Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Cultural Diversity in Eighteenth-Century Japan: Buson, a Poet-Painter, and His Work

Dr. Toshiko Yokota.

My paper is a case study of dynamism of cultural diversity in eighteenth-century Japan when it is commonly assumed that Japan was isolated from the rest of the world.
In my paper, I position Buson (1716-1783), a poet-painter, and his work within the eighteenth-century Japanese cultural field and analyze the socio-historical conditions that contributed to the emergence of Buson as a multi-talented artist-namely the sinophilic trends of the time and the development of educational institutions which provided knowledge of Japanese and Chinese classics. Although Japanese contacts with China were limited under Tokugwa government policy, Chinese culture served as a romantic ideal as a form of the exotic for the cultural elite, especially in urban centers. The impact of Chinese "other" is evidenced in Buson's artistic and literary production.
Through the examination of mediating factors of Buson and his work, we learn that cultural diversity in the pre-modern Japanese society contributed to the emergence of Buson as a multi-talented artist.
I hope that this study will shed light to those who work especially in the fields of literature, art, history and sociology in the age of globalism and multiculturalism.


Dr. Toshiko Yokota  (United States)
Assistant Professor of Japanese Language and I haLiterature
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, College of Arts and Letters
California State University, Los Angeles

I teach both Japanese language and literature at CSU Los Angeles. I introduce values and beliefs in pre-modern and modern Japanese society through textual analyses for students to understand both Japanese and their own culture. My research specialization is cultural production in 18th-century Japan. I am especially interested in Sino-Japanese relationship of the time. For past two years, I presented my papers at national conferences of Association of Asian Studies.

  • Yosa Buson
  • Cultural Production
  • Eighteenth-Century Japan
  • Cultural Diversity
Person as Subject
  • Yosa, Buson

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)