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Women in the Maze

Urban Space in Contemporary Japanese Women’s Writing


Mina Qiao, MA (Munich University Japan Center)

This thesis examines the urban spaces in contemporary Japanese women’s writing by unearthing the shared representations and implications of urban space in crime fictions by three important contemporary female authors, namely Kirino Natsuo, Koike Mariko, and Miyabe Miyuki. The three selected writers grew up in the postwar period, witnessing the activism of the New Left, the 1970s student movements, the postwar economic miracle, and the Japanese economic bubble (1986-1991) followed by the “lost decade” (1991-2000). These events in the postwar period have strongly influenced contemporary cityscape in these narratives. Urban development and female consciousness are two notable trends appearing in their literary works since the 1990s. This thesis builds upon an understanding that Japan’s domestic politics and economics during this period made a profound impression on the experience of urbanites in Japan, and examines how the authors weave their own urban experiences into the narratives. The representations of urban reality and the urban imaginary in these writers’ works form a distinctive stream of narratives, which in turn echoes the pulse of Japanese cities and women’s urban experiences in the late-twentieth century. Issues arising in contemporary urban life become the main elements of these writers’ creativity: sexual freedom, excitement of urban life, loss of identity, estrangement, violence, (sexual) deviance, crime, and globalization.

Thursday, December 11, 2014, 6:30 pm
Room no. 169, Oettingenstr. 67

All that are interested are cordially invited to drop by!