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Gender, race, and nation in modern Japanese and Taiwanese literatures : a comparative study of women’s… Chen, Mei-Yao 2005

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GENDER, RACE, AND NATION IN MODERN JAPANESE AND TAIWANESE LITERATURES A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF WOMEN'S LITERARY PRODUCTION by MEI-YAO CHEN B.A., Chinese Culture University, Taiwan, 1993 M.A., Soochow University, Taiwan, 1996 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (ASIAN STUDIES) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July 2005 © Mei-Yao Chen, 2005 Abstract This dissertation examines and compares representations of female subjectivity in selected literary texts by women writers from modern Japan and Taiwan. Particular attention is paid to narrative constructions of gender, race, and nation as these configure subjectivity. The use of a comparative framework of analysis provides a more nuanced understanding both of the specific authors addressed and the gendered nature of modern literary production in these two countries that share such a complex colonial and postcolonial history. The dissertation begins by situating the literary works addressed in the socio-historical context from which they emerged. The analysis of the literary works incorporates critical concepts and insights by postcolonial theorists such as Gayatri Spivak, and Trinh T. Minh-Ha, as well as feminist and gender theorists such as Helene Cixous and Luce Irigaray. The five critically-acclaimed women writers under discussion are Kanai Mieko, Enchi Fumiko, and Oba Minako from Japan, and L i Ang, and Zhu Tianxin from Taiwan. In each chapter one writer from Japan is paired with one from Taiwan according to the thematic similarities of their works. Themes that I have chosen for comparison include the female body, feminine sexuality, man-slaughtering, women's language, and geographic/temporal displacement. These themes appear frequently and conspicuously in the fiction of the most important female writers of postwar Japan and Taiwan, and as such provide valuable points of entry for the critical exploration of identity issues of gender, race, and nation. ii Apart from similarities of theme, structure, and writing strategy, this comparative study also explores the differences between Japanese and Taiwanese women's writing in the modern period. As Taiwan's complicated colonial history differentiates its postcoloniality from that of Japan, national identity often emerges as a crucial issue in Taiwanese women's writing; this is less often the case in the work of Japanese women writers. My elucidation and discussion of these differences counters the Orientalist tendency to treat all non-Western countries as a homogenous block, on the erroneous assumption that there is one fundamental experience of coloniality that all colonized nations share. By examining the residual influences of colonialism in postcolonial Japan and Taiwan, this dissertation contributes to the critical exploration/interrogation of the features of both extra-Asian and intra-Asian colonialisms in general, and their effects on gendered literary production in particular. i n Table of Contents page Abstract i i Table of Contents iv Acknowledgements vii Stylistic Notes ix Introduction 1 Objectives 1 Historical Background 2 Situating a Comparative Study 9 Method and Scope 13 Outline of Chapters 14 Chapter One: Brief Surveys of Modern Japanese and Taiwanese Literatures 20 Modern Subjectivity in Prewar Japan 21 Fiction in the Occupation Period 27 The Intellectual Climate of Post-Occupation 32 The Flowering of Women's Writing from the 1950s to 1970s 35 The Origins of Modern Taiwanese Literature 41 Nostalgic Anti-Communist Literature 47 Modernist Literary Movement 50 The Nativist Literary Debate 54 The Pluralism of the Eighties and Beyond 59 Conclusion 63 iv Chapter Two: Killing Patriarchy: Kanai Mieko and Li Ang's Man-Slaughtering 73 Kanai Mieko: Biographical Background 74 Gender Theory 76 "Rotting Meat" 82 Reversing the Power Paradigms 88 L i Ang: Biographical Background 93 The Symbolic Order 99 The Butcher's Wife 101 Man-slaughtering as Resistance and Revolution 108 Rebellion and Subversion: Kanai Mieko versus L i Ang. 117 Chapter Three: Writing Her-story: Enchi Fumiko's Masks and Li Ang's Labyrinthine Garden 126 Enchi Fumiko: Biographical Background 127 Writing with the Body 133 Masks 138 Masked Performance, Multi-layered Subjectivity 148 Li Ang in Transformation 156 Historical Memory and Identity Construction in Postcolonial Discourse 159 Labyrinthine Garden 164 Enigmatic Maze of Labyrinthine Identity 174 Writing Her-story: Enchi Fumiko versus L i Ang 184 Chapter Four: Displaced Subjectivities: Oba Minako's "The Repairman's Wife" and Zhu Tianxin's "Ancient Capital" 195 Oba Minako: Biographical Background 196 Displaced Subjectivity 201 "The Repairman's Wife" 203 Displacement in the Multicultural Space 209 Zhu Tianxin: Biographical Background 220 Transforming Identity in Post-Martial Law Taiwan 224 "Ancient Capital" 228 Resolving Hybridized Identity in the Postcolonial "Ancient Capital" 236 Oba Minako versus Zhu Tianxin 248 Conclusion 260 Bibliography 273 VI Acknowledgements I wish to express my unbounded gratitude to the following people for their constant mental and intellectual support in helping me complete this dissertation. I am most grateful to my advisor Professor Sharalyn Orbaugh who has inspired and encouraged me to conduct a literary comparative study between modern Japanese and Taiwanese literatures. With exceptional intellectual perspicacity and thoughtful practical guidance, Sharalyn not only taught me how to write good research proposals in order to obtain academic grants, but also showed me what dedicated scholarship is all about. She read my dissertation repeatedly and patiently at all stages, corrected my errors, and provided me her insightful and sound advice. In this particular regard, I've always considered myself extremely fortunate. I am also indebted to members of my dissertation supervisory committee. Professor Tineke Hellwig was always generous to share her time and knowledge, and provide me her invaluable comments. I have benefited tremendously from the directed reading class on feminism with her. Professor Joshua Mostow who always wrote me excellent reference letters was liberally supportive of my research project. His insightful comments directed my attention to crucial points that I missed. I am deeply grateful to my friend Miseli Jeon, whose own comparative research between Japanese and Korean literatures set a good example for me in spirit and in substance. I have benefited from many a stimulating conversation with her. M y thanks also go to Jasmina Miodragovic and Mina Wong in Asian Studies for their practical help and for always being there. vii My research for this dissertation was funded by the doctoral fellowships from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2001-2003), and Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation (2003-2004). With their generous and substantial funding, I was able to concentrate on my dissertation writing. I thank my parents for their wholehearted support and endless patience in waiting for the completion of my doctoral studies. Last but not the least, I could not possibly have finished my dissertation without my husband Philip, and my son Alex. Without my husband's encouragement and support in the most literal sense, I would not have been able to start and finish my doctoral studies. My son who is only eight years old has always wanted to help me write dissertation whenever seeing me stuck in front of the computer. I thank him for his consideration and endurance for my constant absences. V l l l Stylistic Notes 1. Japanese and Chinese names are given with surnames first followed by first names, except for those who have been writing in English and chosen to adopt the Western order. 2. All transliteration of Japanese follows modified Hepburn, except for individuals who have chosen alternative styles of Romamzation. 3. All transliterations of Chinese are in pinyin, except for cases in which a different system, usually the Wade-Giles, was used originally in a quoted text. 4. Chinese first names are not hyphenated unless the author is published so. 5. When the author's original text is quoted, the translation comes first followed by the original text. IX Introduction Objectives This dissertation aims to compare selected literary texts by women writers from modern Japan and Taiwan in order to investigate the question of a female perspective and literary practice in these two countries.1 I will analyze the narrative constructions of identities of gender, race, and nation within women's writing, and will inquire how theories derived primarily from Western discursive practice can (or cannot) be applied in an analysis of the linkages between identity formation and writing in the two countries. To my knowledge this is the first extended comparison of Japanese and Taiwanese fiction produced by women in the modern period. The use of a comparative framework of analysis will provide a more nuanced understanding of the authors addressed and the gendered literary production of the two countries. In a larger sense, this endeavour is intended as one step in the exploration of the feasibility of establishing a thematic and theoretical framework for critical analysis of Third World women's literary works in general. The second half of the twentieth century saw a boom in women's writing in both Japan and Taiwan. This trend gave rise to significant changes in women's writing, both in terms of the quantity of publications, and also in an increased variety of subjects, themes, and styles. As this dissertation will demonstrate, at historical moments when society undergoes rapid socio-economic and juridical changes, questions of identity become central in literary production. I will address the fiction produced during times of political and economic upheaval in Japan and Taiwan, with attention to the ways that women's writing is deeply implicated in the socio-political milieu. l Besides their shared cultural origins in neo-Confucianism, Japan and Taiwan have an intricate and intimate relationship in modem history, which will be discussed in some detail below. Even today, the effects of the 50-year period of Japanese colonization of Taiwan still subtly linger in postcolonial Taiwan, and can be traced in many Taiwanese literary productions. Therefore it is not surprising to find that Japanese and Taiwanese women writers have shared similar writing themes and strategies. Both Japanese and Taiwanese women writers are struggling to develop a language of their own, a style, a voice, and a structure with which they can not only freely articulate their subjectivities, but also can situate themselves in a discipline that was previously dominated by men. Historical Background It is fair to say that most Asian countries initiated attempts to achieve modernization after being threatened and provoked by the modem project in the form of Western imperialism in the nineteenth century. For both Japan and China this took place in the nineteenth century. With the Opium War of 1839-1842, British gunboats forced China to open more treaty ports, insisting that China open its door for "free trade." From this time on, British, American and other European colonial forces established territorial bases in China and consolidated their power with unequal treaties. Similarly, in 1853, U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry compelled the shogun's government to reopen Japan to foreign trade and cultural communication with the West after its nearly 250 years of isolation. Having seen the formidable inroads of the Western colonial powers across the globe, and in particular the cruel fact of China's inability to resist foreign aggression, the newly-instituted Meiji government in Japan undertook an 2 intensive and thoroughgoing modernization campaign in a bold attempt to quickly catch up with the modern nation-states in the Anglo-European world.2 Through numerous legislative measures, including the establishment of a constitutional monarchy with limited male suffrage (based on the contemporary British and Prussian models), as well as vigorous educational reforms (inspired by the education system of the United States), and a rapid military buildup (with lessons learned from Britain and Germany), within 40 years the Meiji government effectively constructed Japan as a modern nation-state. By the end of the Meiji period this status had been confirmed by Japan's success as the first and only non-Western (read as non-white) colonizer. Japan annexed Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands in 1895, and then Korea in 1910, as its colonial possessions after its victorious wars against China in 1894-5, and against Russia in 1904-5. One of the most important aspects of Meiji modernization was its organization of the nation into a "kazoku kokka" (family-nation), in which the emperor was understood as the father of the nation and its inhabitants, as well as the inhabitants of its colonial possessions. On the social level this idea was reflected in the "/e seidd" ^ffrlS: (family or household system), in which the father of the family held all power as patriarch, and in which the subordinate members of the family owed him loyalty and respect. Under the ie seido women had no social or political and few economic rights. China's embarrassing defeat in the Sino-Japanese war in the late nineteenth century gave rise to numerous revolutions. Eventually, the Qing Dynasty was toppled and the Republic of China (ROC) was established in 1911.3 For the first time in China's history, Chinese people had a chance to form their government, one constitutionally of, by and for the people. However, the new democratic government also had no choice but to 3 inherit many unequal treaties with the Western colonizers and Japan. Most strikingly, after World War One, parcels of Chinese territory were transferred to Japan without the Chinese people's consent, so that the club of colonizers in Asia could achieve stability in their spheres of influence. In 1919, thousands of university students marched to Tiananmen Square in Beijing to protest the humiliating terms of the Treaty of Versailles. This incident, known as the May Fourth Movement, tremendously inspired the ensuing transformations of China's modernity. Incorporating rhetorical conceptions derived from the Western world, such as "[a]nti-traditionalism, democracy, science, enlightenment, individualism, evolution, nation, and revolution," China tried to catch up with the advanced modernized nations in the West.4 It is also significant that many of the leaders of the social and political revolutions in China in the first decades of the twentieth century had studied in Japan. The modernization process in China was less intense and thoroughgoing than that in Japan. There were many reasons for this: recurrent civil wars between warlords that took place in different parts of the country; the legacy of Western influences remaining from earlier colonial impositions; and new invasions and extortionist treaties imposed by foreign powers. However, starting from relatively similar points in the nineteenth centuries, both countries shared certain commonalities in their transformation toward modernity. Similarities can also be found in the two countries' attempts to produce a modern literature. As Joshua Mostow points out, "diglossia" is one of the major similarities shared by the modern literatures of China, Japan and Korea. 5 That is, despite the existence in each country of its own modern spoken language, all serious written 4 communication in Japan, Korea and China was done in classical Chinese—a language that was intricately entwined with the ideology of Confucianism, but bore almost no relation to each country's spoken language. Both Japan and China were successful, however, in producing a new written language for literary purposes, one that more closely followed the modern colloquial speech. In Japan, genbun 'itchi f t :£ — @c (unification of the spoken and written language) was developed between 1880 and 1920, and in China the baihuawen yundong S S & J E S J (vernacularization) movement took place in the 1920s.6 Using these newly developed languages, authors could express the individual, autonomous, objective, and neutral subjectivity featured in the modem literature of Anglo-European nations.7 Although the influence of the May Fourth movement also travelled to Taiwan, the modernization of Taiwan took a different path from that of the mainland. In 1661 Zheng Chenggong, a loyalist to the previously toppled Ming Dynasty, expelled the Dutch, who had colonized Taiwan for the past 38 years, and became the first Chinese ruler in Taiwan.8 When Taiwan fell under the rule of the Qing Dynasty in 1683, the army led by Zheng's descendants was expatriated to the furthest reaches of the Qing Empire, leaving approximately 7,000 Han Chinese in Taiwan. Two centuries later, less than half of the island was under Chinese administration while the remaining lightly populated regions of the interior were controlled by various aboriginal tribes. As a settlement for China losing the war in 1895, Taiwan was ceded to Japan in perpetuity, becoming the first Japanese imperial colony. During its colonization of Taiwan between 1895 and 1945, Japan spared no effort in modernizing Taiwan—not for the sake of Taiwanese interests but for its empire's politico-economic benefits. In line with the policy of ddka W\it (assimilation), 5 the residents of the Japanese colonies were forced to learn the Japanese language and to use it in schools and in official settings. Moreover they were educated to consider themselves loyal subjects and "children" of the Japanese emperor, as head of the kazoku hokka (family state). In addition, the ie seido as a social institution and ideology was imposed in Taiwan. As Ken Ito suggests, by reinforcing the father's/emperor's patriarchal powers, the Japanese state benefited tremendously from the mobilization and manipulation of patriarchy.9 However, while Japan endeavoured to make its colonial subjects become Japanese, a contradictory Japanese discourse of colonialism expressed an anxiety to differentiate Taiwanese colonial subjects from the "real Japanese."10 Being subjected both to general discrimination as colonial subjects and to specific discrimination as women, Taiwanese women were doubly colonized. After Japan's defeat in World War Two, Taiwan became again a possession of China In 1949, however, a new "colonization" took place as China's Nationalist government, or the Kuomintang ( K M T ) 1 1 , led by Chiang Kaishek, retreated from the mainland to the island when the K M T was finally defeated by the Communists. From this point on, Taiwan was secluded from Communist China across the Taiwan Strait in almost every respect until the late 1980s. The forty-year period of authoritarian rule under the Chiang regime was characterized by remarkable continuity and homogeneity in the social, political, and cultural spheres. On the international stage, Taiwan was recognized as independent from the People's Republic of China (PRC), by major powers such as the United States. However, drastic changes began to emerge at all levels of society after martial law was lifted in 1987. New intellectual and artistic currents have been thriving, many with 6 the explicit or implicit motive of re-examining the existing order. It is at this moment that Taiwanese women writers started to grapple with issues of identity politics that involve re-constructing modern history from their traumatized position both under the Japanese colonial rule and the K M T rule. A similar moment of historical upheaval occurred a few decades earlier in Japan. Several days after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, the Japanese Emperor declared the government's surrender on the radio. Two weeks later, on September 1, Japan lost its sovereignty as the Allied Occupation government took power. Symbolically, Japan lost its "masculinity" when the symbolic father, the emperor, along with his unquestionable authority, was replaced by the alien U.S. General MacArthur, the head of SCAP (Supreme Command for the Allied Powers), as the new government was called. In this complicated time, and thereafter, many writers struggled to come to terms with ignominious defeat, the wholesale destruction of 80 percent of Japanese cities, and Japan's first experience of occupation/colonization by a foreign power. During the nearly seven years of the Occupation, the American advisors working for SCAP imposed a number of sweeping changes in the juridical and social structures of Japan's society. In particular the Constitution of 1947 was written and imposed by the Occupation government in its attempt to establish a democratic society, and included the enfranchisement of women. For the first time Japanese women were given the right to vote and to participate in political activities. While many male writers thereafter had to grapple with reassessing the meaning and enactment of male subjectivity and masculinity, women writers started to vigorously challenge the prewar ideologies and constraints regarding the family system, nation building, and gender relations. Upon the withdrawal of the Allied Occupation forces, Japan began a series of projects to rebuild its industrial base. By the 1960s, with its astonishing economic growth, Japan had recovered from its painful experience of war destruction. Thanks to Japan's improved economic conditions, women could finally get started writing their challenges to the prewar patriarchy, which was still very influential in postwar Japan. The historical context of modernization in Japan and Taiwan, respectively, cannot be overlooked when we are examining various issues of modern literature in both countries. As backdrop, it helps us understand how a modern subject has been constructed and represented in literary production. Therefore, for Taiwanese women writers, I have chosen to focus on the writing produced from the 1980s to the 1990s. On the other hand, for Japanese women's writing, the time between the late 1950s and the 1970s will be the period of my investigation—these are the moments when each country finally came out from under the colonialist yoke and soon thereafter experienced rapid social transformation mostly induced by tremendous economic surges. In the modem period, women in Japan and Taiwan were similarly excluded from the establishment of symbolic and legal lineage and became the "ground" upon which a modem national identity was constructed.13 When political and socio-cultural conditions changed during moments of upheaval, the women in both countries found an opportunity to explore the prevailing discourses and power relations that had structured their societies till that time. Given more freedom and openness, women writers demonstrated in their writing how subjectivity is interlocked with elements of gender, race and nation. Finally, I must point out that Taiwanese subjectivity has been a controversial issue with dense intricacies and ambiguities; therefore, a definition of Taiwanese literature 8 needs to be set and clarified for the purpose of this thesis. With due consideration, I have adopted L i Qiao's convenient definition: "Taiwanese literature is that literature which takes the viewpoint of the people of Taiwan and which writes about Taiwanese experience."14 Situating a Comparative Study In the present dissertation, I will use theory and criticism originally applied to Third World countries in my discussions of Japan and Taiwan. It is, of course, contentious to consider Japan and Taiwan as Third World countries. The term "Third World" was first used during the Cold War period to designate those countries aligned with neither the United States nor the Soviet Union. Conveniently, the term is still widely used as shorthand referring to the group of countries that are struggling to escape from underdevelopment. In fact, the term is associated with ambiguities and has become quaint and inappropriate in the post-Cold War period where the distinction between the First and Second Worlds seems to have disappeared.15 According to The Oxford Companion to Politics of the World, the Third World encompasses "the nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, most of them former colonies which to varying degrees could be characterized as underdeveloped."16 Taiwan and Japan certainly may be considered among the "nations of . . . Asia" in this definition, but their current economic might makes it difficult to think of them as "underdeveloped" in economic terms. However, for the purposes of this research project, I believe it is warranted to make a distinction between economic and cultural power in the global hierarchy of nations. While Japan and Taiwan may be powerful economically, Edward Said and others have pointed out that "the Orient" has 9 been constructed in Western hegemonic discourse as culturally inferior or subservient to the West. According to Said, in standard Western representations "the Orient" suggests "not only fecundity but sexual promise (and threat), untiring sensuality, unlimited desire, deep generative energies."17 Orientalism attributes characteristics of femininity to the Orient, accentuating "its eccentricity, its backwardness, its silent indifference, its feminine penetrability, its supine malleability."18 In other words, "the Orient" has been constructed as inferior feminine Other to the West, and Japan and Taiwan are