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Title: Ima deshō : the vacuum of immediacy in contemporary Japanese literature and popular culture
Author: Cervelli, Filippo
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 0695
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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The value of literature in the contemporary age is a controversial issue. The challenge posed by the interpretation of this era is expressed by the provocative remarks of critics such as Karatani Kōjin and Suzuki Sadami maintaining that after the 80s modern "pure" literature died (History and Repetition, 2012; The Concept of "Literature" in Japan, 2006). Reading Karatani and Suzuki's comments as merely provocative, signifying that a form of literature has died, this study enquires into how literature (and the arts) have changed and found new ways of expression after the historical break of 1989. The dissertation offers immediacy as a possible answer. Immediacy is a theme, a literary device stressing the present moment submerging clear notions of past and present. The precondition for immediacy is an ideological vacuum, experienced by characters across age groups and genders, where they do not share social ideologies or collective purposes. In this isolation, they concentrate only on their local realities, on what they perceive directly (physically and emotionally), acting quickly and repeatedly in the absence of critical thought. The constant action is often carried out in response to corporeal stimuli, specifically violence and sex, that grant immediate gratification in the vacuum. However, at the core characters indulging in immediacy long for inter-personal connections. Building a community based on critical thought and mutual understanding is the solution to escape from immediacy. The dissertation explores manifestations of immediacy in contemporary Japanese literature and popular culture (manga and anime) published or broadcast between 1995 and 2011. Through the analyses of cultural theories, literature by Takahashi Genichirō, Taguchi Randy and Hirano Keiichirō, and influential works in manga and anime (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Psycho-Pass and Shingeki no kyojin), it shows the theme's relevance and discusses how it contributes to the broader fields of contemporary Japanese literature and popular culture. By doing so, the dissertation also provides a study of the current artistic panorama in Japan, one that is often neglected critically, but that speaks of its culture with great force and imagination.
Supervisor: Flores, Linda M. Sponsor: TEPCO
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Popular culture ; Japanese literature ; Manga ; Animation ; Literature ; Japan ; Anime