Band 15: Japanische Literatur nach Fukushima

Product no.: ISBN 978-3-86893-134-1

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501 Seiten, Hardcover
17 x 24 cm, 2021


English Abstract 

The study Japanische Literatur nach Fukushima. Sieben Exkursionen / Japanese ­literature after Fukushima. Seven excursions discusses what is called shinsaigo bungaku or 3.11 literature. It covers texts that address key topics such as nature and the nuclear, nuclear catastrophe, “polluted atmospheres”, life in a “toxic continuum” and “the post-anthropocene: the earth without us”. Among the authors discussed are well-known names – Tsushima Yûko, Kawakami Hiromi, Tawada Yôko, Kirino Natsuo and Murata Sayaka – but also representatives of the literary scene who have so far only been read in Japan, such as Yoshimura Manʼichi, Isaka Kôtarô, Itô Seikô, Kobayashi Erika and Onda Riku. Writers from the region hardest hit by the triple disaster, e.g. Genʼyû Sôkyû and Kimura Yûsuke, receive special attention. This also applies to an older generation of authors who, with their literary commentaries, criticize the balance of power in the “nuclear state” (Jungk) and recall the fundamentals of an understanding of democracy that shaped the post-war era.

The key question of the study is to what extent and in what way literary representations of “3.11” offer an alternative or subversive interpretation of the events – as opposed to the narrative of the catastrophe by the government and the media. Quite a few contributions to “Fukushima” refer to a tradition of literary commentary on contemporary history: In these cases, the question must be asked how authors understand the connections between literature and politics. Some texts showed with remarkable clarity how catastrophes can implement new normative structures and biopolitical orders – especially those that open up future perspectives in the form of mirai shôsetsu.

Literature thus shows itself as a linguistic antidote to PR and rhetorics of authority. Other Post-Fukushima adaptations correspond to the state directed mandate of an artistic crisis intervention and seek harmony with the official framing; they favor the path of “consensus art” in order to avoid confronting changes in social reality, e.g. the consequences of a nuclear accident. Their authors often focus on the concept of trauma to those affected and the possibility of „healing“, acting in conformity with the system. “Safe narrations” of “Fuku­shima” transform the events into a state-conforming culture of memory. In this con­text, the role of literary scholars and Japanologists must also be examined: Are they part of the socio-media entourage that prepares 3.11 and offers globalized, streamlined consensus research? Or do they search for a more complete picture of multidisciplinary, philosophical-political orientation – under aspects such as „post-democracy“ (Crouch), „surveillance capitalism“ (Zuboff), „focusing events“ (­Birkland) and „political economy of consent“ (Ribault)?


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