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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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Introduction: Notes


1 Plomer (1973), Collected Poems, 146. Note that all names are in the Japanese order of surname first except when the author is published in English with the surname last, and that all translations are by the author unless otherwise stated.

2 See, for example, Imag(in)ing the War in Japan: Representing and Responding to Trauma in Postwar Literature and Film edited by David Stahl and Mark Williams (2010); Japan at Nature's Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power edited by Ian Jared Miller, Julia Adeney Thomas and Brett L. Walker (2013); Literature and Art After Fukushima: Four Approaches edited by Lisette Gebhardt and Yuki Masami (2014); When The Tsunami Came to Shore: Culture and Disaster in Japan edited by Roy Starrs (2014); Visions of Precarity in Japanese Popular Culture and Literature edited by Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt and Roman Rosenbaum (2015); Fukushima and the Arts: Negotiating Nuclear Disaster edited by Barbara Geilhorn and Kristina Iwata-Weickgen-nant (2016); Alex Bates (2015), The Culture of the Quake and David C. Stahl’s (2018) Trauma, Dissociation and Re-enactment in Japanese Literature and Film.

3 In this volume “prewar” refers to the period before the outbreak of World War II in Europe, i.e. 1939, and “postwar” refers to the period after the end of World War II, i.e. 1945.

4 There is a new field of social scientific research called disaster studies, which “address the social and behavioral aspects of sudden onset collective stress situations typically referred to as...

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