Publication date:19 November 2015
Length of book:214 pages
This collection of ecocritical essays is focused on the work of Japan’s foremost writer on environment and culture, Ishimure Michiko. Ishimure is known for her pioneering trilogy that exposed the Minamata Disease incident and the nature of modern industrial pollution. She is also regarded by many critics as Japan’s most original and important literary writer. Ishimure has written over 50 volumes in a wide range of genres, including novels, Noh drama, poetry, children’s stories, essays, and mixed-genre writing. This collection brings together the work of scholars from Japan, the U.S., and Canada who are authorities on Ishimure’s writing. Contributors discuss Ishimure’s writing in the context of the latest issues in ecocritical theory, arguing for an expanded, more-than-Western understanding of literature, theory, and environmental responsibility. It will help to relate various environmental, cultural, and ecocritical issues, ranging from the events at Minamata to those at Fukushima, and consider how they point to future developments.
I was in the room when Ishimure Michiko magically read her work, for the first time, to an international audience at the ASLE-US and ASLE-J symposium in Hawai‘i in the summer of 1996—and I also watched Ishimure-san as she smiled at a panel of young Japanese scholars who presented short papers about her work at the same conference. This extraordinary collection of scholarly articles and literary translations, published nearly twenty years after the 1996 symposium, offers a fitting tribute to the multidimensionality of Ishimure’s literary work and to the growing sophistication of ecocriticism. I enjoyed this book tremendously and learned a lot from it.