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The Journal of Japanese Language Literature Studies > Volume 10(1); 2020 > Article
Border Crossings: The Journal of Japanese-Language Literature Studies 2020;10(1): 29-44.
doi: https://doi.org/10.22628/bcjjl.2020.10.1.29
Maritime Literature or Sea Literature :An Attempt at Reconsideration of East Asian Literature
Masahiko NISHI
Honored Professor of Ritsumeikan University
「海洋文学」か「海の文学」か ―― 東アジア現代文学における女性作家の挑戦
Correspondence  Masahiko NISHI ,Email: mas-nis@nifty.com
Published online: 30 June 2020.
Copyright ©2020 The Global Institute for Japanese Studies, Korea University
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Most of the ancient Japanophone letters focused on idyllic seascapes, life on the seashore, or the lives people led in seaside villages, clearly because the Japanese archipelago is surrounded by ocean. Drawing on this body of literature, the legend of Urashima and the original verses of one of the wartime Japanese nationalistic hymns, “Umi Yukaba,” were both dexterously re-imagined in modern Japan. On the other hand, it goes without saying that modern Japanese literature owes much to Western masterpieces of maritime literature which are largely modeled on The Odyssey, such as Robinson Crusoe and Vingt Mille Lieus Sous Les Mers, all of which not only reflected but also furthered in their own ways the imperialistic ambition of the Western powers. This may be the reason why modern Japanese maritime literature have focused mainly on motifs surrounding navigators’ adventures and have neglected fisher-(wo)men’s and salt-makers’ lives, except for the strand of proletarian literature which criticizes the harsh exploitation seen in the fishing industry. In this context, it is important to consider the work of Shaman Rapogan, one of the leading writers and activists in the field of Taiwanese aboriginal literature and an advocate of alternative sea (not maritime) literature, which is arguably far more in harmony with environmental concerns.In this light, the purpose of this paper is to evaluate the challenge to mainstream maritime literature generated by the contemporary Japanese female writers Michiko ISHIMURE and Yûko TSUSHIMA, and to sketch a history of East Asian “sea” literature.
Keywords: Maritime Literature, Sea Literature, Aborigine Literature, Environmentalism

キ―ワ―ド: 海洋文学, 海の文学, 原住 民文学, 環境論
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