Mad Wives and Island Dreams
Shimao Toshio and the Margins of Japanese Literature
Publication Year: 1999
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
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" MANY PEOPLE have aided me during the years it took to bring this project from initial germ of an idea to dissertation to the present book. Prof. Kageyama Tsuneo first brought Shimao’s literature to my attention in 1986, as I was about to leave Japan for graduate school. His encouragement and advice, especially in the beginning stages of my study, were invaluable. In graduate school my..."
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"SHIMAO TOSHIO (1917-1986) once summed up his life as a failure to experience. Having left the Kanto region days before the 1923 earthquake, he escaped the horrific natural catastrophe that leveled Tokyo and Yokohama. Likewise, as a naval lieutenant in World War II in charge of a kamikaze squadron of “suicide boats,” Shimao was just one radio message away from oblivion when the emperor’s..."
One Self-Apocalypse: Tales of the Tokkōtai
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"WHO WERE the kamikaze? In the West these suicide warriors have been seen as everything from fanatical, inhuman automatons to thoughtful inheritors of a 'noble' historical tradition of self-sacrifice who willingly, even eagerly, gave up their lives. During World War II, unsurprisingly, the kamikaze (hereafter tokkotai)1 were viewed by the Allies as one more example of Japanese 'barbarous and..."
Two Dreams and the Alphabet of Trauma
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"IN THE lexicon of postwar Japanes literature, dreams and the work of Shimao Toshio are nearly synonymous. In a burst of creativity just after the war (1946–1948) Shimao wrote eighteen stories, twelve of them dream narratives, that is, short stories based on the logic of the unconscious. Several of these, most notably 'Yume no naka de no nichijo'..."
Three Out of the Abyss: The “Sick Wife Stories”
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"IN THE spring of 1954 Shimao's wife went mad. As she recalls in a later essay, on the day of her husband’s birthday, April 18, Miho took her two small children to greet him at the Koiwa Station in eastern Tokyo, hoping that Toshio, who often spent days away from home, would return for the celebration she had planned.1 I had prepared a nice birthday dinner of whole bream for the four of us, and...
Four Island Dreams: Yaponesia and the Cultural Unconscious
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"FROM THE late 1950s through the 1970s Shimao was absorbed in two projects: the fictionalized account of his wife’s mental illness that became Shi no toge (see chapter 3), and the depiction of his relationship with his island home, which is the topic of this chapter. To divide these two projects, however, is to risk missing how they are in many ways one. As noted at the end of chapter..."
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ASKED IN 1981 whether he ever planned a sequel to Shi no toge, Shimao remarked, 'I feel that I wrote about what happened afterward in Hi no utsuroi.' Shi no toge is indeed continued in the 1976 Hi no utsuroi, translatable as 'The changing [or passing] of the days.”1 The same cast of characters appears—the tokkotai survivor husband/narrator, the wife, who is a former mental patient, the son, and..."
Appendix: Plot Summary of Shi no toge
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Publication Year: 1999