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Nakagami Kenji's 'Writing Back to the Centre' Through the Subaltern Narrative: Reading the Hidden Outcast Voice in 'Misaki' and Karekinada

Author(s): Machiko Ishikawa

Journal: New Voices : A Journal for Emerging Scholars of Japanese Studies in Australia and New Zealand
ISSN 1833-5233

Volume: 5;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Japan | Japanese literature | Nakagami | Kenji | subaltern | postcolonialism

Nakagami Kenji (1946-1992) was the first Akutagawa Prize winning novelist from Japan’s outcast Burakumin group. Through the production of narrative about this subaltern community, Nakagami confronted the exclusionary systems of hegemonic Japanese thought and the structures created by these systems which deny the principle and lived experience of ‘difference’. Borrowing the post-colonial concept of ‘writing back’ to the hegemonic centre from the work of Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin’s The Empire Writes Back, this article will analyse Nakagami’s ‘Misaki’ (1976, The Cape), and its sequel, Karekinada (1977, The Sea of Withered Trees). The principal focus will be on Nakagami’s representation of the hidden voice of those on the margins of Japanese society.

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