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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,—
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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