Mr Neale Cunningham

Mr Neale Cunningham

Research Postgraduate Student

Summary: Hermann Hesse's Reception in Japan

Profile

I am originally from Chelmsford, Essex, UK. I spent almost 20 years living and working in Munich as a freelance translator. I am currently based in Tokyo, where I teach Academic Communication Skills at Sophia University. I hold a BA in German from London University and an MA in Pacific Rim Studies from Essex University. I started my part-time PhD at Leeds in November, 2011. I am fortunate to have Hesse specialist Dr Ingo Cornils as my primary supervisor and Professor Stuart Taberner as my co-supervisor.

Research

I am researching Hermann Hesse’s reception in Japan. The reception of Hermann Hesse’s work in Japan began in translation in 1909, just five years after his first novel was published in Germany, and has continued until this day, evidenced by translations of recent Suhrkamp Verlag publications which have become bestsellers in Japan. Hesse showed great affinity with Japan and his Japanese readers, and in the latter stages of his life he demonstrated a profound knowledge of Japanese Zen. This reciprocity occurred both directly on a personal level, especially through letter correspondence, as well as via mediators, such as translators and his ‘Japanese cousin’, Wilhelm Gundert. Japan is an essential yet under researched area of our knowledge about a Swiss/German writer, perhaps better termed ‘world author’, whose texts are still circulating and triggering responses globally.

I think the following two quotes serve well to illustrate the reciprocal relationship between Hesse and Japan:

‘Schön war der Brief eines Japaners, der mir im Namen meiner japanischen Leser gratuliert und sagt, ich sei für sie der “vertraulichste” europäische Dichter.’

‘Am besten verstehen mich wohl die Japaner, und am wenigsten die Amerikaner. Aber das ist auch nicht meine Welt. Da komme ich nie hin.’

The first quote is from 1927, taken from a letter to Hesse’s second wife Ruth Wenger, and reflects a Japanese reader’s reaction to Siddhartha. The second is dated 1951, taken from a letter to Felix Lützkendorf, and reflects Hesse’s own opinion of where his work is best understood.

I welcome any comments or suggestions regarding my research.

Publications

Cunningham, N. 2017. Westöstliche Affinitäten: Hermann Hesse im Bann seines „Japanischen Vetters.“ In: Yamamoto, Y. ed. Berichte: Hermann Hesse Freundkreis/Forschungsgruppe Japan. 22, pp. 28-39.

Cunningham, N. Westöstliche Affinitäten: Hermann Hesse im Bann seines „Japanischen Vetters.“ Zhu, Jianhua, Zhao, Jin, Szurawitzki, Michael (Hrsg.) (2017): Germanistik zwischen Tradition und Innovation. Akten des XIII. Kongresses der Internationalen Vereinigung für Germanistik (IVG), Shanghai, 23.-30.8. 2015. Band 9: Tradition und Transformation: der Ferne Osten in der deutschsprachigen Literatur – Fluchtgeschichten. Narrative Grenzerkundungen angesichts von Emigration und Exil – Die Sprache der Emotionen lesbar machen: ‚Fremde‘ und ‚eigene’ Emotionskulturen. Frankfurt/M.: Peter Lang, pp. 39-43.

Cunningham, N. 2016. Hermann Hesse and the Butterflies – A Journey from Innocence to Experience and Back. In: Cornils, I., ed. Literatur für Leser Themenheft: Forever Young? Unschuld und Erfahrung im Werk Hermann Hesses. Verlag Peter Lang.15(1), pp. 31-37.

Cunningham, N. 2015. Stimulating Higher Order Thinking: The Dramatization of Graded Readers. Lingua: Special Issue on CLIL. Tokyo: Center for Language Education and Research, Sophia University. 26, pp. 11-19.

Cunningham, N. & Fukao, A. 2012. Study Skills in English. In: Izumi, S., Ikeda, M. and Watanabe, Y., eds. CLIL Vol. 2: Practices and Applications. Tokyo: Sophia University Press, pp. 17-57. 

Cunningham, N. 2011. Using Self-Assessments in a University Academic English Class in Japan: Experiences and Analyses. Josai International University, Bulletin, Faculty of Humanities. 19(2), pp. 43-68.

Cunningham, N. 2007. Japan – Drawing the Line: The Nation as Spatial and Imaginary Entity. Josai International University, Bulletin, Faculty of Humanities. 15(2), pp. 21-32.

Cunningham, N. 2002. Japan’s Ethnic Groups: Place and Identity. Yamanashi University, Bulletin of Education and Humanities Department. 3(2), pp. 117-128.

Conferences

Cunningham, N. 2017. East-West Affinities: Swiss-German Writer Hermann Hesse and His 'Japanese' Cousin. 61st National Postgraduate Colloquium in German Studies. 6-7 April 2017, Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London.

Cunningham, N. 2015. Westöstliche Affinitäten: Hermann Hesse im Bann seines „Japanischen Vetters“. XIII. Kongress der Internationalen Vereinigung für Germanistik: Germanistik zwischen Tradition und Innovation, 23-30 August 2015, Shanghai.

Cunningham, N. 2000. Ethnic Groups at the Margin in Japan – Social Space and Transgression. Outcasts CUEAGA Conference 2000,  2-4 November 2000, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA.

Talks 

Cunningham, N. 2016. Westöstliche Affinitäten: Hermann Hesse im Bann seines „Japanischen Vetters.“ 29 May, 25th Anniversary Meeting of Hermann Hesse Freundeskreis und Forschungsgruppe Japan, Dokkyou University, Saitama, Japan.

Cunningham, N. 2016. Stimulating Higher Order Thinking: The Dramatization of Graded Readers. 10 March, The Language Centre, The University of Leeds.

Cunningham, N. 2016. AC2 – Elementary Graded Reader Reading Circles. 18 January, Center for Language Education and Research, Sophia University.

Cunningham, N. 2014. AE1: Academic Study Skills in English (2010-2013). 10 January, Center for Language Education and Research, Sophia University.

Guest Editor

Supplement to History of the German Literature of the Twentieth Century (1880–1945), Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 2016. (Forthcoming, 2017) 

2015. Lingua: Special Issue on CLIL. Tokyo: Center for Language Education and Research, Sophia University. 26.