This book discusses how the "island" geopolitical imagery in the works by contemporary Japanese fiction and non-fiction writers shapes a critical understanding of Japan on multiple intersections of trauma and sovereignty. By analyzing texts by Imafuku Ryuta, Ukai Satoshi, Oba Minako, Ariyoshi Sawako, Hino Keizo, Ikezawa Natsuki, Shimada Masahiko and Tawada Yoko, the book attempts an engagement with the vocabulary of postcolonial critique, while attending to the complexities of its translation into Japanese.
The notion of sovereignty emerges as a loose organizing pattern holding together the islands (marginal, artificial, metaphorical) in their separate-ness. But this notion only yields its poetic power by the way it intersects with and overwrites another kind of historical, political and cultural abstraction: the wound. The wound of war, the wound of separation, the wound of departure, the wound of rupture, the wound of continuity, the trans-generational wound, the stigma of birth - the timbre of these formulations, while always receding in the distance, resonates in the texts of these "distant" Japanese novels. The vulnerable intimacy of proximity and its reversals into separation in the trajectories of these novels' narrators produces a variety of spatio-temporal relational modes in which the inter-insular tension manifests itself in motifs related to destructive reproductive sexuality, haunting, splitting, economic gaps, and eruptions of "primitive" elements.