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Title: Inciting difference and distance in the writings of Sakiyama Tami, Yi Yang-ji, and Tawada Yōko
Author: Young, Victoria
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 0695
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis presents a reading of borders, difference, and translation in selected fictional writings by Sakiyama Tami, Yi Yang-ji, and Tawada Yōko. Each of these three writers is typically considered within distinct sub-genres of Japanese fiction: Okinawan, resident Korean (zainichi), and border-crossing, respectively. While each of these categories prescribes certain characteristics and aesthetics, the narrative works discussed here frequently subvert those expectations. In particular, in terms of narrative and writing strategies each shares a commonality of interest and approach as yet unearthed, crucially, in the challenge each poses to standard Japanese as a narrative language through their uses of other vernaculars, multiple voices, and fragmented narratives. These analyses are foregrounded by a critical consideration of border-crossing literature whose emphasis on overcoming inequalities and focus on the fluidity of passage has been celebrated amid the return of cosmopolitanism. By contrast, Chapter One presents strategies of hybridity and polyphony in Sakiyama’s ‘Kuja’ narratives that incite hidden memories of the past and terrorise the Japanese language. In Chapter Two, the protagonists in Yi’s Kazukime and Yuhi enact a similar violence against the text and their own bodies to leave irreducible gaps of absence and silence. Chapter Three focuses on Tawada’s The Travelling Naked Eye, wherein the protagonist’s linguistic displacement is accompanied by the fragmentation of her vision, bringing questions of sight and blindness to bear on the preceding focus on language. By tracing shared concerns with voice, silence, female bodies, memory, and colonial experience, this combined study reveals the ways in which the texts discussed here cast linguistic and spatial borders as rupture, loss, and irretrievable distance. Although such strategies are precarious, I argue that these narratives empower through their conscious engagement in struggles with difference and distance vis-à-vis a hegemonic Japanese national/linguistic centre: struggles that an emphasis on “crossings” threatens to overlook.
Supervisor: Hayter, Irena Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available