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Self and the City: A Modern Woman's Journey. Miyamoto Yuriko in the Soviet Union and Europe, 1927-1930

Dobson, Jill (2014) Self and the City: A Modern Woman's Journey. Miyamoto Yuriko in the Soviet Union and Europe, 1927-1930. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

[img] Text (PhD thesis)
FINAL DRAFT corrected 20 July 2015.pdf
Restricted until 30 January 2020.


As the daughter of liberal-minded and affluent parents, the writer Miyamoto Yuriko (1899–1951) had unusual freedom for a young Japanese woman in defining herself. Her pivotal three years in Soviet Russia and Europe in 1927–1930 brought about her conversion to communism in the Stalinist era and changed the course of her life. The fundamental question of this thesis is how travel can transform an individual’s sense of self. I address this by using the concept of positionality to analyse how Miyamoto Yuriko presented her experience of travel across several genres of self-writing. Drawing on Chloe Starr’s (2013) approach to different genres of self-writing as individual components of an overarching narrative, I take as my source material Yuriko’s various accounts of her three years abroad: the autobiographical novel Dōhyō (Roadsigns) (1947–1950), two key essays from her Sobieto kikō, ‘Mosukuwa inshōki’ (Record of Moscow Impressions, 1928) and ‘London 1929’ (1930), and Yuriko’s diaries from this period. By reading these accounts, written at different times in different genres, against and through each other, I will analyse the variations and commonalities to produce a more detailed and nuanced picture of the relationship between Yuriko’s travels and her self-conception. In my analysis of travel as a transformational experience, I draw on cultural geography to explore the interaction of place and self, in particular, the city. Historically I situate Yuriko’s travels in the context of opposed models of modernity – the newly formed Soviet Union and ‘Old’ Europe – and the different implications of these modernities for women.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Miyamoto Yuriko; Japan-Russia relations; women travellers; self-writing
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of East Asian Studies (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Jill Dobson
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2015 12:10
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2015 08:15
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7927

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