Southern Exposure: Modern Japanese Literature from Okinawa

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Modern Okinawa has been forged by a history of conquest and occupation by mainland Japan and the United States. Its sense of dual subjugation and the propensity of its writers to confront their own complicity with Japanese militarism imbues Okinawa's literary tradition with insightful perspectives on a wide range of issues, including the ongoing discrimination against ethnic minorities in both Japan and the United States and the conflicting desires for Okinawa's assimilation to,...
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Overview

Modern Okinawa has been forged by a history of conquest and occupation by mainland Japan and the United States. Its sense of dual subjugation and the propensity of its writers to confront their own complicity with Japanese militarism imbues Okinawa's literary tradition with insightful perspectives on a wide range of issues, including the ongoing discrimination against ethnic minorities in both Japan and the United States and the conflicting desires for Okinawa's assimilation to, and autonomy from, mainland Japan.

But Okinawa's literary tradition is as deeply rooted in the region's lush semi-tropical landscapes as in the forces of history. In the hands of skillful writers, the brilliant flora and dense forests, the pastel waters and coral reefs, are revealed as sites of not only breathtaking beauty but of horror and depredation. Okinawans' quest to recover their region's ancient cultural heritage is invariably haunted by the phantoms of war and occupation, phantoms that have been all but effaced from the mainstream literature of contemporary Japan. Yet as this anthology demonstrates, Okinawan writers often suffuse their works with a lyricism and humor that disarms readers while bringing them face to face with the region's richly ambiguous legacy.

Author Biography: Michael Molasky is professor of Japanese at Connecticut College in New London. Steve Rabson is associate professor of Japanese at Brown University.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
This is the first anthology of Okinawan literature to appear in English translation. Although Okinawa prefecture comprises only one percent of Japan's population, its writers have won a disproportionate number of literary awards in recent years. Stories collected here include a range of fiction as well as a sampling of poetry from the 1920s to the present. Molasky teaches Japanese at Connecticut College. Rabson teaches Japanese at Brown University. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780824821692
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press, The
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Pages: 376

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
A verse from Translations of Old Okinawan Poems 39
My Last Letter 41
Entering the Harbor of a Southern Island 43
Dead Body 44
Reminiscences from The Days of My Youth 46
A Conversation 47
Shell-shocked Island 49
Dream Revelations 51
Officer Ukuma 59
Memoirs of a Declining Ryukyuan Woman 73
In Defense of "Memoirs of a Declining Ryukyuan Woman" 81
Mr. Saito of Heaven Building 85
Dark Flowers 98
Turtleback Tombs 113
Bones 156
The Silver Motorcycle 172
Love Letter from L.A. 192
Love Suicide at Kamaara 214
Will o' the Wisp 235
Droplets 255
Fortunes by the Sea 287
Translators 359
Sources for Original Texts 361
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