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Absolute Erotic, Absolute Grotesque


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Table of Contents

Preface ix
Acknowledgments xvii
Abbreviations xxi
Introduction 1
Part I. Biopolitics
1. Cool(ie) Japan 25
2. Peripheral Pimps 57
3. Empire in Hysterics 81
4. Stubborn Farmers and Grotesqued Korea 101
Intertext I. A Korean is being beaten; I, a Japanese colonizer, am being beaten 119
Part II. Neuropolitics
5. All That's Solid Melts into Modern Girls and Boys 135
6. Revolutionary Pornography and the Declining Rate of Pleasure 161
Intertext II. Neuropolitics Sprouts Fangs 203
Part III. Necropolitics
7. The Opiate of the (Chinese) People 227
8. Japanese Lessons 263
Conclusion: Bare Labor and the Empire of the Leaving Dead 295
Notes 315
Bibliography 327
Index 345

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A major rethinking of Japanese imperialism in Asia using subaltern postcolonial studies and Marxism to focus attention on the role of human life and labour in colonial expansion

About the Author

Mark Driscoll is Associate Professor of Japanese and International Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the editor and translator of Katsuei Yuasa's Kannani and Document of Flames: Two Japanese Colonial Novels, also published by Duke University Press.


"Absolute Erotic, Absolute Grotesque will certainly have a consequential impact on the field of modern Japanese studies, especially the crucial interwar period and Japan's imperial project. At the same time, it reaches beyond mere national history, providing one of the first, fruitful attempts to rethink postcolonial discourse as an interpretive strategy rooted in the historical reality of East Asia." Harry Harootunian, author of The Empire's New Clothes: Paradigm Lost, and Regained "This book will be an essential touchstone for our understanding of twentieth-century imperialism, and of the transformation of labor under twentieth-century capitalism. Mark Driscoll's elaboration of the notion of the bio-political is the most imaginative and productive use of the concept that I have seen. His meticulous and wide-ranging research, drawing on Chinese and Korean sources as well as on his thorough mastery of Japanese archival and scholarly literature, not only makes a clear case for the specificity of Japanese imperial project, but offers crucial genealogical insights into the emergence of modern East Asian regimes of capital. Written with commitment, wit, and vision, it is also a great pleasure to read." Christopher Connery, author of The Empire of the Text: Writing and Authority in Early Imperial China "Absolute Erotic, Absolute Grotesque is a stupendous study of Japanese empire. While existing studies often revolve around the analysis of colonial institutions (such as the army, government, and market), and discourses of colonial modernity, Mark Driscoll takes us into a wholly different terrain of politics, bringing out of their historical coffins the 'subaltern of the subaltern,' from coolies, human traffickers, prostitutes, hustlers, and drug dealers to comfort women and suicidal soldiers."--Hyun Ok Park, author of Two Dreams in One Bed: Empire, Social Life, and the Origins of the North Korean Revolution in Manchuria

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