The Bookman (essay date 1913)
SOURCE: A review of 'The American Diary of a Japanese Girl ', in The Bookman, January, 1913, p. 240.
[In the following essay, a review of The American Diary of a Japanese Girl, a critic observes that the book's supposedly naive narrator possesses a knowledge of western culture on a level with Noguchi's own.]
Mr. Noguchi, the poet, we have long admired; he is one of the two Japanese authors who have captivated us in the net of their imperfect, very skilfully imperfect, English. He seemed to us before to be a Japanese butterfly which had strayed somehow into a Hebridean sunset and had grown deliciously intoxicated. At the same time he strayed no more out of himself than did Shelley, and we apprehended that in attempting to depict a Japanese girl on whose untutored mind America thrusts itself [in The American Diary of a Japanese Girl], Mr. Noguchi would bring too much of himself into the sketch. He is indeed far too profound for his heroine, and in some places he goes so far in the direction of naïvité that we look askance at the performance. In other words, it seems to us that the requisite sense of European humour there is no humour worth dignifying with the title American is not easily to be acquired, even by a most gifted Japanese. As an example of observation not unworthy of Tolstoi we have this:
"It is astonishing to notice what a condescending...
(The entire section is 463 words.)