This panel explores the politics and practice of "everyday life" in Modern Japanese Literature. Each paper will question how one 'senses' and regards one's experience in everyday life, and explore the way in which literature politicises and provides dissidence to these experiences through language.
This panel explores the politics and practice of 'everyday life' (Nichijyo-Seikatsu) in Modern Japanese Literature. Each paper will question how one 'senses' and regards one's experience in everyday life, and explore the way in which literature subverts, politicises and provides dissidence to these experiences through language. Michel de Certeau argues, in his book The Practice of Everyday Life, that one—everyman—'s voice is engulfed in the noise of the masses, and dissolved in larger narratives—or social discourse. Japanese queer and feminist theorist Kazuko Takemura in On Love (Ai-ni-tsuite) similarly analogies that one is constantly at struggle in everyday life, encountering with 'collective stories' as an 'individual story', and it is a shivering and threatening experience to resist the dominant narratives of society (the norm). What does it mean for an individual to live "everyday life"? Moreover, how is this sense of "everyday life" constructed and in what sort of moment is it disrupted? In what sort of moment does one realise that a trivial moment of our life is actually and deeply embedded in political thoughts and narratives? Most importantly, how can one weave a narrative of resistance to sustain, recover or pursue one's "everyday life"? Keeping these questions in mind, Dodd will analyse how Kawabata explores the sense of reality in everyday life though new literary expression, especially focusing on the senses and perception. Uematsu's paper discusses girls' experiences and longing for a sense of 'happiness' in their daily lives in Banana Yoshimoto's debut novel Kitchen during the economic bubble era in Japan, in the 1980s. Finally, Flores will discuss literature after 3.11 and the ethics of representing the disaster that so profoundly disrupted the norms and rhythms of everyday life in Japan. Written in different times, each paper will examine the way in which literature explores and depicts the precarious moment of daily life, through technique, the sense of a particular affect: happiness and trauma. Following the presentations, Douglas Slaymaker will offer his commentary on the panel's theme of the politics and practice of the everyday, and disruptions to the everyday, in Japan.