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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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7. The Trauma of the Postcolonial Hybrid: Ōshiro Tatsuhiro and Yuta

Chapter Seven


“The threefold terror of love; a fallen flare

Through the hollow of an ear;

Wings beating about the room;

The terrors of all terrors that I bore

The Heavens in my womb.”

From “The Mother of God” by W. B. Yeats1

Postcolonialism is a complex, and much contested term. One fact suggests itself immediately: that postcolonial formations—whether cultural, social, political or whatever—remain linked in a complex fashion to the colonial experience. As Ania Loomba writes in her 1998 book Colonialism/Postcolonialism: “if the inequities of colonial rule have not been erased, it is perhaps premature to proclaim the demise of colonialism.”2

Hybridity is an equally controversial and much debated term. Although writing of Europe, Loomba notes that, “liberation, for [victims of colonialism] hinged upon the discovery or rehabilitation of their cultural identity which […] colonialism had disparaged and wrecked.” She cites Stuart Hall as identifying this as a search for a “sort of collective ‘one true self’ […] which people with a shared history and ancestry hold in common.”3 The same idea was expressed by Franz Fanon (1925–61) earlier, who noted that this is a search “for some very beautiful splendid era whose existence rehabilitates us both in regard to ourselves, and in regard to others.”4 Here we see the basis of a view of hybridity that seeks to locate it in the reconstructed notion of selfhood and nationhood of a colonized people...

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