How do you write yourself into a literature that doesn\u2019t know you exist? This was the conundrum confronted by Nakagami Kenji (1946-1992), who counted himself among the buraku-min, Japan\u2019s largest minority. His answer brought the histories and rhetorical traditions of buraku writing into the high culture of Japanese literature for the first time and helped establish him as the most canonical writer born in postwar Japan.In Nakagami, Japan, Anne McKnight shows how the writer\u2019s exploration of buraku led to a unique blend of fiction and ethnography-which amounted to nothing less than a reimagining of modern Japanese literature. McKnight develops a parallax view of Nakagami\u2019s achievement, allowing us to see him much as he saw himself, as a writer whose accomplishments traversed both buraku literary arts and high literary culture in Japan. As she considers the ways in which Nakagami and other twentieth-century writers used ethnography to shape Japanese literature, McKnight reveals how ideas about language also imagined a transfigured relation to mainstream culture and politics. Her analysis of the resulting \u201crhetorical activism\u201d lays bare Nakagami\u2019s unique blending of literature and ethnography within the context of twentieth-century ideas about race, ethnicity, and citizenship-in Japan, but also on an international scale.
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Number of pages: 296
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 23 mm
"Anne McKnight's proposal that we understand Nakagami's writings in terms of a `parallax vision' immediately resonates in the mind of anyone familiar with his works: it is an approach that finally allows Nakagami to be Nakagami. We know that we need to get outside the framework of national literary studies, but that is a task easier said than done. McKnight goes a good deal of the way toward showing us what is to be done now in the study of both Japanese literature and minority cultures." -Michael K. Bourdaghs, University of Chicago