Ueda Akinari

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ueda Akinari


Born 1734 in Osaka; died June 27, 1809, in Kyoto. Japanese writer.

Ueda studied Chinese literature, philosophy, and medicine. He made his debut as a writer with the didactic tale The Mores of Worldly Concubines (1767) and later won fame as the author of romantic adventure tales written in the serious prose genre of yomihon (“reading books”). He often employed plots from Japanese and Chinese literature and folklore.

The basic themes of Ueda’s works were the glorification of virtue and the condemnation of vice and social evil. His writings upheld the doctrine of shingaku (“science of the heart”), which preached the equality of all social classes, while prescribing that each class live in accordance with its social position. The fantastic occupied an important place in Ueda’s work. Often his heroes were spirits or ghosts, as in the short-story collections Tales of a Rainy Moon (1768; Russian translation, 1961) and Tales of Spring Rain (1809). Ueda was also a talented poet, the author of tankas and haikus.


Ueda Akinari-shu. Tokyo, 1968.


Grigor’eva, T., and V. Logunova. Iaponskaia literatura. Moscow, 1964.
Nakamura Yuhiko. Kinsei sakka kenkyu. Tokyo, 1961.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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"Ugetsu," directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, is inspired by short stories by Ueda Akinari and Guy de Maupassant.
Frank: Ueda Akinari, Francois Thomas Marie de Baculard d'Amaud, Jane Austen and the Northanger Novelists (with Douglass H.
Ueda Akinari's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1734-1809) Kuse monogatari [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Tales of compulsion, 1791) is a compelling case study for considering how alternative modes of literary production arose in resistance to hegemonies of print in early modern Japan.
Ueda Akinari [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1734-1809), although best known as an author of supernatural tales, also devoted much of his career to writing comic fiction and philological scholarship.
Ueda Akinari first honed his craft as a writer of popular comic fiction, making his debut nearly thirty-five years before Kuse monogatari with two satirical works: Shodo kikimimi sekenzaru [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Worldly monkeys with ears for the arts, 1766) and Seken tekake katagi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Characters of worldly courtesans, 1767).
Among all of the works of narrative fiction by Ueda Akinari, Kuse monogatari is unique for its inclusion of marginal and interlinear commentary, as well as for the unconventional circumstances of its dissemination, which were predicated upon the private circulation and hand-copying of manuscripts by a select few of the author's literary acquaintances.
Readers interested in learning more about the life of Ueda Akinari, Kuse monogatari, and the culture of writing in Edo Japan should consult Konoe (1995), Kornicki (2006), and Takada (1966).
Ueda Akinari zenshu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [The complete works of Ueda Akinari], Vol.
She then contrasts Norinaga's ideas with the work of three other contemporary kokugaku scholars, Ueda Akinari, Fujitani Mitsue, and Tachibana Moribe, all of whom variously challenged many of Norinaga's conclusions and greatly expanded the kokugaku debate.