BYU Asian Studies Journal


Josh Eyre


BYU Asian Studies, Japan, literary censorship


When discussing modern Japanese literature, works of the late 1930s and early 1940s are largely left out of the discussion. Stories written during this time are ignored by scholars, forgotten by readers, and at times even excluded from an author’s “complete works” by publishers (Keene 1987, 906–907). These works are often thought to be devoid of literary merit or not worth studying due to the high levels of scrutiny and censorship that Japanese authors were subjected to by the far right and intensely nationalistic Japanese government of the time. I would argue, however, that the near total dismissal of Japanese WWII literature is a mistake, and that censorship at the time may not have been as total or effective at suppressing ideas as is often thought.