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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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The Paradox of Representation

The Paradox of Representation

(p.53) Chapter 1 The Paradox of Representation
Paradox and Representation

Machiko Ishikawa

Cornell University Press

This chapter sets out to clarify the paradox of representing the silenced subaltern voice. It appropriates an aspect of Gayatri Spivak's scholarship that creates possibilities for a new reading of Nakagami. Before arguing Spivak's view, the chapter presents background information about Kishū Kumano (Japan's marginalized South) by referring to Nakagami's essays, interviews, and travel journals. It examines Spivak's critique of ideology, hegemony, the subaltern, and her discussion on the role of the intellectual. Based on these ideas of the “intellectual,” the chapter investigates Nakagami's ambivalence about his role as a member of the silenced Burakumin community who is nevertheless privileged as a “person who has (written) language.” The challenges inherent in the act of representation are investigated by reading Marx's interpretation of this issue, in addition to the ideas of more contemporary theorists such as Spivak and Karatani. The chapter concludes with an analysis of an example of Nakagami's representation of the voices of mukoku Kumano Burakumin from the 1978 travel journal Kishū.

Keywords:   silenced subaltern voice, Gayatri Spivak, Kishū Kumano, Kishū, Kumano Burakumin, representation

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