By W. G. Aston
This is often the earliest certain survey of the voluminous eastern literature released in English, starting from the Archaic interval (before A.D.700) throughout the 19th century romanic fictions, to the socalled Tokyo interval finishing in 1898.
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Extra info for A History of Japanese Literature
If the Japanese army’s appropriation of Shuri Castle symbolically re-enacts the nation’s historical domination of the Ryukyu Kingdom, their use of turtleback tombs as hiding places reinforces the image. Okinawa’s religious tradition centers on ancestor worship, and these large tombs scattered across the island are built into the ground and form a cave-like structure resembling a tortoiseshell. Thus the tombs, like the castle, represent a link to the past (albeit a more personal past), and they too proved unable to stave off the fury of modern warfare or the incursion of outside powers into Okinawan sacred space.
If they do, it makes them foreigners, too. And that is a real disgrace. (208; 132) In this scene, Isa perceives the English language in metaphors of unsullied landscape, as if to project his image of the speakers’ youth, purity, and femininity onto a distant topography, worlds away from the bombed-out ruins of urban Japan. The speech of the schoolteacher, Emily, also evokes for Isa a pastoral image. Significantly, though, “the cascade of soothing words that poured from her lips like melting snow” (210; 133) is not to be found in descriptions of English as spoken by men.
This ambivalent historical THE AMERICAN OCCUPATION OF JAPAN AND OKINAWA 27 Okinawan children atop a fence surrounding an American military base. Early 1970s. ) relationship, together with the sheer length and intensity of America’s occupation of the islands, has provided postwar Okinawan writers with a distinctive perspective on both foreign occupation and Japanese imperialism. ” Both “The American School” and The Cocktail Party have received the prestigious Akutagawa Prize for fiction. Yet I have selected these stories for discussion in this opening chapter not so much because they are enshrined within their respective literary canons but because they delineate several critical differences between Japanese and Okinawan occupation literature.