How is the older female body represented in contemporary Japanese women’s literature? Ageing represents a fundamental turning point in women's life, and, in recent years, it casts its multiple shades on contemporary women's writings. Through the cruel gaze of the watcher, often a man, its signs are impressed on the body, on the soul of the characters, single women whose steps echoes all through the empty architectural space of a city no longer conceived to hold them: anonymous coffee bars, convenience stores one like another, desert sidewalks. Broken identities, wandering across the metropolis, desperately trying to engrave a sign, a mark of their existence. And yet, on the edge of the city, in those liminal spaces in which characters waste their lives, a new female subject comes to life, capable to release herself from the marginalization in which contemporary society has banished her. "Grotesque" (2003) by Kirino Natsuo, is based on a true story of a single woman that carries a double life: during the day she is a business woman in a prestigious consultancy firm, but in the night she works as a prostitute. She will end up killed, strangled at the age of thirty-nine by a young Chinese illegal immigrant, escaped from his rural village and dazzled by the artificial lights of the hyper-modern metropolis of Japan. The city scheme builds spaces that are socially and sexually bounded: in outskirts, in the slums, there is place for misfits, immigrants, women, that is people excluded from the center of the power, be it economic or social. Kazue, the novel's main character, seems to personify the grotesque body, as Bachtin defined it, as “a symbol of biological and social irregular interchange”: unmarried, on the brink of precipice of her fertile age, through the choice of excess she breaks the edges of gender and sexuality. Neither mother, nor wife, but prostitute. In obsessive search of a painful sexuality. Kirino reframes a male stereotype recurrent in representations of female oldness from the image of yamanba to the subsequent revisions of 'erogurunansensu', and tries to overturn it. Purpose of this paper is to analyze the textual strategies that perform this process and to test their outcomes.

Kirino Natsuo, The Grotesque Double Life of a Business Woman

SCROLAVEZZA, PAOLA
2015

Abstract

How is the older female body represented in contemporary Japanese women’s literature? Ageing represents a fundamental turning point in women's life, and, in recent years, it casts its multiple shades on contemporary women's writings. Through the cruel gaze of the watcher, often a man, its signs are impressed on the body, on the soul of the characters, single women whose steps echoes all through the empty architectural space of a city no longer conceived to hold them: anonymous coffee bars, convenience stores one like another, desert sidewalks. Broken identities, wandering across the metropolis, desperately trying to engrave a sign, a mark of their existence. And yet, on the edge of the city, in those liminal spaces in which characters waste their lives, a new female subject comes to life, capable to release herself from the marginalization in which contemporary society has banished her. "Grotesque" (2003) by Kirino Natsuo, is based on a true story of a single woman that carries a double life: during the day she is a business woman in a prestigious consultancy firm, but in the night she works as a prostitute. She will end up killed, strangled at the age of thirty-nine by a young Chinese illegal immigrant, escaped from his rural village and dazzled by the artificial lights of the hyper-modern metropolis of Japan. The city scheme builds spaces that are socially and sexually bounded: in outskirts, in the slums, there is place for misfits, immigrants, women, that is people excluded from the center of the power, be it economic or social. Kazue, the novel's main character, seems to personify the grotesque body, as Bachtin defined it, as “a symbol of biological and social irregular interchange”: unmarried, on the brink of precipice of her fertile age, through the choice of excess she breaks the edges of gender and sexuality. Neither mother, nor wife, but prostitute. In obsessive search of a painful sexuality. Kirino reframes a male stereotype recurrent in representations of female oldness from the image of yamanba to the subsequent revisions of 'erogurunansensu', and tries to overturn it. Purpose of this paper is to analyze the textual strategies that perform this process and to test their outcomes.
The Poetics of Ageing: Confronting, Resisting, and Transcending Mortality in the Japanese Narrative Arts
166
176
Scrolavezza, Paola
File in questo prodotto:
Eventuali allegati, non sono esposti

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/554630
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact