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Prof. Davinder Bhowmik:
“Sight, Sound, and the ‘System of Sacrifice’”

Bhowmik headshot

Date: April 7th

Time: 4:30 p.m.

Location:  Zoom
Meeting ID: 930 8585 3359
Passcode: TokyoUeno

Taking a comparative approach to two works of fiction, ‘Walking a Street Named Peace’ by Medoruma Shun (1986), which is highly visual and Tokyo Ueno Station by Yū Miri (2014), which is rooted in sound, I highlight the parallels between the protagonists as marginalized in terms of class and ethnicity within Japanese society. I drawing on the work of Tetsuya Takahashi to show how Okinawa (the setting of Medoruma’s story) and Fukushima (the home prefecture of Yū’s protagonist) play a part in a ‘system of sacrifice’ that is oriented around the imperial throne in Japan. Bringing in scholarship by John W. Treat and Norma Field around a taboo of impunity and silence in relation to the Emperor, I argue that the pivotal placement of the system at the centre of each of these stories can be seen to point to ongoing silences and inequities arising from unresolved wartime memories.

Last Updated: 11/4/21