This study introduces the concepts of naturalization and naturalized modernity, and uses them as tools for understanding the way modernity has been experienced and portrayed in Japanese literature since the end of the Second World War. Special emphasis is given to four leading post-war writers – Kawabata Yasunari, Abe Kobo, Murakami Haruki and Murakami Ryu. The author argues that notions of ‘shock’ in modern city life in Japan (as exemplified in the writings of Walter Benjamin and George Simmel), while present in the work of older Japanese writers, do not appear to hold true in much contemporary Japanese literature: it is as if the ‘shock’ impact of change has evolved as a ‘naturalized’ or ‘Japanized’ process. The author focuses on the implications of this phenomenon, both in the context of the theory of modernity and as an opportunity to reevaluate the works of his chosen writers.
Carl Cassegård is a Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Göteborg, Dept. of Oriental and African Languages.
Shock and Naturalization in Contemporary Japanese Literature has been highly commended by several leading scholars, including Professor Michael Löwy who was especially interested in the author’s approach to ‘literature as sociology’.
Table of contents
Preface; Introduction; 1. Modernity and Shock; 2. Second Nature and Revolt; 3. Naturalized Modernity; 4. Strategies for the Good Life; 5. Kawabata Yasunari: Shock and the Reunion with Inner Nature; 6. Abe Kobo and the Triumph of Shock; 7. Murakami Haruki: Loneliness and Waiting; 8. Murakami Ryu: Boredom and the Nostalgia for Shock; 9. Nature and the Critique of Myth; Bibliography; Index