Event Title

Panel 3

Location

Executive Boardroom at University Campus Center (UCC) 2390

Start Date

5-10-2014 3:15 PM

End Date

5-10-2014 5:15 PM

Description

“Trenchant Warfare: Yasuoka Shōtarō and Furuyama Komao Write World War II”

Kendall Heitzman, University of Iowa

Boyhood friends who bonded over their shared dislike of authority, Yasuoka Shōtarō (1920–2013) and Furuyama Komao (1920–2002) were torn apart by the war but grew up to write surprisingly similar sardonic, even comedic, stories of the war and postwar. Yasuoka shot to prominence in 1953 with an Akutagawa Prize win for autobiographical stories starring thinly veiled versions of his childhood friends, including Furuyama. In his first novel, Tonsō (Flight, 1954), Yasuoka provides a rare comedic take on the still-recent war; the protagonist is bewildered by a military that is wildly chaotic even without an enemy in sight. By the time Furuyama won his own Akutagawa with a late entrée to the literary establishment, Pureō 8 no yoake (Dawn in Prison Yard 8, 1970), the locus of war memory had moved to other places, and he was largely forgotten. Over time, Yasuoka’s success drove a wedge between him and his old literary companions. Submerged in a clutch of intellectual jealousies, “stolen” narratives, and personal attacks disguised as literary criticism, a story of the larger bundan comes into relief: how writers are assigned to literary “generations,” how melodramas and requiems for World War II triumphed over satire, and how the way the war is remembered is always a function of when it is told.

Dr. Heitzman is an Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature at the University of Iowa, where he teaches courses on Japanese literature, film, theater, and translation. He holds a PhD in modern Japanese literature from Yale University. He is working on a monograph about the postwar writer Yasuoka Shōtarō (1920-2013) and the writer's relationship to history and memory, and articles about war stories by the contemporary writers Murakami Ryū and Shimada Masahiko.


“The 1960 Anpo protests and the ‘Collapse’ of the Bundan”

Nick Kapur, Harvard University

This paper examines a series of wide-ranging, and at times vicious, debates that broke out in the wake of the failed 1960 “Anpo” protests, between and among an older generation of Japanese novelists and critics, and a rising generation of younger writers. Although remembered as a series of individual “controversies” (ronsō), including the “Parutai controversy,” the “pure literature controversy,” the “postwar literature controversy” and the “politics and literature controversy,” these “controversies” flowed into one another and referred back to each other, and can be viewed as a single larger debate over the question of what role (if any) political ideology should play in the production of literature. Raging in the pages of the major journals and literary magazines for three years from 1961 to 1964, these debates ultimately embroiled most of the leading literary figures of the day, including authors such as Ōe Kenzaburō, Abe Kōbō, Noma Hiroshi, Haniya Yutaka, Takami Jun, and Ōoka Shōhei, just to name a few, and critics such as Hirano Ken, Itō Sei, Hariu Ichirō, Isoda Kōichi, Etō Jun, and Yoshimoto Takaaki, among others. Each contributed deftly written articles to the conversation, savaging their enemies and at times even their former friends, mentors, and protégés. Because the ideological and artistic fissures exposed by these debates cut across and within the coteries and patronage networks that constituted the so called “bundan system,” several authors at the time saw these debates as heralding “the end of the bundan.” Of course we know that the basic structure of the system would survive and even thrive; nevertheless, these debates played a crucial role in helping a younger generation of authors break free from traditional notions of “pure” (junbungaku) vs. popular fiction (taishū bungaku) and opening the way for new forms of writing, unmoored from traditional party politics, that might best be termed “post-modern.”

Dr. Kapur is a historian of modern and contemporary Japan with an emphasis on transnational and comparative perspectives. He received BA and MA degrees from Stanford University and a PhD from Harvard University, and is currently a postdoctoral fellow with the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies and the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University, as well as visiting lecturer in history at MIT. His current book manuscript, entitled The 1960 US-Japan Security Treaty Crisis and the Origins of Contemporary Japan, explores the impact of the massive 1960 protests in Japan on US-Japan relations, Japanese politics and social movements, and Japanese literature, film, and the arts. In addition, he has forthcoming articles on Chinese and Japanese environmental policy since 1970, and US-Japan relations during the John F. Kennedy and Ikeda Hayato administrations. His next major research project will examine discourses on suicide and self-sacrifice in Japan and wider East Asia from the late 19th century to the present. Beginning next fall, he will assume a new post as Assistant Professor of History at Rutgers University-Camden.


