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Double Visions, Double Fictions

The Doppelgänger in Japanese Film and Literature

2018
Author:

Baryon Tensor Posadas

Double Visions, Double Fictions

A fresh take on the dopplegänger and its place in Japanese film and literature—past and present

Double Visions, Double Fictions analyzes the myriad manifestations of the dopplegänger in Japanese literary and cinematic texts at two historical junctures: the interwar period of the 1920s and 1930s and the present day. From psychoanalytic theory to Japanese detective fiction, Baryon Tensor Posadas reveals how the dopplegänger motif provides a fascinating new backdrop for understanding the enmeshment of past and present.

Since its earliest known use in German Romanticism in the late 1700s, the word Dopplegänger (double-walker) can be found throughout a vast array of literature, culture, and media. This motif of doubling can also be seen traversing historical and cultural boundaries. Double Visions, Double Fictions analyzes the myriad manifestations of the dopplegänger in Japanese literary and cinematic texts at two historical junctures: the interwar period of the 1920s and 1930s and the present day.

According to author Baryon Tensor Posadas, the doppelgänger marks the intersection of the historical impact of psychoanalytic theory, the genre of detective fiction in Japan, early Japanese cinema, and the cultural production of Japanese colonialism. He examines the doppelgänger’s appearance in the works of Edogawa Rampo, Tanizaki Jun’ichiro, and Akutagawa Ryunosuke, as well as the films of Tsukamoto Shin’ya and Kurosawa Kiyoshi, not only as a recurrent motif but also as a critical practice of concepts. Following these explorations, Posadas asks: What were the social, political, and material conditions that mobilized the desire for the dopplegänger? And how does the dopplegänger capture social transformations taking place at these historical moments?

Double Visions, Double Fictions ultimately reveals how the dopplegänger motif provides a fascinating new backdrop for understanding the enmeshment of past and present.

Double Visions, Double Fictions

Baryon Tensor Posadas is assistant professor of Asian languages and literatures at the University of Minnesota and translator of The Sacred Era by Yoshio Aramaki (Minnesota, 2017).

Double Visions, Double Fictions

Contents
Introduction. A Strange Mirror: The Doppelgänger in Japan
1. Stalkers and Crime Scenes: The Detective Fiction of Edogawa Rampo
2. Repressing the Colonial Unconscious: Racialized Doppelgängers
3. Projections of Shadow: Visual Modernization and Psychoanalysis
4. Rampo’s Repetitions: Confession, Adaptation, and the Historical Unconscious
5. Compulsions to Repeat: The Doppelgänger at the End of History
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index