Departmental Bulletin Paper The representation of Hansen’s disease in supernatural tales: With special attention to Kōda Rohan’s Encounter with a skull
怪奇小説におけるハンセン病の肖像 ―幸田露伴『対髑髏』1 を中心に2

田中, キャサリン  ,  Kathryn, TANAKA

16pp.89 - 124 , 2016-03-31 , 大手前大学
Koda Rohan’s Taidokuro (Encounter with a Skull) (1890) has not been the subject of much scholarly attention in Western-language scholarship, although it has been translated into German and English. One reason for this neglect is the apparent simplicity of the plot coupled with the incredibly dense language, filled with references to Japanese classical literature, Buddhism and Chinese philosophy. Although the text has been analyzed as a work of Romantic Mysticism, Rohan’s depiction of Hansen’s Disease (leprosy) in this tale can be understood as a modern social allegory. His depiction of Hansen’s Disease was in dialogue with broader discourses of disease and imperial anxiety. Rod Edmund has demonstrated the ways in which Hansen’s Disease was appropriated in literature to reflect anxieties of empires and threats to colonial centers in his groundbreaking study, Leprosy and Empire. Building on this, I discuss the significance of Hansen’s disease as a common trope in Western and Japanese ghostly tales. I first analyze the innovations of Rohan’s work in comparison to the way Hansen’s Disease appears in other Japanese ghostly tales before I reveal the similarities and differences between the depiction of ghostly visitors suffering from Hansen’s Disease in Rohan and the works of British authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Rudyard Kipling, among others. Through this close examination of Encounter with a Skull, I draw attention to the play between archetype and innovation in this distinctly “modern” text and show how it operated within the context of global discourses of illness and empire.

Number of accesses :  

Other information