A Shaking Voice can Shake it All: Representing Trauma as a Political Act
I focus in this paper on the way fiction produced after the 3.11 disasters has engaged with the daunting task of giving meaning to suffering and outliving a traumatic event. I argue that the present practice is based on an overarching literary convention that combines three main tropes. First, how questions over the responsibility in representing trauma appear reflected in the way characters relate to the traumatic event. Second, the articulation of elements of corruption of the body or mind as unavoidable reminders of the trauma. And third, the construction of victims and survivors as invisibilized and ostracized individuals. I show how post-3.11 literary production both follows and enhances a convention set to blame instituted socio-cultural dynamics for perpetuating the violence of the traumatic episode by failing to address survivors as a social responsibility. This piece will explore these themes in Yū Miri’s Tokyo Ueno Station, Furukawa Hideo’s Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure, and Tawada Yōko’s The Emissary. My ultimate goal is to explore how literary representations of trauma in 3.11 literature challenge hegemonic propositions that shape the cultural memory of the event.