Toshiko Ellis

Panel 1F: Transcoding Japan
Session 1 – July 1, 11:00 – 13:00

Opening Canonical Texts: Quotation, Retelling and Potential Criticality

Literary works are being re-made, re-told and re-marketed through various media in contemporary Japan. There has been a general reluctance among scholars of literature to deal with these newly emerging versions of canonized texts. At the same time, some of these attempts have demonstrated a significant potential, not only in opening the text to wider readership but also in discovering the text in new light, going far beyond adaptation, by re-contextualizing, bricolaging and multi-quoting, re-quoting. My presentation will concern the manga-nizing of modern Japanese poetic texts, focusing particularly on a successful serial based on the works by a prominent modern poet, Hagiwara Sakutaro, known as the founder of colloquial free-verse poetry. By looking at what the manga is doing, I wish to connect my discussion to broader issues concerning authenticity, quotation and the critical potential of literary recreating.


Toshiko Ellis studied comparative literature at the University of Tokyo, taught at Monash University, Australia (1986-1992) and at the University of Tokyo (1992-2021) before taking up the current position as Dean of World Liberal Arts at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies, Japan. She specializes in modern Japanese poetry and has published extensively on Japan’s poetic modernism, and more broadly on issues related to modernism and postmodernism in Japanese literature.