Date of Award

Fall 12-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

MA Asian Studies


Language/Literature /Culture


Anne Giblin Gedacht, PhD

Committee Member

Xue-Ming Bao, EdD

Committee Member

Mary M. Balkun, PhD


Japan, mimetic, modernity, tradition, household, novel


This thesis examines the writings of Meiji novelists living during a time of transition. Their writings became known as part of a genre called Erotic Grotesque Nonsense. The genre became defined as engaging in extremes to entertain an audience captivated by the eroticism, grotesque, or even the nonsensical nature of the stories being told. The thesis discovers there is a pressing social commentary on the tumultuous transition to modernity hidden within these works. The traditions established during the Tokugawa era starting from 1603 and lasting until 1867 came under pressure with the start of the Meiji era in 1868. Each chapter showcases how these Meiji novelists attempted to memorialize these traditions and comment on the state of Japan in transition. The study concludes with a redefining of this genre as more than simply entertainment. Erotic Grotesque Nonsense is a testament to the resolve of these writers to memorialize traditional Japan as a victim of modernity that won’t be easily forgotten.