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The Journal of Japanese Language Literature Studies > Volume 6(1); 2018 > Article
Border Crossings: The Journal of Japanese-Language Literature Studies 2018;6(1): 133-145.
doi: https://doi.org/10.22628/bcjjl.2018.6.1.133
A boy's Retro Gradation: A study of Nakamura Seiko's Shonenko
Tianyun ZHU
ある少年の逆行 ―― 中村星湖の
Correspondence  Tianyun ZHU ,Email: zhutianyun@fudan.edu.cn
Published online: 30 June 2018.
Copyright ©2018 The Global Institute for Japanese Studies, Korea University
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Shonenko, Nakamura Seiko’s magnum opus, is widely considered to be one of the most significant works of Japanese Naturalism. It is usually read as a coming-of-age story of two boys, Takeshi and Makio. One was born in the country and the other in the city. They met each other at Takeshi’s primary school in the countryside and became friends, but Makio went to secondary school one year earlier than Takeshi. Later, they met again at Makio’s secondary school, but were never as close as before. At the end of the novel, Makio who used to like painting, went mad and then died prematurely. By contrast, Takeshi successfully transformed himself from a country boy to a leader at the city’s secondary school. Two most salient features of the novel are the style of recalling and the landscape description that arouse many scholars’ interests as well as most of their criticism towards the story. The focus of this study is on the different ways that Makio was called. In the text, the way that Makio was called changes a lot. Sometimes it is Miyagawa (his given name), sometimes it is Makio-san, and sometimes it is Makio-kun. Through a detailed text analysis, a different growth pattern that does not meet the requirements of Meiji era, and the hidden meanings of the text are supposed to be found. This approach might contribute a different way to read this novel as well as to find a real child in modern Japanese novels.
Keywords: The way to be called, Social success, Meiji Era, The way of growth, Retro gradation

キ―ワ―ド: 呼称, 立身出世, 明治, 成長の道, 逆行
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