Japan

Organized Panel Session

3 - Writing at the Speed of Thinking: The Kana-Typewriter and the Rehabilitation of the Male Hand

Friday, March 23
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Thurgood Marshall East, Mezzanine

The kana-typewriter, a Japanese phonetic (hiragana/katakana) typewriter, began its development in the late nineteenth century. Inspired by the western typewriter, it was intended to standardize and to increase the efficiency and productivity of repetitive inscription labor.  The kana-typewriter was originally used to send telegrams, but its more portable models made possible personal use and attracted allies among male intellectuals, industrialists, and scientists, colonial administrators who advocated an alternative to writing in Chinese characters.  Keys and type bars for Japanese syllabaries neatly joined with the western typewriter, and the new hybrid assemblage, including the male typing body, promised “the liberation from Chinese characters,” Japan’s break from “Asia” (as well as its return as a colonizer), and a renewed connection with Western industrial modernity.  Friedrich Kittler argues that the western typewriter lead to the de-sexualization of writing, liberating (hand)writing from its organic and exclusive ties with the male hand and allowing women to enter the white-collar workplace as typists.


This paper will discuss how the kana-typewriter lead, in fact, to the re-sexualization of writing as a masculine enterprise, and to the reunion of the man’s hand with language, as its portability allowed elite Japanese (type)writers in international scientific communities, in colonial administrations and associated overseas business communities to synchronize writing and thinking and to re-enact the western subject-position of auto-affect in writing.

Miyako Inoue

Stanford University, California

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Miyako Inoue


Assets

3 - Writing at the Speed of Thinking: The Kana-Typewriter and the Rehabilitation of the Male Hand



Attendees who have favorited this

Please enter your access key

The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.

Send Email for Writing at the Speed of Thinking: The Kana-Typewriter and the Rehabilitation of the Male Hand