Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Behind the mask: Rereading Tachihara Masaaki's literary works from postcolonial perspectives
by Matsuura, Yoshiko, Ph.D., Purdue University, 2010, 225; 3413832
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of the present dissertation is to study literary works by writers who have Korean heritage, Yuasa Katsue, Jewish American writers and other postcolonial writers and to question the ubiquitous tendency to integrate a people, their language, and their culture into one entity. The writer primarily studies Tachihara Masaaki in contrast with the aforementioned writers by employing two theoretical concepts, hybridity and mimicry. Since these concepts are intricately intertwined in identity and language, they must be studied both individually and synergistically. “Hybridity” has become an integral concept in postcolonial work; a substantial number of studies have been completed. Some critics positively evaluate hybridity, while some other critics focus on its weaknesses. In the present dissertation, the two contrasting approaches are studied thoroughly. One approach, which indicates that hybridity has the potential to deconstruct a colonizer’s hegemony, tends to focus on explicit “minority-ness” in hybridized literary texts; such as, a minor language. In spite of evaluating hybridity as a strategy, few studies focus on unmarked “minority-ness.” The other approach depreciates hybridity because of its universalism, indeterminacy, and lack of autonomy. The dissertation closely shows implicit “minority-ness” in minor texts and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of hybridity. In addition to hybridity, mimicry is discussed as a main topic in the dissertation. Tachihara followed Japanese medieval tradition and mimicked canonical modern works. Many readers regard his replicas as reconstructions of pure Japanese tradition; in fact, Tachihara’s replicas deviate from their models. Most critics believe Tachihara’s ethnic myth—his parents are half Japanese and half Korean—and imagine that Tachihara suffered from his ambiguous position and made strenuous efforts to pursue Japanese tradition. This dissertation questions conventional criticism and examines the impact of Tachihara’s mimicry on the reader and on the literary mainstream.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sekine, Eiji
Commitee: Boling, Patricia A., Morris, Daniel C., Sagar, Aparajita
School: Purdue University
Department: Comparative Literature
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 71/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Comparative literature, Asian literature
Keywords: Hybridity, Japan, Mimicry, Postcolonial, Tachihara, Masaaki, Zainichi
Publication Number: 3413832
ISBN: 978-1-124-15263-9
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