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Japan's first daily newspaper, Yokohama Daily, was founded on 1871 under the Gregorian calender, and soon others such as Tokyo Daily, and Post-Dispatch Newspaper followed suit. These newspapers were characterized by their kanbun-style language and their focus on economy and business that matched their target audience of entrepreneurs and intellectuals. By the end of the 1870s, the serialized "reports" called tsuzuki-mono had established themselves as the favorite reading material of newspaper subscribers, stimulating the sales of koshinbun at a time when the newspaper industry as a whole was undergoing rapid expansion due to two contemporary developments: the Seinan War and the Freedom and People's Rights movement. The emergence of the detective story in the late 1880s appeared to be a perfect marriage between content and form within the literary landscape of the time. The late 1890s was a period when major ideological frameworks of the Japanese family were being constructed and propagated in conjunction with the Meiji Civil Code.
The relationship between literature and society/culture is complex. The act of writing is not a process of recording. Literary works interact with our sociocultural reality; they challenge, question, or sometimes reinforce our everyday values and assumptions. Reading modern Japanese literature means reading individual writers' experiences and their multifaceted interpretations of society and culture. In principle, therefore, any attempt at generalisation will fail. At the same time, however, literature is not created in a vacuum; writers' experiences are woven within a social and cultural fabric, and certain common literary features emerge during any given period in history. The individual writer's words are taken from, and the chain of words he or she creates is once again incorporated into, that very fabric. Sometimes these words may cause a tear or rip; or when they regurgitate the experiences of everyday life, they may be absorbed with little resistance, often becoming commercially successful in the process. This metaphor may help explain the distinction between so-called pure and popular literature in modern Japanese literary history. The two genres have been commonly differentiated by the way they are received in the literary market: pure literature for those readers who 'seriously' enjoy reading literature and who have the ability to appreciate its 'literary' value; popular literature for the broader public who read for entertainment.
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