no exceptions to this discursive construction. Having been subject to Western cultural hegemony and having shared many aspects of colonial/postcolonial history, both Japan and Taiwan can be arguably considered marginalized to the extent of being countries of the "Third World." Each of the terms "gender," "race," and "nation" represents a complicated and contentious concept, and thus needs to be clarified Recently many feminist theorists have treated gender as a cultural construct enacted by a vast repetition of social performance.19 Under such an arbitrarily and dominant construct, women are typically designated a passive role while men are designated an active one. Race has also been revealed to be a cultural construct, rather than a biological/genetic distinction. As Michael Banton suggests, economic, ideological, cultural, and historical factors all need to be considered for an understanding of race, as these factors help explain the ways in which "differences" are theorized along racial lines.2 0 Like gender, the ideas of race continue to configure the way in which people understand and represent their subjectivity in a global context. The idea of nation is now fixed in the general imagination; as Benedict Anderson puts it, nation is an "imagined community."21 Nation, like race, has continued to be "the most universally legitimate value in the political life of our time," according to Anderson.22 10 These three terms are the fundamental hierarchies that create oppressive and unequal social relations, especially the oppressions that Third World women have experienced. Another term I will use in this dissertation, "women," similarly requires definition. In my usage "women" is a complex category that refers to issues of specific community identities like race, nation, ethnicity and class, as well as gender or sexual difference.23 The fact that Third World women's identities are constituted as much as by race, nation and other categories of identity as they are by sex or gender is often downplayed in considerations of the Western female subject—studies that play a key role in determining the "truths" around which women's identities are constructed in academic writing. Recognizing this problem, feminists from countries with histories of colonization, such as Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Angela Gilliam, and Cheryl Johnson-Odim, often reject the focus on gender as the sole basis of struggle and instead emphasize the need to examine the intersection of various networks of gender, race and natioa Japanese and Taiwanese feminist literary critics have, for the most part, tended to promote an exclusively gender-based way of reading; issues of race or nation have rarely been included in their feminist analyses. As will be seen in the following chapters, however, issues of nation and race arise explicitly or implicitly in the work of many postwar women writers in Japan and Taiwan, and are tightly entwined with those writers' attempts to interrogate gender. Despite the upsurge in the number of Japanese and Taiwanese women writers in the post-World War Two period, critical discussion of women writers' contribution to the shaping of the modern literature of each country is scarce. Writing against their respective socio-political milieus, Japanese and Taiwanese women writers embark on re-constructing a "politics" and "history" of the time that are different from those 11 constructed in accordance with the hegemonic androcentric view. This study will be one of the first to give consideration to gender in the construction of the modern literatures in these two nations.2 4 In particular, so far there has been no systematic and theoretically-informed critical study comparing contemporary women writers from the two countries in question. Among other scholars, Yip Wai-Lim and John J. Deeney have lamented the lack of such comparative study. They point out that the unusually long and strong literary ties among the literatures of Japan, China and Korea demand a comparative perspective. Furthermore, I hope that a comparative study such as this dissertation may contribute to a deconstruction of Western colonial views of a monolithic "Orient." Since critical study of modern women's writing has been greatly neglected in both Japan and Taiwan, my research wil l help to provide a new literary history and criticism that can combine the literary experiences of both women and men. Through decoding the representation in women's writing, the crucial factors in constituting women's identities, such as gender, race, and nation, inter alia> will be fruitfully revealed. Furthermore, although colomalism/postcolonialism has been one of the most vigorous fields in cultural studies in the last two decades, there remains insufficient investigation of Japan's colonial experience. Japan is one of the few countries in the world to have so fully experienced the role of both colonized and colonizer, but neither standpoint has been thoroughly examined so far. By examining the residual subtle influences of colonialism in postcolonial Japan and Taiwan, I intend in this project to critically investigate the features of both extra-Asian and intra-Asian colonialism and their effects on gendered writing. 12 Method and Scope As a writer's style and interests change throughout her writing life, it would be too broad and unenlightening to pair up women writers from the two countries and then compare their entire oeuvres. Instead, this comparative project will be conducted according to thematic similarities of selected works by acclaimed women writers. As such, the same writer may be discussed in different chapters depending on the themes with which she grappled in specific works. Themes that I have chosen for comparison include the female body, feminine sexuality, "man-slaughtering," women's language, and geographic/temporal displacement. These themes appear frequently and conspicuously in the fiction of the most important female writers of postwar Japan and Taiwan, and provide valuable points of entry for the exploration of identity issues Of gender, race, and nation. Incorporating Third World feminist literary criticism and postcolonial critical theory, I will focus on these women writers' strategies of "writing against" dominant discourses, and how such strategies are shared by both postcolonial Japanese and Taiwanese women writers. Given the issues discussed above concerning the intertwined nature of race, nation, and gender, and the need for consideration of the colonial legacy, the questions that merit critical investigation in this dissertation include, the way women writers (re)present the constitution of identity; the way they (re)construct their history in their writing; the similarities and differences in their strategies of writing against the master narrative; and the extent to which the specific socio-political milieu in each country has affected their writings in terms of choice of themes and perspective. Outline of Chapters After setting out the objectives, scope and method of my study in this dissertation, I will begin in the first chapter with a brief historical survey of modern Japanese and Taiwanese literatures. I will concentrate on a presentation of the socio-political conditions that have constrained (and sometimes liberated) women in the two nations, to illuminate the material and discursive conditions that women writers write "against." This will include a discussion of the categories into which women writers in Japan and Taiwan have been "confined" in the literary canons of each culture. In the second chapter, I wi l l apply gender theory and the Lacanian view of the Symbolic order to investigate and then compare fictional works that have adopted a similar violent theme in dealing with subtle issues of sexuality, power and the textual subversion of patriarchal discourse. These works reveal the brutal realities of patriarchal exploitation of women, and illustrate how the writers intend to subvert the inequities of power in patriarchal ideologies through their writing. Such writings unmask and indict the economies of power in which women are always assigned the role of "performing passivity." The primary literary examples in this chapter are "Funiku" (Rotting Meat, 1972; tr. 1997), written by Kanai Mieko (1947-) from Japan who is well known for her shocking stories; and Shafu (The Butcher's Wife, 1983; tr. 1986), written by L i Ang (1952- ), one of Taiwan's most famous and controversial feminist writers. In both works the male protagonists ki l l pigs for a living, and both end up being killed by the female protagonists. With grotesque and controversial depictions, both works subvert the simplistic masculine-feminine paradigm; and yet, the most noteworthy feature of both stories is that neither work acts as a simple revenge fantasy. Instead both stories work to 14 illuminate and critique existing power structures. The third chapter will be centred on works that attempt to (reconstruct a family genealogy, or even an archaeological history of the nation, from a female as opposed to male perspective. Using the female body as a source of metaphor, the female protagonists in the works under consideration manipulate the dominant discourse to carry out well-laid plots so as to achieve a sort of liberation from patriarchal dominance. Enchi Fumiko's Onnamen (Masks, 1958; tr. 1983) and L i Ang's Miyuan (The Labyrinthine Garden, 1991) are two of the most representative works that narrate this kind of strategy. Both works are extremely complex multi-layered novels exploring contemporary women's empowerment within "the confines of an archetype spawned by a male-centric imaginary."26 Instead of narrating a body politics that rejects women's objectification, some writers have addressed the difficulties that arise in resolving the problems of identity displacement and fragmentation in a postcolonial world. In the fourth chapter, I will discuss the works of Oba Minako (1930- ) and Zhu Tianxin (1958- ) to explore the predominant theme of displaced subjectivity commonly expressed in the work of these two well-known writers. Oba's "Yorozu shuzenya no tsuma" (The Repairman's Wife, 1974; tr. 1989) and Zhu's "Gudu" (The Ancient Capital, 1997) both feature a female protagonist who makes a journey of pilgrimage to a foreign country that had once colonized her homeland. In returning to their own countries from the pilgrimage, both female protagonists find a new way of interpreting their relationship with their homelands and their place in an international hierarchy of nations, and resolve the resentment or anxiety arising from their earlier feelings of being abandoned by or excluded from the nation-state narrative. 15 As briefly discussed above, issues of gender, race, and nation loom large within the scope of this research project. As Western mainstream feminism is inadequate to deal with Japanese and Taiwanese women's writing, I will use a critical approach subsuming postcolonialism, adapting work by theorists such as Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Trinh T. Minh-Ha, and Rey Chow, which will enable us to more effectively investigate gendered literary production in Japan and Taiwan. That is, we need a gender-sensitive perspective incorporating marginalized and Third World women's experiences with critical insights from postcolonialism. Equally important in dealing with the complexity of highly contested identity issues will be this project's focus on each country's specific socio-historical context. In the concluding chapter I wi l l recap the points demonstrated in the discussions of specific literary works, and wil l link these points with the larger questions of postcolonial identities and the applicability of Western theory in the study of postcolonial non-Western literary works. Notes 1 For the purpose of comparative study in this dissertation, I refer to Taiwan as an independent country. In a fundamental sense, Taiwan possesses its own unique belief and value systems, and therefore on the international scene exists as an independent entity with its own national character. 2 In a series of battles in the late 1850s and into the 1860s, the Shogunal government was overthrown, and the emperor returned to his position as head of state. The establishment of the new imperial government took place in 1868, and is usually known as the Meiji Restoration. The period of the Meiji emperor's reign, from 1868 until his death in 1912, is known as the Meiji period. ' The Qing Dynasty, also known as the Manchu Dynasty, was founded by Manchurians, 16 who ruled over China where the Han people constitute the overwhelming majority of the population. Taking advantage of the political instability and popular rebellions plaguing the Han-dominant Ming Dynasty, the Manchu armies took over Beijing in 1644, and later established their imperial rule with significant assistance from members of the Han Chinese elite who were systematically selected into the imperial court through Confucian examinations. The Qing ruled China until it was overthrown in a revolution led by Dr. Sun Yatsen in 1911, which ended China's 2000-plus year history of imperial rule. Kirk A. Denton, "Thematic Essays: Historical Review," in TJie Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature, ed. Joshua Mostow (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003), p. 291. Joshua Mostow, "The Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature," idem. The Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature, p. 9. The vernacularization of Chinese literature both did and did not include Taiwan. Taiwanese writers who wrote in standard Mandarin Chinese after the 1920s could, of course, use the new vernacular, but those who wanted to write in Taiwanese dialect, or any of the other many dialects of the ethnic groups of Taiwan, could not. For more on the problems involved, see Faye Yuan Kleeman, Under an Imperial Sun: Japanese Colonial Literature of Taiwan and the South (Honolulu: Hawai'i University Press, 2003), p. 122. For more information on genbun 'itchi in Japan, see Nanette Twine, Language and the Modern State: The Reform of Written Japanese (London: Routledge, 1991); for baihuawen yundong in China, see Milena Dolezelova-Velingerova, "The Origins of Modern Chinese Literature," in Modern Chinese Literature in the May Fourth Era, ed. Merle Goldman (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1977), pp. 17-35. Zheng Chenggong was born in Japan to Zeng Zhilong, a Chinese merchant and pirate, and to Tagawa Matsu, a Japanese woman. When the Dutch came to Taiwan in 1624, they only found the aborigines on the island: there was no sign of any administrative structure or any form of government. Therefore, it is assumed that by that time Taiwan was not part of China's territory. The first influx of Han immigrants from China came during the Dutch period. As a Han general, Zheng devoted himself to building Taiwan into an effective base in order to restore the Ming Dynasty. His ambition, succeeded by his son and grandson, was eventually dashed in 1683 when Taiwan fell to the Qing armies. See John E. Wills, Jr. "The Seventh-Century Transformation: Taiwan under the Dutch and the Cheng Regime," in Taiwan: A New History, ed. Murray A. Rubinstein (Armonk, New York; London, England: M E . Sharpe, 1999), pp.84-106. Ken Ito, "The Family and the Nation in Tokutomi Roka's Hototogisu," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 60, no. 2 (Dec. 2000): p. 489. 17 1 U The terms of gaichi (literally, external territory) and naichi ftlfi (internal territory) were used to differentiate Japan's colonies and itself. The colonial literature was referred to as gaichi bungaku. 1 1 Members of the Nationalist Party (KMT) had dominated the government in China until 1949. 1 2 Herbert Passin, "The Occupation—Some Reflections," in Shdwa: The Japan of Hirohito, eds. Carol Gluck and Stephen R. Graubard (New York: W.W. Norton, 1992), pp. 107-29. 1 3 Several scholars have argued previously that the periods I have identified here mark significant moments of political and socio-cultural upheaval in the two countries, opening for women a new literary space. For Taiwan see Kuei-fen Chiu's "Identity Politics in Contemporary Women's Novels in Taiwan," Tamkang Review 30, no. 2 (Winter 1999): pp. 27-54; for Japan see Sharalyn Orbaugh's "The Body in Contemporary Japanese Women's Fiction," in The Woman's Hand: Gender and Theory in Japanese Women's Writing, eds. Paul Gordon Schalow and Janet A. Walker (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1996), pp. 119-64. 1 4 L i Chiao, "Bickering About Literature: The Meaning of 'Taiwan Literature,'" trans. Robert Smitheram Taiwanese Literature: English Translation Series no. 1 (August 1996): p. 13. 1 5 B i l l Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin, Key Concepts in Post-Colonial Studies (London and New York: Routledge, 1998), pp. 231-2. 1 6 Joel Krieger ed., The Oxford Companion to Politics of the World, 2 n d ed. (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 835. 1 7 Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage, 1978), p. 188. Said did not explicitly address East Asia—China, Japan, and Korea—in his work, but numerous scholars have extended his findings and arguments to that area as well. 1 8 Ibid., p. 206. 1 9 There will be more discussion on the definition of gender in Chapter 2. ! 0 Michael Banton, Racial Theories (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987). 1 1 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London and New York: Verso, 1983), p. 15. 2 Ibid., p. 12. 3 Recognizing the danger of exclusion and essentialism the category might entail, feminists are still arguing whether one should retain the unified category "women." However, many feminists from places other than Europe and North America contend that the category "women" remains necessary and relevant to criticism that must consider the complex politics of gender and nation together. Gayatri Spivak, for example, suggests that "strategic essentialism" may be necessary to effective politics. is She points out that essentialism is bad not in its essence but in its application. Strategic essentialism, when clearly identified as such, can be useful in considerations of postcolonial identity/subjectivity. Similarly, deconstruction—which advocates the elimination of such essentialist categories—is not primarily for the purpose of exposing error but to constantly and persistently look into how truths are produced. See Spivak's In Other World: Essays in Cultural Politics (London; New York: Methuen, 1987), pp. 197-221. In this dissertation I will use the "deconstructive" approach of tracing the origins of various discourses in order to reveal their limits and contradictions, but will also use the "strategic essentialist" approach of considering categories like "women" or "Taiwanese" (national/cultural identity) to be legitimate political-cultural tools when writers are considering their identities in the global hierarchy of nations. Recent years have seen a slow but steady increase in critical analyses of Japanese and Taiwanese literature that do include consideration of gender in the construction of national literatures. I will cite these studies in my discussion below and in subsequent chapters. Wai-Lim Yip, "Beyond Chinoiserie: Differentiating Sameness in the Oriental Hermeneutic Community," pp.221-32; John J. Deeney "Chinese-Eastern Comparative Literature Studies: The Case of China-Korea-Japan," pp. 185-200, both in Tamkang Review 15 nos. 1-4 (May 1984). Miseli Jeon is one of the forerunners who conduct comparative research between modern Japanese and Korean literatures. See her doctoral thesis, "Violent Emotions: Modern Japanese and Korean Women's Writing, 1920-1980," The University of British Columbia, 2004. Nina Cornyetz, "Bound by Blood: Female Pollution, Divinity, and Community in Enchi Fumiko's Masks.'" U.S.-Japan Women's Journal: English Supplement 9 (December 1995): p. 37. 19 Chapter One Brief Surveys of Modern Japanese and Taiwanese Literatures Japan's new era of modernity is commonly considered to have begun in 1868 with the Meiji Restoration. Through an intensive and self-conscious process of modernization/westernization Japan successfully transformed itself into the first modern nation-state in Asia. Yet, modernity also raised new questions about the meaning of subjectivity—subjectivity as defined through nation and nationalism on the one hand; and through modem definitions of family, gender, and sexuality on the other hand. The new literature that was developed after the Meiji Restoration in order to express these new aspects of subjectivity is what we mean when we refer to "modern Japanese literature." By contrast, it is rather difficult to define the scope and content of "modern Taiwanese literature" for certain because of Taiwan's complicated political/colonial history, which is still unfolding. However, the Qing government's cession of Taiwan to Japan in 1895 and China's May Fourth Movement in 1919 are historical events that had profound influences on Taiwan's modernization and the development of a modern Taiwanese literature. In this chapter I will briefly explain the major social and political events that shaped Japanese and Taiwanese modernity, and wil l trace the literary developments that paralleled those social and political changes. In particular I will highlight the ways colonial relationships and gender are implicated in social, political and literary developments, in order to provide background for the exploration of the three major themes in this project: that is, gender, race and nation in their relations to and effects on women's literary production in the post-World War Two period. 20 Modern Subjectivity in Prewar Japan Compared with Taiwan, the modernization of Japan was more thorough and the process smoother. In fact, Japan was the first country in Asia to achieve full modernity and join the club of the Great Powers by the late 19 th century. Threatened and provoked by the modern project in the form of Western imperialism, the oligarchs of the Meiji government initiated a program of adopting Western technology, and military and governmental structures. Moreover, Japanese leaders generally adopted Western discourses of modernity and the modern nation-state, with all of the complex, even metaphysical conceptions of subjectivity implied therein. Despite Japan's success in transplanting the trappings of modernity, resulting in 1920 in its inclusion among the founding members of the League of Nations (the only "non-white" nation included), Japan had already been designated an immovably inferior position in the hierarchy of modern nations, based on race. According to the new Anglo-European sciences of the nineteenth century, "Whites" were seen as most advanced, civilized, "Orientals" were next, and "Blacks" were at the bottom of the hierarchy. Therefore, in contrast to Anglo-European countries that were represented as superior and "masculine," Japan was seen as inferior and "feminine." The inflexibility of this belief was made clear when Japan requested that a statement of basic racial equality be included in the founding charter of the League of Nations, only to be emphatically refused by the other founding members. Japan's military buildup in the Meiji period, and its earliest colonial incursions into neighboring nations were attempts to replicate the colonizing activities of the "already modernized" nations of the Western world. But it is likely that these colonizing efforts 21 and those that followed were also motivated by a desire among Japanese leaders to assert masculinity in the face of this racialized and gendered discourse of inferiority.1 Significantly, when reinventing itself as a modern nation, Meiji Japan invoked the ie seido ("the family system")—an institution within which the father of a family retained all the authority and legal rights, while other family members remained subordinate—as the most important building block in the establishment of the kazoku kokka ("the family nation"), within which the emperor held the analogous position of head of the "national family." Behind the system is the commonplace notion of analogizing the relations between emperor/subject to parent/child. These social/juridical structures were further supported by the implementation of the koseki 7* If (household registry) system in 1871, in which every individual's family affiliation was registered with the government2 With the husband/father as the head of the household, each family had to duly register any newcomer in its koseki, such as a legitimate new born child, a bride, or an adoptive child or adoptive husband. In order to preserve the patrilineal bloodline, family inheritance and headship were passed from father to the eldest son. A family that had daughters but no sons would legally adopt a husband for one of its daughters, to inherit the family's surname and property. In this case the "patrilineal" relationship was fictive, but the all-important transmission of headship from male to male was maintained. In rationalization of the annexations of Taiwan (1895) and Korea (1910) Japan termed these new members of the family yoshi #iF(adopted sons), using the discourse of the family-nation to encourage assimilation. In order to imperialize its colonial subjects and inculcate in them a sense of commonality with the Japanese main islands, policies 22 such as education in the Japanese language and the implementation of the household registry system were imposed on the colonies. The ideology of the family-nation united all the regions and classes of Japan and its colonies into one "imagined