Rescuing Asian Art from American Artists

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Generations of American writers have approached Asian cultures with the best of intentions but repeatedly missed the mark. How can we rescue Asian artists and thinkers like Hokusai from our own desire to experience them as foreign? How can we experience Hokusai not as the Japanese artist, not as one of the roots of European Japonisme, not as a spiritual guide, but just as a person who made some art?

For the Ploughshares blog, Tim Ellison explores the ways in which Asian art has been appropriated by American writers like Thoreau and Kerouac and how writers like Mary Ruefle are saving it.


P.E. Garcia is an Editor-at-Large for the Rumpus and a contributor to HTMLGiant. They currently live in Philadelphia, where they were recently accidentally elected to be Judge of Elections. Find them on Twitter: @AvantGarcia. More from this author →