Dangerous Women, Deadly Words: Phallic Fantasy and Modernity in Three Japanese Writers

By Nina Cornyetz | Go to book overview

FOURTEEN
An Ambivalent Masculinist Politics

In 1994, Karatani Kōjin said,

I was surprised when Nakagami died and I took a look inside some bookstores. Even the big Tokyo bookstores had none of Nakagami's major works. Shockingly, it appeared that even the Shingū library had none. I was irritated to think that, this being the situation, then wasn't it materially impossible to read Nakagami? It was then that I considered devoting a special issue to Nakagami in Hihyō kūkan. Not immediately, but a level-headed issue to follow one year later.1

By now the situation Karatani described has been transformed. The Nakagamizenshū (complete collected works) is being published; paperbacks of selected works can be purchased at many small, local bookstores throughout Tokyo as well as at the larger ones.2 There has clearly been an intentional process of canonization, during which it can be said that Nakagami has been "retrieved" by a handful of Japanese male critics devoted to ensuring that not only would his corpus not disappear from literary history, but that it would become prominent.

There has also been an increase in critical commentary in Japanese on his work in various forms.3 Yearly symposiums on Nakagami have been sponsored by Kumano University and held in Shingū City. These symposiums have included roundtable discussions attended religiously by Karatani, Asada Akira, and Watanabe Naomi, who each year are joined by a changing roster of other critics, writers, and scholars.4 In June 1996 Yomota Inuhiko organized and chaired a symposium on Nakagami at Meiji

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