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Access Type

Open Access

Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



trauma, food, vision, memories, war


From the arrival of American ground troops to Vietnam in early 1965 to the fall of Saigon and the takeover by the North Vietnamese in 1975, Vietnam was America’s longest war. In Vietnam, as American bombing intensified, the people of Japan were remembering their own wartime past, who had themselves experienced heavy bombing, and they began to empathize with the Vietnamese people. Kaikō Takeshi, a novelist and journalist, attempted to understand the overwhelming traumatic events of his past during World War Two and these feelings were extended to all aspects of his Vietnam writing where the present is haunted by history. By examining Kaikō’s first Vietnam novel, Into a Black Sun, I will assert how his novel sets the stage for all his later writing and the touchstone for this novel is his catharsis for his war experience. He explores one of the characteristics found within the sub-genre of Vietnam War literature and writes about horror in a visceral way that uses all five of his senses to describe atrocity. I also explore how Kaikō utilizes these five senses, but primarily his sense of vision in order to comprehend the trauma of being in Vietnam. His experience in Vietnam caused the psychological blackness and darkness of his past to once again creep into his everyday life. I also discuss how Kaikō’s use of food imagery permeates throughout his works and how food has a lot of resonance for Kaikō because it relates to war and a past of starvation.

First Advisor

Amanda C Seaman

Second Advisor

James M. Hicks