CALL FOR PAPERS FOR THE BOOK, "JAPANESE DIASPORIC LITERATURE: STRADDLING HAIKU AND ZEN"

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Type: 
Call for Papers
Date: 
November 26, 2022 to January 15, 2023
Location: 
Ontario, India
Subject Fields: 
Japanese History / Studies, East Asian History / Studies, Literature, Oral History, World History / Studies

To be published by a leading academic publisher.

Edited by Dr. Julie B. Mehta and Dr. Harish C. Mehta

Please submit Abstracts (200 words) by 15 January 2023, and Full Articles by 15 April 2023.

Articles should be between 5,000 to 6,000 words long. They should have a title, an abstract of 200 words, 5 keywords, authors’ bio and present affiliation in 130 words, and a Works Cited.

Use in-text citations in MLA style (author-date-page numbers in brackets). Use footnotes to provide additional information that does not fit into the main text, but use footnotes sparingly. Articles should be set in 12-point Times Roman, double-spaced, with three or four subheads throughout to improve readability.

THE CONTEXT OF THE BOOK 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. 

QUESTIONS THE BOOK 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? 

 AIMS OF THE BOOK:

Articles should focus 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 Book 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.

Contact Info: 

Dr Julie Banerjee Mehta, ex-faculty, University of Toronto, currently Loreto College, Kolkata, India. Cell: 91-98310-87869.

Dr Harish C. Mehta (PhD McMaster University). Cell: 91-983072-1954.

Address: 32 T, New Road, Alipore, Kolkata, 700027, West Bengal, India. 

Contact Email: 
Categories: CFP