The Reception of Max Weber’s Cubist Poems (1914) in Taishō Japan
In this paper, I will analyze the Japanese reception of Cubist Poems, a collection of experimental poetry published in 1914 by the Jewish-American painter Max Weber (1881‒1961). First, I will provide information on this little-known collection and its author. Then I will offer a general description of the structure of the field of cultural production in 1910s and 1920s Tokyo, a period that roughly corresponds to the reign of Emperor Taishō (1912‒1926). To do so, I will use a number of theoretical tools from the works of Pierre Bourdieu. Part of this article will be structured as a historical survey of the presentation of Cubist Poems in 1914‒1925 Japan. As will become clear, in the Japanese cultural world, Weber’s collection provoked an interest that was unparalleled in any other country, perhaps even in the English-speaking world. Finally, I will offer some interpretations of the characteristics of this reception and some hypotheses concerning its causes.
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