At the roots of visual Japan. Word-text dynamics in early-modern Japan.

International conference organized and hosted by the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge, on 14-15 December 2017.
[Outline of the conference]
This two-day international conference brings together scholars in the field of Japanese early-modern literature with a specific remit: to examine the interaction of text(s) and image(s) in a systematic manner across the main genres of early-modern popular prose and poetry in print. This is done in dialogue with scholars who work on comics, graphic prose and manga.
Building on the methodology developed in influential works on Western illustrated texts (i.e., Nikolajeva, 2001; Bateman 2014; Baetens and Frey, 2015; McCloud 2001 among others), each presentation discusses selected case studies from Japanese early-modern sources, in order to offer preliminary answers to specific research questions:
  1.  What ‘physical’ patterns can be retrieved in a page layout that combines text(s) and image(s)? (e.g., text separate from illustrations; texts within illustrations; etc.)
  2.  Do we identify specific patterns in page layout according to different periods of publications? Do these patterns go hand in hand with ‘genres’? Or with the place of publication? Or with other factors?
  3.  Are there ‘genres’ that display a variety of page layouts, which change according to the visual trends associated to the period of publication? (e.g. hanashibon)
  4.  How do text(s) and image(s) interact? (e.g., complement, enhancement, counterpoint, contradiction, amplification, reduction, etc.)
  5.  Can we identify types in the movement from one image to another? (e.g., moment-to-moment, action-to-action, scene-to-scene, etc.)
  6.  Are the dynamics similar for texts that were conceived to be performed as well as read? (e.g. kōwakamai, hanashibon, ehon banzuke, etc.)
  7.  Is a distinction between ‘illustrated books’ and ‘picture-books’ meaningful when looking at Japanese early-modern popular prose in print? Can we talk of ‘graphic prose’ at all?
  8.  What are the narrative strategies at play in texts that combine text(s) and images(s)
  9.  Who are the agents at play in the creation of text(s) and image(s)?
10. What is the audience (or what are the audiences) addressed?
11. Could the same outcomes have been achieved by using only text?

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, The University of Cambridge

(Information transmise par Marianne Simon-Oikawa)

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