Reimagining the Wartime Past: Nakajima Kyōko’s The Little House (2008–10)

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Michiko Suzuki


Contemporary women writers around the world are finding different ways to engage with the past, to reframe history and canonical texts in which they have been ignored or marginalized. In Japan too, women are producing compelling works that pay particular attention to voices and stories that have been overlooked or suppressed in the broader framework of a “normative” modern Japan.

 In this paper, I focus on the critically acclaimed, bestselling author Nakajima Kyōko, who challenges established ideas and stories by writing through the lens of the Other, and engaging in a playful, yet powerful use of intertextuality. I particularly focus on Chiisana ouchi (The Little House, 2008 – 10), which rejects simple notions of familial ties and heterosexual romance in the context of the wartime past. Through multiple narrators, minority representation and unexpected use of literary figures and texts, Nakajima’s work questions the stability of accepted Japanese history and literature. 

Published: Nov 14, 2022

Article Details

Narrative, Nation, and World: Contemporary Women’s Writing from Japan