Organized Panel Session
For Zenkyoto novelist Kiriyama Kasane (1949-1992), Japan’s experience of 1968 was an abiding concern. But Kiriyama’s writing is not limited to the era of student movements (1960-70s), or to the Cold War structure in East Asia that shaped the period’s geopolitics. Rather, Kiriyama extended his historical horizon to the Meiji Restoration in grappling with how Japan confronted modernity and with the intricate process of national formation. This article thus relocates Kiriyama Kasane as an activist working to rethink Japan’s modernity through his novels.
Focusing first on Kiriyama’s travels throughout Okinawa and South Korea in the late 1960s, the article analyzes how the East Asian historical horizon shaped his journey, as well as how it was represented in his Wind Chronicles (1985) and Sacred Night Sacred Cave (1986). Rooted in this analysis, the paper then explores the significance of the roles played in the novels by Yanagita Kunio, Minakata Kumaguu, and Jahana Noboru in certain historical events: the Shrine Merger Order and the annexation of Ryukyu, depicted as spatial-temporal clusters. Last, the paper adopts Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of chronotope in considering how Kiriyama's multi-genre writings may offer a means to break through the literary boundary produced by Japan's modernization.