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Magic Realism in Modern Japanese literature

Exploring the use of Magic realism in the works of modern Japanese authors such as Haruki Murakami and Banana Yoshimoto
by

Pratik Poudel

on 4 March 2013

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Transcript of Magic Realism in Modern Japanese literature

Isolation “I felt really alone,”
(Kitchen, Banana Yoshimoto)

"All I know is I'm totally alone"
(Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami)

- The protagonist usually has one person that they are very close to and when something happens to that person, they are lost. Can you relate this to Kafka on the Shore?
- In Yoshimoto's Hardboiled, the protagonist is isolated both physically (in a deserted area of the woods) and emotionally, also after the death of her girlfriend.
- At the beginning of his journey, Kafka stands at the train station watching everyone else head off in another direction, and notices how being “alone, going in the opposite direction. … makes [him] feel helpless, isolated
- Barriers keep these characters from being emotionally close to another person
- In Hardboiled, one gets the feeling of a ncurse is chasing down the narrator. The narrator claims “Something incredibly evil is resting here … I’m sure of it."
- A similar instance in Kafka on the Shore?
- When this happens, characters seek emotional connections through dreams
- An explicit example of this is in Kafka on the Shore. History of magical realism in Japan - There were always magical elements in Japan, starting from Shinto myths. This is probably why people were drawn to write magic realism stories.
- Hagiwara Sakutaro (1886-1942) believed to be the first Japanese author to be influenced
- His poem "The Green Flute" described how the moon shifted because of the "pure green" sound of the flute
- Years later, Kawabata Yasnuari's "One Arm" told the story of how a woman lent her arm to a man for a night and it experiences feelings like jealousy etc.
- In the 1970's, Kobo Abe wrote a novel called 'The Man who became A Stick', which speaks for itself.
- Since then, various authors have come up, like Murakami, Miyazaki Hayao, Asano Inio etc. Magic Realism in modern
Japanese literature - Haruki Murakami and Banana Yoshimoto are the
most popular modern Japanese authors Dreaming - Modern works achieve "living dreams", a traditional way of portraying dreams, where characters are thought to be transported to another dimension.
- Kafka dreams three dreams throughout the novel that lead him to effectively fulfill the curse. When do they occur and what happens in each dream?
- In Yoshimoto's Hardboiled, dreams are the whole basis of the story. The character dreams three times and meets with her dead lover, ultimately helping her get to the acceptance of his death. Sources - Yoshimoto, Banana. Kitchen. Trans. Megan Backus. New York: Grove, 1993. Print.
- Murakami, Haruki. Kafka on the Shore. Trans. Philip Gabriel. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. Print.
- Yoshimoto, Banana. Hardboiled and Hard Luck. London: Faber and Faber, 2006. Print.
- http://voices.yahoo.com/japanese-magical-realism-3979986.html?cat=37
- Mayer, Ida, "Dreaming in Isolation: Magical Realism in Modern Japanese Literature" (2011). Dietrich College Honors Theses. Paper 131. Themes used in magical realism works Isolation: Characters in modern magic realism stories tend to be isolated, physically and/or mentally.

Dreams: They mostly experience magic realism
through dreams. Magical Realism in modern Japanese literature Exploring - The character voices are of emotional isolation and unfulfillment - Each of their novels are written in first person. Why do you think this is done? - These authors use the themes of isolation and dreaming in most of their magic realism works; <-- Murakami Yoshimoto --> Do you think Yoshimoto's and Murakami's characters are
perfectly suited to experience these supernatural dreams? If so, why? ANY QUESTIONS ?
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