since the 2000s. Considering issues such as why certain authors were disguised, and what that meant, he explored methodologies for author theories. Komine noted that recent discussions in Japan regarding the meanings of what gisho works create have transcended the binary theories of “truth” versus “falsity” based on the modern positivist approach. He also pointed out that circumstances that gave rise to gisho were linked to the presence and the conditions of canonical works. According to Komine, whereas the word “tsukuru” (to create) now has a positive connotation indicating “creativity,” the term had negative meanings in pre-modern Japan, such as “overly indulgent with techniques.” Describing the idea of “miraiki” (“future-writing,” or prophecy) in the medieval period, he argued that the world that existed in medieval Japan could not be explained by the simple notion of “truth” versus “falsity.”

Komine discussed the importance of the term “utsusu” (also discussed in the earlier panel by Inaga), pointing out the necessity to discuss gisho not only as forgery (偽書) but also as works expressed by borrowing something from other works (擬書), or works that were written as entertainment (戯書), and to analyze the notion of “gisakusha” (擬作者), or “author by pretense.”  Komine also argued for the need to recognize and analyze various types of gisho, which can be sorted into three general categories: (1) works that have been written by someone pretending to be a specific writer, (2) works that are based on a specific text, supplementing what was perceived as missing in the original, and (3) works that are constructed as authoritative sources from the past  (creating what did not exist and legitimizing it). He also called for comparative analyses, pointing out that current approaches regarding “forgeries” in China and Korea are quite different from those in Japan, and are based entirely on modern-day notions of canonical works.

Komine examined the myths and accounts regarding the authors of classical works such as The Tale of Genji and The Tales of the Heike, and argued that traditions concerning authors are linked to formations of canons, as well as to the issue of gisho.  He also discussed the notions of “isshin soku sanjin” (一身即三身, a single Buddha possesses all three bodies) and “sanjin soku isshin” (三身即一身, all three bodies are found within a single Buddha), which counter the “daijō hi bussetsuron” (大乗非仏説論, a theory that the scripture of Mahayana Buddhism is not directly derived from the teachings of Gautama Buddha) and consider the reality of Buddha’s existence to be irrelevant in Buddhist thought that is concerned with Buddha as something that transcends the real-life existence of Gautama Buddha. According to Komine, Genshō Imanari had argued that these notions resonate with the literary theory that considers the “true author” to be “induced from literary work.” In this respect, Komine pointed out, the notions of “isshin soku sanjin” and “sanjin soku isshin” precede the ideas presented in “The Death of the Author.” Komine ended his presentation by noting that the modern “fantasy of the original” reflects a modern insistence on individuality, loss of communal production, and an inability to accept parodies, and that it is in contrast with “the power of creating through succession” that has continued to exist in Japan for centuries.

One of the two discussants, Hiroshi Araki, cited the argument presented by Tōru Funayama, that gikyō (pseudo sutras, or apocryphal texts) emerge in the process of translation. Araki held that this observation could be applied to considerations of medieval setsuwa (anecdotes, or narratives), which developed through translations. Setsuwa recreated what had been told in new forms, Araki noted, and share some aspects with the world of theater that Kodama discussed. Araki also noted that setsuwa were anonymous stories, and recipients of setsuwa were not concerned about their authorship. However, he continued, when tsukuri-monogatari (fictional tales) such as The Tale of Genji emerged, readers began to yearn to know about the authors. Araki described Genji kuyō as an act through which the spirit of the author of The Tale of Genji was believed to come down and possess the body of a third-party individual. He argued that the author came down not to a reader as an individual, but to the society, creating the “author” as a cultural phenomenon.

