Kanno Suga (1902-1911)
DOI link for Kanno Suga (1902-1911)
Kanno Suga (1902-1911) book
Biographical descriptions of Kanno Suga's childhood have drawn upon the 'semi-autobiographical' novelette of 1902, 'Omokage' (,Memories'), the heroine of which was named Akiko.· There are a few parallels between information contained in it and a very brief account Suga gave of her background during the trial, but there is no doubt that her youth is more a matter for speculation than has often been admitted. 1 Because it is often difficult to ascertain whether details about her youth and early career have been derived only from her 'semi-autobiographical' writings, here secondary sources will be treated with caution in attempts to piece together contextual information about her background. The strength of autobiographical traditions in Japanese literature partly explains this assumption that Suga's stories about Akiko or Tsuyuko were actually about herself. But even if we could justify on these grounds treating such works as factual, problems like the extent of political or dramatic licence would still remain. There is also the issue of to what degree her hindsight moulded her retelling of events that had occurred years before. These are problems inherent even in autobiography where authors explicitly proclaim the truth of their 'own' life-stories. Yet in a project where one's concern is rather with how the subject represented the reality of life - whether her 'own' lived reality, or that of fictional characters like Akiko and Tsuyuko - such issues are not so problematic. When one's object is not the reconstruction of a life, but rather an interpretation of narratives about life, a consideration of political purpose is not only an intrinsic part of the interpretation, but also helps to bring into sharper relief the contexts in which the subject wrote.