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The “I” in the Making

Rethinking the Japanese shishōsetsu in a Global Age

by Justyna Weronika Kasza (Author)
Monographs 262 Pages

Summary

The book centres around the topic of subjectivity and self-representation in contemporary Japanese literature and offers a new approach to the genre of shishōsetsu (the I-novel).
It reassesses the works of Dazai Osamu, Ōe Kenzaburō, Endō Shūsaku, Murakami Haruki, and of the translingual writers - Mizumura Minae, Hideo Levy, Tawada Yōko - to expose the wide-ranging treatment of personal experiences, and the intricate relations between the characters, the narrator, and the writing persona.
In the context of world fiction and autobiography theories, the book investigates literary and linguistic challenges in expressing the “self.” The shishōsetsu are explored as stories of constructing identities between cultures, languages, literary canons, and testimonies of untranslatability of the self.

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Abstract
  • Acknowledgments
  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • Shishōsetsu in a Global Age: Towards a new mode of reading
  • Rethinking shishōsetsu in a Global Age: key research questions
  • Gurōbaru ka – Japan’s pathways towards globalization
  • From hon’yaku bungaku to sekai bungaku: locating Japanese literature on world literary map
  • Objectives and structure of the book
  • Chapter 1 The I, the self, the Other: the problem of authorship in Japanese literature
  • The self in Japan: the uniqueness of shishōsetsu?
  • Autobiographical and autofictional frameworks of shishōsetsu – anthropology of the self
  • Autofiction, biofiction, exofiction – the scope of life-writing narratives
  • The self in contemporary world fiction: is all literature autobiographical?
  • Chapter 2 The “I” confused: Dazai Osamu’s irony of the self-narration
  • “Most modern version of shishōsetsu” – Dazai and modernity
  • Narrating the way out – the disguise and the buffoonery
  • Chapter 3 The “I” subverted: the self in face of the Other in Endō Shūsaku’s French diary (1950–1953)
  • Nikki and shishōsetsu: a genetic criticism approach
  • Sakka no nikki – Endō Shūsaku: the Japanese, the reader, the explorer, the writer
  • Chapter 4 The committed “I”: Ōe Kenzaburō and the vocation of writing
  • Correspondence with the world: Nihon no watashi kara no tegami
  • The world, Japan and the Japanese – prospects and perspectives for Japanese literature in the world
  • “To be able to overcome the ambiguities”: setting the role for literature
  • Chapter 5 The globalized “I”: From Murakami Haruki to boku
  • The nameless: making boku alive
  • The spatiality of the selfhood: boku and the world
  • Murakami’s boku shōsetsu
  • Narrative identity and timeless: ontological dimension of the narrative
  • The non-shishōsetsu: on untranslatability
  • Chapter 6 The translingual “I”: Tawada Yōko Hideo Levy and Mizumura Minae
  • Nihon go bungaku, Nihon bungaku – the novels “born translated”
  • The lost tongue of Tawada Yōko: the unspeakable of the self
  • The “self” caught in the chaos: Hideo Levy’s A Room Where the Star-Spangled Banner cannot be Heard
  • The limits of bilingual novel: Mizumura Minae
  • Chapter 7 The transcultural “I”: French response to Japanese literature in a Global Age
  • French response to Japanese literature in a Global Age: key methodological questions
  • The case of Amelie Nothomb: « je voulais devenir japonaise »
  • The case of Philippe Forest: le roman du Je
  • The case of Dany Laferrière: The master of fabrication
  • Moving forward: the Japanese “I”, shishōsetsu and the narrative inquiry
  • Selected bibliography
  • Index
  • Series index

cover

Bibliographic Information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in
the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic
data is available in the internet at
http://dnb.d-nb.de.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
A CIP catalog record for this book has been applied for
at the Library of Congress.

About the editors

The Author
Justyna Weronika Kasza is an associate professor at Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka, Japan. She has taught courses in Japanese language, literature, and translation at universities in England and Poland. She is the recipient of the Japan Foundation Fellowships and has conducted her research at Sophia University in Tokyo. Her research interests include the works of Endo¯ Shu¯saku, life-writing narratives in Japan, world literature and translation theories.

About the book

Justyna Weronika Kasza

The “I” in the Making

The book centres around the topic of subjectivity and self-representation in contemporary Japanese literature and offers a new approach to the genre of shishōsetsu (the I-novel).
It reassesses the works of Dazai Osamu, Ōe Kenzaburō, Endō Shūsaku, Murakami Haruki, and of the translingual writers - Mizumura Minae, Hideo Levy, Tawada Yōko - to expose the wide-ranging treatment of personal experiences, and the intricate relations between the characters, the narrator, and the writing persona.
In the context of world fiction and autobiography theories, the book investigates literary and linguistic challenges in expressing the “self.” The shishōsetsu are explored as stories of constructing identities between cultures, languages, literary canons, and testimonies of untranslatability of the self.

This eBook can be cited

This edition of the eBook can be cited. To enable this we have marked the start and end of a page. In cases where a word straddles a page break, the marker is placed inside the word at exactly the same position as in the physical book. This means that occasionally a word might be bifurcated by this marker.

