Nakagami Kenji's Kiseki and the Power of the Tale
2010 · ISBN 978-3-86205-245-5
· 246 S., kt. · EUR 29,—
E-Book/pdf: 978-3-86205-910-2 · 2014 · EUR 18,99
Hijiya-Kirschnereit, Irmela (ed.): Iaponia Insula. Studien zu Kultur und Gesellschaft Japans (Bd.
Anne H. Thelle was born in Sheffield, raised in Japan, and currently
lives in Oslo. She has studied English and Japanese at the University of
Oslo, and at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. She now shares her time between conducting research at the University of Oslo and teaching
intercultural communications at the Norwegian Military Academy. Thelle has published several books on Japan for young adults in Norway. This present
book is a slightly revised version of her doctoral dissertation (2007) at the University of Oslo.
Nakagami Kenji is today regarded as one of the most important and
influential Japanese post-war writers. Born in 1946 in the burakumin ghetto of the small coastal town of Shingu in southern Wakayama prefecture,
Nakagami sailed up as a rising star on the literary skies in the
mid-seventies when he became the first writer born after the Second World
War to win the prestigious Akutagawa prize. He was also the first writer of the burakumin background to receive wide literary acclaim and recognition
from critics and from the literary establishment.
The reception of Nakagami’s literature has placed him simultaneously both at
the avant-garde of modern Japanese literature and near the nostalgic roots of Japan’s literary origins. For while his engagement with the
Japanese traditional narrative, the monogatari does indeed often seem
to bring him disturbingly close to an almost reactionary nostalgia, fissures
in his narrative – both in voice, structure, and theme – will at the same
time dismantle this nostalgic return.
Focusing on one novel, Nakagami’s masterpiece Kiseki (Miracles) from 1989, this study traces his pendulous movement from nostalgia to avant-garde and back again. At the heart of the study lies the concept of negotiation – a negotiation of cultures, languages, and borders. Nakagami is a minority writing against the constraints of a language and literature that has
throughout history contributed to the discrimination of his minority group.
Facing this challenge head on, Nakagami engages the literary genres that lie
at the root of this discrimination, thus laying bare the difficulties facing
anyone trying to break free of the bonds of culture, history, and literature.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- 1. The “miraculous” Story of Taichi – A Short Summary
- 2. Nakagami Kenji – A Burakumin Writer
Literature and the Burakumin
- 3. Critical Reception
From Nostalgic Returns to Innovative Rebellion
Towards a More Nuanced Approach
- 4. The Monogatari and the Novel
The Classical Monogatari Tale
The Monogatari in Nakagami Criticism
- 5. The Dialogic Nature of the Novel
Parody, the Novel, and Kiseki
Polyglossia and Polyglot Texts
- 6. Theoretical Considerations
- 7. Outline of Study
- One: The Making of Myth
- 1. Taichi – An Ordinary Hero?
- 2. The Roji – A Mythic Landscape?
Originary Myths, a Definition
The Lotus Pond
Nature and the Myth of “Japan”
The Roji as an Imagined Community
- 3. Kiseki – A Tale of Nostalgic Origins?
The Monogatari and Nostalgic Yearning
Evocations of the Monogatari in the Text’s Oral Features
Evocations of the Monogatari in the Text’s Formal
Thematic Evocations of the Monogatari
- Two: The Dismantling of Myth
- 1. The Narrative Perspective
Between Sanity and Insanity
Who Speaks? Who Sees?
- 2. Narrative Time and Narrative Space
Memory and Narrative Time
Narrative Place, the Significance of the Asylum
- 3. Mythic Imagery Falls Apart
Oryū and Reijo, Disbelieving Believers
Taichi – The Mythic Hero Dismantled
Nature and National Origins: Another Construct Exposed
- 4. Akiyuki Intrudes: The “Ikuo Gaiden”
The Story of Ikuo
How the Ikuo Chapter Stands Out
Ikuo and the Akiyuki Trilogy
Consequences of the Crossing of Tales
- Three: The Results of the Telling, Or: The Power of the Tale
- 1. Literary Construct and the Perpetuation of Discrimination
Historical Shaping Forces – Myth and Reality
Literary Markers of the Other in Kiseki
Kiseki and Buraku Myths of Origin
- 2. Inversion of Power Structures: The Emperor and the Burakumin
Emperor = Burakumin
Resistance Through Language
On Death and Endings
- 3. Oryū’s Celebratory Voice
Oryū’s Story – Her-story or His-story?
The Violence of the Tale
The Ikuo-chapter Revisited