William Hedberg - Assistant Professor of Japanese, School of International Letters and Cultures, Arizona State University
Professor William Hedberg’s presentation focuses on the reception and continued popularity of Chinese vernacular fiction in Meiji- and Taishō-period Japan, with special focus on the novel The Water Margin (Ch. Shuihu zhuan, Jp. Suikoden). The story of 108 outlaw gallants who band together in the marshes of northeastern China, The Water Margin reached new heights of popularity in the modern era, when authors as disparate as Mori Ōgai, Tokutomi Sohō, Masaoka Shiki, and Akutagawa Ryūnosuke presented the novel as an uncannily proto-modern example of literary realism, as well as a key point of entry in understanding a putative Chinese national ethos. He will discuss this intertwined discourse of novels and nationhood and examine the processes by which The Water Margin was selected as a window into the contemporary China newly open for firsthand experience, exploration, and ultimately, colonization.
William Hedberg is Assistant Professor of Japanese at Arizona State University’s School of International Letters and Culture. As a member of the Mellon Fellowship for Assistant Professors at the Institute of Advanced Study, Dr. Hedberg is currently completing a study of Japanese engagement with late imperial Chinese fiction in the early modern era. His research has been published in numerous academic journals including The Journal of Japanese Studies, International Journal of Asian Studies, and most recently, Japan Forum. Dr. Hedberg received his Ph.D. from the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University.