Motherly Affection as Tactics: Negotiating the Bourgeois Household in Higuchi Ichiyō’s Kono ko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article explores the discursive formation of mid-Meiji households by analyzing Higuchi Ichiyō’s Kono ko (This Child, 1896), a novella comprising a young mother’s monologue in its entirety. Earlier scholarship has treated the piece as a story about the mother’s conformity to dominant gender ideology, primarily regarding her husband. To demonstrate negotiations between the mother and domestic staff within her household, given the existing power structure, this study also highlights changing relationships revealed in the monologue. I employ the framework of Michel de Certeau’s “tactics,” which explains an individual’s creative means of opening up a space for alternative interactions without drastically changing the dominant structure. These “tactics” can help us better understand the role of the mother’s emotional expressions that leads her to reformulate her domestic work relations. This new relation, I will argue, does not deviate from the emergent Meiji bourgeois culture that appreciated individual spontaneity to maintain both efficient and affective labor. By offering a close textual analysis of the piece, this study aims to broaden our understanding of mid-Meiji bourgeois domesticity and the complex gender and class relations of modern Japanese discursive space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-339
Number of pages19
JournalAsian Journal of Women's Studies
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 3

Fingerprint

sympathy
tactics
spontaneity
gender
conformity
husband
ideology
labor
staff
interaction

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies

Cite this

@article{c7255bb43dcd4849b214629cebb18716,
title = "Motherly Affection as Tactics: Negotiating the Bourgeois Household in Higuchi Ichiyō’s Kono ko",
abstract = "This article explores the discursive formation of mid-Meiji households by analyzing Higuchi Ichiyō’s Kono ko (This Child, 1896), a novella comprising a young mother’s monologue in its entirety. Earlier scholarship has treated the piece as a story about the mother’s conformity to dominant gender ideology, primarily regarding her husband. To demonstrate negotiations between the mother and domestic staff within her household, given the existing power structure, this study also highlights changing relationships revealed in the monologue. I employ the framework of Michel de Certeau’s “tactics,” which explains an individual’s creative means of opening up a space for alternative interactions without drastically changing the dominant structure. These “tactics” can help us better understand the role of the mother’s emotional expressions that leads her to reformulate her domestic work relations. This new relation, I will argue, does not deviate from the emergent Meiji bourgeois culture that appreciated individual spontaneity to maintain both efficient and affective labor. By offering a close textual analysis of the piece, this study aims to broaden our understanding of mid-Meiji bourgeois domesticity and the complex gender and class relations of modern Japanese discursive space.",
author = "Tomoko Seto",
year = "2017",
month = "7",
day = "3",
doi = "10.1080/12259276.2017.1352129",
language = "English",
volume = "23",
pages = "321--339",
journal = "Asian Journal of Women's Studies",
issn = "1225-9276",
publisher = "Ewha Womans Unversity",
number = "3",

}

Motherly Affection as Tactics : Negotiating the Bourgeois Household in Higuchi Ichiyō’s Kono ko. / Seto, Tomoko.

In: Asian Journal of Women's Studies, Vol. 23, No. 3, 03.07.2017, p. 321-339.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Motherly Affection as Tactics

T2 - Negotiating the Bourgeois Household in Higuchi Ichiyō’s Kono ko

AU - Seto, Tomoko

PY - 2017/7/3

Y1 - 2017/7/3

N2 - This article explores the discursive formation of mid-Meiji households by analyzing Higuchi Ichiyō’s Kono ko (This Child, 1896), a novella comprising a young mother’s monologue in its entirety. Earlier scholarship has treated the piece as a story about the mother’s conformity to dominant gender ideology, primarily regarding her husband. To demonstrate negotiations between the mother and domestic staff within her household, given the existing power structure, this study also highlights changing relationships revealed in the monologue. I employ the framework of Michel de Certeau’s “tactics,” which explains an individual’s creative means of opening up a space for alternative interactions without drastically changing the dominant structure. These “tactics” can help us better understand the role of the mother’s emotional expressions that leads her to reformulate her domestic work relations. This new relation, I will argue, does not deviate from the emergent Meiji bourgeois culture that appreciated individual spontaneity to maintain both efficient and affective labor. By offering a close textual analysis of the piece, this study aims to broaden our understanding of mid-Meiji bourgeois domesticity and the complex gender and class relations of modern Japanese discursive space.

AB - This article explores the discursive formation of mid-Meiji households by analyzing Higuchi Ichiyō’s Kono ko (This Child, 1896), a novella comprising a young mother’s monologue in its entirety. Earlier scholarship has treated the piece as a story about the mother’s conformity to dominant gender ideology, primarily regarding her husband. To demonstrate negotiations between the mother and domestic staff within her household, given the existing power structure, this study also highlights changing relationships revealed in the monologue. I employ the framework of Michel de Certeau’s “tactics,” which explains an individual’s creative means of opening up a space for alternative interactions without drastically changing the dominant structure. These “tactics” can help us better understand the role of the mother’s emotional expressions that leads her to reformulate her domestic work relations. This new relation, I will argue, does not deviate from the emergent Meiji bourgeois culture that appreciated individual spontaneity to maintain both efficient and affective labor. By offering a close textual analysis of the piece, this study aims to broaden our understanding of mid-Meiji bourgeois domesticity and the complex gender and class relations of modern Japanese discursive space.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85028394024&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85028394024&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/12259276.2017.1352129

DO - 10.1080/12259276.2017.1352129

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85028394024

VL - 23

SP - 321

EP - 339

JO - Asian Journal of Women's Studies

JF - Asian Journal of Women's Studies

SN - 1225-9276

IS - 3

ER -