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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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日本近代史のrabbit hole

 
図書館に置いてあったのでAsako Serizawaさんが書いたInheritorsという短編集を読み始めました。ある日本人一家の3世代のあらましを第二次世界大戦前後の体験を中心に描いています。NPRでインタビューがありました。

July 14, 20205:04 AM ET Heard on Morning Edition

Seventy five years ago this summer, the United States brought an end to the Second World War. An American battleship anchored in Tokyo Bay in 1945 - Japanese officials and top hats came aboard and formally surrendered to General Douglas MacArthur, who gave a speech.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DOUGLAS MACARTHUR: It is my earnest hope and, indeed, the hope of all mankind, that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past.

折に触れて書いていることですが、日本だと8月15日が第二次世界大戦の終結のイメージですが、アメリカ側からするとあくまで降伏文書に調印した9月2日のようですね。このマッカーサーの言葉は有名なのか以下の動画でも登場しています。



(ウィズダム)
V-J Day 〖Victory over Japan Day〗
(第2次大戦の)対日戦勝記念日〘1945年8月15日または降伏文書調印日の1945年9月2日(公式)〙.

さてrabbit holeつながりですが、語られない戦争体験、戦後体験を書こうとした作者は色々リサーチしたそうです。そこで、And it's kind of like a rabbit hole; you go to research something, and then you find something else.と調べれば調べるほどどんどん奥行きを見せる様子でrabbit holeが使われていました。

INSKEEP: You said your parents remember the U.S. occupation of Japan in the late 1940s.
SERIZAWA: I don't know because they won't talk about it, you know? I have never actually heard them mention anything. I mean, indirectly, yes. You know, my father talks about having to go steal watermelons because they were - you know, people were hungry or whatever. But beyond these kinds of - there are really so few anecdotes. But yeah, I mean, I never hear about this time. I do know that - you know, my mother has talked about her father hiding, you know, a library of Marx and Engels, you know, during the occupation and reading them, you know, secretly. But, like - you know, so there are these kinds of details, but she - they've never spoken about the occupation.

INSKEEP: How did you go about trying to imagine these things that were going unsaid?
SERIZAWA: It was a lot of research. This book took a long, long time - over a dozen years. And it's kind of like a rabbit hole; you go to research something, and then you find something else. But it was really a lot of digging. And seeing how, you know, this period is represented, culturally, by other writers or filmmakers or artists and then looking at academic books that might talk about it because they have another way of looking at these things and, you know, then history books - I mean, on and on, I mean, it required a lot of research. And that helped, you know, imagine - because then you have to - as a writer, you have to imagine the human aspects, I think.

タイトルのInheritorsは「引き継ぐ人」という意味ですが、では何を引き継いでいるのか。彼女自身のエッセイでもthe Inheritance of Traumaだと語りフィリピン系アメリカ人だった彼氏の母親の家族の歴史のトラウマを書いていました。

Asako Serizawa on the Inheritance of Trauma
By Asako Serizawa  July 16, 2020

A man I dated for some years in my twenties was half white American, half Filipino on his mother’s side. A charismatic woman whose elegance spoke of her years as a dancer, his mother was central to his life, her love for him radiant and leonine, protective in a way that made him shine.

I met her only once, two years into the relationship, though her son and I had been serious enough to imagine having a child together for some time. Part of it was logistical: she and her husband, pioneering lovers in their family mythology, lived in the Philippines, and the two times they’d flown in, I’d already left for Japan for the summer. Bad timing, we said. But there was something else. Early in the relationship, she’d had her son explain to me that she was from a family who owned a sugar plantation in the Philippines, and during the Second World War, when Japan invaded the island, then an American colony, the Japanese soldiers had made a spectacle of beheading every male in every influential family, including hers.

“You can’t control where you were born. She knows that. It’s not your fault.”

“I know that,” I remember saying, but of course I wondered. What was my exact relationship to my country, to this history, to this person I’d been planning to spend my life with, and to the trauma of the people nearest to him?

“What?”

“Nothing.” But for once this man who had always seemed beautifully alchemized and whole looked embattled, his body evidence of not the triumph of love over history but the inescapability of history, one colonizer replaced by another, then another, the layers finally consummated romantically but marked by a fierce maternal will to protect her male child.

短編の一つを同じウエブサイトで読むことができます。重いテーマではありますが、小説だからこそ探求できるものでもあります。

May 19, 2016  By Asako Serizawa

どうしてあえてこのような語りずらい話題にあえて向き合わないといけないのか。NPRのレビューではパンデミックで社会のあり方を根本から見直す時期だからこそではないかと書いています。

July 14, 20207:00 AM ET MARCELA DAVISON AVILES
But the pandemic and upheavals in our civic culture forced a pivot. Now, we're reckoning on fundamentals — on happiness, on good and evil. Now, ordinary citizens drive the conversations about solutions for the common good, in social media, through street activism, citizen journalism and grass roots litigation. This emerging civic culture is demanding access to solve tough questions: shall we re-boot the American idea? What are national boundaries for? Does American society need something else besides consensus government? What might that something else look like?

The Inheritors provides a stark scenario as one answer. These stories follow the impact of exclusion, of cultural and biological manipulation, of men turning away from humanity, of women turning to a desperate agency of sex work, of children creating agency from despair, told through a familial kaleidoscope of perspectives and voices. But Serizawa's brave storytelling gives us more than an epic arc. She creates a narrative that is in and of itself a multidimensional space. As well, it's an homage to the surreal artistry of writers like Jorge Luis Borges — whose voice she manages to honor with a story which is not an echo but her own capacious, original illumination.
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