Chūshingura and the Edo Literary Imagination

chushingTuesday, February 23 – Thursday, February 25, 2016

In mid-February, the Japan Foundation, Toronto was pleased to welcome Professor William Fleming of Yale University’s Departments of East Asian Languages & Literatures, and Theater Studies, who delivered a whirlwind lecture tour on the topic of one of Japan’s most enduring stories: Chushingura, the legend of the 47 ronin.

Professor Fleming’s first lecture was in Toronto, with the support of our partner for the event, the Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs. He explained how the 18th century historical event has resonated with every generation since it first occurred, and been repeatedly transformed according to social whim. Professor Fleming introduced 18th and 19th century pictorial parodies satirizing the original tale and the seriochush 2us theatrical depictions that stemmed from it.

On the 24th, Professor Fleming braved the cutting cold temperatures and wind of Winnipeg to deliver a talk at University of Manitoba, hosted by Professor William Lee, Director of the Asian Studies Centre. The following day, Professor Fleming travelled to balmy Alberta, where the temperature suddenly lept by 28 degrees Celcius. He spoke to a large crowd of faculty, students and community members at the University of Calgary as part of the University’s Japan Culture Series 2016. The crowd peppered the professor with interesting and challenging questions related to the appearance of Chushingura in Japanese literary and popular culture.

We would like to offer a special thank you to Professor Fleming, not only for agreeing to a whirlwind Canadian lecture tour, but also for bravely accepting to do so in February, arguably not one of the most popular times to visit Canada.