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The Post-war Literature of Japan and the Korean War: With Focus of The Solitude of the City Square by Hotta Yoshie

  • Journal of Humanities
  • 2015, (57), pp.275-306
  • Publisher : Institute for Humanities
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : April 16, 2015
  • Accepted : May 7, 2015

KIM HYUN HEE 1

1한양대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper is aimed at tracing the history of the post-war literature of Japan in the modern and contemporary period of East Asia and examining the Korean War and the situations during and after the war with much focus on The Solitude of the City Square (1951) by Hotta Yoshie. As the background of the novel, it presents the history of Japan’s invasion of Asia, which was the modern history of not only Japan but also Asian countries including Korea and China. This novel sharply portrays both the international affairs surrounding Japan during the Korean Korea and the situation of the people who were agonizing in society at that time. The word "commit" appears frequently in this novel in relation to two other major concepts: a "city square" symbolizing the state, society, and international relations and "solitude" denoting individuals, families, and human relations. From the perspective of the two concepts, we can understand that there exists a parallel composition between the main character who works at a newspaper office as a temp and the ongoing Korean War as the background. On a closer look, we can understand: 1) the issue of an individual ("I") through the action of the main character working at a newspaper office; 2)the problem of family (wife and children) and state (society); and 3) the stranger and the "post-war"society linked to the aforementioned elements. Therefore, the issue of the Korean War clearly shows the complexity of the post-war society in Japan including Japan’s awareness of Asia and its relations with the United States, which is one of the major themes of Hotta Yoshie’s world of literature. In this respect, this novel poses a deep meaning for not only the Japanese but also the Koreans living in the present times in that it depicted the self-contradiction of the U.S. Forces-occupied Japanese society as well as the criticism of Japan which is taking the reverse course of post-war rearmament. We can understand the value of this novel in that the situation of Japan during and after the Korean War some 70 years ago is depicted in parallel with Japan of today.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.