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The Journal of Japanese Language Literature Studies > Volume 16(1); 2023 > Article
Border Crossings: The Journal of Japanese-Language Literature Studies 2023;16(1): 59-76.
doi: https://doi.org/10.22628/bcjjl.2023.16.1.59
The (Im)possibility of Understanding China in Abe Tomoji’s Beijing
Guanwei SU
PhD student of Faculty of Social and Culture Studies, Kyushu University
異文化理解の(不)可能性 ―― 阿部知二『北京』論
Correspondence  Guanwei SU ,Email: chongshenmengjin@gmail.com
Published online: 30 June 2023.
Copyright ©2023 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.
None of Tomoji Abe’s works has attracted as much attention from Japanese and Chinese scholars as Beijing. To this point, these scholars and critics have developed two main perspectives on the text. As the scholars Ichiro Ando and Isao Mizukami point out, the first perspective is comprised of an interpretation of Beijing that is based on the author’s critical stance on the brutal war. The other angle, expressed by Wang Shengyuan and Xiao Dongyuan, is to critique the Orientalism evident in the novel. However, because Beijing was written in a time of turmoil and conflict, there are aspects of the text that do not fit into either one of these categories. The purpose of this paper is to reexamine the two conventional interpretations and to identify a new perspective on Abe’s perception of China. Much like exchanging spectacle lenses, which implies the swapping of two different values, I initially try to get a little closer to the Beijing that Tomoji Abe, who was familiar with English and American literature and who also loved reading classical Chinese literature, saw in 1935. I then focus on the changes in the perspective of the protagonist, Daimon, in order to reevaluate Tomoji Abe’s perception of China and his new interpretation of it contained in Beijing.
Keywords: Tomoji Abe, Beijing, Perceptions of China, Cross-cultural Understanding, Eyeglass Lenses

キ―ワ―ド: 阿部知二, 北京, 中国認 識, 異文化理解, 眼鏡レンズ
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