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Study Guide: Ishikawa Jun’s “Jesus of the Ruins” (Yakeato no iesu; 1946)

Study Guide: Ishikawa Jun’s “Jesus of the Ruins” (Yakeato no iesu; 1946)

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Study Guide: Ishikawa Jun’s “Jesus of the Ruins” (Yakeato no iesu; 1946)
Study Guide: Ishikawa Jun’s “Jesus of the Ruins” (Yakeato no iesu; 1946)

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Lit 365: Morrison
Study Guide: Ishikawa Jun’s “Jesus of the Ruins” (Yakeato no iesu; 1946)
Terms/Figures/Places Yakeato generation (
yakeato sedai 
: “The boy in this short story belonged to
a generation of war-orphans numbering approximately 123,000 by the end of the war
in 1945. The child literally defies description because the ‘taxonomy of his kind had yetto be invented.’ The taxonomy that Ishikawa was looking for in 1946 when the
short-narrative was composed was shortly to define an entire generation that wouldcome to be known as
yakeato sedai 
or the ‘generation coming of age amidst the
out ruins after the war.’ Ishikawa was born in 1899 and set a literary precedent
 when he used the title phrase to signify an orphaned child growing up in the burned-out ruins of metropolitans where the immediate black-market economy 
signified the struggle for daily survival. Ishikawa’s indistinguishable usage of the term
 yakeato introduces the possibility of a generation that would rise like a phoenix out of the ashes of the lo
ng war” (Rosenbaum, 2006, 2; for more, see
 Legacies of the Asia-Pacific War: The Yakeato Generation
, edited by Roman Rosenbaum, YasukoClaremont (2012), as well as
Rosenbaum’s article “Ishikawa Jun and Postwar Japan”).
: From the verb
 which means “to disguise,”
is adisguised contemporary version of a romantic figure from antiquity or classicalliterature. It involves the inversion of something refined/noble into something vulgar/plebeian. In this story, the
orphan is described as a sort of 
  version of Jesus Christ. Ishikawa Jun discusses this term
along with
, and other terms related to Edo-period aesthetics
in his essay 
On theThought Patterns of the People of Edo
is the depiction of one thing through the presentation of something else. In traditional
, it is a
ssociated with a kind of “elegant confusion,”
such as when falling cherry blossoms petals are mistaken for snow. In general, the term
means “selection”
and signifies imagery that combines two completely differentsubjects, often drawn from high culture and popular culture respectively. In this story,the
orphan is given an added depth through his
link through withJesus.
Kiyomizu hall
: Inspired by the magnificent Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto, UenoKiyomizu Kannon-d
was established by Abbot Tenkai S
, who was also the founderof the Kan
 ji Temple. Built in 1631, the temple is one of Tokyo
s oldest, and hasmiraculously survived battles of civil war and bombing raids. Today, it is recognized asa national treasure.
Tōshōgū Shrine
: Built in 1616, the shrine is one of numerous shrines in Japandedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Edo Shogunate. Until 1868, theshrine was a part of Kan
eiji Temple.Ueno black market (
): A major site of the black markets that flourishedin the immediate postwar period, when goods were hard to come by.Dazai Shundai
(1680-1747): Neo-Confucian scholar, born in the province of Shinano (Nagano prefecture). Entering the service of the daimyo of Izushi near Hy 
go,he studied under Nakano Iken. Later, having left the Izushi estate, he became a discipleof Ogy 
Sorai. He then entered the service of the daimyo of Ooimi (Shim
sa) but soondecided to teach. His favorite subject was economics, and he published a number of  works on the subject, the best known of which were
(Discussion of Economics, 1729) and
(Discussion of Economics, part two). He wrotemore than 50 works. (Louis Frédéric,
 Japan Encyclopedia
, 150).Hattori Nankaku
(1683-1759): Confucian scholar, painter, and poet of themid-Tokugawa period. Born in Kyoto, he studied the Chinese classics under Ogy 
Sorai,then opened his own school in
1716. He is best known for his Bunjinga “scholarly paintings,” which are in imitation of the
Chinese Qing-dynasty style. He helped topopularize Tang poetry, which had an enormous influence on Edo culture.
Gap (béance) (Term in Lacanian Psychoanalysis): The French term
is an
antiquated literary term which means a ‘large
hole or opening.
It is also a scientificterm used in medicine to denote the opening of the larynx. The term is used in several ways in
Lacan’s work. In 1946, he speaks of an
‘interrogative gap’ which opens up in
madness, when the subject is perplexed by the phenomena which he experiences(hallucinations, etc.) (Ec, 165
6).In the early 1950s, the term comes to refer to the fundamental rupture betweenman
and NATURE, which is due to the fact that ‘in man, the imaginary relation has
in so far as that is where the gap is produced whereby death makes itself felt’
(S2, 210). This gap between man and nature is evident in the mirror stage [...] Thefunction of the imaginary is precisely to fill this gap, thus covering over the subject
sdivision and presenting an imaginary sense of unity and wholeness.
In 1957 the term is used in the context of the relationship between the sexes; ‘in
relation between man and woman…a gap always remains open’ (S4, 374; see S4,
This anticipates Lacan’s later remarks on the non
-existence of theSEXUAL RELATIONSHIP.
In 1964, Lacan argues that ‘the relation of the subject to the Other is entirely 
in a process of gap’ (S11, 206), and states that the subject is constituted by a
gap, since the subject is essentially divided (see SPLIT). He also argues that the conceptof causality is essentially problematic because there is always a mysterious, inexplicablegap between cause and effect (S11, 21
Lacan also uses the term ‘dehiscence’ in a way that makes it practically 
in his discourse, with the term ‘gap’. Dehiscence is a botanical term which
designates the bursting open of mature seed-pods; Lacan uses the term to refer to thesplit which is
constitutive of the subject: there is ‘a vital dehiscence that is constitutiveof man’ (E, 21).
This split is also the division between culture and nature which means
that man’s relation to the latter ‘is altered by a certain dehiscence at the heart of the
organism, a primordial.
Discord’ (E, 4)
(Evans, 72-73)Study Questions Answer all of the following.
Describe the narrative structure of the work. Who is narrating the story? What it hisrelation to the world he is describing?
Describe the scene at the Ueno
(black market). What phase of humanhistory do we seem to be in? What is the relation between past, present, and future?Does the narrator feel that the world has really turned over a
new leaf 
Describe the woman selling the
rice balls. How does the narrator react toher? What qualities does she seem to embody?
Describe the
orphan who appears in the black market. How do people reactto him? How does the narrator react? What powers does he seem to possess?

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