To view this PAPER PRESENTATION, search for the session title in the Browse by Titlelisting. (See the session title located immediately below ["In Session:"])
In Session: 'Infrastructures' of Memory in Literature, Performance and Museums: Narrating Violence in Modern Japan and Taiwan
1: War Memory as Gendered Space: Hayashi Fumiko's Front and Northern Shore Corps
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
12:00pm – 1:30pm EDT
University of California, Santa Barbara, United States
Front and Northern Shore Corps are two best-sellers of war reportage during the Second Sino-Japanese War, in which Hayashi Fumiko recorded her war experience as she accompanied the Japanese army invading Hankou in 1938. She kept notes on the battlefield and published them as books upon her return to Japan, which were broadly circulated for propagandist purposes. Through writing, her personal memories were transformed into a collective memory and were disseminated among the Japanese community. My paper addresses questions of memory, writing, and war propaganda by focusing on the peculiar space Hayashi occupies on the battlefield. The battlefield is usually seen as a masculine space where bodies are directed towards combat, and the everyday necessities as a human being—eating, bathing, excretion, etc.—are neglected as secondary. Hayashi, as the only female writer, occupies an in-between space, and thereby illuminates the distinct ways in which bodies are mobilized and disciplined on the battlefield. As a woman, she never joined the combat, but she heard the gunfire; she never killed, but she witnessed killing and the bloodshed battlefield full of corpses. On this militant site, she created a humane and intimate space with Japanese soldiers, journalists, and even Chinese people working for the Japanese army. Her presence on the battlefield and her recollection of the experience in her writing interrupt the nationalistic and masculine discourse of war as well as the mainstream ideology surrounding the positionality of females within the physical war zone and the literary space of war literature.