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Event 

Title:
Kobayashi Takiji and the Women Question in Proletarian Literature
When:
18.Feb.2009 17.00 - 18.30
Where:
Room G.03, 20 Cromer Terrace - Leeds
Category:
National Institute of Japanese Studies

Description

Kobayashi Takiji and the Women Question in Proletarian Literature

A WREAC 'Identities and Cultures' Cluster Seminar given by

DR LINDA FLORES, Oriental Institute, University of Oxford

Abstract

Kobayashi Takiji is perhaps best known as the author of "Kani kôsen" (The Crab Cannery Boat, 1929), a narrative that captured the spirit of left-wing struggle and oppression in 1920s Japan. The story describes the inhumane conditions on a floating crab cannery boat and the process by which the male labourers come into consciousness, incite rebellion and organise a strike. There are no significant female characters in the story, and the few images of women we encounter amount to little more than female types - prostitutes, loving wives and mothers. However, in Kobayashi Takiji's lesser-known short stories written in the early part of his literary career he wrote a number of works that demonstrated a concern for women as part of the underclass of capitalist society. In these works Takiji portrays women in a variety of contexts - from female prisoners, prostitutes, labourers and child labourers, and activists. Clearly Takiji was profoundly interested in highlighting the plight of women as forgotten members of society, but do his portrayals of women in these works differ from other works of proletarian literature, many of which present women primarily as tropes or mere symbols of capitalist oppression? Through an analysis of the early works of Kobayashi Takiji, this paper seeks to address the following issues: How did Takiji seek to come to terms with the "Woman Question" in proletarian literature?; What role did he envision for women in a capitalist/post-capitalist society?; And importantly, did Takiji regard women as potential agents of the forthcoming revolution?

Dr. Linda Flores is a University Lecturer in Japanese at the Oriental Institute, Oxford University and a Fellow in Japanese at Pembroke College, Oxford. She is a specialist in Modern Japanese Literature with a particular interest in women writers and proletarian literature. Her recent and current projects include the Kobayashi Takiji Memorial Symposium in Oxford (September 2008); a forthcoming article on Kobayashi Takiji entitled, "Women in a Troubled Age: Negotiating Class and Gender in Takiji's ‘Yasuko'"; and a chapter on the writer Hirabayashi Taiko in the forthcoming publication "A Documentary History of Anarchism in Japan". She is also working on a manuscript on the theme of murderous mothers in modern Japanese literature.

 

Venue

Venue:
Room G.03, 20 Cromer Terrace   -   Website
Street:
University of Leeds
ZIP:
LS2 9JT
City:
Leeds
State:
West Yorkshire
Country:
UK

Description

Room G.03, Cromer Terrace

20 Cromer Terrace is located on-campus at the University of Leeds.  The room G.03 is on the ground floor straight through the entrance and at the end of the corridor.

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Please see below for an aerial view of 14 Cromer Terrace in Google Maps.  Use the button controls to change the map view (Map, Sat, Ter), the 4 directional arrows to navigate and the +/- buttons to zoom the view in and out (if you cannot see the map below, this is likely because you don't have the latest version of your browser - Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Chrome have all been tested as working):


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