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Musashino in Tuscany
Japanese Overseas Travel Literature, 1860-1912
by Susanna Fessler, State University of New York

By the late Meiji period Japanese were venturing abroad in great numbers, and some of those who traveled kept diaries and wrote formal travelogues. These travelogues reflected a changing view of the west and changing artistic sensibilities in regard to the long-standing Japanese literary tradition of travel writing (kik˘bungaku). This book shows that overseas Meiji-period travel writers struck out to create a dynamic new type of travel literature, one that had a solid foundation in traditional Japanese kik˘bungaku yet also displayed influence from the west. 

Musashino in Tuscany specifically examines the poetic imagery and allusion in these travelogues and reveals that when Japanese traveled to the west in the mid-19th century, the images they wrote about tended to be associated not with places initially discovered by the Japanese traveler but with places that already existed in western fame and lore. And unlike imagery from Japanese traveling in Japan, which was predominately nature based, Japanese overseas travel imagery was often associated with the man-made world.

Published by Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan
Michigan Monograph Series in Japanese Studies No. 50 
Published 2005, 309 pp., illustrated
ISBN 1 929280 29 7, hardback, ú42.00