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Gender, Sexuality and Generation in Ariyoshi Sawako's Ki no Kawa


Hartley, BT, Gender, Sexuality and Generation in Ariyoshi Sawako's Ki no Kawa, ASAA Knowing Asia: Asian Studies in an Asian Century, July 2012, Sydney, pp. 123. (2012) [Conference Extract]


Ariyoshi Sawako was a prolific writer in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s. Aging is a pervasive theme in Ariyoshi‘s corpus, with her first published narrative depicting the fraught relationship between a daughter and her elderly master samisen-player father. Ariyoshi was, furthermore, the author of Kôkotsu no hito (1972, The Twilight Years), the blockbuster account of a woman caring for a father-in-law stricken with dementia. This work forced post-war readers to confront aging as a function of the Japanese economic miracle. This presentation examines issues of gender and sexuality in Ariyoshi‘s first long novel, Ki no kawa (1959, The River Ki). Narrating the lives of three generations of women from Wakayama, Ki no kawa closely examines the relationships between grandmothers, mothers, daughters and granddaughters. Although received by the male-dominated literary community of the time as populist and lightweight, the novel, in fact, provides a complex and non-essentialist account of the diverse lives of aging women in modern Japan. Particular attention will be given to the multiplicity of Ariyoshi‘s representations of women of age in the novel and the manner in which, although strongly aware of the restrictions placed upon them, they quietly subvert hegemonic norms as opportunities arise.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Cultural studies
Research Field:Asian cultural studies
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture
UTAS Author:Hartley, BT (Dr Barbara Hartley)
ID Code:78679
Year Published:2012
Deposited By:Asian Languages and Studies
Deposited On:2012-07-17
Last Modified:2012-07-17

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