Section 3a, Modern Literature | Session 7
Matilde Mastrangelo, University of Rome 'La Sapienza'
In 1959 Mishima publishes Kyôko no ie, which is a novel where he invested time in order to create his own representation of an epoch. Among many hints that the novel offers, I would like to suggest some interesting characteristics of its narrative structure. The place where moments and dialogues occur and which are determinant in the novel, although not often "framed", is what gives title to the novel: Kyôko's House. Moreover, the house is not only the physical place functional to the development of the story, it reproduces the structure of the novel, holding inside the plot. In the first chapter the house welcomes the group of characters – an employer, a boxer, an actor, a painter and three women from high society – making possible their presentation to the reader. In the last chapter the novel ends with the 'closing' of the house that become an inaccessible place to enter for householder's friends. The architectural elements, inside the Kyôko's house as well as in other house drawn, have essential functions in the narration becoming metaphors of mood and symbols of important moments of plot. It seems that the writer was not interested in the description of spaces, but rather in their roles. For instance, walls are used like metaphor of obstacles and of incommunicability; windows are the vector of confessions and contacts between characters; doors suggest the feared borderline between people and by crossing them the individual freedom is putted in danger. The representation of body too, follows a pattern built on walls and slit, that move inside a labyrinth where Mishima gives to muscles the role of transparent covering. If we also consider that the symbolism of the house is found in some previous novels, the thickness of the structure of Kyôko's House emerges evidently.
Terttu Rajala, University of Joensuu, Finnland
In my study I outline Mishima's (1925-1970) theories of literature and art in general. I focus my study on his essays (in Mishima YukioHyôron zenshû) and fiction.
My paper suggests intertextual connections between Mishima Yukio's texts and the texts and ideas born among Nihon rômanha,the Romatic movement of Japan. Besides that, I also study the intertextual relations of Mishima's text and some western writers, like Roland Barthes.
Even though Mishima was not a member of NRH, his work throughout signs of certain Nihon rômanha writer's, like the poet, Itô Shizuo (1906-1954) and Hasuda Zenmei (1905-1945), who was a brilliant interpreter of Japanese classical literature.
For example Mishima created his text using the ideas on the nature of words and language by Hasuda.
Mishima's text was also influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche via NRH, but in my opinion it is not as obvious in Mishima's text as it is often claimed. On the contrary, I suggest, that the relation between his and Roland Barthes' text is sometimes clear.This paper is based on my study for doctoral dissertation which is going to be completed in 2005.
Simone Müller, University of Zurich
Jean-Paul Sartre was one of the most influential Western scholars in post-war Japanese intellectual history. He exerted a strong influence on Japanese literature and philosophy as well as Japanese art and politics. Particularly the student movements in the 1960s were strongly orientated along Sartrean ideas. Sartre himself had a life-long fascination for Japan . He visited the country twice and lectured on these occasions. His impact on Japanese post-war literature was considerably high. The works of many important Japanese intellectuals of that time, among others Noma Hiroshi, Shiina Rinzô, Abe Kôbo and Ôe Kenzaburô, are strongly influenced by Sartre's Philosophy of Existence.
This contribution aims at investigating the adaptation
of a central issue in Sartre's philosophy regarding
Japanese literature, namely the issue of freedom as,
for example, elaborated in L'être et
le néant, or in the novel Le chemin de
la liberté. Questions of individual freedom
along existentialist thoughts constitute one of the core
subjects in post-war Japanese fiction. This is mainly
due to the reaction to war experience under a nationalistic
regime. Based on Noma Hiroshi's Sarutoru ron (Discussion
on Sartre), a critical essay that deals with Sartre's
conception of "freedom and literature", I
will analyze how Japanese post-war writers dealt with
this topic and how Sartre's philosophy of freedom
was incorporated into their work. A selection of Japanese
existentialist writings will reveal influences of Sartrean
Existentialism, and the way in which Sartre's ideas
of freedom were adapted, incorporated and transformed
in Japanese post-war literature. In a second step, I
will examine whether Sartre's conception of freedom
shows any impact on recent Japanese literature. In the
writings of Murakami Haruki for instance, the issue of
freedom plays an essential role. This might well be conceived
as a legacy of Sartre's influence on Japanese intellectual