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Japan at Nature's EdgeThe Environmental Context of a Global Power$
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Ian Jared Miller, Julia Adeney Thomas, and Brett L. Walker

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836924

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836924.001.0001

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Japanese Literature and Environmental Crises

Japanese Literature and Environmental Crises

Chapter:
(p.207) 11 Japanese Literature and Environmental Crises
Source:
Japan at Nature's Edge
Author(s):

Karen Thornber

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824836924.003.0011

This chapter examines how Japanese literature grapples with environmental pollution by focusing on two texts: Ishimure Michiko's 1969 novel Kugai jōdo: Waga Minamatabyō (Sea of suffering and the Pure Land: Our Minamata disease) and the anthology Genbakushi 181 ninshū, 1945–2007 nen (Atomic bomb poetry: Collection of 181 people, 1945–2007, 2007), edited by Nagatsu Kōzaburō, Suzuki Hisao, and Yamamoto Toshio. Sea of Suffering deals with the Minamata disease and explores some of the paradoxes of negotiating nonhuman suffering amid human anguish, whereas Atomic Bomb Poetry tells the story of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and probes the ambiguity of negotiating nonhuman regeneration amid human suffering. The two works' many references to global human and nonhuman affliction advocate what Ursula Heise has identified as eco-cosmopolitanism, or “environmental world citizenship.” They also depict people as both determined polluters and haplessly polluted, harmed, and even killed by damaged environments.

Keywords:   environmental pollution, Japanese literature, Sea of Suffering, Minamata disease, nonhuman suffering, Atomic Bomb Poetry, atomic bombings, human suffering, eco-cosmopolitanism, environmental world citizenship

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