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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 Voice of a Transgressive Young Man

The Voice of a Transgressive Young Man

(p.91) Chapter 2 The Voice of a Transgressive Young Man
Paradox and Representation

Machiko Ishikawa

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on Nakagami's early writings and a short story titled “Rakudo” (1976). A number of prominent themes feature in his late 1960s writing. These include criticism of Japanese New Left writers, recollections of his “uneducated” half-brother's violence and suicide, and reflections on then nineteen-year-old Nagayama Norio, who shot and killed four people in 1968. First, through an analysis of nonfiction material produced by Nakagami from 1965 to 1969, the chapter profiles two elements that were frequently represented in literary production and discussed in academic writing during this period: the masses (taishū) and loss (sōshitsu). It also provides a detailed discussion on the intertextual relationship between Nakagami's late 1960s texts and the contemporaneous perspective of two Japanese critics. By referencing these scholars' texts, the chapter articulates Nakagami's motives for writing—giving representation to—hidden voices that express a sense of loss. Finally, the chapter focuses on Nakagami's short story “Rakudo.” Through reading this “autobiographical” yet fictional shōsetsu, it demonstrates how Nakagami represents the voices of a violent young husband and the silence of his battered wife.

Keywords:   Rakudo, Japanese New Left, taishū, sōshitsu, domestic abuse, Yoshimoto Takaaki, Akiyama Shun, transgressive youth

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