Toshiyuki Suzuki, an Edo literature specialist, described “ryaku-engi” in the early modern period as texts written deliberately “not to show the intentions” behind their existence. Such texts did not note the names of their authors, and accommodated ambiguity between fiction and reality, echoing texts written in the medieval period. Suzuki asked Komine if any continuity could be observed among texts written in the medieval and the early modern periods, and if there are differences between gisho written in the two periods. In response, Komine noted there certainly are elements that are shared and are distinct among texts written in the medieval and the early modern periods. “Miraiki,” for example, became a target of criticism as rationalism and objectivism strengthened in the early modern period, leading to the unraveling of deceptions found in such texts. On the other hand, along with the burgeoning publishing culture, decoding “yogensho” (book of prophesy) as a type of light-hearted “rekishi-mono” (history-based story) became popular as a form of entertainment. Komine also noted that “higi” (secret ritual), “hihō” (secret method), and “zuhō/shuhō” (esoteric practice), created in the medieval period by fabricating authoritative sources, continued its existence into the early modern period, just as Kōbō Daishi’s “Goyuigon” (Last Words), though clearly a forgery, formed an important discourse in the Shingon Sect of Buddhism. Kodama noted that the call for compiling works by unknown writers already existed decades ago in the field of theater research. On the other hand, he continued, materials whose creators are difficult to determine, such as flyers and photographs of popular actors and artists, have not been treated as research subjects. He also argued for the importance of “nise-hōmotsu” (fake treasures) as materials that reflect histories created by people’s imaginations.

 

Summary of Discussion

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The two sessions led by invited presenters and discussants were followed by a discussion period, in which various opinions were exchanged among the presenters, moderators, discussants, and the audience.

One of the moderators, Natsuko Ozaki, opened the discussion by pointing out that the reason “the author” still “cannot die,” even after having been “released from the spells” of the modern notions of “the author,” may be linked to the practicality and rationality that are convenient for publishing and marketing literary works. Ono cited Barthes in noting that people desire the “author” because it provides an easy-to-understand explanation for the texts. Referring to Komine’s presentation, Ono also noted that the question of why people have the desire to create forgeries is quite stimulating. In response, Komine pointed out the importance of comprehensively examining “genuine” and “forged” texts on a case-by-case basis, with the understanding that there are forgeries that were created with the intention of producing something genuine, and played a role as genuine texts, as well as forgeries that were intended to be fabrications from the beginning. Kodama concurred by noting that gikeizu (forged family genealogy), for example, were “genuine” to those who needed them. The practice of enjoying forgeries for what they are emerged only in the early modern period, and gisho written in the pre-modern period must have been received as “truth” by the majority of their readers at the time. Araki added that there are theories of what is “correct” and “false” that emerge out of commentaries.

Ono provided the historical background for Barthes and Foucault’s writings on the “author,” pointing out that author-focused research on literary history was the mainstream at the Sorbonne at the time, and that thematically-focused research was virtually prohibited. He also noted that the development of teaching and research methodologies focused solely on the text corresponded with the demand for new approaches in an era when people from wider social backgrounds began attending universities. He added that, in Japan, the “author” may still be lingering like a ghost precisely because the “author” had long been “dead” already. Toshiyuki Suzuki pointed out that being a prose writer was looked down upon in early-modern Japan, and such an activity was not recognized as a real occupation. He noted that examining the “author” allows us to recognize intriguing aspects of specific eras and the positioning of certain literary works in particular social contexts, revealing the characteristics of the “author” in different time periods.

A participant noted the lack of discussion concerning political authorities’ power to deem certain texts “gisho,” and others pondered on the future direction of the “author,” and the possibility of examining the reasons for and the effect of the lingering presence of author-centric discourses.

