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Robert Nichols And Lafcadio Hearn: Cultural Politics And English Professors At The University Of Tokyo

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that Lafcadio Hearn and Robert Nichols, insofar as they were foreign teachers in a Japanese university, represent significant aspects of modern cultural politics. Hearn had published one major collection of travel writings on Japan by this time (Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan), and another shorter collection of essays, Kokoro, came out just as he took up the post in Tokyo. Nichols had attended Winchester College for his secondary education and had been requested to leave early. One episode in Nichols's career presumably suggested to friends that he was suitable for a teaching post in Tokyo. Hearn and Nichols, then, represent different aspects of Western cultural politics, one determinedly open-minded, the other firmly entrenched in nationalism and prejudice. There was a lesson that could have been learnt from the difference between Hearn and Nichols, from their adjustment, or lack of adjustment, to the Japanese cultural politics that confronted them.

Keywords: Japanese cultural politics; Kokoro; Lafcadio Hearn; Robert Nichols; Tokyo; Western cultural politics



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