Japan Literature 3

A new phenomenon, which links literature even more to the development of information technologies, is that of keitai shōsetsu (novels on the mobile phone), productions of short narrative texts that are born with the 400-500 characters of a mobile phone screen and, through dedicated Internet sites, they reach a wide diffusion. They are mainly composed of girls between the ages of 15 and 25 who use pseudonyms to be able to freely tell stories, even from the dark sides, on pre-established narrative strands, with stories of adolescents experiencing traumas such as abortion, rape, prostitution or love affairs. unhappy, and through these experiences they acquire a painful maturity. The best known examples are Koizora(2007, Cielo d’amore) by Mika, Eien no yume (2006, Eternal Dream) by Mone, Akai ito (2007, The red thread) by Mei or Moshimo kimi ga (2007, Se mai tu) by Rin, which became bestsellers in 2007 in print. Texts that arise from digital then find the written form or the manga or television dorama version. Setouchi Jakuchō (b.1922), famous Buddhist writer and nun now 93, author of one of the most important modern editions of Murasaki Shikibu ‘s Genji monogatari (Story of Genij), said she wrote keitai shōsetsu under the pseudonym of Murasaki in 2008. One of his keitai was published in print under the title of Ashita no niji (2008, The rainbow of tomorrow). The writer’s vivacity is also testified by the novel Ran (2013, Brillante) which tells the love story of the protagonists in the years of seniority.

Just 2008 marked the thousand years since the composition of the masterpiece of Japanese classical literature and in Japan, as in many other countries, the event was remembered with numerous conferences, exhibitions and publications. In Italy the first complete Italian translation was published by Einaudi (La storia di Genji) conducted on the classic text by Maria Teresa Orsi.

In 2008, the Akutagawa prize saw an unprecedented event: the winner was a non-Japanese native speaker writer, the Chinese Yang Yi, for the novel Toki ga nijimu asa (2008; trad. It. A morning beyond time, 2010) which has as its background the student protests in Tiananmen Square in 1998.

Women’s literature. – Women’s literature is one of the most prolific and successful strands of contemporary literature: among the already established writers, Miyabe Miyuki (b.1960) author of mystery and historical novels, has published the fantastic story Bureibu sutōri (2008, Brave story) and Soromon no gishō (2012, Solomon’s Perjury), the latest volume of his trilogy, soon to be released in a film version. The most recent works by Kawakami Mieko (b.1976), Akutagawa 2008 prize with Chichi to ran (Seni e ovuli), which has also received prestigious awards for Hevun, are also significant of the voices of the last generation.(2009, Heaven) and the Mizugame poetry collection (2012, Vaso per acqua); Inu to hamonika (2012, The dog and the harmonica) by Ekuni Kaori (b. 1964); Hitojichi no rōdokukai (2011, Hostage Reading Club) and Kotori (2012, Little Bird) by Ogawa Yōko (b.1962). Ogawa Ito (b. 1973) with the best seller Shokudō katatsumuri (2008; trad. It. The restaurant of rediscovered love, 2010) won the 2011 Bancarella award in Italy for culinary-themed works. Among the young writers who have recently distinguished Fujino Kaori (b.1980) with Tsume to me (2013, Nails and eyes) and Sakuragi Shino (b.1965) for Hoteru Rōyaru (2013, Hotel Royal). The latest Akutagawa awards were awarded to Oyamada Hiroko (b. 1983) for Ana (2013, La buca) and to Shibasaki Tomoka (b. 1973) for Haru no niwa (2013, Spring Garden).

According to health-beauty-guides, Yoshimoto Banana (b. 1964), after the great success of his first novels, continued his prolific activity: in Kanojo ni tsuite (2008; trans. It. About her, 2013) and Moshi moshi shimokitazawa (2010; trans. . it. Moshi moshi, 2014), the theme of trauma and healing, or the reconstruction of everyday life and emotional relationships after a shock, are elements of contiguity with his previous novels; with Suuiito hiaafuta (2011, Sweet hereafter), one of the first literary works expressly inspired by the Fukushima disaster, Yoshimoto has confirmed herself as a writer of ‘healing’. The continuous confrontation with the trauma experienced through the permeability of past / present is at the basis of the construction of the identity of the characters. The protagonist Sayoko survives the loss of her partner in an accident and slowly recovers her physical and mental condition. Here too, common to Yoshimoto’s novels are the affective ‘reconstruction’, through the formation of the ‘non-biological family’, the absence of a defined patriarchal figure, the overabundance of characters with ambiguous gender characteristics. No direct reference to Fukushima, but in the afterword the author links the message of hope to all those who, dead or alive,

The post 3.11 literature. – The most recent years have been marked by a large production, in prose and poetry, on the themes of disaster and nuclear danger. In October 2014 (Kentōshi, Messengers offering lights) the five tales by Tawada Yōko which have 3.11 as background transfigured into a fantastic and dystopian vision were collected in volume. Among the first writers to deal with the theme in 2011 Kawakami Hiromi (b.1958) with Kamisama 2011 (The divinity of 2011), Takahashi Gen’ichirō (b.1951) with Koi suru genpatsu (The nuclear power plant of love), Furukawa Hideo (b. 1966) with Umatachi yo, soredemo hikari wa mukude (Cavalli, the light is still pure). The collection of short stories is from 2012 Shinsai to fikushon no ‘kyori’ (The ‘distance’ between disaster and fiction) as part of Waseda Bungaku’s charity project: Japan earthquake charity literature, published in Italian with the title Scrivere per Fukushima (2013). The collection Soredemo sangatsu wa mata is also from 2012 (nevertheless it is still March). A poet, originally from the affected regions of Tohoku, pioneer of a ‘poem of the rubble’, is Wagō Ryōichi (b.1969) who launched the first twitter in the immediacy of the disaster and who continues from his profile (https: // twitter.com / wago2828) to ‘hurl’ his words of despair and hope to the world (later collected in collections such as Shi no tsubute, Poems launched ; Shi no mokurei, The silent prayer of poetry, and Shi no kaikō, Encounter of poetry).

Japan Literature 3