Burned-out ruins and barbed-wire fences : the American occupation in Japanese and Okinawan literature / by Michael S. Molasky.
This dissertation examines how the American occupation has been represented in men's postwar literature from both Japan and Okinawa. It considers works by a wide range of writers and includes "popular" as well as "serious" literature. Among the established Japanese writers I discuss in the dissertation are Kojima Nobuo, Oe Kenzaburo, Nosaka Akiyuki, and Matsumoto Seicho; I also treat lesser-known writers and poets, such as Higashi Mineo, Genga Asayoshi, and the poet Arakawa Akira. While all of these writers are to some degree critical of the American occupation, most represent the occupation as an era of ambivalence in which liberation from war and militarism entailed new modes of subjugation. The more sophisticated works further reveal how subjugation is reproduced and perpetuated within the societies of both the occupiers and the occupied along lines of gender, race, ethnicity, and class. Okinawan writers, as an ethnic minority situated at the periphery of a self-consciously "homogenous" nation, are particularly sensitive to these issues. My inclusion of Okinawan literature in the dissertation allows me to explore the issues of ethnicity and marginality in modern Japan; and by examining the complex relations of center and periphery within Japan, I attempt to highlight how mainland Japanese works often filter out this complexity, reducing the occupation to a binary relationship between Japan and the United States. This dissertation concentrates on men's narratives and explores how "native" women serve to mediate relationships between the "native" male protagonists and the men of the occupation forces. I am particularly interested in (1) why these narratives so often appropriate the female body to establish male victimhood, and (2) what narrative strategies are used in the process. I approach these questions through close readings informed by the insights of feminist critics such as Gayle Rubin and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. My readings are also informed by recent theoretical studies of colonial and postcolonial literatures. I have used Japanese and Okinawan writing on the American occupation to explore and refine specific claims that have achieved currency among these theorists, particularly claims about the issues of race and language under foreign domination.
Record last modified: 2018-05-22 11:46:00
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