“Amiable Gratitude and Restrained Anger: Matayoshi Eiki and Medoruma Shun’s Akutagawa Prize Interviews with Ikezawa Natsuki”

Kyle Keoni Ikeda, University of Vermont

In 1996 and 1997, Okinawan writers Matayoshi Eiki (b. 1947) and Medoruma Shun (b. 1960) won the coveted Akutagawa Prize, raising the profile of Okinawan literary writing in both the public consciousness and literary circles in Japan and Okinawa. Prior to these awards, it had been over two decades since a writer from Okinawa, Higashi Mineo (b. 1938), had won the prestigious prize back in 1972. Various writers and literary critics declared Okinawa a rich and vibrant place for the fostering of a writer’s literary imagination, and social critic Arakawa Akira remarked in 2000 that the two awards indicated Ōshiro Tatsuhiro’s (b. 1925) dominance as Okinawa’s representative writer was coming to an end. Ikezawa Natsuki, the Akutagawa Prize judge who had moved to Okinawa a few years prior to 1996, interviewed both writers after they had each received the Akutagawa Prize, presumably because of his extensive knowledge of Okinawa. This paper considers the impact of these interviews on the careers of Matayoshi and Medoruma through a comparison of how each interview unfolded, each writer’s stance toward Ikezawa and the bundan, and subsequent commentary and analysis of each writer’s work. While Matayoshi cordially and pleasantly received the praise and appreciation of Okinawan culture and folk beliefs Ikezawa mentions, with effusive discussions of the distinctiveness of Okinawan Culture and the islands’ “healing power” ensuing, the following year Medoruma critiques this kind of colorful praise and valorization by pointing to the very things which are overlooked and covered up by focusing on the exotic, the beautiful, and the comforting. Many of the criticisms that Medoruma couches in restrained terms of mainland Japanese misunderstandings of Okinawa can be viewed as attacks on much of what Ikezawa and Matayoshi said in their earlier interview. After reviewing the two interviews, I will consider possible connections to subsequent writing, reception, and reputations of Medoruma and Matayoshi as well as what this case can tell us about the limits of the literary bundan’s power to create and promote the next literary star.

Dr. Ikeda is Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature at the University of Vermont. His publications include Okinawan War Memory: Transgenerational Trauma and the War Fiction of Medoruma Shun (Routledge, 2014), “Unarticulated Memories of the Battle of Okinawa: The Early Fiction of Second-Generation War Survivor Medoruma Shun” (positions 22.2, forthcoming 2014) and “Geographically-Proximate Postmemory: Sites of War and the Enabling of Vicarious Narration in Medoruma Shun’s Fiction” (IJOS: International Journal of Okinawa Studies, 3.2, 2012). He is also the translator of Medoruma’s short story “Mabuigumi” (Mānoa, 2011; Fiction International, 2007).

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May 10th, 3:15 PM May 10th, 5:15 PM

Panel 3

Executive Boardroom at University Campus Center (UCC) 2390

“Trenchant Warfare: Yasuoka Shōtarō and Furuyama Komao Write World War II”

Kendall Heitzman, University of Iowa

Boyhood friends who bonded over their shared dislike of authority, Yasuoka Shōtarō (1920–2013) and Furuyama Komao (1920–2002) were torn apart by the war but grew up to write surprisingly similar sardonic, even comedic, stories of the war and postwar. Yasuoka shot to prominence in 1953 with an Akutagawa Prize win for autobiographical stories starring thinly veiled versions of his childhood friends, including Furuyama. In his first novel, Tonsō (Flight, 1954), Yasuoka provides a rare comedic take on the still-recent war; the protagonist is bewildered by a military that is wildly chaotic even without an enemy in sight. By the time Furuyama won his own Akutagawa with a late entrée to the literary establishment, Pureō 8 no yoake (Dawn in Prison Yard 8, 1970), the locus of war memory had moved to other places, and he was largely forgotten. Over time, Yasuoka’s success drove a wedge between him and his old literary companions. Submerged in a clutch of intellectual jealousies, “stolen” narratives, and personal attacks disguised as literary criticism, a story of the larger bundan comes into relief: how writers are assigned to literary “generations,” how melodramas and requiems for World War II triumphed over satire, and how the way the war is remembered is always a function of when it is told.

Dr. Heitzman is an Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature at the University of Iowa, where he teaches courses on Japanese literature, film, theater, and translation. He holds a PhD in modern Japanese literature from Yale University. He is working on a monograph about the postwar writer Yasuoka Shōtarō (1920-2013) and the writer's relationship to history and memory, and articles about war stories by the contemporary writers Murakami Ryū and Shimada Masahiko.


