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Author Shaw, May-yi
Title Wartime diaspora: The reworking of cultural and national identity among Chinese and Japanese writers in 1930s and 1940s wartime China
book jacket
Descript 258 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 71-07, Section: A, page: 2464
Adviser: David Der-wei Wang
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Harvard University, 2010
This dissertation takes a comparative look at the Chinese and Japanese wartime diasporic literature set against the Second Sino-Japanese war. I explore the genre of "flight" or "border-crossing" literature through the textual reflections of eight Chinese and Japanese writers situated in geographical sites of dubious or contested political sovereignty during the war --- Manchuria, the occupied zones in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. As war intensified, the native Chinese from these sites were forced to flee while the newly arrived Japanese obtained legitimacy to stay. In each chapter, I compare the experience and writing of one Chinese and one Japanese writer in one particular location
In chapter one, Xiao Hong's flight from Manchuria is compared with Miyao Tomiko's arrival as a member of the settlement groups. In chapter two, Lao She's reminiscence of the old Beijing landscape and culture bears similarity with Hayashi Kyoko's affection for Shanghai as home of her upbringing. In chapter three, Li Rongchun's motherland consciousness and struggle over his Chinese/Taiwanese/Japanese identities strike common chords with the experiences of the Japanese farming immigrants described by Sakaguchi Reiko. Finally, chapter four reveals that Samejima Moritaka's negotiated position in between his dual citizen-and-pastor role in Hong Kong, while Zhao Zifan secures a "half' position between the haves and have-nots. Supposedly "foes" in war, these Chinese and Japanese writers turned out to share similar uprooted experiences in war and raised significant questions on the fixed definition of cultural belongingness or national identity
This comparative and multiregional study of these diasporic writers answers to a growing demand in literary and cultural studies to look beyond the established canon confined in one single cultural or national boundary. The selection of writers also responds to an increasing awareness among scholars to listen to the voices of the diasporic and the "periphery." Against the state-dominated views in the established discourse of wartime literature or history, these civilian voices and their day-to-day experiences during the war help us understand better the historical reality of the time. More importantly, their contemplation of the questions of individual and collective culpability/responsibility during and after the war opens up new possibilities for the discussion, if not resolution, of the issue of war responsibility in contemporary East Asia
School code: 0084
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 71-07A
Subject Literature, Modern
Literature, Asian
Alt Author Harvard University
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