SOAS University of London

Japan Research Centre

Exploration of New Territory: Itō Hiromi’s Works after American Era

Hideto Tsuboi
Prof Hideto Tsuboi (Nichibunken)

Date: 7 May 2019Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 7 May 2019Time: 6:30 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Seminar


Ito Hiromi has been widely recognized as a leading figure of change in the contemporary Japanese poetry scene. Her two Territory Theory poetry collections are landmarks of 1980s poetry. My paper focuses on the development of her theory of ‘territory and boundary’, as seen in her works written from the 1990s, when she moved to California. As ‘a border-crossing poet’, Ito’s work entered ‘new territory’, as if reflecting her own physical border crossings between Japan and the USA. Her 1993 collection, I Am Anjuhimeko provides the first such example, in which she created a new poetic language of movement and linguistic fragmentation. Ito increasingly experimented with ways of crossing the walls between languages just as her body stepped through the physical boundaries. Since the turn of the century, with the 2005 publication of Wild Grass on the Riverbank, Ito has perfected her use of these linguistic and physical layers in her work. She is now exploring new territory, with an increasing focus on aging and death, particularly how we confront death as part of the narrative of the 21st Century.

Speaker Biography

Professor Hideto Tsuboi (1959-) is a scholar of Japanese literature and culture at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken), Kyoto. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in Japanese Literature from Nagoya University, where he also completed his Ph.D. in Japanese Literature. He has written extensively on the issue of the Other in modern Japanese literature. His publications include Koe no shukusai: Nihon kindaishi to sensō (Feast of Voices: Modern Japanese Poetry and War), University of Nagoya Press, 1997, Kankaku no kindai: koe, shintai, hyōshō (Modernity of the Sensibilities: Voice, Body and Representation), University of Nagoya Press, 2006, and Sei ga kataru: 20 seiki Nihon bungaku no sei to shintai (Sexuality Speaks: Sex/Gender and Body in the Literature in Twentieth-Century Japan), University of Nagoya Press, 2012.


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