Oe and Beyond
Fiction in Contemporary Japan
Publication Year: 1999
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
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The idea for this volume came from a panel organized for the Western Conference of the Association for Asian Studies meeting held in Mexico City in 1993. The editors were fortunate to be joined on the panel by Van Gessel, and Sharalyn Orbaugh served as discussant and voice of reason. We would like to express our thanks to them and all the other friends and colleagues who subsequently ...
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On the evening of October 13, 1994, as reporters began to gather outside Ôe Kenzaburô’s home in suburban Tokyo, a cycle in Japanese literary history was coming to an end. With the awarding of the Nobel Prize for literature, a writer whose career had been marked by literary resistance and (at least symbolic) marginality was officially installed as an icon of mainstream mass culture. It
1. Ōe Kenzaburō and the Search for the Sublime at the End of the Twentieth Century
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Ôe Kenzaburô (b. 1935), Japan’s second Nobel Prize winner in literature, was born in a small village amid the mountains of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four major islands. Too young to serve in the Pacific War that would engulf his country until 1945, Ôe was still deeply impressed by the emperor-centered ideology that was taught to all schoolchildren. Although, ...
2. The Road to the River: The Fiction of Endō Shūsaku
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Endô Shûsaku (1923–1996) was perhaps the most influential and popular Christian writer in postwar Japan. He was born in Tokyo but spent his early youth with his family in Manchuria, where his father was working for a Japanese bank. Taken back to Japan by his mother after she divorced her husband, Endô followed his mother’s example and was baptized a ...
3. Temporal Discontinuity in the Atomic Bomb Fiction of Hayashi Kyōko
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Hayashi Ky�ko established her career as an atomic bomb writer with the publication of her 1975 autobiographical novella Matsuri no ba (Festival Place). This Akutagawa Prize winning work presents a painfully detailed account of August 9, 1945, and the two months that follow in the forever bifurcated life of a fourteen-year-old first-person narrator who experienced the bombing at a Nagasaki munitions factory, 1.4 kilometers from ...
4. Demons, Transnational Subjects, and the Fiction of Ohba Minako
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Ohba Minako was born on November 11, 1930. Her family moved frequently when she was young, and she attended several schools, including Aichi Toyobashi Women’s High School and Yamaguchi Iwakuni Women’s High School. When she was fourteen, Ohba was sent to Hiroshima prefecture as part of the wartime student mobilization project, which involved ...
5. Double Vision: Divided Narrative Focus in Takahashi Takako's Yosōi Seyo, Waga Tamashii Yo
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Takahashi Takako was born in Kyoto in 1932. She graduated from the Department of French Literature at Kyoto University in 1954 and, in the same year, married fellow author Takahashi Kazumi. She received an M.A. in French Literature in 1958 and, by the time of her withdrawal from literary circles in the mid-1980s, she had established a reputation as ...
6. In The Trap of Words: Nakagami Kenji and the Making of Degenerate Fictions
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Nakagami Kenji was born on August 2, 1946, in Shingû, a small city in Wakayama prefecture, bordered on one side by the sea and on the other by mountain forest. Kasuga-chô, the site of Nakagami’s birth, lies within the boundaries of Shingû’s outcaste (burakumin) neighborhood. Nakagami would later use the word “roji,” or alleyway, to describe the twisting, narrow streets of the outcaste community and set much of his fiction there. ...
7. (Re)Canonizing Kurahashi Yumiko: Toward Alternative Perspectives for "Modern" "Japanese" "Literature"
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Kurahashi Yumiko was born in Kôchi, Japan, in 1935, the eldest daughter of a dentist and his wife. Having spent a year as a college student in Japanese literature in Kyoto, she moved to Tokyo primarily to obtain a dental hygienist’s certificate. Then she began to major in French at Meiji University, which then offered courses by such leading literati as Nakamura ...
8. Murakami Haruki's Two Poor Aunts Tell Everything They Know About Sheep, Wells, Unicorns, Proust, Elephants, and Magpies
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Murakami Haruki would be an important figure in contemporary Japanese letters if only for his extensive translations from American fiction (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Truman Capote, John Irving, Tim O’Brien, the complete works of Raymond Carver). But with the enormous popularity of his own fiction drawing attention to his work as a translator, and his translation work providing depth to his broad knowledge of Western and ...
9. Extreme Imagination: The Fiction of Murakami Ryū
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Murakami Ry� was born in 1952 and grew up in the port city of Sasebo in western Japan near a large U.S. naval base. His parents were schoolteachers, and much of his youth was apparently spent in rock and roll bands and mild forms of rebellion. While attending Musashino College of Art in Tokyo, he entered Almost Transparent Blue in a shinjin (new ...
10. Dream Messengers, Rental Children, and the Infantile: Shimada Masahiko and the Possibilities of the Postmodern
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Shimada Masahiko was born in Tokyo in 1961 and moved at the age of four to Kawasaki City, where he grew up near the Yomiuri Land theme park. After graduating from the Kawasaki Prefectural High School, he entered the Tokyo University of Foreign Languages, where he majored in Russian. His graduation thesis was on the fiction of the Soviet writer ...
11. Arguing with the Real: Kanai Mieko
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Kanai Mieko was born in 1947 in the city of Takasaki in Gumma prefecture. After graduating from Takasaki Girls’ High School, she embarked immediately upon her literary career. In the year following her graduation, 1967, Kanai published several poems in prominent journals; by the end of the year her combined poetry publications had been awarded the eighth ...
12. Japanese Without Apology: Yoshimoto Banana and Healing
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Yoshimoto Banana’s (b. 1964) first novel Kitchen (1987) became an instant best-seller. Immensely popular with young audiences, Banana has continued to produce appealing fiction such as Bubbles/Sanctuary (Utakata/ Sankuchuari, 1988), Tsugumi (1989), N.P. (1990), Lizard (Tokage, 1993), and Amrita (1994). She has won a number of literary prizes including ...
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Publication Year: 1999