community" by reinforcing the Confucian virtues of filial piety, loyalty, and submissive and passive femininity on the part of the subordinate members. In demonstrating the fundamental homology and complicity between nationalist and Orientalist discourses, Partha Chatterjee suggests that it is "woman" who becomes the ground upon which nationalism is able to construct its national identity.3 In the case of modern Japan pursuing its nationalist project, the Meiji government enacted the 1890 constitution and subsequent legislation to prohibit women from playing any role in politics.4 Thus removed from the foreground of modernization, women were nonetheless given what they were told was an important role in nation-building: they were to be "rydsai kenbo" &SRfiJ : (good wives, wise mothers) so as to support the nation's specific national policy offukoku kyohei S S ® ^ (rich country, strong army). The new conceptualizations of subjectivity, based on newly emerging discourses of nation and gender, were explored and sometimes contested by writers of modern literature. Among the earliest important writers to address the new conceptions of nationhood and the subjectivity of modern Japanese people were Mori Ogai and Natsume Soseki. Ogai's so-called "romantic trilogy" (1890-1891),5 influenced by German Romanticism and based on Ogai's four-year experience as an army medical officer in Berlin, emphasized the desire for a strong stance of masculinity and national pride when encountering the already modernized Western nations. The trilogy reveals Ogai's attempt to reverse the "sciences" that claimed to have proved the equation of "the Orient" and "inferiority," and 23 his desire to construct male subjectivity through re-masculinizing the Japanese male vis-a-vis the West. In contrast, Natsume Soseki expressed a disconcerted sense of racial inferiority in several works, including his famous essay on individualism.6 Moreover, in his novel Kokoro (1914; tr. 1957, Kokoro), he uses the death of the real-life General Nogi Maresuke as a central symbol to probe into the nature of the modern male intellectual subject's relation to the kazoku kokka1 At the end of the story, the protagonist commits junshi to the spirit of the Meiji era in the hope of alleviating the discomfort of guilt resulting from the influence of Western individualism. An important aspect of the work of both of these pioneering male authors of modern Japanese literature is their striking attention to the different roles played by men and women in Japan's modernity, with the women in their works depicted almost uniformly as passive, the "ground" against which modern masculinity is defined. As the family-nation ideology not only made "natural" loyalty to the emperor but also granted wide-ranging powers to the head of a family over his subordinate members, the desire to search for and substantiate the patrilineal lineage is a key component not only of national identity but also in that of the individual modern man. Accordingly many of the male-authored novels in the pre-World War Two period in Japan share the common theme of the "male anxiety over 'authentic' genealogy; that is, the search for, or anxiety over, the identity of the father, to the exclusion of women."8 The female-excluding homosocial genealogy that Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick defines as one of the fundamental elements of modern literature and nation building in English literary production9 can also be found here in modern Japanese literature. In many male-authored novels of the prewar period, women function as objects of exchange between men, becoming the foundation of 24 the homosocial construction of the male subject. They remain nothing more than an imaginary projection of the male protagonists' fantasies and desires, and never display any agency of their own. Leading at best unhappy or unflattering, and at worst violent and tragic lives, women presented in the prewar literature were merely the ground upon which the kazoku kokka, its masculinity and modern subjectivity could be constructed. Unlike their counterparts in Taiwan, Japanese women writers had occupied a preeminent position in the classical literary canon, a phenomenon that many observers have noted as an anomaly in world literatures.10 However, after the great heyday of writing by court women in the Heian period (794-1185), the works produced by Japanese women writers suffered a decline until the Meiji period (1868-1912) when Western literary ideas of the nineteenth-century were introduced. Japanese women have been described as discursively "silent" between these two literary peaks.11 However, the second peak—in the modern period—was relatively slow to take off. Compulsory education for both girls and boys was instituted in the Meiji period, but beyond the elementary years the content of that education differed considerably by sex. As the number of educated, literate women slowly grew, a few women writers of modern fiction did emerge in the years before World War Two. Among these were Uno Chiyo, Tamura Toshiko, Hayashi Fumiko, Miyomoto Yuriko, and Hirabayashi Taiko. Despite the difficulties in getting published in a literary environment entirely controlled by men, as well as government censorship of materials dealing with explicitly feminist themes, these early modern women writers did present visions of Japanese modernity that differed strikingly from their male counterparts. Statistically speaking, however, it was not until the postwar period that women's literary production comprised more than a tiny fraction 25 of male authors' output. Thus, although modern Japanese women writers have inherited a relatively rich literary legacy, their position is little better than that of Western women writers who are from a silent past. Conventionally, the works by Japanese women writers have been defined as joryu bungaku ic&fcii:^, or women's literature, a categorization made simply in terms the gender of the author. Joan E. Ericson contends that the concept of joryu bungaku is one of the modes used to segregate women's works from the modern literary canon, which is defined as works by male writers. 1 2 In particular, under the institutionalized ideology of the family nation, women who were institutionally and discursively molded as ryosai kenbo (good wives, wise mothers) were excluded from the establishment of the symbolic lineage of the family nation, and became merely the ground upon which modern nationalism was forged. In the postwar period, however, after Japan had obtained economic and political autonomy in the 1960s and 1970s, women writers suddenly comprised an important part of the literary community. In this period, which I will discuss below, women writers started probing into the residual destructive effects of the family system and the strictly determined gender roles assigned for women to faithfully observe. As the fluctuating fortunes of writers in different ages suggest, Japanese women have been especially vulnerable to social and ideological constraints. Like that of their counterparts in Taiwan, Japanese women's literature offers a particularly valuable record of the way in which such constraints can be both depicted and resisted in language.13 26 Fiction in the Occupation Period After Japan was defeated in 1945, the nation lost sovereignty and passed into the control of the Supreme Command for Allied Powers (SCAP), a coalition of Allied nations. For more than seven years Japan was entirely under the control of this alien government. While this is not equivalent to the kinds of colonialism practiced by Western nations and Japan earlier in the century, the effects of the Occupation on concepts of Japanese nationhood and individual subjectivity were similar to those we find in colonized areas. If we consider the Meiji period as a time when Japan was intensively (if willingly) colonized by Western discourses, then the Occupation marks a second, and far more intensive, experience of discursive colonization. The modern subjectivity imagined and expressed in prewar literature was subjected to critical reevaluation when Japan was defeated in World War Two after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The emperor's radiocast announcement of Japan's surrender on August 15, 1945 was a psychological blow to the entire nation, and the ensuing arrival of the SCAP government entailed tremendous changes in the juridical institutions and social structures that later commanded far-reaching effects in almost every aspect of Japan's society. Led by U.S. General Douglas Mac Arthur, SCAP imposed numerous structural changes in the next seven years that had profound influences on Japan's existing economic, political, educational, and judicial systems.14 Despite the war damage and the shortage of food, housing, and printing materials, the publication industry revived almost immediately after the end of the war. Throughout the fifteen years of war time, rigid censorship and an extensive system of "advisorship" had been exercised to produce conformist texts. As early as 1933, left-wing writers of the so-called Proletarian 27 School had been forced to choose between "converting" (tenko) or going to prison.1 5 Succumbing to various kinds of harsh pressure, the majority of Japanese intellectuals seem to have regarded it as their duty to cooperate in their field with the government's war efforts. For the majority of Japanese intellectuals the defeat signified the regaining of their freedom of expression. One of SCAP's first actions was to loosen the wartime censorship on printed materials. Criticism of the emperor system was tolerated and became commonplace.16 The writers who had been silent during the war and those who had been imprisoned for their writing critical of the war came out to join in an energetic debate on the issues of nation, subjectivity, Japan's war responsibility and its international position. SCAP did impose its own areas of censorship, however, writing depicting the experiences of bombings, the postwar food shortage, Allied soldiers' involvement in the black market, "destructive criticism" of the Allied forces, and so on, were forbidden. Nonetheless, this was a time of active reevaluation of the meaning of Japanese subjectivity in literature. The number of women writing during the Occupation period remained small compared to that of men. But this was also a time of very important changes in the legal structures that supported Japan's gender systems, resulting in new literary conceptions. The new constitution of 1947, written and imposed by the SCAP in its first attempt to nurture a democratic society, enfranchised women fully equal to men. For the first time Japanese women were given equal rights to vote and participate in political activities. The ie seido was abolished (although the koseki system remains). Women were given the right to initiate divorce proceedings and the right to own property and make legal decision without the consent of a husband or father. In this time of great social progress, women 28 writers began to challenge the prewar ideologies and gender relations. For many men, Japan's defeat resulted in a loss of the "masculinity" that had been partly achieved through Japan's previous colonization of some Asian countries. Above all, they lost their symbolic father when SCAP required the emperor to renounce his divinity and sovereignty. Under the control of the occupation forces, Japanese men were once again implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) feminized by the Western Powers. During the Occupation, "true" masculinity was represented by General MacArthur—physically large, white, and English-speaking. Many of the male writers who had already established themselves before the war continued to write and publish their works with little indication that they were disturbed by Japan's defeat. It was the generation of younger writers who started their careers during or after the war who most conspicuously struggled to reassess the meaning of Japanese (male) identity. Among them the senchu-ha ^ ffi (war generation), comprising those whose youthful experiences coincided with the years of mounting intellectual repression and military expansion of Japan, wrote about their experiences, both as participants in and as chroniclers of the war and the defeat, with ironies and feelings of "chronic weariness."19 This would also be the first generation in modem Japan to have been cut loose from the system of family/home as most of them fell out of touch with family/home, convention and heritage during their childhood. Yet, most unfortunately, after the war they returned only to a disrupted society that offered no place for them. As such, they had to struggle to live in the absence of values that had previously sustained their ancestors for generations20 A literary association known as the Dai-san no shinjin ^ H O f f A (The Third 29 Generation of New Writers) was a subgroup within the senchii-ha, led by Yasuoka Shotaro, Kojima Nobuo, and Shimao Toshio. These young men's writing, known as "the literature of humiliation," can be characterized as gloomy, "sometimes humorous, sometimes surrealistic, but always expressing a sense of disempowerment and degradation."21 For example, Yasuoka Shotaro writes about the loss of home and the war defeat in a tone of "gloomy pleasure" (inki na tanoshimi, the title of his Akutagawa Prize-winning story). Depicted in this tone of self-mockery, his characters are often crippled, inept, and cowardly, and all they can do is stand helplessly, not only puzzled by modernization but deserted by tradition. While immediate postwar male writers thus struggled with large-scale themes such as the loss of masculine authority and psychological oppression under the occupation, female writers, such as Hayashi Fumiko and Hirabayashi Taiko, tended to focus on the difficult conditions of daily life immediately after the war. Right after the war, Hayashi Fumiko (who had debuted in 1928 with her autobiographical novel Horoki [Diary of a Vagabond, tr. 1997]), began to write of the despair that seized the Japanese populace during the immediate postwar period. She focused on poor and working-class women, particularly on their attempts and efforts to survive the war and its aftermath—particularly its effects on families. "Kawahaze" (River Gudgeon, 1947) and "Hone" (Bones, 1949; tr. 1981) are two representative works dedicated to this theme. "Kawahaze" portrays the female protagonist's agony over the incestuous relationship between herself and her father-in-law that has developed while her husband has been off at war. The desperate Chihoko, the protagonist, thinks about committing double suicide with her newborn illegitimate baby when she learns that her husband will soon be demobilized. Ironically, 30 although she feels guilty over her infidelity, her desire for Yohei, her father-in-law, has lost none of its intensity. Caught in between shame and sexual desire, Chihoko feels as i f she is a river gudgeon whose head is cut off but the body is still struggling on the chopping board. She is desperate to figure out a way to create a new kind of family that can survive even such an upheaval, so that she, her new baby, and her husband can go on. In a similar fashion, "Hone" also depicts women's vitality to survive. The protagonist, Michiko, widowed by the war, is forced to prostitute herself in support of her family—her father crippled with rheumatism, her younger brother Kanji bedridden with tuberculosis, and her seven-year-old daughter Emiko who has never seen her father. Despite her initial reluctance, Michiko gradually gets used to the work of prostitution, for the cruel reality leaves her no choice. The crushing family burden makes Michiko pray for Kanji's inevitable death to come quickly, to stop the relentless pressure of his constant demands for expensive foods and a hopeless operation. When Kanji does die Michiko grieves, but then starts to wonder when her father is going to pass away. The male members of the family, who used to hold all authority and bring in the income, are depicted in this story as useless burdens, forcing Michiko into a life of prostitution that threatens her own health and her ability to take care of her young daughter. Through the characters of Chihoko and Michiko, Hayashi is in effect challenging the conventional wisdom and social constructs regarding the prewar roles of "good wife and wise mother." In Hayashi's stories, women eventually come to realize that they live for the sake of the child, and more importantly, live for themselves. Hayashi's attack on patriarchy is reinforced by her representations of unconventional females who possess a keen self-reliance and "seek to impart their own meanings and significance to their 31 actions.'"22 Her works are representative of the literary production by women in the immediate postwar period. The Intellectual Climate of Post-Occupation Upon the withdrawal of the Allied Occupation Forces in 1952, Japan regained its economic and political autonomy. SCAP had supported an economic restructuring and the rebuilding of Japan's war-flattened industries. Building on this momentum, the Japanese government enacted a strategy of economic growth that led in the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s to a period of unprecedented economic prosperity. In 1964 Tokyo hosted the Eighteenth Olympic Games (the first ever held in Asia) and in 1970 Osaka hosted the International Exposition (Expo); both successful events impressed the world and substantially enhanced Japan's international image. While the post-Occupation period was successful in those regards, it also saw a cluster of sociopolitical activism in the form of mass demonstrations and citizens' movements in the 1960s and early 1970s. The mass protests against the signing of the U.S.-Japanese Security Treaty (Anpo) in 1960 were supported by a majority of intellectuals who vehemently criticized Japan's continued dependence on and complicity with the United States. There were also many student riots in the late 1960s, the Sanrizuka farmers' bitter resistance to the construction of Tokyo International Airport at Narita since 1966, and widespread anti-pollution movements inspired by horrendous ecological disasters, of which Minamata in the late 1960s and early 1970s is the most widely known. 2 3 Not only were writers actively involved in these movements but many reflected these heated political and social debates in their writing. Many male writers in the 1960s, such as Oe Kenzaburo, Abe Kobo, and Shimao Toshio, 32 used existentialist and humanist techniques to portray the rapidly increasing internationalization, industrialization and urbanization of Japanese life. 2 4 After one hundred years of modernization beginning with the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Japanese literature achieved international validation in 1968 when Kawabata Yasunari won the Nobel Prize for literature. Ironically, however, it was not the "modern" aspects of Kawabata's fiction that were praised. Kawabata was honoured by the Nobel Prize Committee explicitly for the special affinities with Japanese traditions that his works revealed, despite the fact that his works dealt exclusively with the lives of contemporaries.25 This phenomenon reveals Japan's continued status as a "Third World" country in cultural terms. Taking inspiration from the movie King Kong, Rey Chow has proposed the notion of the "King Kong syndrome" to describe the Western reading of non-Western, "Third World" countries. She writes that it is "the cross-cultural syndrome in which the 'third world,' as the site of the 'raw' material that is 'monstrosity,' is produced for the surplus-value of spectacle, entertainment, and spiritual enrichment for the 'First World'." 2 6 In other words, the more traditional and "authentic" the cultural products of "Third World" nations appear to be, the more highly the First World praises them. As Japan's first Nobel Prize winner, it is worth briefly considering the explorations of subjectivity, especially gendered subjectivity, in Kawabata's fiction. For Kawabata Japan's defeat in WW II was a severe shock that made him feel obligated to preserve what was left of what he saw to be Japan's essential beauty. This can be seen in early postwar works such as Senbazuru (1949-50, Thousand Cranes) and Koto (1961, The Old Capital). In his later works, Kawabata employs surrealistic techniques to tell stories that reveal his 33 exploration of modern gender. These stories include Nemureru bijo (1960; tr. 1969, The House of Sleeping Beauties) and "Kataude" (1965; tr. 1985, One Arm), both of which represent a "powerful and enlightening climax" in Kawabata's career.27 Both of the stories provide the most radical solution to the Kawabata male who desires to search for and then to preserve the purity of a virginal girl. Both stories feature an alienated, self-loathing male protagonist who is somehow "purified" or even spiritually "enlightened" by his contact with a beautiful "virginal whore." Aligning himself with Nakamura Mitsuo, Keene asserts that the men in Kawabata's works serve mainly to set off the women; as such, "they [that is, the male protagonists] are not the vehicles for the author's reflections and emotions as in an 'I novel'."28 However, I would argue on the contrary that Kawabata's female protagonists, who are constantly depicted as pure, erotic, and innocent, are merely ficelle characters that are there to prop up the male protagonist's pursuit of his "ideal."29 That is, despite their erotic potency, Kawabata's female protagonists are assigned roles of subordination around "the centrality of inactive, impotent, but dominant males," serving to bolster a cultural ideology of male domination.30 Oe Kenzaburo was the second Japanese writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, in 1994, 26 years after Kawabata. Oe represents a new generation of postwar male writers. In one of his earliest stories, "Shiiku" (Prize Stock, 1958), Oe deals with Japanese male experiences of war and occupation from the perspective of a boy—as he himself was at the time. Oe allegorically depicts the feelings shared by many Japanese young men after the war of betrayal committed by the symbolic father, and the havoc that this caused in people's lives. In "Ningen no hitsuji" (Human Sheep, 1958), another story 34 written during the same period, Oe portrays the inhumane and humiliating treatment experienced by the disempowered Japanese under the Allied occupation. Later, Oe criticizes Japan's political relationship with the United States in Man en gannen no futtobdru, (The Silent Cry, 1967); and proposes a critical reassessment of the postwar emperor and the emperor system as a whole in Waga namida o nuguitamau hi (The Day He Himself Shall Wipe M y Tears Away, 1972). Oe has gone through many changes in his nearly 50 year career so far, but in general it can be said that he is concerned with the meaning of being Japanese in a postwar national and international context, and is one of the representative postwar (male) writers who are implicitly or explicitly engaged in a search for something ineffable that Oe himself terms the "sublime."31 Like the writing of his contemporaries, Oe's literature often questions dogmas, institutions and national identities. The Flowering of Women's Writing from the 1950s to 1970s It was not until the late 1950s that many women were active in literary production. One of the first women to achieve mainstream recognition in this period was Enchi Fumiko. Perhaps taking a cue from the women's fiction published during the Occupation, Enchi also focused on themes of the residual destructive effects of the family system and the strictly determined gender roles for women. Enchi's most famous novels, Onnazaka (The Waiting Years, 1957;- tr. 1971) and Onnamen (Masks, 1958; tr. 1983) are representative works. The Waiting Years, awarded the Noma Literary Prize, portrays the jealousy and agony experienced by the wife and concubines of an upper-class politician in the Meiji period. It depicts the devastating effects that the ie seido institution had upon the women of that age, and analyzes the plight of women who had no choice but to accept the demeaning roles assigned by the patriarchal family system. Whereas The Waiting Years is historical fiction, Masks is an extremely complex multi-layered novel exploring contemporary women's empowerment within "the confines of an archetype spawned by a male-centric imaginary."32 The widowed Mieko, the protagonist of Masks, secretly carries out a plot to avenge her husband's past infidelity by creating her own maternal genealogy. Using the "feminine" tools of spirit possession and seduction, Michiko manages to produce an heir to her husband's family line, the semi-aristocratic Toganos, who in fact bears no Togano genes, but rather carries the genes of Michiko's former lover. Works such as these, which critique and sometimes subvert prewar gender structures (many of which continued into the postwar period in practice i f not in law), are typical of the writing of many women in the late 1950s and into the 1960s and drew important critical attention to the work of women writers. It was in the 1960s, however, that women's writing in Japan started to blossom out. Due to a substantial increase in the number of women writers getting published, and also to some remarkable qualitative changes in their writing, the 1960s and 1970s were dubbed by critics as a "Little Heian" after the great Heian period of women writers in the tenth and eleventh centuries. Although very few women writers had achieved mainstream critical attention before