A core member of the symposium’s organizing committee, Tomi Suzuki, emphasized that the main purpose of the symposium was not to discuss the validity of the discourses found in “The Death of the Author,” but to conduct detailed analyses of differences and overlaps of the functions and conditions of the “author” in various historical periods and genres. Even half a century after “The Death of the Author,” cultural producers do exist, and collaborative production is very vibrant, with much fluidity between individuality and anonymity. On the other hand, copyright and censorship, relating to the economy and the notion of responsibility respectively, have been important issues from the early modern period to the present day. Suzuki stressed the importance of considering various actors, such as editors, vendors, distributors, and critics, as a part of the inquires into the issue of the “author,” and argued that examining them in historical context would reveal the links between the pre-modern and modern works, as well as differences and similarities among genres and geographical regions. Analyzing the “author,” she noted, also means examining the recipients of cultural products and various forms of media through which the act of cultural production takes place. She also pointed out that individual property rights and responsibilities are pressing issues today, when intellectual property rights have become a global matter. As the patterns of production and reception of culture change with the transformation of media and technology, it is critical to examine various ways in which culture is produced and received, and to collaboratively analyze and compare concrete examples in order to consider historical, regional, and cultural connections and distinctions.

 

Closing Remarks

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In his closing remarks for the symposium, Haruo Shirane from Columbia University described some of the discussions found in English-language publications on author theory, and how they connect to the examples seen in Japan. Almost always cited in such publications is Saint Bonaventure, who was a priest and a philosopher in thirteenth-century Italy. Bonaventure noted that there were four types of writers. A person who copied the works of others was a “scribe [scriptor]”; a person who gathered and edited the works of others was a “compiler [compilator]”; a person who added commentaries to the works of others was a “commentator”; and a person who wrote his own thoughts along with writing down the works of others was an “author [auctor].” Shirane pointed out that the act of copying in fact usually involved rewriting of the original text, rather than creating an exact copy, in a manner similar to the creation of ihon (variants) in medieval Japan. As for the act of compiling and editing, being a compiler in medieval Europe was possible only when there were patrons who commissioned the gathering of certain types of texts, echoing the historical background of works such as Kokin-wakashū in Japan. Whereas the primary condition for the “author” in the modern period is to “write his/her own thoughts,” Shirane pointed out that in medieval Europe, where texts were believed to emerge only because of the will of God, the “author” was considered a medium between God and texts, and thus only “occasionally” wrote down their own thoughts. According to Shirane, another important role of writers in Europe at the time was translating Latin texts into vernacular languages, similar to how Chinese texts were translated into Japanese in the medieval period. As these examples show, an analysis of the “author” should always take into account the genres and the ways in which communities existed in the period under consideration. Shirane noted that Japan has had a long tradition of “borrowing something to create one’s own work,” and that Morimura’s contemporary works share certain elements with the mitate method of early modern Japanese art, as well as waka’s honkadori tradition. The teacher-student relationship and the link between the “author” and the ie/schools have played important roles in cultural production in Japan since the late Heian period. It is also necessary, Shirane noted, to consider the act of compiling and editing, seen in examples such as waka anthologies and collections of setsuwa, from the regional perspective of East Asia. Shirane called for research on the collaborative, communal forms of cultural production that have long exited in Japan, such as uta-awase, renga, and haikai. The act of sharing, adding, transforming, and then sharing again that have taken place in such traditional practices are linked to contemporary practices of cultural production seen on the Internet and online blogs.

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Lee Sungsi, who is the director of Waseda University’s Ryusaku Tsunoda Center of Japanese Culture, suggested that the comments provided by Tomi Suzuki during the discussion period indicate that the topics discussed during this symposium point to the epistemological shift from the substantial model to the relational model, and the need for examining texts from the relational perspective. In relation to the discussion of gisho, Lee also discussed “Hwarang Seigi” (花郎世紀), a Korean literary work allegedly written in the ninth century that was “found” unexpectedly in 1989. According to Lee, Hwarang Seigi was determined to be a “forgery” by the Korean Historical Association, and has since been treated as something academics should not discuss. Lee argues that this is a typical case of “an imitation overwhelming the genuine work,” and that it was thoroughly criticized precisely because it overwhelmed the modern Korean understanding of ancient history based on the existing canonical works. He noted that it is problematic to ignore such works simply as “forgeries,” and that they need to be examined more cautiously, using innovative methodologies such as those suggested by Komine.  Lee concluded his closing remarks by noting that the symposium offered a wide range of inspiration, and that he hopes for further research on the issues raised during the event.

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