"Hantologie" and Narrative of Japanese War Literature

Hiromi Motohashi (Aichi Prefectural University)
Hiromi Hyodo (Gakushuin University)
Makoto Takagi (Sagami Women's University)
Daisuke Higuchi (Kobe University)
Pre-modern Literature
Torre B, Piso 1, Auditório 1
Start time:
1 September, 2017 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

War literature sometimes makes the dead return to this world as spectres.There are enormously many dead people who are forgotten without representation. We need to ret hink ways of representing death and memory in war literature and explore the possibility of telling the stories of the dead.

Long abstract:

When considering the problem of historical perception in modern Japan, it is necessary to think about the influence of tradition in the representation of the dead in historical war literature since the pre-modern era. War literature makes the dead return to this world as "ghosts." On the other hand, there are an enormous number of dead who are forgotten without representation. The delineation of both representation and oblivion usually depends on the context of that era, which tends to be forgotten with later generations. To talk lightly of the dead, is to talk lightly of their memory, history, and the violence that accompanied them. Nevertheless, not talking at all about the dead results in their oblivion. The gap between the dead who are considered "to be" although they "are not", and the dead who are considered "not to be" although they "are", creates a deviation of historical perception. Taking this into account, we reconsidered ways to represent the dead, their memories, and history in war scripts. We must explore the possibility of talking about the dead without mention of violence. This panel takes the concept of 'spirits' as representations of the dead, which differs from 'ghosts,'. "Heike Monogatari", "Soga Monogatari", and "Gikeiki" do not let the dead return to this world as ghosts. By contrast, "Taiheiki", "Soga Monogatari", or Noh plays as an art performance bring the dead back to the real world as a person with a physical body. However, this does not mean that the former is not talking about the dead. Also, this does not mean that the latter is quoting the words of the dead properly. What is important here is the text's attitude on how to talk about the dead. It is the concept of "hantologie" that focuses not only on the content of the story, but also on the manner in which performing narratives are carried out. Our panel explores the possibility of talking about things that cannot be talked about in the war history literature, viewed from the perspective of "hantologie".