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Multiple Voices in Heisei Literature (formerly Literature in Japanese, 1989-2019)

literature in Japanese.png

Lead Investigator: Angela Yiu (03-3238-4030, a-yiu[at]



FLA faculty

  • Shion Kono (s-kono[at]

  • Matthew Strecher (m-strecher[at]

  • Mathew Thompson (masurao[at]

Faculty of Global Studies

  • Munia Hweidi, PD (zemonia[at]

GPGS PhD candidate

  • Valentina Giammaria, ABD (valegiammaria[at]

  • Outside Sophia participants

  • Andre Haag, University of Hawaii

  • Barbara Thornbury, Temple University, USA

  • Daryl Maude, UC Berkeley

  • Daniel O’Neill, UC Berkeley

  • Dennis Washburn, Dartmouth College

  • Doug Slaymaker, University of Kentucky

  • Justyna Kasza, Seinan Gakuin University

  • Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt, Nagoya University 

  • Kyoko Kurita, Pomona College

  • Maria Roemer, Newcastle University

  • Stephen Snyder, Middlebury College


Goals and Purposes of Research Unit

This is a book project that aims at producing an anthology of critical essays on Japanese Literature, 1989-2019, to be published by Sophia University Press in late 2023. The title will be Multiple Voices in Heisei Literature: An Anthology of Critical Essays. It will serve as a handbook for scholars, students, and non-specialists interested in the noteworthy literature and significant changes in Japanese language and writing in the past thirty years, organized by research and teaching modules.



Language and translation: This module explores the language of translation, linguistic experiments, the translation of the past in contemporary Japanese literature; cross-border writing, the blurring of fiction and non-fiction, plurilingual writing, narrative experiments and storytelling, and the development of post-colonial Nihongo bungagku (Japanese-language literature).


The Past in the Present

- Kurita, Kyoko (Pomona College) “Dissolution of the Novel: Asabuki Mariko’s Ryūseki (Tracing the Flow)”

- Thompson, Mathew (Sophia University) “Making Love to the Past in Takagi Nobuko’s Narihira”

Translation and Plurilingual literature

- Kono, Shion (Sophia University) “Becoming a Writer in Japanese: Japanese Literature in Plurilingual Contexts and the Case of Mizumura Minae’s An I-Novel” 

- Snyder, Steve (Middlebury College) “Translation Ogawa Yōko: Aesthetics meet the Market”


- Strecher, Matthew (Sophia University) “Murakami Haruki: The Power of the Story”

- Washburn, Dennis (Dartmouth College) “Tsushima Yūko’s Laughing Wolf as Confabulatory History”



This rubric explores utopias, dystopias, and heterotopias; nature poetry; urban space; peripheral realisms, representation of aesthetics; etc. Suggested topics include:

-Modes of living and thinking in KonMari’s (Kondō Marie) books of “life-changing” tidying up

-A woman’s heterotopia: Oyamada Hiroko’s world of fantastical flowers and faunas

-Tohoku poetry and fiction

-Representations of a hidden Tokyo



- Iwata-Weickgenannt, Kristina (Nagoya University) “Beyond the Now and Then: Crafting Memory in Yū Miri’s Literature”

- Giammaria, Valentina (Sophia University) “Tokyo Hidden Spaces: Murakami Ryū’s and his Representation of Kabukichō in In the Miso Soup”

- Kasza, Justyna (Seinan Gakuin University) “Spacing the Memory: Existential Quest in Shiraishi’s Fiction”

- Haag, Andre (University of Hawaii) “Writing Back at Hate: Zainichi Fiction Between Korea-phobia, Korea-philia and Anti-Racism”



This module explores the new configuration of family through the discovery and re-definition of individual identity, gender, and body. The essays in this rubric examine subjection and the critique of violence; gender; girl culture; queer literature; aging; etc.

- Thornbury, Barbara (Temple University) “Gender, Aging, and Family in Kore’eda Hirokazu’s Kiki Kirin Films”

- Yiu, Angela (Sophia University) “Awakening the Wild Things in Oyamada Hiroko’s Stories of Women”

- Maude, Daryl (UC Berkeley) “Learning Queerness: Pedagogy and Normativity in Tagame Gengorō's Otōto no otto”

- Roemer, Maria (Newcastle University) “Queering Heisei Patriarchy:  Homosocial Narrative in Abe Kazushige’s ‘Massacre’”



image from Pexels by Abby Chung

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