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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Japanese

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded

2012

Month Degree Awarded

September

Keywords

modern Japanese literature, modern Japanese history

Abstract

The end of the Second World War and Japan’s surrender are the established paradigm for understanding postwar Japanese society. The formulation of the new Constitution and the establishment of the postwar democracy mark a major historical turnaround for Japan. Since he debuted as a writer in 1958, Ōe Kenzaburō’s (1935 - ) published literary works are closely related to the postwar history of Japan. Ōe has been an outspoken supporter of the pacifist Constitution and “postwar democracy.” Ōe’s stories about the war are characterized by a realistic depiction at the same time as always narrating his stories in an imaginary world. In his works the past history and the future are intricately combined in the depiction of contemporary society. By doing so, Ōe creates an ambiguous image of contemporary Japan. Ōe’s main question in his early works is the achievement of shutaisei both in postwar Japanese society and Japanese literature. The main protagonists as well as the author protest against the emperor-centered history. They attempt to illustrate another history from their own viewpoint.

First Advisor

Amanda C Seaman

Second Advisor

Bruce P. Baird

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