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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 an Incestuous Sister

The Voice of an Incestuous Sister

(p.179) Chapter 4 The Voice of an Incestuous Sister
Paradox and Representation

Machiko Ishikawa

Cornell University Press

This chapter investigates the voice of the sister, Satoko, who has an incestuous relationship with Akiyuki. There is considerable discussion in both Japanese and English scholarship of Akiyuki's breaking the incest taboo with his half-sister as a substitute for patricide. Although a number of these commentaries reference Satoko, little attention has been given to her vulnerability or her response to the incest. Thus, this chapter profiles Satoko's subjectivity by considering her as a sister whose sexuality is exploited as a strategic weapon in Akiyuki's bitter conflict with his father. This conflict is shown as the son's attempt to bond with the father. Drawing on a study of male “homosociality,” this chapter discusses Satoko's subalternity as an object of dispute in her father and half-brother's homosocial bond. A key element of the chapter is the analysis of Nakagami's interpretation and, in turn, a reinterpretation of “Kyōdai shinjū” (“A brother–sister double suicide”), a folk song featured in the Akiyuki trilogy that implies the playing out of a mythic family tragedy in Kasuga.

Keywords:   Akiyuki trilogy, incest, Kyōdai shinjū, subjectivity, homosociality, homosocial bond, family tragedy, folk ballads, folk songs

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