- 東京大学大学院教育学研究科紀要 (ISSN:13421050)
- vol.51, pp.363-375, 2012-03-10
During the Meiji Restoration, Japan adopted Western culture, ideas, education and technology, and even introduced new animal breeds from the West, including new varieties of rabbits. Cross-breeding with domestic varieties produced rabbits with unusual coloring, and around 1873 these became the target of speculative trading. This phenomenon is known as the "Rabbit Mania". In the same period, the genre Kaika-mono (lowbrow fiction) was popular among the ordinary people. Stories in this genre include "Seiyou Douchuu Hizakurige" (1870), "Aguranabe" (1871), "Bummei Kaika" (1873), "Kaika Mondou" (1874) and "Bummei Inaka Mondou" (1878). This paper discusses two stories belonging to this genre that deal with the "Rabbit Mania" : "Tori Gekka Mondou" and "Usagi no Mondou". The style of these stories is light and comical, and the former has a rather risqué flavor. The author explores the "Rabbit Mania" through an examination of the dialogue in these stories, and reports about the phenomenon in both English and Japanese newspapers. The paper also refers to related nishikie (colored woodblock print) parodies.