that point, Japanese women writers claimed nearly half of the major literary awards (such as Akutagawa Prize) in the 1960s and the 1970s.33 (As we shall see, there was a parallel phenomenon in Taiwan in the 1980s.) There are a number of reasons for the sudden rise of women's fiction in this period. The changes in women's rights under the Occupation, such as the revision of Japan's 36 Civil Code and the enactment of the new Constitution, had enshrined important civil liberties, providing Japanese women equality in marriage, education, and work. Moreover, birth control and abortion were legalized in the postwar period for the first time in decades.34 Although the full effects of such enormous changes took time to unfold, they gradually created a more level playing field for women writers in the 1960s and 1970s. In particular, these measures enabled women writers to gain access to literary venues which heretofore had been dominated by men. Attaining the legal right to equal social status (even i f not yet fully achieved in reality), women were able to assert themselves and to claim their rights to participate in public and cultural affairs. The economic surge since the late 1950s also gave rise to an important phenomenon in this context. Thanks to advances in home appliances and increasing affluence, some women were substantially relieved from the daily burden of domestic duties and thus were free to engage in their personal pursuits. The healthy economy combined with the postwar liberalization of the education system also meant that more women were educated and thereby prepared both to produce and consume literature. Having thus acquired a greater degree of literacy and financial freedom, women became powerful but as yet unexplored players in the cultural market place. Unprecedented progress in media development and technology also made publishing much easier than before. Fiction written by women or intended for women to read therefore became a brand new popular product to hit the market in the 1960s.35 It is the writing produced by women in this time period that will be the focus of my analysis in subsequent chapters. Among the most prominent women writers who were active during the late 1960s and 1970s are Kono Taeko, Oba Minako, Kurahashi Yumiko, 37 Tsushima Yuko, and Kanai Mieko. In contrast to their female predecessors, whose writing styles are realistic and autobiographical, and also in contrast to the work of the majority of male writers in the same time period, many of these women writers often feature fantasy and Utopian or dystopian worlds, parody, satire, and a focus on the grotesque.36 In particular, disturbing and offensive themes such as incest, explicit sado-masochism, amnesia, infanticide, cannibalism, murder, dismemberment, disfiguration and so on, are quite common in the fiction written by women of this era.37 Among them, Kono is well known for her graphic portrayal of women's psychology, particularly subversions of motherhood defined in terms of the "good mother," and subversions of female sexuality defined in terms of "sexual passiveness/submissiveness." Two of her representative works on this theme are "Yojigari" (Toddler-hunting, 1961; tr. 1991) which won her fame when it was awarded the Shinchosa Dojin Zasshi Award, and "Kani" (Crabs, 1963; tr. 1996) for which she was awarded Japan's highest literary honor, the Akutagawa Prize. The protagonists in these two works, as in most of Kono's other stories, are middle-aged women who cannot bear children because of tuberculosis, and have a particular aversion toward girls but on the contrary an excessive pedophilic interest in boys. Hayashi Akiko in "Yojigari" is an economically independent woman who impulsively buys boy clothes and enjoys imagining small boys putting them on. With no desire to get married, she develops a sadomasochistic sexual relationship with a man named Sasaki who is two years her junior. She indulges herself: having Sasaki whip her and grip her neck with necklaces or wash ropes while they are having sex. One night her kinky pursuit of this passion is so extreme that Akiko almost dies. After having this kind of sex with Sasaki, she always ends up longing emphatically to have a little boy. She 38 fantasizes that little boys, the object of her sadistic sexual urges, are chastised by their fathers. The fantasies turn beyond simple punishment into tyrannizing violence, such as burning and disemboweling. Defying categorization, Kono's female characters tend to reject the conventional domestic life and the traditional feminine ideal. In contrast to Kono's anti-motherliness, Oba Minako writes specifically from the position of "mother-as-subject," focalizing on the seldom articulated experience of maternality.38 "Sanbiki no kani" (The Three Crabs, 1968; tr. 1982), for which Oba won both the Gunzo New Writer's Prize and the Akutagawa Prize, explores the constitution of the family and the subject construction of the mother. Also written from the position of mother-as-subject, her "Yamauba no bisho" (The Smile of the Mountain Witch, 1976; tr. 1991) sympathetically explores the behavior of the allegedly irrational, alien, and threatening female demon that is believed to live within all women. Using the topos of the yamauba—the demon woman who devours men—as "the embodiment of all women who defy the constricting rules of society,"39 Oba acknowledges the distinctiveness of women and reveals the ways in which society condemns that very difference as pathological. For Oba, all women are yamauba at heart. The yamauba's struggle is emblematic of the difficulties women encounter when they try to represent their experiences within a patriarchal code that is designed to exclude and deny them. As such, Oba often creates unwomanly yet autonomous women, especially mothers, who deviate significantly from the stereotyped or idealized norms and conventions prescribed for women. Oba's other works will be discussed in further detail in a later chapter. Among the women writers of the 1960s and the 1970s, Kanai Mieko explores some of the most offensive themes and presents some of the most disturbing images in her 39 stories that deconstruct the family system. In these works, such as "Kikan" (The Home-coming, 1970), "Usagi" (Rabbits, 1972; tr. 1982), "Funiku" (Rotting Meat, 1972; tr. 1997), and "Boshizo" (Portrait of Mother and Child, 1972), Kanai, using the female body as a source of metaphor, a locus of structural analogy (as Enchi Fumiko did in Masks), makes visible the ways the body has been gendered to produce and maintain the power economies of patriarchy. In the following chapter, Kanai's "Rotting Meat," which best represents her use of the body as metaphor will be further discussed to demonstrate the point. Most women writers have been regarded as less important by Japanese literary critics because their writing is deemed limited to the "physical" or "private" areas of life. However, since both gender and the body are historically and culturally deterrmned, the personal is in effect the political. 4 0 Moreover, women writers' texts of this period that return to the body are indeed political in the sense that they propose and enact a politics of resistance to hegemonic patriarchal discourse and institutions. As Orbaugh puts it, "by appropriating aspects of the gendered-based power economies and inverting them, collapsing them, twisting them, and by exaggerating them through rendering them literal," Kono, Oba, Kanai, and others make obvious "the grotesqueries, absurdities, and actual dangers to women that are glossed over by abstract, intellectualized narratives of power."41 While Japanese women writers in the 1960s and 70s showed great concern with gendered subjectivity in the specific social, political and cultural circumstances of Japan, they rarely address issues of colonial/postcolonial subjectivity, or the meaning of Japanese national identity in an international hierarchy of nations. (There are exceptions 40 to this, as we shall see in Chapter Four, when we look at the work of Oba Minako.) This is one of the most salient points of contrast between the Japanese and Taiwanese women writers addressed in this dissertation, and I will return to this point several times in the discussion to follow. The Origins of Modern Taiwanese Literature Since the 17 century Taiwan's culture has often been influenced by visitors from abroad. Taiwan has been colonized several times: first by Dutch in 1624, by Spain 1626,42 and by Japan from 1895 until 1945. Some people also consider the K M T rule of Taiwan, from 1949 until the repeal of martial law in 1987, to have been a form of colonization as well. As the last four hundred years of the island's history indicates, Taiwan is commonly considered to have had a ruptured history of repetitive colonization. As ambiguous as its sovereign status and as complicated as its history, the modern literature created in this island was profoundly affected by many an "external" factor. These include the effects of Japanese imperialism during its colonial rule (1895-1945); the May Fourth Cultural Movement in China in 1919; the authoritarian Nationalist (KMT) control of Taiwan in its resistance to the Communist regime across the strait after 1949; as well as Western literary ideas gradually introduced since the early 20 t h century. Due to a number of periods of political turbulence, Taiwanese writers have frequently been restricted to the specific themes favoured by the government in power. Reflecting Taiwan's social and political history, Taiwanese literature is a profoundly hybrid phenomenon. When Japan took over Taiwan in 1895, the newly installed colonial government applied the French assimilationist model; i.e. Japan planned to effectively modernize Taiwan and assimilate the Taiwanese people to Japanese culture. Accordingly, the 41 Japanese rule embarked upon a project to rapidly modernize Taiwan's infrastructure—such as the transportation and communication networks that facilitate rapid economic growth—so it could become a replica of rapidly modernizing Japan. The initial response of the Taiwanese to Japanese colonization was armed rebellion. These uprisings were sporadic, yet fierce from time to time, but were largely contained and brutally suppressed by 1902, although relatively minor rebellions still occurred in subsequent years. In the mid-1920s, members of the intelligentsia involved in the Taiwan wenhua xiehui -teMJcftMff (Taiwan Cultural Association, 1921-31) began a new form of revolt: they initiated a large-scale cultural reform movement with an explicitly political agenda. Lai He (1894-1943), one of the key figures of the movement, advocated what he called the Taiwan xin wenxue yundong l^^c^MWi (Taiwan New Literature movement), which can be seen as an echo of the ba-hua wenxue yundong &ffi$M}MM (Vernacular Literature movement) that had transformed Chinese literature a few years earlier. Seeking an effective way to create an indigenous, vernacular written language and employing it in depicting Taiwan's unique and hybrid identity, the Taiwan New Literature movement became an integral part of a new phase of socio-political resistance by the Taiwanese people to Japanese colonial rule. Frequently regarded as the "father" of Taiwanese literature, Lai refused to write in Japanese although he had been educated in Japan as a physician.43 Due to the lack of a written vernacular Taiwanese language, Lai and other intellectuals attempted to develop a new national language based on the native tongue. Unsurprisingly, since this effort was conceived as a linguistic strategy of resistance and as a means of asserting Taiwanese identity, such a project was quickly suppressed by the colonial government. 42 By the 1930s, a new generation of Taiwanese intellectuals had emerged to help the maturation of Taiwanese New Literature. Educated in the Japanese system, these people felt little allegiance to their Chinese past. Unlike their predecessors, who seemed fixated on the abuses arising from the colonial government's laws, writers of the new generation tended to present both the evil and the benign sides of colonial rule, in spite of rampant discriminatory practices against native Taiwanese.44 Maintaining close relations with and easy access to the literary institutions in Japan, these new writers gained a closer grasp of Western artistic concepts via Japan's westernized/modernized literature. Writers such as Yang Kui , Zhang Wenhuan, and Lu Heruo, who were strongly concerned with issues of social justice advocated by the Proletarian Literature movement, were considered Taiwan's nativist writers. Writing mainly in Japanese, these authors revealed a complex attitude toward their colonizer: their works often demonstrate an anti-imperialist spirit by revealing the ways the Japanese played the role of the oppressors, but also implicitly or explicitly acknowledge Japan as the provider of cultural prestige. In 1937 Japan was once again officially at war with China. Kobayashi Seizo, the seventeenth governor-general of Taiwan, implemented a policy of kominka S S f h , or "imperialization," which embraced a number of government-sponsored assimiiationist programs and reforms to gain Taiwan's inhabitants' commitment to Japan's war effort and nationalistic aspirations. The first kominka measure was to replace Chinese language with kokugo HIS (the modem, standard vernacular Japanese); the use of Chinese was banned in all public media, and local inhabitants were required to adopt Japanese family names.45 Many of the activities engaged in by Taiwan's nativist writers were banned, including the production of works with leftist themes. Many of the important writers of the 1940s such 43 as Zhou Jinpo, Wang Changxiong, and Chen Huoquan, grappled with the question of how they could become imperial subjects and depicted the predicament of reconciling their Taiwanese roots with the Japanese intellectual world in which they lived. They have been called "imperial-subject" writers because of their seemingly unquestioning loyalty to Japan, its emperor, and its culture. Although their works were later considered to constitute traitorous advocacy of the colonizer's interests, Faye Yuan Kleeman points out that the work of these writers can also be read as an ironic attempt to "subvert the oppressor's power by mimicking his language."46 Molded by influences from the Japanese educational, political and cultural systems, the modern literary form called Taiwanese New Literature significantly departed from the classical Chinese tradition. Although its evolution abruptly ended at the conclusion of World War Two when Taiwan was returned to China, the legacy of the Taiwanese New Literature movement provided a vital nourishing source for the bentuhua, #±ik (nativization, or localization) movement that reemerged in the 1970s. Not until the 1970s when the xiangtu wenxue lunzhan M±.~$MWI$, (Nativist literary debate) unfolded did intellectuals start to call for a specifically Taiwanese consciousness in literary creativity and for a re-evaluation of Taiwan's native culture, which had long been belittled and neglected. Until the late 1980s, Taiwanese literature was still called "xiangtu" (regional) literature, or "bentu" #± (nativist) literature—a subset of "mainstream" Chinese literature, in other words. It was only towards the end of the 1980s that it gained its proper name as Taiwanese literature. More important than the name was the recognition that Taiwanese literature differed substantially from "mainstream" Chinese literature, the recognition that it truly was a distinct national/cultural form. After 44 that recognition, the issue of the definition of Taiwanese literature has been a major concern for many writers and scholars. From a historical point of view, Taiwanese literature has a distinct identity with its own historical origins and unique tradition. To study Taiwanese literature simply as a sub-category of Mainland Chinese literature would therefore overlook many of the issues that lie at the heart of Taiwanese writers' engagement with their historical/cultural moment, and the resulting hybridity and heterogeneity that characterizes Taiwanese literature. Ye Shitao, a veteran writer and literary critic from the Japanese colonial period, was the first to establish an historiography of Taiwanese literature, in 1987. He did this by reexamining Taiwanese works since the 1920s, especially those that had been suppressed either by Japan's colonial rule or by the Nationalist government. The year that his historical outline of Taiwanese literature was published, under the title of Taiwan wenxue shigang (Chronicle of Taiwan Literature), martial law was finally lifted. Ye pointed out that: "Taiwan has been invaded and ruled by foreign powers at various periods of time; accordingly, the history of Taiwanese literature is a genuine account of people's resistance against colonial rule, as well as their seeking for freedom, democracy, and 'political,' 'economical,' and 'social' equality."47 Following this, Peng Reijin published Taiwan xinwenxue yundong sishinian (Forty Years of Taiwan's New Literature Movement) in 1991. With more detailed historical evidence, Peng attempted to establish a paradigm premised on the basic substance of Taiwanese literature, which arguably can be employed to link up Taiwanese literature's past with its future. According to Ye and Peng, modern Taiwanese literature was born in the 1920s amid the aforementioned Taiwanese New Literature movement, an aggregate of literary 45 conventions, critical discourses, and aesthetic assumptions that was stimulated and influenced by both the May Fourth Movement in China and the proletarian literary movement in Japan.48 Their historical account of Taiwanese literature, emphasizing the continuity of a tradition of anti-colonialism and anti-feudalism, is intended to (re)construct the "subjectivity" of Taiwanese literature, which had long been suppressed in the master narrative of the ruling power. Peng asserted that any work that is rooted in this island and sincerely reflects "the history and reality of the lives of the people living on the island of Taiwan" was eligible to be called Taiwan literature, regardless of the place of birth of its author.49 Nonetheless, most works by non-Taiwanese writers or women writers have tended to be either marginalized vrithin or entirely excluded from the definition of modern Taiwanese literature due to their failure to "identify with the land/Taiwan," or their failure to depict anti-colonial resistance. I agree in general with Peng's definition of Taiwanese literature; however, as Taiwanese literature has been continuously created by members of the various ethnic groups that comprise Taiwan's society, the definition of Taiwanese literature should be broadened to recognize and acclaim its tradition of heterogeneity, as articulated by its multi-ethnic groups and communities and writers of all genders. In the following sections, 1 will look into the vigorous literary development in Taiwan in the post-World War Two years—i.e. the nostalgic Anti-Communist literature of the 1950s, the modernist literary movement of the 1960s, the revival of nativist literature in the 1970s, and the pluralism in the 1980s and beyond—in order to examine how modern Taiwanese literature has evolved and how Taiwanese subjectivity has been constructed and expressed in the writing of different periods of time. 46 Nostalgic Anti-Communist Literature Taiwan was retroceded to China on October 25,1945; the "China" recognized by the Allied nations at that time was the government of Generalissimo Chiang Kaishek's Nationalist Party (KMT). Upon the retreat of the Nationalist government to the island in 1949, Taiwan became the only territory/province of effective jurisdiction of the Republic of China (ROC). In order to purge any lingering remains of Japanese colonial influence, a policy of Chinese nationalism was re-imposed on the island and its people. From then on, the standardized curriculum had stressed Chinese culture at the expense of native Taiwanese culture. In eradicating the remnants of Japanese nationalism in Taiwan, the K M T government officially banned the use of the Japanese language in 1946, and implemented the Guoyu (North China Mandarin) language movement. Educated in Japanese, native Taiwanese writers were not only hampered by the language barrier but silenced out of fear of political persecution, particularly after the February 28 incident of 1947.50 Under these circumstances, the literary scene of the 1950s was dominated by mainiander writers who had retreated with the K M T government to Taiwan in 1949.51 Upon its defeat on the mainland, the K M T cast its conflict with communism in nationalist terms, claiming that the island was a vital base in their attempt to recover the mainland and resurrect the government of the Republic of China. Most mainiander writers were mobilized in the state-sponsored cultural programs that explicitly or implicitly worked towards the state's anti-Communist agenda. Memories of their place of origin, the agonies of losing families, and the torment of personal trauma caused by the communist rebels are the major themes of this period's nostalgic anti-Communism literature. Representative works include Jiang Gui's novel Xuanfeng 47 (The Whirlwind, 1957; tr. 1977) and Chen Jiying's D-cunzhuan (Fool in the Reeds, 1955; tr. 1959). On the other hand, in promoting traditional culture as a means of asserting its own legitimacy of acting as the Chinese only legitimate government, works by Zhu Ziqing and X u Zhimo were selected for high school textbooks to support and circulate the ideology of the state through education.52 Both Zhu Ziqing and X u Zhimo were well-known poets and essayists after the May Fourth Movement; in particular X u was one of the first Chinese writers to have successfully naturalized Western romantic forms into modern Chinese poetry. Their works were intentionally selected by the government to emphasis the lyrical trend of Chinese New Literature from the pre-1949 era, not for the purpose of anti-communism but establishing a sentimental link with Chinese culture more broadly. In response to the state's cultural policy, some mainlander writers, such as Zhang Xiuya, Y u Guangzhong and Qi Jun, attempted in their works to retain archaic expressions and allusions to classical literature, meanwhile avoiding sensitive political issues. To the eye of Taiwanese literary historians, the literature of the 1950s was bleak and barren as native Taiwanese writers were silenced whereas the works of mainlander writers were totally incorporated under the state's ideology. 5 3 Nonetheless, Gong Pengcheng, among others, stands opposed to the exclusivism arising from the Taiwan-centered viewpoint of Taiwanese literary historians and vehemently criticizes them for overlooking the literary activities and contributions made by non-Taiwanese writers (that is, writers who came to Taiwan from the mainland) to the overall Taiwanese literary scene.54 Indeed, a narrative that emphasizes the resistance of the colonized is necessary in reconstructing Taiwanese identity; however, once the consciousness of Taiwan-as-distinct-nation/culture has been reconstructed, studies of Taiwanese literature 48 should be able to embrace the voices from all of the island's various ethnic groups and communities, including the newly arrived mainlanders. Continually modifying his definition of Taiwanese literature in accordance with the changing socio-political situation, Ye points out in a recent article that "multi-ethnic" should be regarded as one of the most distinctive characteristics of modern Taiwanese literature.55 If we think about the history of modern Taiwanese literature from a perspective other than Taiwanese chauvinism, the literary environment of the 1950s has a completely different appearance. For example, this was a time of relative productivity and energy on the part of women writers, particularly as compared to the previous decades under Japan's colonial rule. Influenced by the May Fourth Movement, a number of relatively well-educated female mainiander writers provided a significant new stimulus to the literary scene that had previously been dominated by male writers.56 Although the majority of literary works in the 1950s were either inspired by nostalgia for lost hometowns or were set in mainland China, some women writers shifted their thematic focus from the socio-historical domains to the private. While male writers conjured up pictures of the homeland to soothe their homesickness, female writers depicted their determination to settle down in Taiwan and their identification with the en island. While the former strove to sustain the orthodox concepts of family and nation, the latter developed a "shifted" identity with Taiwan's territory, and pondered family and gender roles from various other points of view. Feeling the pull and the rupture between the old and new symbolic orders, women writers had the openness to explore and reformulate their identity. They tackled issues such as the repressive nature of traditional Chinese family and marriage systems, and women's rights to education and jobs. 49 Mainiander women writers, such as Lin Haiyin, Xie Bingying and Zhang Shuhan, wrote positively of the intermarriage between Taiwanese and mainlanders, suggesting that thereby the ethnic confrontations between the two groups could gradually, i f not immediately, die out. Despite their productivity during this period, these women writers have been mostly left out of the canon of Taiwanese literature. It is argued that their writing is "light weight" and lacks the moral of ganshi youguo WS&WM (anxiety over the times and national situation), a standard criterion used in the construction of the Taiwanese literary canon. From this "canonical" point of view, the issues women writers are dealing with are deemed too "private" and domestic, lacking serious commitment to the betterment of society.58 However, through writing about the physical and private areas of life, women writers did succeed in revealing how their identities were entangled with the politics and history of the time, and started to challenge the cultural hegemony. The general climate of the 1950s was not considered conducive to the production of serious art, and most of the writing produced in this period was irrevocably embedded in the conservative, dominant culture. On balance, however, i f we avoid examining these works from a point of view that privileges male writers and native Taiwanese nationalism, we discover that the multiplicities and complexities of the literature of this time reflect the contemporary cultural and political environment in significant ways. Modernist Literary Movement Taiwan in the 1960s saw its economy booming and domestic politics less fraught, although the government overall still retained authoritarian control of society, and people 50 were not without fear of persecution. In general, both writers and readers had lost interest in the theme of nostalgic anti-communism. The increasingly dynamic interactions with Western countries, endorsed by the government, had profound effects on all aspects of Taiwan's society, motivating a surge in Westernization discourses. Writers started to explore and enjoy the so-called "Modernist literary movement," which has been characterized by C T . Hsia as a "literary renascence."59 The Modernist literary movement may be seen as another major effort of Taiwanese intellectuals to emulate Western high culture since the May Fourth Movement. 