Study on the Infancy Characteristics of Meiji Capitalism in Takekurabe under the Semiotic Square Theory

Suyan Zhao


Takekurabe (Child’s Play) is one of the masterpieces of Ichiy? Higuchi, a Japanese female writer, during the Meiji (Note 1) period. Setting in the context of Yoshiwara, a famous red-light district in Edo (Note 2)period, the novella depicts the absurd and wild growth experience of a group of youths who were deeply influenced by the feudal dross culture. From the perspective of structuralism, this paper leverages Greimas’s semiotic square theory to explore the meaning structure beneath the ostensible narratives of the work. It is found that the contradictions and entanglement among teenagers are closely connected with Yoshiwara’s social culture and mainstream values. It can be said that Yoshiwara in the Meiji period portrayed by Ichiy? is a residual epitome of Edo feudal culture.

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