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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 Voices of Aged Buraku Women

The Voices of Aged Buraku Women

(p.225) Chapter 5 The Voices of Aged Buraku Women
Paradox and Representation

Machiko Ishikawa

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses Nakagami's representation of old women or oba from Kumano. To articulate the significance of the oba in Nakagami's narratives, it first investigates Nakagami's reading of the work of well-known woman author Enchi Fumiko to provide insights into his view of the tradition of the “old woman” (omina/ōna) as a storyteller of monogatari. Based on this discussion, the chapter examines Nakagami's depiction in Sen'nen no yuraku (1982) of the aged roji woman, Oryū no oba, as a Burakumin omina. Furthermore, it discusses how Nakagami presents Oryū no oba's silenced voice. Oryū no oba has a special status that derives from her role as omina who passes down monogatari to the younger generation in the community. In contrast, the chapter considers Yuki and Moyo, two aged outcaste women who feature in the Akiyuki trilogy, as oba who can never assume the voice of community storyteller. Thus, this chapter investigates how Nakagami depicts the (im)possibility of these sexed women's voices speaking to or being heard by the community while also demonstrating how the writer presents an alternative representation of their voiceless voices.

Keywords:   aged Buraku women, old women, oba, monogatari storyteller, Akiyuki trilogy, Oryū no oba, Sen'nen no yuraku, Burakumin omina, community storyteller

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