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CoverThelle, Anne Helene
Negotiating Identity
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. 23)

 

 

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

  • Preface
  • Introduction
    • 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 Features 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
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Index

 

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