To be specified published in:Landscapes of Realism: Rethinking literary realism in comparative perspectives. Volume I: Mapping realism
Edited by Dirk Göttsche, Rosa Mucignat and Robert Weninger
[Comparative History of Literatures in European Languages XXXII] 2021
► pp. 387–401
In-between spaces in Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore
Time and space in Japanese realism
In his 2002 novel Kafka on the Shore Haruki Murakami (b. 1949) creates a ma (間, “in-between”) chronotope through which he reconfigures European realist and Japanese fantastic modes of representation to tell a uniquely Japanese story of the struggle to deal with the memories and trauma of World War II, the 1945 atomic bombings and the civic conflict of 1970. Through its alternating storylines and the juxtaposition of three generations of protagonists, Kafka on the Shore brings the European literary traditions of realism and the Kafkaesque into dialogue with the fantastical of the medieval Japanese narrative tradition in which the real world and the spirit world coexisted long before the advent of Latin American magical realism. The examples analyzed in this essay show the ways in which the use of the ma chronotope allows Murakami to create both a multiplicity and mutual contamination of storylines and layers of representation that work to destabilize the ostensible linearity, solidity and sovereignty of realist temporality and spatiality.
Keywords: Haruki Murakami, Japanese realism, The Tale of Genji, World War II in literature, magical realism
- 1.Realism in modern Japanese literature
- 2.Realist, surreal or fantastical: The stories of Kahuka, Nakata and Miss Saeki
- 3.The Kōmura Memorial Library
- 4.The cabin and the forest on the mountain
Published online: 21 April 2021
Arimura, Takahiro, and Hiroshi Yagi
Murakami, Haruki, and Mieko Kawakami
Soja, Edward W.