© 2018

Mother-Tongue in Modern Japanese Literature and Criticism

Toward a New Polylingual Poetics


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Takayuki Yokota-Murakami
    Pages 79-99
  3. Takayuki Yokota-Murakami
    Pages 101-114
  4. Takayuki Yokota-Murakami
    Pages 115-136
  5. Takayuki Yokota-Murakami
    Pages 137-160
  6. Takayuki Yokota-Murakami
    Pages 161-167
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 169-183

About this book


This book examines how early research on literary activities outside national literatures such as émigré literature or diasporic literature conceived of the loss of ‘mother-tongue” as a tragedy, and how it perpetuated the ideology of national language by relying on the dichotomy of native language/foreign language. It transcends these limitations by examining modern Japanese literature and literary criticism through modern philology, the vernacularization movement, and Korean-Japanese literature. Through the insights of recent philosophical/linguistic theories, it reveals the political problems of the notion of “mother-tongue” in literary and linguistic theories and proposes strategies to realize genuinely “exophonic” and “translational” literature beyond the confines of nation. Examining the notion of “mother-tongue” in literature and literary criticism, the author deconstructs the concept and language itself as an apparatus of nation-state in order to imagine alternative literature, genuinely creolized and heterogeneous. Offering a comparative, transnational perspective on the significance of the mother tongue in contemporary literatures, this is a key read for students of modern Japanese literature, language and culture, as well as those interested in theories of translation and bilingualism.


Japanese Literature and Mother-tongue Modern Japanese Literature Gembun-icchi and Vernacularization Korean Japanese Literature Diasporic and Emigre Japanese Literature Globalisation and Literature in Asia Ethnic Literature and the Mother Tongue

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Osaka UniversityToyonakaJapan

About the authors

Takayuki Yokota-Murakami (PhD, Princeton) is Associate professor in Comparative Literature at Osaka University, Japan. His publications incldue Don Juan East/West: On the Problematics of Comparative Literature (1998) and the award-winning Iro-otoko no kenkyu (2007). He is also the co-editor of the volume Policing Literary Theory (2017).

Bibliographic information