6 0 When they adopted literary concepts developed in Western capitalist societies, the Modernists naturally absorbed and accepted bourgeois social values.61 Individualism, liberalism and rationalism were "horizontally transplanted" from the West as remedies for the rather oppressive social relations in most Asian societies, including China and Taiwan. The publication of the literary magazine Xiandai wenxue Mtt3C^ (Modern literature), founded in 1960 by a group of young writers who were at the time still undergraduate students in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at National Taiwan University, marked the beginning of the Modernist literary trend. In its inaugural issue, Bai Xianyoun, one of the founders, expressed the editors' literary dilemma and grave concerns for the future of "Chinese literature."62 Regarding nostalgic anti-Communist literature as psychologically debilitating, they desired to create new artistic forms and styles to conduct what they called "constructive destruction."63 In addition to creative works produced by Chinese writers, their magazine also introduced the movements, trends, criticism and thought of the contemporary Western arts. Specifically, they translated representative works of Western writers such as Franz Kafka, 51 James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and William Faulkner. This bimonthly magazine published fifty-two issues, discovering and training writers such as Wang Wenxing, Chen Yingzhen, Wang Zhenhe, Huang Chunming, Chen Ruoxi, Ouyang Z i , Shi Shuqing, and L i Ang, who went on to make critical contributions to the development of modern Taiwan literature. Stressing the principle of artistic autonomy, Modernist writers experimented with allegory, stream of consciousness, and allusion, in order to explore themes like the emergence of individualism and the breakdown of relational forms of subjectivity. Bai Xianyoung's Niezi (Crystal Boys, 1983; tr. 1990) and Wang Wenxing's Jiabian (Family Catastrophe, 1973; tr.1995), both sharing the theme of father-son conflict, represent two of the most significant Modernist works of the time. They both provided a radical cultural examination and thus called into question the very foundations of contemporary Taiwan society. Both works vigorously protested traditional ethical norms, characterized by the Confucianist concepts of zhong (loyalty) and xiao (filial peity). In her Modernism and the Nativist Resistance: Contemporary Chinese Fiction from Taiwan, a critical examination of Taiwan's Modernist literary movement, Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang points out that the constant searching for paternal surrogates in Crystal Boys and Family Catastrophe "betrays their authors' anxiety over the general corruption of the terms governing human relationships in contemporary Taiwan society, terms that in history were solidly built on the patriarchal order."64 Absorbed with Western existentialism and psychoanalysis, female Modernist writers like Chen Ruoxi, Ouyang Z i , Shi Shuqing and L i Ang often used symbolism to create fictional worlds of fantasy and absurdity. Alternating the polarities of imprisonment/escape, illness/strength, and destruction/completeness, Shi Shuqing's 52 "Nixiangmen de jidian" (The Ritual of the Clay Idol, 1969; tr. 1975) explores the fantastic structure of the human imagination. With realistic portraits of juvenile psychology, L i Ang's "Huaji" (Flower Season, 1968; tr. 1990) demonstrates an excellent example of "the technique of constructing the story's symbolic structure through an extraneously derived referential framework."65 In her story "Huaping" (Vase, 1961), Ouyang Z i also employs psychology to depict the self-entrapment of men and women, and the alienation caused by the objective truth of reality. At the time, most of the female Modernist writers zealously imitated and internalized the orthodox values and standards of the intellectual community—values and standards often defined from a male perspective. According to Elaine Showalter's three phases of historical development of women's literature, the writing of the female Modernists at this point in time can be seen as "feminine literature."66 In other words, although the Modernist women writers still had not dealt with women's issues from a feminist perspective, their writing often displayed a deep awareness of the constraints imposed upon women in modern society, and a desire for an idealized neutrality toward gender issues. During this time period, when the authority of the government was still very much heightened by the maintenance of martial law, Modernist writers were either unable to discern or unwilling to take on the socio-political conditions that caused the general cultural climate to be stagnant and stifling. Although their motif of alienation and isolation is often accused by nativist or conservative critics of being immorally disengaged from the current socio-political crisis, Modernist writers did manage to develop beyond the perimeter of state policy and establish a set of writing paradigms opposing state control and resisting compromise with the status quo of cultural recession. 53 The Nativist Literary Debate Although the Modernist literary movement attracted many followers and became the mainstream of the literary scene in the 1960s, it had been largely incorporated into the dominant culture by the late 1970s and thus infuriated groups of native critics who denounced the work of westernized Modernists and instead advocated a nativist, socially responsible literature. Growing out of opposition to the ideology-bound anti-communist literature of the 1950s and the dominant Modernist trend of the 1960s, the counter-hegemonic Nativist activity reached its peak when the fierce Nativist literary debate (Xiangtu wenxue Ivnzhan J&fc2SSPiMR) unfolded in 1977 and 1978. As the first truly oppositional formation since 1949, the Nativist movement arose from the accumulated frustrations of Taiwan's native intellectuals who were brought up after the war. Their frustrations were further exacerbated by adverse developments in Taiwan's socio-political milieu; there was a deterioration of many aspects of life beginning in the early 1970s. On the international scene, for instance, in 1971 Taiwan saw its expulsion from the United Nations and Richard Nixon's state visit to the People's Republic of China (PRC), the archenemy of the ROC government on Taiwan. Also, Taiwan saw its diplomatic relations with Japan severed in 1972 and, worse yet, with the United States in late 1978. This cluster of political setbacks not only resulted in Taiwan's international isolation but also gave rise to a turbulent crisis of national identity, particularly among its intellectuals.67 Such domestic turbulence provided the native intellectuals an opportunity to vent the discontent that they had been storing up for years: e.g., their resentment about the unbalanced power distribution between mainlanders and native Taiwanese, and in particular the government's persecutions of dissidents; concerns about the socio-economic 54 problems created by industrialization; and anxiety over the country's future after the other China (PRC) had won its political legitimacy from most of the major powers of the world, including former staunch allies of Taiwan, Japan and the U.S. Although the Nativists ostensibly waged their battle in the realm of literature, their ultimate goal was to challenge the existing unjustifiable socio-political order. Their proclaimed goals were threefold: to undo the political myth of the Nationalist government, to denounce bourgeois-capitalist social values, and to battle Western cultural imperialism. They intentionally launched bitter attacks on the government's economic dependence on Western countries, especially on the United States. They attempted to draw people's attention to the adverse effects of capitalism upon the farmers, fishermen, and workers who often were exploited in the process of urban expansion. Viewed as a product of the capitalist West, the Modernist literary movement became an easy scapegoat and was literally accused by the Nativist critics of collaborating with foreign cultural imperialism.68 It is arguable that the political agenda of Nativist literary criticism is fraught with oversimplifications and dogmatism. However, it undeniably had great impact by calling attention to sensitive issues, such as the intractable "provincial identity" (shengji ^ f | ) complex,6 9 and the constant conflict between indigenous and foreign cultural forms. The origins of the Nativist literary movement and its debates can be traced back to the 1930s when "xiangtu wenxue" (regional or nativist literature) and "Taiwan huawen" (Taiwanese vernacular) were advocated under the influences of the Proletarian literature movement in Japan and the vernacular literature movement in China, as I have indicated above. It is widely agreed that Nativist literature began as early as "Yigan chengzi" (The 55 Scale, 1926) written by Lai He. Nearly half a century later, in the 1970s, the intervening political and cultural disruptions (especially Japan's implementation of kominka and later the K M T government's resurrection of Sinology) ensured that anti-imperialism and Taiwanese consciousness still constituted the core spirit of Nativist literature. The Nativist literature of the 1970s uses the "rustic" Taiwanese dialect mixed with Mandarin to narrate realistic stories of socially underprivileged groups, such as farmers and workers. The principles of Nativist literature assert that the time and place described in a literary work should be closely associated with the island of Taiwan and its people. Chief among the Nativist writers are Huang Chunming, Wang Zhenhe, Chen Yingzhen, Zhong Lihe, Ye Shitao, Zhong Zhaozheng, and L i Qiao. Huang Chvmming's "Erzi de dawanou" (His Son's Big Doll , 1967) depicts the thoughts and feelings of the lower class, revealing the interiority of characters that appear to be opaque and inaccessible to mainstream society. In a profane but comical tone, Wang Zhen-he depicts the tensions between urban and rural, native Taiwanese and mainlanders, and the prostitution of women in both the war effort and the development of the global capitalist economy in his prominent works like "Jiazhuang yi niuche" (An Oxcart for Dowry, 1967), or Meigui, Meigui, woaini (Rose, Rose, I love you, 1984). The Nativist literary movement was not the only major event in the literary scene of the mid-1970s and the early the 1980s. Of equal moment is the notable increase of young women writers. From this boom in women's literature came writers like Xiao Sa, Liao Huiying, L i Ang, Xiao Lihong, Jiang Xiaoyun, Zhu Tianwen, Zhu Tianxin, Su Weizhen, and Yuan Qiongqiong, whose names frequently appeared in the literary supplements of major newspapers and best-seller lists in Taiwan. Some women writers of this period 56 claimed profound influence from mainland (non-Taiwanese) writer Zhang Ailing (Eileen Zhang); they focused on topics of domestic relationships between men and women in a lyrical, sentimentalized writing style.70 Despite the wide variety of their writing, all the literary works by women at this time were categorized as "quixiu wenxue" W&§"$£M (feminine literature), and failed to receive positive critical notice. Lit Zhenghui, a defender of realist literature, has suggested that the phenomenon of "feminine literature" was sustained by the Nationalist government, which used its control of the media to restrain the frenzy of Nativist literature.71 Yang Zhao also argues that the writers revolving around the Sanson shufan Z H f i (Double-three Bookstore)72, with Zhu Tianwen as one of its leading and founding members, were essentially pro-government because of their sentimentally conceived cultural sinocentrism.73 Nonetheless, as Louis Montrose points out, instead of being static, singular and homogeneous, the notion of ideology is "heterogeneous, unstable, permeable and processual."74 Ideological concepts expressed in a single writer's literary works or in a certain literary trend should be seen as endless interrelations "between movements and tendencies both within and beyond a specific and effective dominance."75 Although some of the so-called "feminine literature" does favor the nationalist ideology of Chinese national imagination, their writing also contains subversive significance vis-a-vis the nationalist ideological project of nation-building. A case in point is Xiao Lihong's Guihuaxiang (Cassia Lane, 1977), a work notable as a literary site for the intersection between Nativist literature and women's writing. 7 6 Written in a dialectal style, Cassia Lane tells the story of a young woman from a fishing village who struggles with the patriarchal tradition that suppressed and controlled female sexual desires. Although 57 Cassia Lane echoes Eileen Zhang's Yuannii (lamenting women) style, the story in itself plays an implicit role in the struggle over the construction of a national imagination. In his comments on another of Xiao Lihong's novels, Qianjiang you shui qiajiang yue (A Thousand Moons on a Thousand Rivers, 198.1; tr. 2000), Yang Zhao points out that Xiao employed the literary languages of both the Nativist School and the Double Three School of writers, yet promoted neither critical ideology. Ultimately, however, she was co-opted by Nativism. 7 7 Unlike A Thousand Moons on a Thousand Rivers, which stresses the nostalgic aspect of Nativist realism but remains vague on the critical components of Nativism, Cassia Lane questions the male-centered viewpoint of "native place imagination" from a hitherto neglected gender perspective. In Nativist literature, while male writers evoke Taiwan as the homeland in order to reflect on nostalgia and romanticism, or to chastise the exploitation of industry and commerce, women writers like Xiao Lihong and Chen Ye are more concerned about their gendered situation in society. The "native place" or "original homeland" in women's writing is not a pristine site that offers salvation, but a fetter shackling women in the name of "tradition." As Qiu Quifen points out, those male-sanctioned positive aspects of Nativist literature do not necessarily constitute the experience of women, as exploitation, control and suppression already existed in the so-called native traditional, homeland, long before "outside" influences arrived.78 Generally speaking, the Nativist work produced in the 1970s is not always evaluated positively because its excessive concern over ideology is regarded as an impediment to literary achievement. However, just as Modernist literature continued to flourish despite the rise of the Nativist literature movement, neither did Nativist literature cease to 58 advance, even after the Nativist literary debate came to an abrupt end in 1979 when several prominent Nativist members exited the literary scene and involved themselves directly in the rising political protests. On balance, the Nativist literature of the 1970s paves the way for the rise a decade later of a more popular "serious" literature that displays a sharp increase in social awareness and formal consciousness. Indeed, in the 1980s Taiwanese literature ushered in a new era of pluralism, to which now we turn. Pluralism of the 1980s and beyond By the mid-1980s Taiwan had achieved remarkable success in the process of modernization, and had transformed itself into a prosperous, fast-growing economy—one of the so-called "Four Asian Dragons." In 1987 with the lifting of martial law and the formation of an opposition party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), a new, more democratic era began in Taiwan. As freedom of speech was now possible and different ideologies were allowed to compete in society, the 1980s saw the genuine liberation of people's minds as well as their words for the first time in Taiwan's history. Writers became bolder in taking up taboo subjects that had been anathema, such as sexual subjects, debates on Taiwan's future and its fundamental political structure, and personal recollections of the unpleasant past, most of which had to do with the February 28 incident of 1947. It was as i f a wide variety of literary flowers were poised to come into full bloom after long enduring a frosty winter. The literary scene since the 1980s has been largely dominated by the so-called baby-boom generation who refuse to see political contention as the function of literature. Inextricably involved in the country's booming mass media, the younger writers are more 59 concerned with popularity, and with various issues that affect Taiwan's middle-class urbanites. Some writers, such as Haung Fan, Li Ang, and Chen Yingzhen, offer critiques on multinational capitalism and power distribution on the Island. Others, such as Xiao Sa, Liao Huiying, and Yuan Qiongqiong, investigate new social factors that have changed the ordinary people's ways of life, focusing mostly on heterosexual and extramarital relationships. Compared with their predecessors, the young generation, whether progressively or conservatively inclined, faithfully reflect more varied attitudes and divergent values in their writing in the face of the new political situation. In an increasingly globalized milieu, the transnational nature of cultural forms has blurred the border-line that used to demarcate the foreign from the indigenous. The literature of the 1980s is characterized by pluralism as writers' approaches are much more diverse. While assimilating the Modernists' technical sophistication as well as demonstrating their social awareness thanks to the Nativist influence, the young generation of writers contributes significant heterogeneity to the literary scene at this time. This new generation of literature is an orchestration of a multitude of discordant "voices," as suggested in the title of a collection of essays by Wang Derwei, a distinguished critic who has written extensively on Chinese fiction, Zhongsheng xuanhua (Polyphonic clamor, 79 1988). In the current literary scene there are several prominent literary genres: juancun #t^(military compound) literature,80 works that depict lives of the second-generation mainlanders raised in military housing compounds; zhengzhi xiaoshuo-Wth'l^ (political fiction) with a special subgenre for the February 28 incident; neo-nativist literature; resistance literature; feminist works; science fiction, etc. Thanks to society's newly-acquired openness and freedom, the influence of the 60 international feminist movement was also able to exert a greater impact on progressive intellectuals. The women's movement of Taiwan, emerging in the early 1970s, was promoted by the current ROC Vice President Xiulian Annette L u . 8 1 On Lu's heels, L i Yuanzhen, a college professor, started a magazine called Funti xinzhi (Awakening Women) in 1982, seeking to shore up the self-consciousness of women and striving to strengthen women's legal rights. Later, the first private women's organization, the Awakening Foundation, was founded in 1987. Studies of feminist literature began to appear in magazines and journals as of 1986. Notably, the Eugenics Protection Law was passed in 1984 to make legal abortion available for women i f a pregnancy might damage her mental health or might do her family harm. This piece of legislation marked a milestone in substantially advancing women's reproductive choices and their legal rights. However, women writers of the younger generation respond to these waves of feminist thought in a variety of ways. On the one hand, there are explicit feminist reflections such as L i Ang's Snafu (The Butcher's Wife, 1984; tr. 1986) and "Anye" (Dark Night, 1985), Xiao Sa's "Zouguo congqian" (Out of the Past), and Liao Huiying's Mangdain (Blind Spot, 1986). Their works candidly uncover the exploitative nature of traditional marriage and depict stories of courageous women who strive to assert their subjectivity. On the other hand, there are ultraconservative women writers such as Xiao Lihong, Yuan Qiongqiong, and Jiang Xiaoyun, who focus mostly on heterosexual relationships and praise the "traditional virtues of female self-sacrifice and self-denial in protest against the expanding utilitarianism of Taiwan's urban society." Despite their different reactions to feminist thinking, women writers of this younger generation have made more valuable contributions than did their predecessors to an enhanced 61 understanding of Taiwan's gender ideology and women's changing status. The gender ideology addressed in their works shares a number of common motifs such as late marriage, divorce, extramarital relationships, prostitution and juvenile delinquency; these literary concerns have demonstrated them to be important writers of contemporary Taiwan who have made efforts to reflect and rectify the patriarchal definition of women. The conceptual notions of postmodernism introduced into Taiwan in the mid-1980s mingled with post-martial-law politics, fostering the dynamics of pluralism at the time. A l l kinds of different views were circulated and all artistic approaches were competing in novelty and attraction. The great flowering of women's writing began in the 1970s, and over the last two decades women's writing has occupied a significant place in the literary scene. From the 1980s, almost all the literary awards went to young women writers. (This is similar to the situation experienced by female writers in Japan in the 1960s and thereafter.) Despite inimical attacks from those male critics who have long held a traditional deprecatory attitude toward women's literature, of whom Lu Zhenghui is a prime example, women writers have already become leading players in almost every aspect of this literary renaissance. As the critic Peng Xiaoyan points out, the writing of history and fiction that addresses political issues used to be a terrain exclusive to male writers.84 The repeal of martial law changed all that, and thereafter Taiwanese literature underwent a transformation. In response to this epoch-making event, women writers such as L i Ang, Ping Lu, and Zhu Tianxin tackled issues of national narrative, ideology, collective memory, and the problems of ethnicity in their recent fiction. Unlike male writers who usually approach political fiction with a direct interrogation of the national narrative, 62 women writers' works are more concerned with issues of gender identity and national identity, displaying the many layers of paradoxes underlying women's identity.85 L i Ang's Labyrinthine Garden and Zhu Tianxin's Gudu (The Ancient Capital, 1997) can be regarded as two of the most representative of such works, reflecting the profound transformation that is currently taking place in women's literature. The former depicts the entanglement of women's growth and development with Taiwan's reconstructed colonial history; the latter employs a female sensibility of memory as the departure point to surmount the ideological struggle over Taiwan's national identity. In the third and fourth chapters, I will investigate these two works, in comparison with each one's selected Japanese counterpart, to critically examine how national identity and gender identity are addressed in contemporary Taiwanese women's writing. Conclusion Above I have briefly delineated the contours of Japanese and Taiwanese modern literatures, in particular the socio-political and historical milieu that those literatures both grew out of and helped to create. Japanese writers started to enjoy true freedom of expression as early as 1952 when the U.S. occupation ended. In contrast, it was not until martial law was lifted in 1987 that Taiwanese writers could wield their pens truly without fear. After Japan saw the blooming of women's writing in the 1960s and 1970s, Taiwan also witnessed a boom in women's writing, albeit a decade later. Another similarity between the two countries has been the fact that women's writing in both nations has been categorized separately from men's—termed "women's literature" in Japan and "feminine literature" in 63 Taiwan—despite the wide diversity in genres, themes, or styles in the work of female authors. Such a rigid, exclusionary category conveys a sense of "the principal conceptual antinomies" of literary criticism: men's pure, serious writing versus women's domestic, or popular writing. Critics such as Li i Zhenghui and Muro Saisei have tended to read women's writing through an essentialist lens that eventually segregates and subordinates women's literary 87 creativity. Scholars equipped with more up-to-date theories of cultural/literary studies, however, attempt to redeem women's writing from the negative pole. The collection of essays edited by Paul Gordon Schalow and Janet A. Walker, The Woman's Hand: Gender and Theory in Japanese Women's Writing (1996) was the first fruit of a newly emerging trend within the Japanese literary studies that applies feminist and gender criticism to Japanese texts. Similarly, essays collected mXingbei tunshuyu Taiwan xiaoshuo (Gender Discourse and Taiwan Fiction, 2000) also appropriate gender theory to reassess women's writing produced in postwar Taiwan. In addition to feminist theory, Qiu Guifeng (Chiu Kei-fen)'s Houzhimin ji qiwai (Rethinking Postcolonial Literary Criticism in Taiwan, 2003) skillfully uses colonial/postcolonial critical theory in its investigation of the heterogeneity and complexity in women's writing. Nonetheless, research on Japanese women's literature has rarely been conducted from a colonial/postcolonial theoretical perspective. Moreover, so far in the field of Asian literary studies there has been no systematic research comparing Japanese and Taiwanese women's literary production. In both countries, the centrality of identity politics clearly demonstrates the great extent to which cultural production is deeply implicated in the socio-political structure and cultural milieu. As such, this dissertation aims to highlight identity politics in terms of gender, 64 race and nation in systematically tracing the similarities and differences in the literary production and history of women's writing from Japan and Taiwan. For the comparative purpose of this project, I analyze women's writing between the late 1950s and 1970s in Japan and that produced in the 1980s and 1990s in Taiwan. These time periods, though separated by 20 or more years, represent similar cultural/political moments in each country's history. The fiction produced by women in these periods abundantly demonstrates the interwoven intricacy and complexities of gender, race, and nation. Notes 1 Sharalyn Orbaugh, "Gender, Family, and Sexualities in Modern Literature," in The Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature, ed. Joshua Mostow (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003), p. 43. 