Abstract

This book centers around the topic of subjectivity and self-representation in contemporary Japanese fiction. It offers an evaluation of a genre known as shishōsetsu (the I-novel). The objective is to reassess the works by Dazai Osamu 太宰治, Ōe Kenzaburō大江健三郎, Endō Shūsaku 遠藤周作, Murakami Haruki村上春樹 and translingual writers (Mizumura Minae,水村美苗 Hideo Levy リービ英雄, Tawada Yōko多和田葉子) and to demonstrate flexible treatment of personal experiences and the ambiguous relations between the character, narrator and the writing persona. The project expands the scope of the existing scholarship on shishōsetsu and exposes the phenomenological dimension of post-war life-writing narratives in Japan. By making references to world fiction (Kundera, Gombrowicz, Robert Musil, Knausgaard, Orhan Pamuk), the book explores narrative and linguistic challenges in expressing the “self”. Shishōsetsu is perceived as the stories of constructing identities between cultures, languages and literary canons, and, at the same time, the testimonies of untranslatability of the self. The book brings relevant concepts drawn from theories of autobiography/life-writing narratives (as defined by the French theorist Philippe Lejeune) and studies on shishōsetsu in Japan. Therefore, it fills an important gap in existing scholarship by merging these two cognitive perspectives and offers a new insight to thoroughly selected writers. “Rethinking Japanese shishōsetsu in a Global Age” is to apply tools from literary studies as well as world literature and translation studies.

Keywords: Japanese literature, shishōsetsu, self and subjectivity, life-writing narratives, comparative/world literature, translation

Acknowledgments

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to many people and institutions whose guidance and advice supported me on this arduous road towards successful completion of this monograph.

To begin with, I would like to thank The Japan Foundation for awarding me the Fellowship for Long-Term Scholars and giving me an opportunity to conduct my research in Japan from October 2018 until May 2019.

I am grateful for the assistance given by the Institute of Comparative Culture at Sophia University in Tokyo and for hosting me as a visiting researcher. I am particularly indebted to Professor Angela Yiu for serving as my advisor during my research activities and for offering me insightful guidance and suggestions for my project.

Special thanks should be given to Professor Mark Williams from International Christian University in Tokyo and to Professor Olga Tabachnikova from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston (United Kingdom) for their Letters of Recommendations and for endorsement of my efforts to apply for the Japan Foundation Fellowship.

I would like to express my deep and sincere gratitude to the members of the Institute for World Literature at Harvard University, especially Professor David Damrosch, for inviting me to participate in the Sixth Seminars in World Literature in 2016. Most of the ideas, sources and materials were gathered at the time of my research at Harvard and the initial ideas of this project resulted from my participation in the seminars on world literature and close reading, as well as colloquia on world literature and circulation.

Special thanks to Professor Numano Mitsuyoshi from the University of Tokyo for the opportunity to participate in his seminars on world literature from Japanese perspectives. I am also grateful for insightful suggestions and comments on shishōsetsu offered by Professor Umezawa Ayumi from Taishō University in Tokyo.

I appreciate the guidance I received from Professor Suzuki Akiyoshi from Nagasaki University and Professor Cécile Sakai from Paris Diderot University.

I am grateful to Mr Chikatani Kōji from TranNet Publishing House for his unwavering support and interests in my project and for comments and suggestions I received during our talks and email exchanges.

Considerable parts of the book were first presented at various international conferences. I am indebted to the organizers of the seminar “Translating the Self: Challenges and Prospects of Intracultural Translation” organized by the American Comparative Literature Association in Utrecht in 2017, and to the The Oxford Centre for Life-Writing at the University of Oxford for inviting me to present my research paper at the conference “Autofiction: Theory – practice – cultures – a comparative perspective” in 2019 and for engaging me in thought-provoking discussions.

I am extremely thankful to my home institution, Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka (Japan), for funding the publication of this book.

Finally, I wish to thank my family and friends in Poland, England and in Japan.

Contents

Abstract

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Rethinking shishōsetsu in a Global Age: key research questions

Gurōbaru ka – Japan’s pathways towards globalization

From hon’yaku bungaku to sekai bungaku: locating Japanese literature on world literary map

Objectives and structure of the book

Chapter 1 The I, the self, the Other: the problem of authorship in Japanese literature

‘What does it matter who is speaking?’: methodological struggles of/for/in shishōsetsu

The self in Japan: the uniqueness of shishōsetsu?

Autobiographical and autofictional frameworks of shishōsetsu – anthropology of the self

Autofiction, biofiction, exofiction – the scope of life-writing narratives

The self in contemporary world fiction: is all literature autobiographical?

Chapter 2 The “I” confused: Dazai Osamu’s irony of the self-narration

Towards a new pattern of shishōsetsu

“Most modern version of shishōsetsu” – Dazai and modernity

Narrating the way out – the disguise and the buffoonery

Chapter 3 The “I” subverted: the self in the face of the Other in Endō Shūsaku’s French diary (1950–1953)

Nikki no kuni – in the land of diaries

Nikki and shishōsetsu: a genetic criticism approach

Sakka no nikki – Endō Shūsaku: the Japanese, the reader, the explorer, the writer

Chapter 4 The committed “I”: Ōe Kenzaburō and the vocation of writing

Self-narration and literary criticism

Correspondence with the world: Nihon no watashi kara no tegami

The world, Japan and the Japanese – prospects and perspectives for Japanese literature in the world

Details

Pages
262
ISBN (PDF)
9783631833575
ISBN (ePUB)
9783631833582
ISBN (MOBI)
9783631833599
ISBN (Hardcover)
9783631829196
Language
English
Publication date
2021 (January)
Tags
Contemporary Japanese literature Life-writing narratives World literature Comparative literature Global studies Literary theory
Published
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 262 pp.

Biographical notes

Justyna Weronika Kasza (Author)

Justyna Weronika Kasza is an associate professor at Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka, Japan. She has taught courses in Japanese language, literature, and translation at universities in England and Poland. She is the recipient of the Japan Foundation Fellowships and has conducted her research at Sophia University in Tokyo. Her research interests include the works of Endō Shūsaku, life-writing narratives in Japan, world literature and translation theories.

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