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The Writing of Disaster - Literary Representations of War, Trauma and Earthquakes in Modern Japan


Leith Morton

This book analyzes the literature that emerged from World War II. It also examines the literature that resulted from the two major earthquakes that have struck Japan over the course of over the last hundred years. The small number of volumes previously published examining the literature of war and earthquakes in Japan have almost always focused exclusively on fiction while this volume focuses mainly on poetry. This volume breaks new ground in its attempt to draw together and analyze the literature produced by these tragedies as a single phenomenon. It provides a new template for the literature of trauma produced by such events as the earthquake that accompanied the tsunami and nuclear meltdown in northeast Japan in 2011.

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In writing this book I have been ably supported by many colleagues present and past, some of these scholars I will mention here but the exigencies of space prevent me from listing them all. I wish to express my profound gratitude to all who have arranged seminars and colloquiums, conferences and panels where I could present these chapters in their first incarnations as scholarly papers. I would especially thank my former colleagues at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tōkyō Kōgyō Daigaku) where I spent eleven happy and productive years teaching and researching Japanese, English and comparative literature before returning to Australia in late 2014. On many occasions, former colleagues including Inoue Ken, Inoue Masaatsu, Roger Pulvers, Alison Tokita, Hugh De Ferranti, Garvin Perram, Hashizume Daizaburō, Hattori Takakazu (recently deceased), Tokosumi Akifumi (recently deceased), Saeki Yasuki, Ishihara Yuki and Iguchi Tokio helped my research in many and varied ways.

I should also thank Hamashita Masahiro, Hokama Shuzen, Katsukata-Inafuku Keiko and Nakahodo Masanori at various Japanese universities for their assistance, especially relating to my research on Ōshiro Tatsuhiro. After 2015, Ōmura Azusa, at the Yamanashi Prefectural University, provided me with a number of opportunities to return to Japan to try out my ideas on various audiences, and I owe her a deep debt of gratitude. Also, in Japan, I have to express my deep gratitude to my colleague Suzuki Sadami at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken), who has helped me in ways too numerous to...

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