2 The household registry system was basically a reconstructed version of the mutual household surveillance system called hokoi&f? that was originally invented in the North Song Dynasty (960-1127) of China. It was also implemented in Taiwan when Japan colonized it. Serving as an auxiliary arm of the civil police force, enabling surveillance, the household registry system intensified and increased the existing patriarchy in the Taiwanese society. For more information on the registry system in Taiwan, please see Harry J. Lamley, "Taiwan under Japanese Rule, 1895-1945: The Vicissitudes of Colonialism," in Taiwan: A New History, ed. by Murray Rubinstein (New York: Sharpe, 1999), pp. 201-60. 3 Partha Chatterijee, "The Nationalist Resolution of the Women's Question," in Recasting Woman: Essays in Colonist History, cited in Meyda Yegenoglu, Colonial Fantasies: Towards a Feminist Reading of Orientalism. (London and New York: Cambridge UP, 1998), p. 125. 4 In 1890, the cabinet enacted the Shukai oyobi kessha ho (Law on Associations and Meetings) that banned women from attending political meetings or joining political 65 organizations. In 1900, the Home Ministry redrafted the ban as the Chian keisatsu ho (Security Police Law). See Sharon Nolte and Sally Ann Hastings, "The Meiji State's Policy Toward Women, 1890-1910," in Recreating Japanese Women, 1600-1945, ed. Gail Lee Bernstein (Berkley: University of California Press, 1991), pp. 154-5. 5 The trilogy are "Maihime" (1890; tr. 1975, The Dancing Girl), "Utakata no k i " i Tzfrltom (1890, Foam on the Waves) and "Fumizukai" J ^ ^ P (1891, The Courier). 6 Natsume Soseki JCBSfcfr, "Watashi to kojinshugi" %<DH&A3EM, in Soseki hunmei ronshu WG5X9fi6i& (Tokyo: Iwanami, 1986), pp.97-136. 7 General Nogi Maresuke committed junshi (a retainer following one's samurai lord in death) on the night of the funeral of the Meiji emperor, September 12, 1912. Nogi's dramatic ritual suicide—an act that at the time had been outlawed for 150 years—symbolized a revival of a traditional sign of loyalty. Accompanied by his wife's suicide, Nogi's anachronistic suicide was thrilling to the entire Japanese society and called into question the notions of traditional values and national identity during the Meiji period. See Orbaugh "General Nogi's Wife: Representations of Women in Narratives of Japanese Modernization," in In Pursuit of Contemporary East Asian Culture, eds. Xiaobing Tang, and Stephen Snyder (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1996), pp. 7-31 8 Ibid., p. 15. 9 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985). 1 0 See Shuichi Kato's A History of Japanese Literature, vol. 1 (Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1983), pp. 170-88, and Ivan Morris' The World of the Shining Prince (New York: Penguin, 1994), p. 211. 1 1 Schalow and Walker, Introduction to The Woman's Hand: Gender and Theory in Japanese Women's Writing, eds. Paul Schalow and Janet Walker (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1996), pp. 1-16. 1 2 Joan E. Ericson, "The Origins of the Concept of "Women's Literature" in The Woman's Hand: Gender and Theory in Japanese Women s Writing, pp. 74-115. 1 3 Victoria V. Vernon, Introduction to Daughters of the Moon: Wish, Will, and Social Constraint in Fiction by Modern Japanese Women, Japan Research Monograph 9 (Berkeley: University of California, Institute of East Asian Studies, 1988), pp. 1-16. 1 4 Iokibe Makoto, "Japan Meets the United States for the Second Time," in Showa: The Japan of Hirohito, ed. by Carol Gluck and Stephen R. Graubard (New York: WW. Norton 1992), pp. 91-106. 1 5 Leftist writers such as Kurahara Korehito who refused to convert were thrown into prison. See Donald Keene, Dawn to the: Japanese Literature of the Modern Era (New 66 22 24 York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston 1984), p. 971. 1 6 Keene, Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature of the Modern Era, p. 963. 17 See Sharalyn Orbaugh's "Occupation-Period Fiction," in The Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature, pp. 184-9. 1 8 Orbaugh, "Gender, Family and Sexualities in Modern Literature," in The Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature, pp. 41-51 1 9 Van C. Gessel, The Sting of Life: Four Contemporary Japanese Novelists. (New York: Columbia University Press 1989), p. 5. 2 0 Ibid. p. 6. 2 1 Orbaugh, "Occupation-Period Fiction," p. 185. Janice Brown, "Hayashi Fumiko: Voice from the Margin," Japan Quarterly (Tokyo) 43, no.l (Jan-Mar 1996): p. 97. 2 3 Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit, "Post-World War II Literature: the Intellectual Climate in Japan, 1945-1985," in Legacies and Ambiguities: Postwar Fiction and Culture in West Germany and Japan, eds. Ernestine Schlant and J. Thomas Rimer (Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1991), p. 102. Orbaugh, "The Problem of the Modern Subject," in The Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature, pp. 24-35. 2 5 Keene, Dawn to the West, p. 786. 2 6 Rey Chow, "Violence in the Other Country: China as Crisis, Spectacle, and Woman," in Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism, eds. Chandra Mohanty, Ann Russo, and Lourdes Torres (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991), p. 84. Roy Starrs, Soundings in Time: The Fictive Art of Kawabata Yasunari (Surry, B.C.: Japan Library, 1998), p. 192. 2 8 Keene, Dawn to the West, p. 792. Henry James uses the term ficelle to denote a secondary character whose presence in the story is created for the needs of the form. See his preface to The Portrait of a Lady, A Perm State Electronic Classics Series Publication, http://www.hn. psu.edu/faculty/jmams/hjames/portrait-lady.pdf. David Pollack, Reading against Culture: Ideology and Narrative in the Japanese Novel (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1992), p. 121. 3 1 Susan J. Napier. "Oe Kenzaburo and the Search for the Sublime at the End of the Twentieth Century," in Oe and Beyond: Fiction in Contemporary Japan, eds. Stephen Snyder and Philip Gabriel (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1999), pp. 11-35. Nina Cornyetz, "Bound by Blood. Female Pollution, Divinity, and Community in Enchi Fumiko's Masks," U.S.-Japan Women's Journal: English Supplement 9 (December 1995): p. 37. 3 3 According to Gretchen Jones, before 1960 less than 10 percent of the total number of 67 27 30 32 recipients of the Akutagawa Prize were women writers. See Jones' "The 1960s and 1970s Boom in Women's Writing," in The Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature, p. 222. After that time the percentage rose as high as 50% at some points, and has rarely gone below 33%. 3 4 Japan's 1908 Criminal Code had made abortion illegal, and in 1930 when preparing for the war, the Japanese government aggressively pursued pro-natalist policies. See Sharon Sievers' "Women in China, Japan, and Korea," in Women in Asian: Restoring Women to History, ed. Barbara N . Ramusack and Sharon Sievers (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999), pp. 225-6. 3 5 Jones, "The 1960s and 1970s Boom in Women's Writing," pp. 221-9. 3 6 Ibid, p. 223. 3 7 Orbaugh, "The Body in Contemporary Japanese Women's Fiction," in The Woman's Hand: Gender and Theory in Japanese Women's Writing, p. 127. 3 8 Orbaugh, "Oba Minako and the Paternity of Maternalism," in The Father-Daughter Plot: Japanese Literary Women and the Law of the Father, eds. Rebecca L. Copeland and Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2001), p. 266. 3 9 Yukiko Tanaka, Unmapped Territories: New Women's Fiction from Japan (Seattle: Women in Translation, 1991), pp. xii-xiii. 4 0 Audre Lord, "The Master's, Tools will Never Dismantle the Master's House," in idem, Sister Outsider (Freedom, Calf: Crossing Press, 1984), pp. 110-3. 4 1 Orbaugh. "The Body in Contemporary Japanese Women's Fiction,"p. 125. 4 2 In 1624, Dutch traders first established an artillery base at Fort Zeelandia (close to present-day Tainan) for conducting commerce with Japan and China. Two years later, the Spanish established a settlement on the northwest coast of Taiwan near Keelung, which they occupied until 1642 when they were driven out by the Dutch. The Dutch administered the island and its predominantly aboriginal population until they were ousted in 1661 by Cheng Cheng-Kung. 4 3 Lai He used Chinese to create in his work a more lifelike Taiwanese colloquialism, however, he was extremely frustrated with the experiment because many words in the Taiwanese spoken language do not have corresponding Chinese characters. See Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang, "Taiwanese New Literature and the Colonial Context. A Historical Survey," in Taiwan: A New History, p. 270. 4 4 Faye Yuan Kleeman has analyzed in detail the literature produced in Japanese by Taiwanese writers during the colonial period: for more on the authors and movements mentioned below, see idem. Under an Imperial Sun: Japanese Colonial Literature of Taiwan and the South (Honolulu: Hawai'i University Press, 2003), passim. 1 5 For the Imperialization Movement, please see Harry J. Lamley's "Taiwan under Japanese Rule, 1895-1945: The Vicissitudes of Colonialism," in Taiwan: A New History, 68 pp. 201-60, and Wan-yao Chou's, "The Kominka Movement in Taiwan and Korea: Comparisons and Interpretations," in The Japanese Wartime Empire, 1931-1945, eds. Peter Duus, Roman H. Myers, and Mark R. Peattie (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), pp.55-100. *6 Faye Yuan Kleeman, Under an Imperial Sun: Japanese Colonial Literature of Taiwan and the South, p. 6. 1 7 Ye Sh i t ao | | 5M, "Kaichuang Taiwan wenxueshi de xin geju" Taiwan wenxue de beiqing aM'R.^ffiM'fm (Gaoxiong: Paise wenhua, 1990), pp. 91-2. For the Taiwanese New Literature Movement under Japanese colonial rule, see X u Chunya f r^ t f i , Riji shidai Taiwan xiaoshou yanjiu HMffitt&M'hi&WfZ (Taipei: Wenshiji, 1995); and Liang Mingxiong ^MW., Riji shiqi Taiwan wenxue yundong yanjiu ummism&mW}ffl$t (Taipei: Wenshiji, 1996). 9 Peng Juichin, "The Primary Issue for Taiwan Literature is Identifying with the land," trans, by Mabel Lee. Taiwan Literature: English Translation Series, no. 4 (Dec. 1998): p. 10. 0 On February 27, 1947, a woman illegally selling cigarettes in Taipei was struck by officers of the Monopoly Bureau. An angry crowd quickly gathered, and violence broke out after one officer fired into the crowd, killing a bystander. Soon the uprising spread out over the island as Taiwanese and the Nationalist government battled for control of the public mfrastructure. Unemployed youth, workers, students, peddlers, and small businessmen briefly wrested control of Taiwan from the provincial adrninistratiorL After a week of increasing tension, the Nationalist reinforcements from the mainland reasserted the government's control by indiscriminately shooting anyone on the streets. Administrator Chen Y i declared martial law throughout the island. Thousands of Taiwanese who were involved in the uprising or subsequent negotiations were executed, and others unfortunate enough to be on the streets massacred. Seeing the incident as a rebellion, the government had implemented the Provisional Amendments for the Period of Mobilization and Suppression of Communist Rebellion in 1948, which entrusted the President with more power to deal with the national emergency. Based on the Provisional Amendments, Chiang Kai-shek instituted martial law and made the Nationalist party domestically unchallengeable as long as the state of civil war against the communists continued. Under the shadow of the White Terror, Taiwanese were deprived of freedom of speech and political activity until the martial law was finally lifted in 1987. See Steven Philip, "Between Assimilation and Independence: Taiwanese Political Aspirations under Nationalist Chinese Rule, 1945-1948," in Taiwan: A New History, pp. 292-6. Generally, emigres from mainland China after 1945 are called "mainlanders" or #-11A 69 waisheng/en (literally, people from other provinces than Taiwan), and the descendants of the earlier Chinese settlers are usually identified as "native Taiwanese" or benshengren ^ : # A (literally, people of Taiwan province). The descendants of Malayo-Polynesian people, who are indigenous inhabitants of the island, are generally referred to as "aborigines." 5 2 Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang, "Literature in Post-1949 Taiwan, 1950 to 1980s," in Taiwan: A New History, p. 406. 5 3 See Ye Shitao, Taiwan wenxue shigang i^WiC^^M, and Peng Reijin Taiwan xinwenxue yundong sishinian i$W%MWMM-'r^ (Taipei: Z i l i wanbaoshe, 1991). 5 4 Gong Pengcheng SfflU?, "Taiwan wenxue sishinian" aWZMVQ-'r^-, in Taiwan wenxue zai Taiwan ^ i i f f t ^ i (Banqiao: Luotuo, 1997), p. 74. 5 5 Ye Shitao, "The Multi-ethnic Issue of Taiwan Literature," trans, by Wan-Shu Lu, Taiwan Literature: English Translation Series no. 3 (June 1998): pp. 3-12. 5 6 Qiu Cniifen © f t ^ , "Cong zhanhou chuqi nuzuojia de chuangzuo tan Taiwan wenxueshi de xushu" ^m.WMtc.i^^Mli'm.-^m^cm^^M, Zhongwai wen-xue ^ W$M (Chungwai Literary Monthly) 29, no. 2 (July 2000): pp. 320-326. 5 7 Fan Mingju ^MM\, "Taiwan xinguxiang: wushi niandai nuxing xiaoshou" ^ : £ + ^ f t £ f t ' M f e , mXingbei lunshuyu Taiwanxiaoshuo ^\m$Ma^>\M» ed. Mei Chialing M%.5% (Taipei: Martian chuban, 2000), p. 124. See Ye Shitao, Taiwan wenxue shigang, and Peng Reijin Taiwan xinwenxue yundong sishinian. 5 9 C T . Hsia, Preface to A History of Modern Chinese Fiction, 2d ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press. 1971), pp. v- viii. 5 0 Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang, "Literature in Post-1949 Taiwan, 1950 to 1989s," in Taiwan: A New History, p. 408. 5 1 Here, the "Modernist literary movement" with a capital M is used specifically in reference to Taiwan's Xiandai Taiwan wenxue yundong, in contradistinction to the general implications of the non-capitalized "modernism." 5 2 At the time when the terms "Taiwan consciousness" or "Taiwanese literature" still remained taboo, literature created in the island was called Chinese literature. ' 3 Bai Xianyoung Foreword to Xiandai wenxue WXlStM (Modern literature) 1, (1960). > 4 Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang. Modernism and the Nativist Resistance: Contemporary Chinese Fiction from Taiwan (Durham: Duke University Press, 1993), p. 14. 6 Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang. "Three Generations of Taiwan's Contemporary Women Writers: A Critical Introduction," in Bamboo Shoots after the Rain: Contemporary Stories by Women Writers of Taiwan, eds., Ann Carver and Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang 70 (New York: Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 1990), p. xx. 5 6 According to Elaine Showalter, Feminine, Feminist, and Female are the three phases of development of women's writing. See Showalter's A Literature of Their Own; British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999), p. 13. Showalter's categorization of women's writing will be further discussed in the next chapter. > 7 David Der-Wei Wang, "Introduction" to Chinese Literature in the Second Half of a Modern Century: A Critical Survey, eds., Pang-Yuan Chi and David Wang (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2000), p. xxx. ' 8 Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang, "The Nativist Resistance to Modernism," in Modernism and the Nativist Resistance, pp. 148-76. 9 The "provincial identity" complex refers to the psychological tension or alienation between native Taiwanese and mainlanders that has been stored up since the February 28 incident. 0 Although Eileen Zhang, a mainlander writer of the pre-1949 era who often set stories in Hong Kong and Shanghai before the Communist Revolution, never resided in Taiwan, her writing has been highly popular and profoundly influential there. Writers such as Xiao Lihong, Jiang Xiayun, Zhu Tianwen, Zhu Tianxin, Su Weizhen, and Yuan Qiongqiong have to varying degrees displayed influence from Eileen Zhang. 1 L u Zhenghui S i E g , Zhanhou Taiwan wenxue jinyan WkvM&StiB& (Taipei: Xindi wenxue 1992), p. 131. 2 The Sansan (Double Three) literary group consisted of the second generation of mainlander women writers led by the sisters Zhu Tianwen and Zhu Tianxin, who established a literary journal Sansan jikan (1977) to advocate their literary ideology based on Sun Yatsen's Three Principles of the People and the Christian Trinity. * Yang Zhao WbW, Wenxue, shehui yu lishi xiangxiang: zhanhou wenxueshi sanlun 3c m * i f c £ f t K £ £ » : mmcmmm (Taipei: Lianhe wenxue, 1995), pp. 151-3. * Louis Montrose, "Professing the Renaissance: The Poetics and Politics of Culture," in The New Historicism, ed. H . Aram Veeser (New York: Routledge, 1989), pp. 15-36. ' Raymond Williams, Marxism and Literature (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), p. 121. ' Qiu Quifen "Ntixing de 'xiangtu xiangxiang': Taiwan dangdai xiangtu niixing xiaoshuo chutan" & 1 £ W » ± £ ! « i : & « # f t $ ± & & ' M a # J 8 i , in Xingbei lunshu yu Taiwan xiaoshuo, p. 124. Yang Zhao H M , "Cong 'xiangtu xieshi' dao 'chaoyue xieshi'—bashi niandai de Taiwan xiaoshuo" ffir M±M1t J Mr BMUM J — A + ^ f t W & « / J ^ , in Taiwan wenxue fazhan xianxiang: wushi nianlai Taiwan wenxue yantaohui lunwenji -fe^^^WffikWfe '• 71 £+4£3fc&»£^WMWmScM 2. (Taipei: Xingzhengyuan wenjihui), pp. 137-50. ? Qiu Qui-fen, "Nii-xing de 'xiang-tu xiang-xiang' pp. 119-43. 5 Wang Derwei EtMM, Zhongsheng xuanhua: sanling yu b-ling niandai di Zhongguo xiaoshuo WM^sM • £ O H A O ^ f W l 1 I / J ^ . (Taipei: Yuanliu, 1988). D Military housing compounds were built for dependents of military personnel, mostly Nationalists relocated from the mainland. 1 Upon the completion of graduate studies in the United State, Xiulian Annette Lu returned to Taiwan in 1971 and launched a number of programs advocating gender equality. Nonetheless, her progressive efforts toward raising women's consciousness concerning their rights provoked stubborn resistance from the dominant conservatives. Lti's 1977 book New Feminism was banned six months after its publication and she herself was arrested in 1980 for political activism. : Special issues with a focus on Western feminism and literary and cultural studies were published by a distinguished literary magazine, Zhongwai wenxue (Chungwai Literary Monthly): "Feminist Literature" in March 1986, "Women and Literature" in March 1990, "Women's Sky: Women's Literature and Culture in Taiwan" in July 1997, "Women's Literature/Arts and Cultural Discourse" in March 1999. Dangdai (Con-Temporary) also published a special issue on Feminism in September 1986, and Lianhe wenxue (Unitas Literary Monthly) circulated a special issue on Women and Literature in March 1986. Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang, "Three Generations of Taiwan's Contemporary Women Writers: A Critical Introduction," p. xxiv. Peng Xiaoyan &/hffl, "Nuzuojia de qingyu shuxie yu zhengzhi lunshu: jeidu Miyuan" izftmftm&MMmm^mmmimmY Chungwai literary monthly 24, no. 5 (1995): pp. 72-92. Kuei,fen Chiu, "Identity Politics in Contemporary Women's Novels in Taiwan," Tamkang Review 30, no. 2 (Winter 1999): pp. 27-54. Joan E. Ericson, "The Origins of the Concept of "Women's Literature," in The Woman s Hand: Gender and Theory in Japanese Women's Writing, p. 93. Lu's and Muro's criticism on Taiwanese and Japanese women's writing respectively will be further discussed in Chapter 3. 72 Chapter Two Killing Patriarchy: Kanai Mieko's and Li Ang's Man-Slaughtering The first pair of women writers I will discuss and compare are Kanai Mieko (1947-) and L i Ang (1952-), specifically the works "Funiku" J$03 (Rotting Meat, 1972) by Kanai and Shafu (The Butcher's Wife, 1983; tr. 1995) by L i , both of which feature the theme of man-slaughtering. In each story the marginalized and exploited female protagonist eventually kills the abusive male protagonist who butchers pigs for a living; each narrates a dramatic plot with grotesque depiction that is intended to subvert the simplistic male-female power paradigm. While the man-slaughtering in Kanai's story is committed by a prostitute—a gender role that is antithetic to the government-promoted model of "good wife and wise mother," Li ' s story of husband-killing exposes the exploitative nature of family and the marriage system in a shockingly sanguine way, pushing the limits of censorship prior to Taiwan's repeal of martial law. For a better understanding of the formative process of each writer and how the work in question is situated within the writer's career, I wil l begin with a biographical sketch of each writer. In terms of theoretical perspective, gender theory and the Lacanian conception of the Symbolic order will be employed to investigate women's oppression and confinement in a patriarchal society. Despite the fact that both of these works feature the same, highly controversial theme and grotesque depictions, neither should be simply read as a female revenge fantasy but, rather, as an undisguised representation of the absurdity and inhumanity found within patriarchal institutions, which is intended to shock the reader into reflection. Both writers highlight the ways patriarchal institutions affect female 73 subjectivity and each narrates one possible result of the effects of patriarchy. Kanai Mieko Biographical Background Kanai Mieko was born in the city of Takasaki in Gunma Prefecture in 1947, when Japan was still under the authority of the Allied Occupation. Her father Kanai Shichishiro was an ardent consumer of Tanizaki Jun'ichiro's 1 work, and her mother was so enthusiastic about movies that she often carried Kanai on her back to movie theatres from the time of Kanai's infancy. Kanai's father died when she was only five years of age, and the sad event has ever since had an enormous impact on her and her writing. She once remarked that reading was a way of escaping the nightmare of darkness and absence caused by losing a parent.2 Kitada Sachie argues that the origin of Kanai's writing/reading is the attempt to escape from the uneasiness of absence of the father to the unreal world of enchantment.3 After having survived the loss of her father by immersing herself in vast reading, Kanai was determined to become a writer when she was still in primary school, and started to engage in writing at an early age. In junior high she skipped school as often as twice a week to go to the movies, and kept a movie journal for a year. She enjoyed reading Ishikawa Jun and Sakaguchi Ango, 4 and during the same period of time she also started reading modern poetry.5 - After graduating from Takasaki Girls' High School in Gunma Prefecture in 1966, Kanai wrote poems and stories instead of going on to pursue higher education as she had decided that preparation for the college entrance exams was merely a waste of time. In 1967, just one year after her graduation, she published her first short story, " A i no 74 seikatsu" goo^ fit (Love Life), which was designated the runner-up for the third Dazai Osamu Prize for fiction. In the story Kanai employs the technique of stream-of-consciousness to portray the state of mind of a female novelist who is obsessed with a craving for love. The work earned warm praise from such highly respected writers as Ishikawa Jun and Yoshida Ken'ichi. 6 Although she was not awarded the prize, her story was published in Tenbo, a prestigious literary magazine of the time. In the following year, she did win the eighth annual Gendai-techo Prize (Contemporary Poetry Notebook Award) for an early version of her poetry collection Madamu Juju no ie ~?