skip to Main Content

New Voices

Volume 2
Published December, 2008
ISSN 2204-194X
© The Japan Foundation, Sydney, 2008

See Abstract

This article analyses five recent Japanese short stories written by women, with female first person narrators, and the English translations of these stories. I examine how the writers interact with the culturally loaded concept of gendered language to develop characters and themes. The strategies used by translators to render gendered styles into English are also discussed: case-by-case creative solutions appear most effective.

‘Feminine’ and other gendered styles are used to index social identity, to highlight the difference between the social and inner self, and different styles are mixed together for impact. Gendered styles, therefore, are of central importance and translators wishing to adhere closely to the source text should pay close attention to them.

All the narrators of the stories demonstrate an understanding of ‘social sanction and taboo’. Two accustom themselves to a socially acceptable future, another displays an uneasy attitude to language and convention, while others fall into stereotypes imposed on them or chastise themselves for inappropriate behaviour. The stories illustrate the way in which gendered language styles in Japanese can be manipulated, as both the writers and the characters they create deliberately use different styles for effect.

See Abstract

The process of cultural globalisation does not always imply cultural homogenisation. Rather, it can be seen as a process of cultural ‘glocalisation’ and hybridisation where cultures continuously interact with and interpret each other to engender a hybrid cultural form. As Arjun Appadurai (1993) contends, neither centrality nor peripherality of culture exists in the context of cultural globalisation. Rather, transnational cultural forms are likely to circulate in multiple directions.

This is particularly evident when examining Gothic & Lolita – a Japanese fashion trend which has emerged since the late 1990s. Applying Jan Nederveen Pieterse’s theory of ‘globalisation as hybridisation’ (2004), and Roland Robertson’s concept of ‘glocalisation’ (1995), this article attempts to explore how this fashion trend manifests the process of cultural ‘glocalisation’, hybridisation, and interaction through the localisation of Western Goth subculture and especially, historical European dress styles in Japan. In addition, it explores how the fashion signifies the idea of ‘reverse’ flow of culture through an ethnographic observation of an English-speaking online community devoted to the trend. The analysis of the online community also seeks to establish the idea that this transnational cultural flow serves as an alternative to the local culture.

See Abstract

The objective of this article is to investigate general contemporary Australian perceptions of the Japanese. I will do this by exploring how Australian contemporary literature (2006- 2007) and Australian contemporary film (1997-2007) depicts Japanese characters. By analysing the representation of the Japanese characters in these areas I will attempt to gather a broad understanding of how Australians represent, perceive and identify the Japanese today.

See Abstract

Between the Meiji period (1868-1912) and the end of the Pacific War in 1945, the Japanese state systematically created and propagated a nationalistic ideology in order to foster a coherent, unified identity among the newly nationalised population and mobilise support for its agenda. This ideology was represented by a series of discursive symbols, of which I examine the particular image of the samurai. Through the deliberate glorification and imbuement of this image with certain moral and behavioural values including the ideals of loyalty, obedience and self-sacrifice, the state elite deployed the samurai symbol to promote its ideology. This symbol was widely disseminated via official indoctrination efforts, but as I will demonstrate, this did not necessarily translate into a profound impact on the popular mindset. Drawing on a range of sources, I investigate the construction, projection and significance of the samurai image in the particular context of pre-war and wartime Japan, and in so doing shed some light on the function of symbols as tools of ideology.

See Abstract

Prevailing notions of samurai loyalty remain largely unopposed by Western scholarly literature. This should not be so. Minor efforts in recent scholarship have plainly shown that the stereotypical notion of samurai loyalty is fallacious. However, despite these assertions the myth remains a powerful and popular misconception. Clearly a greater scholarly undertaking is required. Through an in-depth historical analysis of samurai disloyalty, a more realistic conception of samurai behaviour may be achieved.

This article seeks to provide a foundation for further research, arguing that disloyalty was favoured among samurai to further their personal ambitions or interests. Disloyalty between medieval samurai was not always considered morally deplorable, nor was it considered divergent to ‘normal’ samurai behaviour. Moreover, it is erroneous to argue that the majority of samurai were ‘loyal,’ when in fact many were often being coerced or manipulated by those in power. Logic suggests that loyalty must be voluntary, thus the use of coercion undermines assertions of samurai loyalty.

Further scholarship should not merely seek to establish the frequency of samurai disloyalty, nor should it condemn such occurrences. It must endeavour to understand how and why disloyalty occurred.

