Monday, November 7, 2011


Katsutoshi Uchiyama (ed.), JASCA: Japan Studies in Classical Antiquity 1(2011). Kyoto: Classical Society of Japan, 2011. Pp. 151. ISBN 9784876985586. ¥ 2000.

Reviewed by Hagith Sivan, Kansas University (

Version at BMCR home site

This is the first volume of a new classical journal published under the auspices of The Classical Society of Japan. It is a triennial that, according to Hiroyuki Takahashi, Secretary of the Society, "promises to make the current research in classical philology in Japan more widely accessible to scholars abroad." JASCA indeed provides an invaluable opportunity to acquaint western audiences with the current state of Japanese research into the world of authors such as Homer, Plato, Aristotle, and Menander, subjects of the articles included in this first volume.

At the start and the end of this volume are two articles that perhaps more than most represent the nice range of this new journal, as well as well as its global spectrum of scholarly endeavors. The first is Ito's article on the ancient economy and its trendy purveyors, from Weber and Finley to collected essays on the subject, who not unnaturally believe in the eurocentricity of the modern descriptions of the economic systems of antiquity. Ito, possibly correctly, calls attention to the global applicability of the theories, citing work done in Japan on comparative economic perspectives of east and west, and Japanese intense interest in ancient slavery. At the end of the slim volume is an article by Taplin, originally a Tokyo lecture, on the ever-surprising element of the behavior of mythic protagonists on stage. Evidence is derived from vase painting and, delightfully (for me, at least, as an opera fanatic) from the ever- changing interpretation of opera roles that recast the very same mythic characters.

This is a welcome addition and a courageous one to the valiant fight to keep the classics going in this age of onlining and mindless texting. One tiny reservation—it would have been useful to add an abstract to each article. In sum, it is indeed a pleasure to welcome a new classics periodical from the lovely land of the rising sun.

Table of Contents

Foreward: Katsutoshi Uchiyama 3
Sadto Ito, Evidence, Theories and the Ancient Economy: A Critical Survey of Recent Work 4
Naoko Yamagata, Male and Female Spaces in Homer and in Heike monogatari 27
Makoto Anzai, Tetsuro Watsuji as one of the Pioneering Classicists in Japan and the Iliad 43
Yahei Kanayama, Plato as a Wayfinder: To Know Meno, the Robbery Case and the Road to Larissa 63
Shinji Tanaka, Justice and Reward: On the Art of Wage-earning in Book I of the Republic 89
Atsushi Kawatani, The Place of Fear and Shame in Aristotle 99
Martin Ciesko, Menander's Self-advertisement or Life in and out of the Canon 111
Oliver Taplin, Antiphanes, Antigone and the Malleability of Tragic Myth 137

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