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  • Introducing GEISAI University Season 4 Professor Ryota Fukushima

Introducing GEISAI University Season 4 Professor Ryota Fukushima

Introducing GEISAI University Season 4 Professor Ryota Fukushima

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Introducing GEISAI University Season 4 Professor Ryota Fukushima

As you are all aware, GEISAI University Season 4 “A Higher Dialogue, 2” is soon set to commence. And the man with the honor of batting lead-off in this new series of lectures is none other than Ryota Fukushima. Born in 1981, Fukushima is a scholar of Chinese literature and scored his professional debut in Hajougenron, the internet newsletter run by season 1 Professor Hiroki Azuma.

Truly this is an academic figure who stands on the cutting edge of his field. What will his lecture have in store? To give you an idea, we now officially announce the title!

Network Shakai ni Okeru Artistic na Mono – Shinwa ga Kangaeru no Ato ni (The Artistic in a Network Society - Beyond Mythological Thinking)

* Note Shinwa ga Kangaeru (Mythological Thinking) is a previous publication by Fukushima

And now, here is Fukushima himself to explain the contents:

It’s said that recent advances in information flow and the evolution of computer networks have brought about great changes in society. In my book Shinwa ga Kangaeru (Seidosha), I attempted to give ideological meaning to these changes by examining the artistic works of recent years from a literary perspective.

However, under normal circumstances, this sort of experiment requires us to take a long view. Rather than be spun around by the shifting phenomena of network society which appear before our eyes, we must first allow time for our experiences to solidify and then inform and refine our historical views.

With this in mind, I believe that future literary theory will need to simultaneously track certain long and short term issues. First, in the short term, we must consider the changes in expression brought about by the information age and networking. The issue for literary critics is what criteria should be used for valuation in these circumstances. On the other hand, in the long term we must build a literary self awareness and self understanding which can survive the radical changes in tide which today’s society presents. As a country torn between East and West, Japan especially must learn to develop this awareness and understanding. We must repeatedly ask ourselves the question “how do we define literature” or, at the very least, culture?

In this lecture, I will reintroduce the contents of Shinwa ga Kangaeru and also elaborate on the two problems described above. I’d like to state in advance that I am not an expert on art and that it is hard for me to hold a separate specific discussion on art. Rather, I would like to focus on culture at large or general artistry, things that carry artistry, while also giving my own interpretation of what it all means.

“We have reached the beginning of a mini mythological age. From Lévi-Strauss to the eastern project of Haruki Murakami, this book covers an astonishingly wide range of material while also setting a new standard. It is a marvelous debut, announcing the arrival of the final giant of the year zero decade. Literary criticism has finally caught up with the times. “

The above is an excerpt from a review of Fukushima’s book written by Hiroki Azuma.

And here’s a look at the book’s contents:


Chapter I Post Modern no Koushi (The Post Modern Public and Private)

Chapter II Shinwa no Shinwa (The Mythology of Mythology)

Chapter III Shocho teki na Mono ni tsuite (On the symbolic)

Chapter IV Network Jidai no Bungaku – Murakami Haruki Zengo (Literature of the Network Age – Before and After Haruki Murakami)

Chapter V Game ga Kangaeru – Bigaku teki na Mono to, Network Shakai he no Saishin Approach
ga Tenkai sareru Rikisaku (The Thinking of Games – Artistry and the Evolving
Approaches of Craftsmanship to a Network Society )


We hope you come experience what is sure to be a hot topic for years to come.

For further information click the link below.


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Shinwa ga Kangaeru

Network Shakai no Bungakuron
(Mythological Thinking: Literary Theory for a Network Society)
Ryota Fukushima


Friday, April 2
Ryota Fukushima
(Literary critic / Scholar of Chinese literature))
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Born in 1981, Fukushima attended doctoral courses at the Kyoto University School of Literature and is now a part-time instructor at the same school. His debut as a critic came with contributions to the newsletter Hajou Genron. In 2010, he published his first theoretical analysis of East Asian culture with the book Seiwa ga Kangaeru --- Network Shakai no Bungakuron (Seidosha).