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The Humanities Conference 2003

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The Nomadic Writers in Japan and U.S.: Language, Identity, and Home

Keiko Nakano.


The number of multicultural authors who writes works in adopted languages has been increasing in many countries over the last few decades. For example, in Britain, Salman Rushdie, who identifies himself as Indo-Anglo, writes his works in English. In France, Tahar Ben Jelloun, though born in Morocco, writes his stories in French. Similarly, Milan Kundera, born in former Czechoslovakia, writes some of his works in French.

In this emerging trend of multi-cultural literature, Japan is no longer an exception that is able to retain a national literary homogeneity. Some multicultural writers, in other words, nomadic writers who traverse cultural and linguistic boundaries, are redefining Japanese literature that has been considered historically and conventionally as literature written by Japanese people in Japanese. These writers include Minae Mizumura, Kyoko Mori, Hideo Levy and David Zoppetti, who together can be said to constitute a new stream in contemporary Japanese literature.

By comparing two writers, Kyoko Mori and Hideo Levy, I will investigate the literary function of these authors choice of language, their respective process of identity formation and their search for home.
Who am I? Where is my home? To answer these questions, both these nomadic writers deal with several binaries: a now and then, a here and a there, and I and the other. Their choice of language will be shown to be an effective literary instrument in their effort to handle these personal and literary complexities.

Presenters

Keiko Nakano  (United States)
Instructor in Japanese
Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Cultures
John Carroll Univerisy

Instructor in Japanese at John Carroll Univesity
B.A., Tsuda College, Tokyo
M.A. in English, John Carroll University
Ph.D (ABD) in Comparative Literature, Pennsylvania State Univerisy
Instructor, 1992 - present

Keywords
  • Choice of language
  • Personal and cultural identity
  • Concept of 'home'
  • Multicultural writers' works
Person as Subject
  • Mori, Kyoko Levy, Hideo



(30 min Conference Paper, English)