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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- Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 274 pp.
- Title Page
- 1.“Amid the Frenzied Sea of Fire”: The Great Tokyo Earthquake and Literature
- 1.1. The Event
- 1.2. The Earthquake in Prose
- 1.3. Ah Tokyo
- 1.4. Earthquake Poetry Collection
- 1.5. Aizu Yaichi’s Aftershocks
- 1.6. Kubota Utsubo’s Shiny Leaves
- 1.7. Yosano Akiko’s Poetry on the Earthquake
- 1.8. Wakayama Bokusui’s Miscellaneous Poems on the Aftershocks
- 1.9. Concluding Note
- 2. Writing in Extremis: Wartime Tanka Poetry
- 2.1. Writing against War
- 2.2. Kawada Jun’s Wartime Tanka
- 2.3. Tanka at War
- 2.5. Tanka against War
- 2.6. Conclusion
- 3. War, Memory, Trauma, Fiction, Truth: Kusaba Sakae at Nomonhan, 1939
- 3.1. Nomonhan: Victory or Defeat?
- 3.2. Kusaba’s Noro Hills and War Memory
- 3.3. Noro Hills, Volume One: Truth or Fiction?
- 3.4. Noro Hills, Volume Two: Retrospection and Reality
- 3.5. Brief Concluding Note
- 4. War in China and the Pacific: Takamura Kōtarō, Kusano Shinpei and the Matinée Poétique
- 4.1. Takamura Kōtarō’s War Poetry
- 4.2. Matinée Poétique and 1946
- 4.3. Kusano Shinpei’s War Poetry
- 4.4. Conclusion
- 5. Self-Censorship: The Case of Wartime Japanese Poetry
- 5.1. Censorship and Self-Censorship
- 5.2. Who is guilty? The Controversy over War Responsibility
- 5.3. Miyoshi Tatsuji’s Self-Censorship
- 5.4 Tsuboi Shigeji as a Resistance Poet
- 5.5. Kaneko Mitsuharu: Self-Censorship or Plain, Old Irony?
- 5.6. Takahashi Shinkichi: Uncomplicated Patriot?
- 5.7. Brief Concluding Note
- 6. “Sturm und Drang” in Tanizaki Junichirō’s The Makioka Sisters (1948)
- 6.1. Flood, Storm and Typhoon
- 6.2. Tanizaki and the Great Hanshin Flood
- 6.3. The Great Hanshin Flood and The Makioka Sisters
- 6.4 The Makioka Sisters and the Tokyo Typhoon
- 6.5. Concluding Note
- 7. The Trauma of the Postcolonial Hybrid: Ōshiro Tatsuhiro and Yuta
- 7.1. The Postcolonial Condition and Hybridity
- 7.2. Yuta and Ōshiro Tatsuhiro
- 7.3. Yuta/ Hybridity/Trauma
- 7.4 Postcolonial Hybridity: Matsuyo in the Labyrinth
- 7.5. Brief Concluding Note
- 8. The 2011 East Japan Earthquake and Literature: Contemporary Poetry Handbook 2011–2014
- 8.1. The 3.11 Earthquake as History
- 8.2. “Confronting the Great East Japan Earthquake”: Contemporary Poetry Handbook May 2011
- 8.3. Contemporary Poetry Handbook June–December 2011
- 8.4 Contemporary Poetry Handbook 2012–14
- 8.5. Fiction and the 2011 Earthquake
- 8.6. Brief Concluding Note
- 9. Trauma and Catharsis: The 2011 East Japan Earthquake and Traditional Genres of Verse
- 9.1. Trauma and Literature
- 9.2. Selection of Tanka from Local and Anonymous Poets
- 9.3. A Diary of the Earthquake in Verse
- 9.4 Anatomy of a Tanka Masterpiece
- 9.5. Poems from the Palace of the Dragon King
- 9.6. Concluding Note
4. War in China and the Pacific: Takamura Kōtarō, Kusano Shinpei and the Matinée Poétique
“He worked for war, who hated war, and died.
The blind or seeing hand that shoots or steers
Is nerved with hope: so was that active head
Through all these murderous years.”
—William Plomer, from “In a Bombed House”1
To consider the poetics of war or the aesthetic dimension of literature composed during wartime or written to advocate war, and assess the trauma caused by war itself as expressed in such literature, is a difficult and demanding task. Consideration of these issues naturally raises ethical or moral issues, as ethics and morality become part of the evaluative criteria that pass judgment on works produced during wartime and also in the postwar era that take war as their theme. Many literary critics have argued that the intellectual or artist must be faithful to the truth. George Steiner has written: “No city, no nation, no loyalty is worth a lie.”2 Tim Redman in his 1991 book on Ezra Pound and fascism cites these lines in support of the proposition that Pound firmly believed in the lies of fascism, which brings into doubt the notion of truth as a sufficient standard to evaluate art, but only if we equate truth with belief.3 If belief is insufficient to the truth, then, can we pass judgment on war literature? Here, it is possible for moral critique can shift to an aesthetic mode and critique literature for failing to express the truth.
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