From postmodern to post bildungsroman from the ashes: an alternative reading of Murakami Haruki and postwar Japanese culture

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Chiaki Takagi (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Mary Ellis Gibson

Abstract: My dissertation explores how postcolonial discourse offers an alternative theoretical framework for the literary works produced in contemporary Japan. I read the works of Murakami Haruki as cultural ethnographies of postwar Japan and apply postcolonial theories to his representations of the imperial nature of Japan’s State System and the oppressed individuality in a highly controlled society. Based on the idea that postwar Japan is controlled by Japan’s indigenous imperialism, I reconstruct modern Japan’s cultural formation in postcolonial discourse, applying theories of Michael Hechter, Edward Said, Homi Bhabha and Paul Gilroy. I recognize the source of Japan’s imperialism in its pre-modern feudalism, which produced the foundation of today’s Tokyo-centered core-periphery structure through internal colonialism. Indigenous imperialism also promoted the nation’s modernization, creating a Japanese version of the West through self-imposed westernization (self-colonialism) as well as seeking colonial expansion in Asia. In postwar Japan, imperialism is hidden under the mask of democracy and its promotion of a Bildungsroman-like selfrepresentation of modern history, to which Murakami offers counter narratives. My examination of Murakami’s works challenges the geographical boundary made by current postcolonial studies, and it also offers a new perspective on Japan’s socalled postmodern writings.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Haruki Murakami, Postcolonial, Postmodern
Murakami, Haruki, $d 1949-
Japanese fiction $y 20th century $x History and criticism.
Japanese literature $y 20th century.
Postcolonialism in literature.
Postmodernism (literature)

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