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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The goal of this thesis is to examine the theme of community in two translated works, Paradise in the Sea of Sorrow: Our Minamata Disease and Lake of Heaven, by Ishimure Michiko. I analyze how Ishimure defines a community, and I also look at the tension between insiders of the community with outsiders. Next, I look at Ishimure’s use of genre in Paradise in the Sea of Sorrow; she blends autofiction, autobiography, and illness narratives to give different perspectives to reflect on the Minamata disease health crisis. Through this analysis, I also look at the shift in Ishimure’s tone toward outsiders, moving from anger to reconciliation between the texts in question. Lastly, I comment on the change in Ishimure’s public image and discuss a story where she is the outsider experiencing Tokyo.


First Advisor

Amanda C. Seaman

Second Advisor

Stephen Miller