Body in Postwar Japanese Fiction (Asia's Transformations) - download pdf or read online

By Douglas Slaymaker

This publication explores one of the vital subject matters in postwar jap fiction. via an exam of the paintings of a few well known 20th century eastern writers, the publication analyses the that means of the physique in postwar jap discourse, the gender structures of the imagery of the physique and the consequences for our realizing of person and nationwide identification. This ebook may be of curiosity to all scholars of recent jap literature.

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Emasculation is a key theme in the writings by men, and while disenfranchisement, role-anxiety, and desperation are central themes in the women’s fiction as well, the imagery is not sexual. Loss of power represents a newly articulated problem for men, and many find compensation in a woman’s body. For women, the experience of powerlessness has hardly changed; only the external situations and boundaries are configured differently. That is, the women articulate no expectation that liberation from postwar oppressions will be achieved through carnality.

Women’s fiction focuses on individual women and their environment without attempting to construct an ideal environment. Few characters display much hope of escaping, being liberated, or changing their surroundings; most struggle alone to keep their heads above water. Women writers who have made careers writing about issues of the body and sexuality – Hirabayashi Taiko, Hayashi Fumiko, Uno Chiyo, and Miyamoto Yuriko, for example – do so in a different sphere from the male writers. Hirabayashi Taiko, in but one example, consistently uses nikutai in her fiction of the 1930s when discussing the (female) body.

Its proponents confronted the negativity of existence, finding in it the only means for an ultimate freedom for humankind. Oda claimed that “Intimité” was not all that interesting to him, certainly not enough to prompt him to write about it, but when the label of “Existentialist” was applied to a handful of Japanese writers, himself included, he could not decide whether to react with thoroughgoing anger or simply regard it all as a joke, as journalistic overstatement. For example, he claimed, Japanese writing lacked the structure to support a true Existentialism.

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