¥2*i?=>.i/^(D % (The House of Madam Juju; tr. 1977), which was published in its final version in 1971. Since her successful debut, Kanai has been frequently nominated for and often awarded almost every major literary prize. With many a trophy, she remains prolific in a variety of literary works to this day. Unlike most contemporary female writers who concentrate on one literary genre, Kanai has been remarkable for continuing to write poetry, fiction, essays, and literary criticism. On top of her profuse writing of poetry and fiction, Kanai also regularly contributes essays and film criticism to major newspapers, women's magazine, and literary journals. Kanai has been writing and publishing perhaps longer than any other Japanese writer born after the war.7 Although she rarely refers to the Japanese literary influences on her work, Kanai has acknowledged that she was inspired by Ooka Shohei, Sakaguchi Ango, and Ishikawa Jun.8 Also, she was profoundly influenced by Western literary and cultural theory. She reads and writes critical essays on the work of Flaubert, Foucault, Barthes, Lacan, Deleuze, Simone de Beauvoir, Virginia Woolf, Germaine Greer, and filmmakers Godard, Renoir, and Ford. Although Kanai 75 herself claims that she has no interest in writing feminist work, most critics have been fairly convinced that much of her work is, in effect, feminist.9 Kanai has been interested in new experimental forms of writing that are skilfully designed to reflect the complexity of reality. Most of her earlier stories are extremely short but full of grotesquerie and graphic violence such as scenes of blood, cannibalism, dismemberment, and incest. Following Judith Butler's argument of sex/gender as performativity, Orbaugh regards Kanai's short fiction, which relentlessly explores the roles of gender and the nature of subjectivity from the margins of the discourse of signification, as an act of "arguing with the real."1 0 Kanai's multifaceted writing in her thirty-eight year career so far defies any easy categorization. It is beyond the scope of this chapter to provide a general overview of her work. I will focus on her short fiction written in the 1970s to investigate how Kanai intelligently writes against the socio-political background in a style that is grotesque yet very powerful. In particular, Kanai's "Funiku" (Rotting Meat, 1972; tr. 1997) will be the main focus of my analysis to illustrate the point. Gender Theory In examining Kanai Mieko's fiction I will particularly bear in mind Luce Irigaray's critique of phallogocentric culture in her This Sex Which Is Not One (1985), and Judith Butler's gender/sex as performativity conception proposed in her Gender Trouble (1990). I do not equate the socio-political background of post-war Japan to the intellectual milieu that brought about the emergence of French Feminist theorists like Irigaray, Helene Cixous, and Julia Kristeva. However, theoretically inspired by Irigaray and Butler, I 76 deduce general concepts that are applicable to the critical reading of Kanai Mieko. I am convinced that the prism of gender theory will help us glean in-depth understanding of the effects of Kanai's hard-to-categorize writing. Initially appearing as a part of feminist theory, gender theory has subsequently come to include investigations of all gender and sexual categories and identities, and has become one of the most vigorous fields in cultural studies.11 On the heels of political feminism in the United States and Western Europe during the 1960s, feminist gender theory emerged as a vigorous field of critical inquiry. While generally challenging the paradigms and intellectual premises of Western thought, feminist gender theory intends to transform the social order by proposing required interventions and providing alternative epistemological positions. In the context of emerging postmodernism, Judith Butler and other gender theorists view the category of "gender" as a human construct that is enacted by a vast repetition of social performance. In Gender Trouble (1990), one of her most influential books, Butler called for a new way of looking at sex and gender. She asks: Can we refer to a 'given' sex or a 'given' gender without first inquiring into how sex/and or gender is given, through what means? And what is 'sex' anyway? Is it natural, anatomical, chromosomal, or hormonal, and how is a feminist critic to assess the scientific discourses which purport to establish such 'facts' for us? (10) 1 2 Butler contends that the sexual categories, like gender categories, are culturally constructed and as such contribute to the creation of social reality, rather than simply reflecting it. As a result, sex is not to nature as gender is to culture. Gender theory acquired much of its initial theoretical inspiration from French feminist theorists such as Luce Irigaray, Helene Cixous, and Julia Kristeva. in general, 77 French feminist thought asserts that the Western philosophical tradition represses the experience of women in the structure of its ideas. As an inevitable consequence of this systematic intellectual repression and exclusion, women's historical lives and physical bodies are subject to repression as well. As Cixous indicates, the history of Western thought is structured through binary oppositions: "Activity/Passivity, Culture/Nature, Sun/Moon, Father/Mother, Intelligible/Sensitive, Head/Emotions, Logos/Pathos." 1 3 These hierarchical binary oppositions are invariably equated to the fundamental binary "male/female" and therefore reflect the same positive/negative evaluation. Like Cixous, Irigaray also attacks the phallocentrism or the "logic of the same" in Western thought under which women remain unrepresented or presented as lack. In her major work Speculum of the Other Woman, Irigaray criticizes phallogocentrism (a word combining phallocentrism and logocentrism) by demonstrating how Freudian and Lacanian theories of sexuality are constructed on just one sex.1 4 Inevitably, the patriarchal binary thought hidden in phallogocentric ideology leaves no positive space for women. Cixous and Irigaray endeavor to turn the idea of lack into an idea of excess, and challenge the binary opposition that so evidently prevails in the phallogocentric system of language. In her texts Irigaray seeks to unveil how both psychoanalytic theory and philosophy situate "woman" outside representation, and relegate "woman" to the realm of inert, lifeless, inessential matter. She argues that in the Freudian paradigm female sexuality is viewed and defined in relation to or in opposition to male sexuality. She opens her article "This Sex Which is Not One" with a sobering statement: "Female sexuality has always been theorized within masculine parameters."15 According to this male-dominant line of logic, the existence of female sexuality is always dependent on male sexuality. According 78 to Irigaray, Freud asserts that "the hypothesis of a single identical genital apparatus—the male organ—is fundamental in order to account for the infantile sexual organization of both sexes."16 Therefore, in Freudian theory sexual difference is in its entirety based on the visibility of difference: They (girls) notice the penis of a brother or playmate, strikingly visible and of large proportions, at once recognize it as the superior counterpart of their own small and inconspicuous organ, and from that time forward fall a victim to envy for the penis, (emphasis mine)1 7 In the eyes of Freud, the male has an obvious sex organ, the penis, and the female has nothing. Therefore the penis is exalted for epitomizing the masculine because it can be seen while the female difference is perceived as an absence or negation of the male norm. As represented in Greek statuary, "woman's genitals are simply absent, masked, sewn back up inside their 'crack.'" 1 8 With genitals seemingly "missing," woman's body becomes an unthreatening yet pleasing object for men to gaze at. Questioning this manner of privileging the visual over the non-visual, Irigaray criticizes the Freudian model of sexuality as scopophilic. Entering into such a dominant scopic economy leads to woman's consignment exclusively to passivity; a woman becomes the beautiful passive object of the male gaze. Irigaray thus argues that Western culture privileges identity, unity, and sight—all of which in fact are entirely associated with male anatomy. Contrary to male pleasure, which amounts to the dictates of the phallus and is seen as monolithically unified, Irigaray alleges that a woman's sex is not one as she has sex organs just about everywhere (lips, vagina, clitoris, cervix, uterus, breasts) and therefore her sexual pleasure is multiple, non-unified and diffuse. 79 A woman "touches herself constantly without anyone being able to forbid her to do so, for her sex is composed of two lips which embrace continually. Thus, within herself she is already two—but not divisible into ones—who stimulate each other. (324) The system based on female sexuality would then give privilege, not to the visual, but to the tactile domain. According to Irigaray, touch lessens the distance that is required in vision, and therefore the boundaries between self and other or subject and object would become blurred. In a phallogocentric society, female sexuality is a commodity among men; but once the dominance of the visual is overthrown, the phallogocentric system wil l break up and in turn the question of ownership wil l immediately crumble, particularly the ownership of female sexuality. Irigaray envisions a system based on excess and plurality, one in which females and males relate to one another directly; a sexuality and system that is limitless in scope, fluid in practice, ever-changing and ever-expanding. Judith Butler ponders gender in a postmodern form beyond Freud's sexual theory and problematizes gender as a category of essence. She questions the very idea that a person is male or female, masculine or feminine—the fundamental concepts with which Freud developed his theory. Butler takes pains to demonstrate that gender is not just a social construct, but rather a kind of performance—a show that we put on, a set of signs that we wear, as costume or disguise—hence as far from essence as can be. As opposed to the fixed masculine/feminine gender binary, Butler elucidates that gender should be seen as free-floating, shifting and changing according to contexts and times. It is the way we behave at different times and in different situations rather than who we are. In light of Butler's performative theory of identity, our identities do not 80 express some authentic inner "core" self but are the dramatic effect of our performance. That the gendered body is performative suggests that it has no ontological status apart from the various acts which constitute its reality. This also suggests that if that reality is fabricated as an interior essence, that very interiority is an effect and function of a decidedly public and social discourse, the public regulation of fantasy through the surface politics of the body, the gender border control that differentiates inner from outer, and so institutes the "integrity" of the subject. In other words, acts and gestures, articulated and enacted desires create the illusion of an interior and organizing gender core, an illusion discursively maintained for the purposes of the regulation of sexuality within the obligatory frame of reproductive heterosexualiry. (173) That is to argue that the illusion of an "interior and organizing gender core" is itself a "fantasy instituted and inscribed on the surface of bodies" through our performances. Moreover, that illusion effectively protects the institution of reproductive heterosexual ity from scrutiny and critique as an institution, continually regulating rather than merely "reflecting" our sexuality. Therefore, Butler concludes that gender is a fantasy or a set of internalized images, which should not be seen as a primary category, but a set of secondary narrative effects. Like many feminists before her, Butler painstakingly attempts to achieve equality between "men" and "women." However, rather than proposing some Utopian vision, Butler advocates gender parody as a way of challenging traditional notions of gender identities. One of her intellectual efforts dedicated to this trailblazing endeavour is the use of drag as the main metaphor for this subversive action. By dressing up as a member of the opposite sex, "drag fully subverts the distinction between inner and outer psychic 81 space and effectively mocks both the expressive model of gender and the notion of a true gender identity."19 Through imitating gender, drag implicitly "reveals the imitative structure of gender itself as well as its contingency."20 Butler believes that parody, as the most effective strategy for subverting the fixed binary frame of gender, might bring about changes in political culture leading to improvement of the situation of "women." As she speculates with respect to the collapse of fixed gender identities and its implications: If identities were no longer fixed as the premises of a political syllogism, and politics no longer understood as a set of practices derived from the alleged interests that belong to a set of ready-made subjects, a new configuration of politics would surely emerge from the ruins of the old. (189) If no fixed role is imposed upon either gender, it would not be unusual for a "woman" to be in power at work or for a "man" to stay home and look after children. In other words, to put it in more traditional feminist terms, the changes advocated by Butler would transform the existing patriarchal society into something closer to equality for all regardless of gender. Bearing in mind the concepts and cautions put forward by the theorists discussed above, I will turn now to an analysis of the literary texts, beginning with Japanese writer Kanai Mieko's "Rotting Meat." I will then analyze Taiwanese writer L i Ang's The Butcher's Wife. I will conclude this chapter with a direct comparison of the two works to highlight the similarities and differences in their challenges to patriarchal discourse. "Rotting Meat" The presentation of "Rotting Meat" is fascinating and exceptional. There is no 82 indication given of where or when the story is set, nor is any character given a proper name; this vagueness produces a tone that is both fantastic and subtle. Al l the characters are referred to either as kanojo W.~k (she), otoko f§ (man), otokotachi Bfc£> (men), or simply by occupation such as fudosan 'ya ^%MW (the real estate agent) and tosatsujin J H I £ A (the butcher). The story has two first-person narrators—one male frame narrator and one female internal narrator. The frame narrator tells the reader about his unusual encounter with a strange woman; the internal narrator enters the story at a certain point and then takes over the narrative. The frame narrator returns to the story at the end and is situated in the "real world" with which the reader is familiar; whereas the internal narrator depicts a world that is removed from reality. The story starts off with the frame narrator stressing what he knows and what he is sure about: While I'm sure that I've been to her room before, finding it again would be difficult. The moment I left that room, deep inside I knew it: i f I leave here, I won't be able to get back again. Deep inside I knew it. I knew I probably wouldn't even be able to find the realtor who had taken me to the room i f I did try and find it. Yet when I saw that bloody, rotting meat, I fled from that room, only able to think of getting outside for air as fast as I could. (110)21 Z t Lfr%H<btlte^frtz0 (150)22 After telling the reader these various things he is sure about, the narrator casually 83 mentions a lump of "bloody, rotting meat." Immediately thereafter, in a new paragraph, he tells us that he had met a woman in "that room," and as he tells us of their encounter, she takes over the narration. She tells the man about her former livelihood. She had been a thriving prostitute who often received valuables from her patrons such as gold watches, jeweled lighters and, of course, cash. She liked to keep the gifts as souvenirs of each man, remembering the details of her relationship with each of them. Although cash was useful for purchasing her daily necessities, she preferred gifts as they were less awkward and made the transaction less explicit. But one of her patrons, who was a butcher, one day brought her something far more unusual—the meat of a whole, freshly butchered piglet. Once, though, a man brought me a whole, freshly slaughtered pig. (He was a butcher. And he always reeked of the blood of newly killed animals—as a butcher, that was only natural, I guess—but, he was always saying that before coming to see me he had 'just downed a few draughts' of the warm blood from the animals he's killed... Anyway, always, the day after that blood-stained butcher had been to see me, every joint and bone in my body hurt so bad that I couldn't do a thing with any other customer.) But a whole pig, why, it was impossible for me to eat it all by myself! It would've been somehow strange to make each customer take a slice of meat home with him as a kind of souvenir, and making them eat some meat dish would have been somehow too much trouble since that would probably mean I would have to do the cooking. Even supposing I were to do cooking, well, not so much the actual cooking, but more like decide when the meat should be cooked, or when the food I'd cooked should be eaten, about such things as that, I had no idea. The more I thought about it, the more I didn't know what to do. (110-12) ®LtzX<DW)y>)<Dik<D^^£^:X\^X, ^ 3 x f c ^ t i 1 \ m c ^ o T * 5 r l i J ( c , ®Lfz 84 A D*^# ti-f t X111 o fc r <h ^  0 f C o fc^c/^ fc ^ - ^ r j t i - f o © [*i £fc ±Jg tz&Z><Di>teAjtzfrp)>tz<>tz L s H f c * j [ ^ ^ l ^ r S ^ r ^ ' < ^ - S : 2 ) C 0 1 t ) ( - ? - O ^ ( r { S f o f c <£ < £>frb?£'Dfrtz(D£a # x t U i # X . 5 ( 5 i : \ ^ b 4 < 4 o T L S o f c t ) 0 (150-51) The word "meat" reminds of her own profession as a prostitute; she feels like she sells her own flesh piece by piece. She continues to describe the meat that was brought to her by the butcher: This butcher of mine, well-built, rather hairy, vulgar, he had brought me a pig that in its soft, peach-coloured clumps, rather than 'meat' it would be better to call it a dead body, an animal's dead body. Of course, anywhere you look there are cases where it is more correct to call a dead body or a person's body 'meat'—in particular, 'meat' is what a whore's body is sometimes called—but that meat which the butcher brought me, no matter how you looked at it, it was the dead body of a pig he had killed and skinned. The pig's dead body was wrapped in newspaper and plastic and stuffed under my bed. Because I didn't know what else to do with it. (112) ^ t f t f c f c ^ u t<9frtf, m®<D&m±mi> t^^tzwtijj^-r^^t^h^nfh ^m<D^m^^~^t§rmm^^nxm^(DT^Lz\i!bx^^tz(D0 t ^ t , VOL T V ^ r t x b ^ & ^ o f c ^ b , , (151) She tells the man that in her golden days men often had to make a reservation one month 85 before visiting her. However, the jealous butcher always treated her body so roughly that she could not see any other customer after his visit. As such, the number of her customers plunged dramatically and her business suffered severely. At this juncture, the male frame narrator picks up the narration to relate how the woman had become a prostitute, but then he suddenly changes the subject to explain the circumstances that led to his meeting with the woman and why he had not asked her more about the rotting meat. He tells us that he is a writer who had been looking for a quiet room—not for pursuing writing but for escaping from writing. He was shown a small furnished apartment by a realtor who had a peculiarly terrible bad breath. He moved in immediately. There was an unpleasant odour in the room that he thought was the lingering smell of the realtor's bad breath. By the mghttime the foul smell got even stronger and almost suffocated him, so he investigated and traced it to a built-in European-style wardrobe. To his surprise, he found a woman inside lying down on a double bed. Of course the realtor had given him no warning that there were a bed and a woman in the wardrobe. He thought that even i f perhaps she was the former tenant she had no right to be here now. He tried to explain this to her, but she simply ignored his explanation and firmly believed that he had been brought to the room by her pimp. He made a move to rationalize this confusion as a dirty trick of the venal realtor but she was indifferent to his bewilderment and remained calm, continuing to state her version of the situation. She continued to talk and did not seem bothered at all by the offensive stench that had been getting stronger and stronger. However, the man could not stand it any more and was moved to ask her i f something smelled bad. She answered, "If something smells, it's the bad smell of 'meat.' It's started to rot, you see." ( H r V ^ - f S t Ltz. "b <7>JH^/c^ 0 86 % *9 It C46"O n5<dx o 114; 152). As he continued to inquire, he was totally taken by surprise: "So this smell is the meat of the pig that the butcher brought you?" "No," she answered. "The pig was eaten up by him. A long time ago." "Well, so what meat is rotting then?" "The meat of the butcher who killed the pig. See." Saying that, she stripped the cover from off the legs of the bed, and showed me the dark space underneath. "As for that one, he absolutely hates me to get along with any other man but him. Give up this business, and let's set up a household, he'd said. A m I the sort who is able to act out that bit of common pretense? Still, though, I really did love him. That's why it was only natural that he be killed, you know." (114) TD^fc, M<D$ltfmiX&AsX-r? J fc. f ^ A o f e f , , fotcLft&ft£Xt\-<0%bW&<1-%<D$:bX-km'oX, r A / ^ i S ^ l i - ^ i D fc^KgL-C^fcAz-C-f-fc©. f£1tt>, ®£tlX%f&t£<D&} (152-53) Calmly she had told the man that she had killed the jealous butcher and shoved the corpse under the bed. As soon as the man had caught sight of the bloody lump, and finally came to realize that it was the butcher's corpse not pig meat, he had fled the room instantly. Winding up, the story returns to the frame narrator, expressing his desire to look for the prostitute again. He wants to find the room and propose marriage to the former 87 prostitute. He even fantasizes that he will become a slice of rotting meat to be swallowed up by her insides. Recently, he says, his body has been rotting away, little by little from the inside out; and his own breath has becoming horrifyingly bad, just like that of the realtor. Reversing the Power Paradigms Coming onto the literary stage in Japan in 1967 as a teenager, Kanai is one of the women writers mentioned earlier who benefited from the postwar freedom of expression and economic prosperity to create an unprecedented boom in women's writing. Kanai rejected the existing definitions of the fictional genres previously considered appropriate for women—autobiography, confession, and realistic or historical fiction—and embarked on a new kind of literary search for ways of expressing gendered identity. (In this she was joined by other female authors of the period, such as Kono Taeko, Oba Minako, Kurahashi Yumiko, all of whom defied social and cultural norms in the depictions of their fictional worlds.) As in her other short works from the 1970s, in "Rotting Meat" Kanai intentionally uses a "deviant" theme and writing strategy to reflect, and sometimes exaggerate as creatively necessary, the preconceived notions of gender.23 "Rotting Meat" is an extremely short story, consisting of only 154 lines. The nameless, allegorical characters and ambiguous settings situate the story in a fairy-tale-like atmosphere, giving it a sense of fantasy. With nary a word mentioned about the location, the story could be set anywhere in the world. Such structural characteristics—which can also be found in Kanai's other short fiction from this period, such as "Kikan" # S (The home-coming, 1970), "Boshizo" (Portrait of mother 88 and child, 1972) and "Usagi" % (Rabbits, 1972)—might be regarded as a writing strategy specifically for the purpose of creating a "female" expression of subjectivity.24 The lack of proper names for the characters and the very ambiguous description of the physical settings or the characters' appearances that could otherwise help the reader to "visualize" them, create a fantastic world that is distanced from reality. This resonates significantly with Irigaray's suggestion that patriarchal discourse emphasizes the domain of the visual; when Kanai downplays the visual aspects of her invented worlds she may be creating