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Rewriting ‘Herstory’ of Postwar Memory - The Narrative of a War Bride in Sawako Ariyoshi's Hishoku -

Jiyoung Kim 1

1성균관대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Ariyoshi Sawako(1931~1984) is one of Japan's most prominent and prolific postwar women writers; however, her provocative literary works have yet to be critically examined. This paper undertakes a thorough re-reading of Ariyoshi's novel Hishoku (1964) and explores how her re-writing of history provokes far-reaching insights into how nationalism and gender correlate in representations of postwar American-Japanese relations. Ariyoshi wrote Hishoku after spending one year stay in New York (1959) at the invitation of the Rockefeller Foundation. The novel recounts the story of a war bride, Emiko, who married an African American GI. By presenting this first-person narration of a war bride, a voice that has been historically ignored, Ariyoshi pluralizes and re-writes “History”; in other words, she writes “Herstory.” This paper elucidates how Hishoku offers a counter-narrative to previous representations of the Occupation, thereby calling Japan’s national memory into question. Furthermore, this paper also examines how Hishoku, which was written in response to the Cultural Cold War, reflects on racial discrimination.

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