See Abstract

Within the complex process of historical production, silence is created, imposed and fostered. Encountering the existence of a cast of hitherto silent actors within history, therefore, is wholly unsurprising. This article draws focus to a cohort of Japanese women who have been excluded from conventional interpretations. Indeed, the experiences of the Kure women who bore children fathered by Australian servicemen during the occupation have been consistently marginalised to the periphery of existing scholarship on this period.

By applying a gendered perspective to the analysis of a selection of previously unexamined newspaper articles, this article will demonstrate that a meaningful history can be written for those excluded from primary or secondary discourse. This article will show that these women do possess a historically significant past through revealing that they were active participants in the post-war period who influenced the conduct of the military operation. Most importantly, this article will confront some of the imposed barriers of silence through analysing certain aspects of the women’s experiences within limited available material. This examination will illuminate prevalent local attitudes towards women involved in relationships with foreign servicemen and the predominance of the socially and culturally derived construct of the feminine role.

See Abstract

The aim of this article is to understand who the Ianfu are via a social-historical and socio-cultural study. I set out to contextualise the reality of the women’s lives as Ianfu and as surviving Ianfu through the inclusion of recollections of former Korean Ianfu and official histories. Who are the Ianfu, what did they do, where did they go, why were they created, and what happened to them? These are the questions that I sought to answer in order to frame the Ianfu experience through a retelling of their past. Furthermore, there are several reasons why Korean women came to comprise the majority of Ianfu which I endeavour to explain in this article.

See Abstract

This article aims to explain why both the left wing extremist group Sekigun (Red Army) and the new religious sect Aum Shinrikyo (The Supreme Truth of Aum) adopted violent and deadly forms of disciplinary power in their pursuit of an idealistic society.

The approach in this article differs from the existing literature in that it is mainly concerned with why both groups failed to provide a more preferable alternative to the existing state structure and finally internalised their violence, torturing their own members.

Foucaultian theory will be utilised in order to analyse the role that hierarchy and hierarchical surveillance played inre-enforcing the harsh discipline and training methods used by both groups. In this approach this article will show that despite the efforts of both Sekigun and Aum Shinrikyo to create the antithesis to everything they rejected within Japanese society they each paradoxically reproduced and magnified within their own social organisations the least desirable societal traits of elitism, exclusivity and conformity using the most extreme disciplinary measures to do so.

See Abstract

The Japanese pacifist constitution has been a symbol of Japan’s commitment to peace and more importantly its renunciation of wartime militarism. There has been strong support for its continuing existence amongst the Japanese populace despite persistent attempts by the Japanese government to amend it. However, the prevalent pacifist sentiment is showing signs of fading vitality in recent times.

This article purports to examine the underlying forces that contributed to the development and the decline of Japanese pacifism. A host of domestic and international factors were responsible for the growth of pacifism and its subsequent decline, but only three important domestic factors will be examined in detail: the concept of victimhood in the development of pacifism and its implication for its continuing strength, the importance of peace education and the role played by the influential Japan’s Teachers’ Union on the formation of pacifist conscience and finally, the influence of leftist organisations on the organised peace movement.

See Abstract

The Japanese Government recognised the cultural importance of their minority Ainu population in 1997. They designed a law to help protect the dying culture of the people; however the government has been less forthcoming to acknowledge indigenous aspects of the Ainu. Ten years after the creation of this law, the United Nations brought forward the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a declaration to strengthen not only cultural rights, but also land and self-determination rights. Japan voted in favour of this declaration even though Japanese representatives have made mostly negative comments on the declaration.

This article explores the significance of indigenous rights in Japan and how the Japanese Government uses the guise of upholding individual rights to ignore indigenous rights in Japan.

See Abstract

This study investigates L1 influence on Japanese and Chinese native speakers’ use of English simple present and simple past tense. A comparative analysis of English simple present and simple past tense and corresponding forms in Japanese and Chinese was conducted through literature review enabling the identification and analysis of L1 influences in Japanese-English and Chinese-English Interlangauges (JIL and CIL).

Samples of JIL and CIL were obtained through guided conversation with four Japanese native speakers and four Chinese native speakers. Tendencies in the use of simple present tense and simple past tense forms produced in the JIL and CIL samples were identified, and through comparison of Interlanguage tendencies to L1 forms, the nature of L1 influence was analysed. It was found that most of the identified tendencies shared features of the speakers’ L1 forms. These findings supported the hypothesis that tense and aspect forms produced in JIL and CIL are characterised by features of the speakers’ respective L1 forms. Due to limitations on the extent of this study more extensive research is required to confirm these findings.

Back To Top