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Paradox and RepresentationSilenced Voices in the Narratives of Nakagami Kenji$
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Machiko Ishikawa

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501751943

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501751943.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Paradox and Representation

Machiko Ishikawa

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter offers a brief background into the works of Nakagami Kenji (1946–1992) and how he represented the voices of the socially silenced in Japan. Notably, Nakagami belonged to the Burakumin (“outcaste”). Although he is known as a Burakumin writer, and much of his writing is indeed set in a Burakumin context, not all of his material provides representations of Burakumin life. His work further depicts the diversity of backgrounds among Buraku people, including those who, like the writer himself, received financial and economic benefits from the democratic systems introduced at the time. Given this Burakumin emphasis, the chapter briefly introduces key historical and sociopolitical aspects of that experience before embarking on an analysis of the writer's works. This analysis also includes a brief overview of the extensive corpus of Nakagami scholarship which exists in both Japanese and English.

Keywords:   Gayatri Spivak, Burakumin, Nakagami Kenji, Nakagami scholarship, Burakumin life, socially silenced, Buraku people, mukoku

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