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76 - Women’s fiction in the postwar era

from Part V - The modern period (1868 to present)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2016

Haruo Shirane
Affiliation:
Columbia University, New York
Tomi Suzuki
Affiliation:
Columbia University, New York
David Lurie
Affiliation:
Columbia University, New York
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Summary

The immediate effects of the war on women's writing can be seen by looking at publishing statistics. One of the best-known short stories of the postwar period is Hayashi Fumiko's Hone, about a middle-class war widow, who is left as the sole support of her young daughter as well as her bedridden brother. Another story published in 1946, Otete tsunaide, takes up the problem of children orphaned by the war. The female writers who attained prominence in the second half of the 1950s were generally of a higher social class and better educated than their predecessors: Enchi Fumiko and Koda Aya. Enchi's fiction is notable for its deployment of the fantastic as a mode for revealing the psychological depth of women's inner life. A final trend in postwar women's writing deserves mention: Oba Minako and Kometani Fumiko, both of whom began their literary careers while living in the United States and writing about Japanese characters coping within unfamiliar cultural currents.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2015

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