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Reading Food in Modern Japanese Literature$
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Tomoko Aoyama

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832858

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832858.001.0001

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Cannibalism in Modern Japanese Literature

Cannibalism in Modern Japanese Literature

(p.94) Chapter Four Cannibalism in Modern Japanese Literature
Reading Food in Modern Japanese Literature

Tomoko Aoyama

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the theme of cannibalism in serious and popular novels. The texts discussed include a variety of genres, and the representations of anthropophagy within them vary widely: cannibalism appears in most of the categories into which anthropology classifies it—ritual, mortuary, institutional, and pathological, both the “aggressive” and the “affectionate” varieties. Its representation in some of the texts is to be taken literally, in others metaphorically—as, for example, a feminist rebellion against social or sexual victimization. In other texts it is simply a satirical device for attacking bourgeois smugness and hypocrisy, together with bourgeois literary conventions. What is noticeable, however, and possibly more interesting, is that all of these texts that have cannibalism as a theme involve, in one way or another, a notion of “displacement.”

Keywords:   cannibalism, Japanese literature, anthropophagy, displacement, feminist rebellion, satire, bourgeois hypocrisy, literary conventions

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