“The 1960 Anpo protests and the ‘Collapse’ of the Bundan”

Nick Kapur, Harvard University

This paper examines a series of wide-ranging, and at times vicious, debates that broke out in the wake of the failed 1960 “Anpo” protests, between and among an older generation of Japanese novelists and critics, and a rising generation of younger writers. Although remembered as a series of individual “controversies” (ronsō), including the “Parutai controversy,” the “pure literature controversy,” the “postwar literature controversy” and the “politics and literature controversy,” these “controversies” flowed into one another and referred back to each other, and can be viewed as a single larger debate over the question of what role (if any) political ideology should play in the production of literature. Raging in the pages of the major journals and literary magazines for three years from 1961 to 1964, these debates ultimately embroiled most of the leading literary figures of the day, including authors such as Ōe Kenzaburō, Abe Kōbō, Noma Hiroshi, Haniya Yutaka, Takami Jun, and Ōoka Shōhei, just to name a few, and critics such as Hirano Ken, Itō Sei, Hariu Ichirō, Isoda Kōichi, Etō Jun, and Yoshimoto Takaaki, among others. Each contributed deftly written articles to the conversation, savaging their enemies and at times even their former friends, mentors, and protégés. Because the ideological and artistic fissures exposed by these debates cut across and within the coteries and patronage networks that constituted the so called “bundan system,” several authors at the time saw these debates as heralding “the end of the bundan.” Of course we know that the basic structure of the system would survive and even thrive; nevertheless, these debates played a crucial role in helping a younger generation of authors break free from traditional notions of “pure” (junbungaku) vs. popular fiction (taishū bungaku) and opening the way for new forms of writing, unmoored from traditional party politics, that might best be termed “post-modern.”

Dr. Kapur is a historian of modern and contemporary Japan with an emphasis on transnational and comparative perspectives. He received BA and MA degrees from Stanford University and a PhD from Harvard University, and is currently a postdoctoral fellow with the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies and the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University, as well as visiting lecturer in history at MIT. His current book manuscript, entitled The 1960 US-Japan Security Treaty Crisis and the Origins of Contemporary Japan, explores the impact of the massive 1960 protests in Japan on US-Japan relations, Japanese politics and social movements, and Japanese literature, film, and the arts. In addition, he has forthcoming articles on Chinese and Japanese environmental policy since 1970, and US-Japan relations during the John F. Kennedy and Ikeda Hayato administrations. His next major research project will examine discourses on suicide and self-sacrifice in Japan and wider East Asia from the late 19th century to the present. Beginning next fall, he will assume a new post as Assistant Professor of History at Rutgers University-Camden.


“Amiable Gratitude and Restrained Anger: Matayoshi Eiki and Medoruma Shun’s Akutagawa Prize Interviews with Ikezawa Natsuki”

Kyle Keoni Ikeda, University of Vermont

In 1996 and 1997, Okinawan writers Matayoshi Eiki (b. 1947) and Medoruma Shun (b. 1960) won the coveted Akutagawa Prize, raising the profile of Okinawan literary writing in both the public consciousness and literary circles in Japan and Okinawa. Prior to these awards, it had been over two decades since a writer from Okinawa, Higashi Mineo (b. 1938), had won the prestigious prize back in 1972. Various writers and literary critics declared Okinawa a rich and vibrant place for the fostering of a writer’s literary imagination, and social critic Arakawa Akira remarked in 2000 that the two awards indicated Ōshiro Tatsuhiro’s (b. 1925) dominance as Okinawa’s representative writer was coming to an end. Ikezawa Natsuki, the Akutagawa Prize judge who had moved to Okinawa a few years prior to 1996, interviewed both writers after they had each received the Akutagawa Prize, presumably because of his extensive knowledge of Okinawa. This paper considers the impact of these interviews on the careers of Matayoshi and Medoruma through a comparison of how each interview unfolded, each writer’s stance toward Ikezawa and the bundan, and subsequent commentary and analysis of each writer’s work. While Matayoshi cordially and pleasantly received the praise and appreciation of Okinawan culture and folk beliefs Ikezawa mentions, with effusive discussions of the distinctiveness of Okinawan Culture and the islands’ “healing power” ensuing, the following year Medoruma critiques this kind of colorful praise and valorization by pointing to the very things which are overlooked and covered up by focusing on the exotic, the beautiful, and the comforting. Many of the criticisms that Medoruma couches in restrained terms of mainland Japanese misunderstandings of Okinawa can be viewed as attacks on much of what Ikezawa and Matayoshi said in their earlier interview. After reviewing the two interviews, I will consider possible connections to subsequent writing, reception, and reputations of Medoruma and Matayoshi as well as what this case can tell us about the limits of the literary bundan’s power to create and promote the next literary star.

Dr. Ikeda is Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature at the University of Vermont. His publications include Okinawan War Memory: Transgenerational Trauma and the War Fiction of Medoruma Shun (Routledge, 2014), “Unarticulated Memories of the Battle of Okinawa: The Early Fiction of Second-Generation War Survivor Medoruma Shun” (positions 22.2, forthcoming 2014) and “Geographically-Proximate Postmemory: Sites of War and the Enabling of Vicarious Narration in Medoruma Shun’s Fiction” (IJOS: International Journal of Okinawa Studies, 3.2, 2012). He is also the translator of Medoruma’s short story “Mabuigumi” (Mānoa, 2011; Fiction International, 2007).