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The Journal of Japanese Language Literature Studies > Volume 17(1); 2023 > Article
Border Crossings: The Journal of Japanese-Language Literature Studies 2023;17(1): 271-286.
doi: https://doi.org/10.22628/bcjjl.2023.17.1.271
Performance for Community Building:The Japanese Diaspora’s Cultural Activities in Early Twentieth Century Seattle
Yuta KAMINISHI
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Idaho
Performance for Community Building――The Japanese Diaspora’s Cultural Activities in Early Twentieth Century Seattle
上西雄太
アイダホ大学ポストドクトラル·フェロー。
Correspondence  Yuta KAMINISHI ,Email: yutak@uidaho.edu
Published online: 30 December 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.
ABSTRACT
As the number of immigrants from Japan increased in early twentieth century Seattle, Japanese diasporic communities developed their cultural activities such as publishing newspapers, forming literary groups, and running fundraising events. Recent research of Japanese-language literature is expanding its scope to these cultural fields of diasporic communities and deepening our understanding of the role of cultural infrastructure amid the constant transformation of communities in flux. To contribute to delineating these diverse cultural histories, this article examines an amateur performance by literary group members (bunshigeki), which was a fundraiser for their public library project, as an example of community building through collective creation. In order to do so, this article excavates Japanese-language newspapers and weeklies available in the Hoji Shinbun Digital Archive along with special collections at the University of Washington. Literary group members’ voices in Japanese-language print media express that their engagement with amateur performance was public commitment to community building. Contextualizing their practices in the history of Japantown in Seattle, this article highlights the way in which people’s participation in cultural activities was a public engagement that would create new infrastructure for unstable diasporic communities.
Keywords: Japanese Diaspora, Japanese-language Newspaper, Seattle Bundan, Bunshigeki, Early Twentieth Century Seattle

キ―ワ―ド: 日系ディアスポラ, 邦字新聞, シアトル文壇, 文士劇, 20世紀初期シアトル
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