“DIASPORIC JAPANESE WRITERS:STRADDLING HAIKU AND ZEN"( ANNUAL ASIAN LITERATURES IN MOTION SERIES) CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Rising Asia Journal and Foundation ( www.rajraf.org)

(For Abstracts)

Date of Conference: 16-17 November 2022.
On the Google Meet Platform.

HOW TO SUBMIT AN ABSTRACT: To present a paper in the conference, please email a 300-word abstract with a Title, Name of Presenter and Affiliation, and Presenter’s Email, to Rising Asia Journal’s Editorial Board member Professor Tuan Hoang: tuan.hoang@pepperdine.edu  

Please mention “Rising Asia Conference” in the subject line of your email.

The Conference Administrators will contact you with further details. 

 THE CONTEXT OF THE CONFERENCE: Contemporary Japanese Literature in English is sweeping the world literary landscape with kiryoku, a distinctive force that is passionate and indomitable. Conjured as a kind of subtle and distilled minimalism, stories by diasporic Japanese authors in English, about their left behind home, Japan, or their new adopted homes, have been slowly but steadily gaining a faithful readership. It has burgeoned into some kind of a literary industry that is producing multilingual translations of stories by diasporic Japanese writers, employing English. To invoke Homi Bhabha, the novelty of these tellings is in “the inscription and articulation of culture’s hybridity.” English seems to be an effective material to fill in the gaps, ellipses, hollows that were hidden in the nuanced cultural complexities of Japan. And this performativity of English as a language often becomes a surprising facilitator that enables both the diasporic Japanese writer writing in English, and the English language savvy reader, to unpack the riddle of Japanese thought and the mystery of Japanese culture. 

 The post-Second World War Japanese diaspora has frequently drawn from the stalwarts of Japanese writing from the past, and ushered in a kind of kindred-ness that undergirds the human condition, despite the embattled histories, residues of violence, fragmentation of memory, and the diversity the world posits. A present-day writer such as Haruki Murakami, for instance, has subtly incorporated in his own works the thought of celebrated writers from Japan’s rich past such as the Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata, and the inimitable Meiji master Doppo Kunikida, the grandfather of the current literary movement. In his celebrated short story, Unforgettable People, Kunikida declared, “And when this feeling strikes me, I find myself in tears, for in truth there is then no self, no other. I am touched by thought of each and every one.” The championing of the universality of the spirit to survive, and the will to fight for forging a new identity are two reiterative themes in this genre. Straddling both the microscopic dimensions of Haiku and the universal reach of Zen, as well as the fabuloso world of Shintoism, diasporic Japanese literature can motivate us to a deeper understanding not just of Japanese life, but also of ourselves, and of fragmented and fractured humanity. 

 With elegance and concision, the writers of the past such as Yasunari Kawabata (1899-1972), Sōseki Natsume (1867-1916), Riichi Yokomitsu (1898-1947), Osamu Dazai (1909-1948), John Okada (1923-1971), and others, paved the way for the newer writers. The ranks of the living authors consisting of Kenzaburo Ōe, Kazuo Ishiguro, Haruki Murakami, Yōko Ogawa, Ruth Ozeki, Joy Kogawa, Kerri Sakamoto, Hiromi Goto, Yoko Tawada, and others, have carved themselves a lasting place on our multicultural planet. 

 QUESTIONS THE CONFERENCE WILL EXPLORE: 

  1. How are these—and other Japanese—writers locating themselves in world literature?

  2. What new quotient are they bringing to the smorgasbord of the global literary banquet?

  3. Where are they different from other writers—South Asian, Southeast Asian, East Asian, African, Latin American, and European—of the diaspora? 

  4. How does the transnational Japanese writer represent home in de-territorialized spaces? 

  5. How are they configuring a new voice in world literature? 

  6. Is their novelty stemming from an attempt to break away from the established Japanese formalism? How successful is their innovation of turning away from a traditional sense of Japanese-ness? 

  7. Is there a sense of loss in their floating in a world without rootedness? 

 WHO SHOULD PRESENT: This conference offers an interdisciplinary platform for researchers, writers, scholars, and readers in the field of Japanese literature and culture to generate a dialogue and ideational exchange between academia, authors, and readers. 

 AIMS OF THE CONFERENCE:

The conference invites papers on the following themes including, but not limited to Japanese Diasporic writing:

  1. Capturing the spirit of a splintered generation

  2. Scorning Japanese literary Tradition

  3. Breaking stereotypes

  4. Postcolonialism by erasure

  5. Crafting a new language

  6. A rich source of Adaptation Studies

  7. The cult following of diasporic Japanese writers

  8. Easily appreciated in translation

  9. Commercial success

  10. Synaesthesia and affect

  11. Allowing the global reader agency

  12. Interpreting memory, exploring nostalgia

  13. Patriarchy and resistance

  14. Issei, Nisei, and the internment

  15. Narratives of loneliness and boredom

  16. Dystopia, derangement

  17. Identity and belonging

  18. Challenging History

 The Conference will interrogate the indeterminacy of culture, knowledge, literature, and history, as well as foregrounding ways in which such epistemological frameworks may be refashioned and rewound. It attempts to interrogate how language informs the dismaying mystery of the Sakoku culture of Japan for the gaijin, in the context of postmodern world literature.

 PUBLICATION OF CONFERENCE PAPERS:  All paper presenters will be invited to submit full articles for publication in a book on Japanese Literature with an internationally renowned publishing company. The selection of articles will be based on a peer review.