S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Institute for Japanese Studies(일본연구소) Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies vol.4 no.1(2018)
The Afro-Asian Writers Association and a Reimagining of Japan: Intersection of Imperialism and Nationalism
- Kwak, Hyoungduck
- Issue Date
- Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol.4 No.1, pp. 199-220
- Afro-Asian Writers’ Association; Bandung Conference; nationalism; Cold War system; postwar literature; Ōe Kenzaburō
- This article investigates the relationship between the Afro-Asian Writers Association (AAWA) inaugurated in 1956 and a reimagining of Japan. Existing until the 1990s, the Afro-Asian Writers Association does not easily lend itself to a comprehensive treatment. This article thus focuses on the 1961 AAWA Tokyo Conference, examining how Japan came to participate in the so-called Third World literary movement. In 1960, a year marked by severe international tensions, AAWA representatives resolved to organize a conference in Tokyo for the purpose of demonstrating solidarity in the face of Japans ongoing security struggle. Yet even as Third World nationalism and solidarity emerged, the shadow of the past—imperialism—still lingered over postwar Japan. As the forces of nationalism and (neo)imperialism intersected in Asia and Africa, as well as in Japan, the AAWA Tokyo Conference served to dispel the shadow of imperialism and realize the hopes of Japanese authors endeavoring to establish solidarity with the Third World. However, the conference was also accompanied by criticism of Japans past, and Japan found itself unable to smoothly take its place among the nations of the Third World as the controversy escalated. Questioning the political nature of literature and the responsibility of the author, this controversy served as an opportunity to reflect not only on Japans past, but contemporary Japan and Japanese literature. In this manner, the article considers the significance of Japans participation in the AAWA and its impact on postwar Japanese literature.