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Dynamite Against the Bundan

Fantasies of Empowerment and Violence in the Writings of Yamamura Bochō

Pierantonio Zanotti    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia ORCID iD    



In my study, I investigate the strategies of empowerment within the literary field that were adopted by Yamamura Bochō (1884-1924), an author of shi (poetry in non-traditional forms) who ephemerally came to the fore of the Japanese literary scene (bundan) with the collection Seisanryōhari (The Holy Prism), published in 1915. I focus on Bochō’s articulation of a fantasy of empowerment by destruction and regeneration: such tropes are similar to the rhetorical strategies adopted by the European avant-garde movements, and, in evoking such categories as ‘terrorism’ or ‘anarchism’, they border the domains of early twentieth century political discourse. I analyze these tropes focusing on a genealogical perspective that involves both intertextual and historical research. It is argued that the rhetoric of antagonism and destruction can be a relevant focus in order to appreciate the modalities of construction of a modernist discourse from both a Japanese and comparative perspective.