a space relatively free from that masculinist emphasis. In quite a creative twist, Kanai's world of fiction, delineated by senses other than visual, effectively dismantles the subject/object dichotomy and vigorously attests to Irigaray's vision of woman having multiple subjectivities/desires. In "Rotting Meat," the sense of smell is pivotal as the stench of a rotting body spreads throughout the story. The lack of proper names also resonates with Irigaray's theory of gendered subjectivity. In Irigaray's characterization, "any theory of the subject has always been appropriated by the 'masculine'"; i.e. entering into such a theory inevitably means woman has to subject herself to objectivization in discourse, renouncing her own subjectivity.25 As such a male-centered paradigm is governed by the name of the Father, all roles are defined through their proper relationship to the Father inasmuch as all the legitimacy and authority are given by the names. Creating nameless characters fits perfectly with Kanai's intentions to escape from the given androcentric norms and to seek a position where the female can articulate her own subjectivity. Despite the lack of (visual) physical description about the characters, body discourse is the primary issue in the work. Traditionally, in the context of binary gender-based 89 relationships of power, man is always regarded as an active agent while woman is a passive object. In identifying the nature of men's structural domination over women through the mechanisms of kinship system, Gayle Rubin identifies two conceptions formulated by Levi-Strauss—the gift and the incest taboo—to further expound the idea of "the exchange of women."2 6 Rubin argues that the idea of the exchange of women—upon which the male-dominated system is established and made functional—places men and women in asymmetric power relations by rendering men as "givers/receivers" and women as "gifts." A kinship system based on the exchange of women is one in which women do not have full rights in and by themselves, whereas men have absolute rights over women. In Rubin's argument, it is not just primitive cultures that live by this gender structure. Contemporary, modernized industrial societies continue to treat women metaphorically as the objects of exchange between men. Reflecting this common gender structure, in "Rotting Meat," it is the man who possesses the right not only to kill animals with impunity because of his occupation but also to consume the body of the female by exhausting her because, in spite of brutal abuse, his consumption is deemed lawful in such a masculinist system. After all, since the female protagonist is a prostitute who sells her own body for a living, any man is allowed to consume her body as he wishes as long as he can pay for it. In the story, both the frame and internal narrators have attempted to distinguish meat from corpse. They argue that, usually, meat is edible while a corpse is not. Nonetheless, as the internal narrator—the prostitute—herself points out, sometimes it is hard to discern the difference between the two. The frame narrator also stresses the fact that all meat starts out as a corpse, a dead body. If a corpse is properly handled, such as being bled, 90 skinned, gutted, and chopped, it becomes edible meat. It is generally assumed that the flesh of a dead animal will become edible meat after appropriate handling, and that the flesh of a dead human body is called a corpse and certainly is not edible regardless of any handling. As her body is always referred to as meat because of her work of life, the prostitute identifies herself with the piglet; taking her logic a step further she then says that i f upon her death she would be considered a corpse then so should the piglet be considered a corpse. With her self-identification with the pig in this way, the big lump of piglet becomes more like a corpse than meat in the eyes of the prostitute, even though the piglet is properly handled (skinned). That explains why she would shove it under the bed since she was at a loss as to how to deal with the corpse of the piglet. In effect, the relationship between the butcher and the prostitute epitomizes the conventional power paradigm: man (particularly a butcher) has the right to k i l l , the right to eat, and the right to consume the female body; woman (particularly a prostitute) gets to be "killed" and "consumed," like an animal. In the standard view, man equals human and becomes a corpse, whereas woman equals something less, therefore becoming something less than a corpse—perhaps meat—on her death. However, the story would be incomplete if this paradigm were not dramatically reversed in the end. The butcher who kills pigs and consumes the prostitute's body ends up being killed by the prostitute who used to be brutalized ("killed") and consumed. In reverse, his dead body replaces the corpse of the piglet and is shoved under the bed just as the piglet was before. Ironically, the frame narrator starts to fantasize that the prostitute may be a cannibal (even though she is never depicted in the story as eating meat, much less a corpse), and he desires to be killed and eaten by her. Despite the fact that the frame narrator was terrified out of his wits and fled 91 the scene instantly when he realized the rotting meat was the butcher's corpse, later in the safe and normal world he begins to be captivated by the lust of overturning the normal power paradigms. As a male and a writer, the frame narrator signifies the subject's power to speak, to write, and to define. However, he confesses that he wanted a quiet room not to write but to escape from writing—essentially to flee to the extreme point of not writing but rather, as he tells us, quietly and passively waiting for the visit of death in the disguise of a beautiful maiden. Renouncing all his power and rights, he intends to remain in his quiet existence. After meeting the prostitute, he becomes anxious to indulge himself in utter passivity. He wants to propose marriage to the woman, to surrender to her, and to be killed and consumed by her, although he knows that he can find neither the room nor the woman again. Given the impossibility of his fantasy, the only comfort he can find now is to fantasize himself rotting from his inside out and emitting a rancid smell in his breath (just like the realtor with bad breath). Succinctly yet soberly in this work, Kanai demonstrates her astute sensitivity regarding the gender structures of society, and creates a brilliant fantasy world in which, instead of being consumed and victimized, women can consume, like the prostitute; instead of consuming and victimizing, men can be consumed, like the butcher and the male narrator. Those who encounter the magical prostitute in the story end up having their own status in the normal power paradigms reversed: the butcher who kills is killed, and the male writer who is an active subject wants to become a passive object. As opposed to the fixed masculine/feminine gender binary, Kanai deliberately makes her characters perform the so-called inherent traits of the opposite gender in a very dramatic and ironic way. Like drag in Butler's parody theory, Kanai makes her characters put on the 92 performance of the opposite gender so the conventional ideas of gender norms can be subverted so as to challenge the "constitutive categories that seek to keep gender in its place by posturing as the foundational illusions of identity."27 By displacing, reversing, and exaggerating the gender norms, Kanai makes obvious "the grotesqueries, absurdities, and actual dangers to women that are glossed over by abstract, intellectualized narratives of power."28 In such a short yet very powerful story, Kanai not only astutely exposes the ironies and absurdities within the abstract power paradigms that have erroneously informed the construction and observance of gender identities, but also opens up space for critical thinking about them, and perhaps an opportunity, too, for attaining gender equality that avoids domination or exploitation of any sort. Li Ang Biographical background Well known for her explicit depictions of sex, L i Ang is one of the most controversial contemporary women writers in Taiwan. Born in the seaport of Lugan near Zhanghua in 1952, Shi Shuduan MBM chose her mother's maiden name L i ^ and ang^ (literally "upright, soaring"; a Chinese character that is usually used to name a male) to be her pen name. Like the Brontes of England, the Shi family of Taiwan produced three girls who would become active in the literary scene. The eldest daughter, Shi Shu WM, is a distinguished literary critic; the second, Shi Shuqing $§i$W is also a-prominent novelist; and the third daughter is L i Ang. Their parents, a successful self-made businessman and a housewife, provided the daughters an abundant and liberal environment in which to grow up. Like Kanai Mieko, L i Ang's young mind was enriched with literature; at a young age, 93 she had read the fairy tales of almost every region imaginable and had managed to memorize hundreds of classic verses of Tang poetry, particularly the most often-recited long poem Changhenge WiMt. (The Song of Everlasting Sorrow), about the tragic court beauty Yang Gui Fei. From the age of thirteen, she started to indulge in reading wuxict xiaoshuo S t f & ' M f t (chivalrous novels) and famous literary works from all over the world. 2 9 Inspired by her eldest sister, L i Ang started writing fiction at the age of fourteen. She tried to have her very first novel Caoyuan de shengxia ^W$f$!§tSL (The Midsummer of Grasslands) published, but her first ardent hope was dashed. With a precocious literary talent, however, L i was finally successful when her short story "Huaji" (The Flowering Season, 1968; tr. 1985) was put into publication only two years after her first novel was rejected. The penetrating psychological depiction of a young schoolgirl who fantasized about the possibility of being raped by a florist brought young L i instant fame in the literary scene. In 1970 she entered the Chinese Culture College to major in philosophy and immersed herself in the works of Freud, Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, Virginia Woolf and others. Since then L i has written several experimental stories under the influence of existentialism and psychoanalysis. The notable impact of the Modernist literary movement of the 1960s is also observable in Li 's earlier work. A case in point is "You quxian de wawa" (Curvaceous Dolls, 1970; tr. 1999), which is a short story with Freudian overtones about a woman's fantasies about and obsession with her own body. Affected by Modern Literature, a magazine in Taiwan that introduced masterpieces from around the world, L i set for herself a long-range goal of winning the Nobel Prize in 94 literature. In a self-interview, Li admitted that gender was not an important issue during her early stage of writing as she seldom thought of herself as a woman.3 0 This is in fact not uncommon among women writers. For instance, in her investigation of the female literary tradition in the English novel, Elaine Showalter made an insightful observation of women writers' three-stage development toward finding their own self-identity. She identifies three major phases of historical development in female writing, commonly shared by all literary subcultures: First, there is a prolonged phase of imitation of the prevailing modes of the dominant tradition, and internalization of its standards of art and its views on social roles. Second, there is a phase of protest against these standards and values, and advocacy of minority rights and values, including a demand for autonomy. Finally, there is a phase of self-discovery, a turning inward freed from some of the dependency of opposition, a search for identity. A n appropriate terminology for women writers is to call these stages, feminine, feminist, and female. (13)3 1 One can also clearly identify the three major phases of Li 's thirty-six year writing career so far. Although they do not exactly parallel Showalter's three-stage development, they do show significant changes in Li 's understanding of her gendered position as a writer. Choosing a male pseudonym to enter the literary scene, L i internalized the mainstream male-centered values. In fact, it was her intention to make it difficult for the reader to determine whether the works collected in Hun sheng he chang yg5Fa-ti§ (Mixed Chorus, 1975) were written by a male or female writer. Not until she went to college did L i become conscious of herself as a woman. In her awakening to and desire for love, she started to write love stories that displayed the "feminine" qualities of delicacy and sentimentalism. Works produced in this period are collected in Ren jian shi A P R I I * (The 95 Mundane World, 1976), which can be identified as representative of the second phase of her career—advocating femininity. On her sister's heels, L i went to North America for graduate studies and received a Master of Arts degree in drama from Oregon State University in 1977. Like Kanai Mieko, Li has been profoundly influenced by Western thinking. In particular, she was fascinated by the work of Simone de Beauvoir, Virginia Woolf, and Germaine Greer, among other feminist writers.32 Upon her completion of the degree, she returned to Taiwan and started teaching in the Drama Department at the Chinese Culture College (later the Chinese Culture University) and continued to write. The experience of studying abroad tremendously changed L i Ang's life and her writing. With a much broader view and particularly with her personal exposure to the Western world, L i attempted from then on to rid her writing of the "fatal female traits like small-mindedness, cattiness, back-stabbing, and sentimentalism."33 She was once again convinced that to write like male writers was in fact the only way to broaden the range of her writing. It was not until she wrote The Butcher's Wife that L i came to realize that no matter how hard she tried to imitate male writers she could never write like them, and more importantly, that imitation of male writing is utterly unnecessary. I was writing a column called "Women's Opinion" then, and I realized that historically, women have always been subordinate to men. Women have always lacked self-confidence and the courage to truly develop their own specifically female potential. Therefore, in history, the universally recognized "female characteristics" have been limited to virtues like tenderness, sensitivity, and consideration. I think women's potential is greater than that. As long as we are confident, I believe there should be a way to write something great as well as female. Women's literature will then no longer be considered the realm of proper ladies and 96 their personal essays. Content as a woman and confident as a writer, Li remains single as she sees writing as her eternal love. (It is interesting to note that Kanai also remains single, for whatever reason.) Her fundamental belief about writing is that it expresses truth, reflects the times and explores problems. As L i attests, "I think that telling the truth is the writer's most fundamental moral obligation. So, when I think something should be written about, I don't give much consideration to whether or not this violates custom (note that I say custom, not morality) or taboos."35 Since she chose female sexuality as the featured theme throughout the majority of her writings, using this theme to reflect and explore the problems of Taiwan's society, L i has encountered incessant attacks, some of which have been downright brutal and ruthlessly personal. However, in a chronological study of Li ' s works, Howard Goldblatt concluded that L i must be regarded as "the most consistent, successful, and influential writer of sexual fiction in Chinese."36 While dedicated to the theme of female sexuality, L i has never fully committed herself to any particular artistic approach. Although her appropriation of Modernist techniques in works ranging from "Flower Season" to her best known novella, The Butcher's Wife, is impressive, she has never pledged her faith in aesthetic modernism as other Modernist writers have done.37 She wrote stories about her hometown Lugang even before the Nativist literary trend was emerging; and when writing The Butcher's Wife and then Miyuan (The Labyrinthine Garden, 1991), L i still constantly reminded herself to stay clear of those dogmatic beliefs arising from the ever-imposing Nativism of the time. As mentioned above, as a young female writer entering male-dominated turf with a focus on issues of sexuality, gender and power, L i has been vehemently attacked in public 97 and often has had to brave intense public disapproval. Despite all the tensions and obstacles, she completed The Butchers Wife in 1983—a novella regarded as one of the most disturbingly powerful works in the history of Taiwanese literature.38 Its publication aroused wide controversy in Taiwanese society because its daring and astonishing depiction of sex and violence was touching every nerve of those who hold "moral values" close to their hearts; in particular, it was deemed extremely unsettling to the moral foundation of society because of the heroine's subversive deed—killing her husband. Some wrathful critics, government officials, and self-styled defenders of the public morality even considered this work pornography that would corrupt the time-honoured conventions and most-cherished virtues of society. Nonetheless, the fact remains that The Butcher's Wife was awarded the best novel prize of United Daily News and later was translated into several foreign languages, including English, German, French, and Japanese. In this remarkable work one can detect the powerful and bold interrogation of dominant male-centered power paradigms that are often featured in the second phase of women's writing, according to Showalter. In the author's preface to The Butcher's Wife, Li directly acknowledges that she approached its composition with a number of feminist ideals in mind, and that she attempted to display the tragic fate awaiting the economically-dependent Taiwanese women in an oppressive patriarchal society.39 The novella forthrightly exposes the brutal nature of domestic violence, patriarchal oppression and the exploitation of women. In a very similar vein, both The Butchers Wife and "Rotting Meat" are political works forcefully protesting against sexual violence towards women. Through man-slaughtering, patriarchy is killed metaphorically; and simultaneously, women's status is elevated symbolically. 98 The Symbolic Order I turn to Lacanian-inspired theory to elucidate my analytical reading of L i Ang's The Butcher's Wife, with particular attention to the perplexing question of women's relation to language and the Symbolic order. I have proposed that the two stories addressed in this chapter are attempts to subvert patriarchal discourse, so I will now turn to a brief discussion of the psychoanalytic descriptions of the source and structure of patriarchy. Most contemporary theorists of gender begin with concepts introduced by Jacques Lacan (although in some cases they introduce those concepts in order to critique them). Most pertinent for this discussion are the ideas of the Imaginary and Symbolic orders, domains of experience that mark different periods in a human's development of subjectivity. The Imaginary is described by Lacan as that domain experienced by infants in their first few months of life, when they perceive no separation between themselves and the external world; caregivers, objects, emotions are all perceived by the infant as coextensive with the self. Around the age of six to eighteen months, however, infants begin to recognize that they are beings with discrete boundaries, separate from the world around them. At this stage infants placed before a mirror can recognize their own image; the impression of wholeness, completeness, and control given by the mirror image of the infant's own imperfectly controlled body/self leads to a lifelong misrecognition of selfhood as something perfect and whole. It is at this same period that the infant is first acquiring language, and it is through entry into language and recognition of the self as separate that the infant enters the Symbolic. The Symbolic order constitutes the infant in the structures that exist in her language/culture, including, of course, gender structures. According to Lacan, the 99 structures of the Symbolic order are anchored by the master sign of the phallus and the Law of the Father. In the Symbolic order, women have no position of power and no access to a language that is not already constituted by the Law of the Father. This would seem to leave women writers with no means of expressing an experience that is outside mainstream patriarchal discourse. However, feminist theorists such as Kristeva, Cixous, Irigaray and Spivak have criticized Lacan for having failed to diagnose the fundamental error of his predecessor, Freud. That is, Lacan also understood the world and language in terms of a one-sex model of sexuality and subjectivity. Although Lacan declared that the phallus in his theory is not connected to male biology, his appropriation of Freud renders this declaration dubious, according to some critics. Moreover, much of Lacanian theory continues to rely on "vision" as the primary domain in the development of subjectivity. Lacan's Symbolic order—primarily the order of culture and language—remains fundamentally masculine and patriarchal. In opposition to Lacan's indelible patriarchal model, Kristeva replaces Lacan's distinction between the Imaginary and the Symbolic order with a distinction between the semiotic and the symbolic. She posits the space of semiotic, a prelinguistic space anterior to the Symbolic, as the place in which the source of anarchy, disorder, ambivalence, and silence reside.40 Linked to the pre-Oedipal primary processes, the semiotic is referred to as the chaotic flow of drives experienced by the infant who is unable to distinguish self from other. Kristeva argues that this space could function as the locus of disruption, displacing the Symbolic order where the binary categories of male and female fall into place, and it could transgress its boundaries, causing a breakdown of individual or sexual identity, logical meaning, or social order. While Kristeva's reworking of Lacanian concepts has also been criticized, I find that her 100 semiotic thesis is helpful in interpreting elements of contemporary Taiwanese women's writing, including The Butcher's WifeAX The Butcher's Wife Like Kanai's "Rotting Meat," The Butcher's Wife has two narrators—a frame and an internal. The frame narrator is situated in the real world (newspaper reports), with which the reader is familiar; while the internal narrator depicts a world that is removed from reality. The frame narrator represents an epistemological world while the internal narrator depicts an ontological one. More significantly, however, the epistemological status of the frame narrator has been subverted by the internal narrator at the end of the story. In The Butcher's Wife the third-person frame narrator in the two short news reports provides a prologue, introducing the main text, which is told by another third-person internal narrator. In the news reports, the reader is informed that Lin Shi, the female protagonist, is an "immoral" woman who killed her husband for the sake of an extramarital affair. According to the news: When asked why she had killed her husband, Chen responded that he had been a cruel, brutal man who went out to drink and gamble every day, then came home and amused himself by yelling at and beating her. Knowing how she hated to see living things killed, he once forced her to go with him to the slaughterhouse to watch him work. On the day of the crime, he had returned home with a butcher knife and a scowl so menacing that she had feared for her own safety. Toward dawn, after making sure he was fast asleep, she cut him up like a pig, just as she had seen him do at the slaughterhouse. In her own mind this deed also served to avenge the deaths of the countless poor animals that had met their end at his hand. Chen Lin Shi's confession defies reason and logic, for, since ancient times, a 101 murder of this sort has always been the result of an adulterous affair. We urge the authorities to launch a thorough investigation to determine the identity and precise role of the secret lover in this case... the killing of a man by his wife is a moral issue that affects all of society...[the] authorities must treat this case with the utmost severity in order to stem the public outcry and restore healthy social tendencies. (3) 4 2 m®. • mmmigmsat • mm&obmmmm mmnmmmmmitm • summ • & g * t # ® & • (75-6)43 The anonymous reporter accuses Lin Shi of murdering her husband in an authoritative, "logical," and "rational" tone of voice. A second news report says that despite lacking proof of any infidelity, Lin has been sentenced to death for murdering her husband. Bound and placed on the back of a truck, Lin is publicly exhibited as a stern warning against immorality. Through the news reports, the frame narrator stresses the necessity of the parade and attributes the decline in womanly virtues to feminist influences from the West. Whereas the frame narrator delineates the event in an epistemological tone—what is publicly known about the event—the main text that follows narrates the female protagonist's story in an ontological sense, explaining who and what she really is. As opposed to the prologue, the internal narrator gradually converts Lin's image from a "debauched" woman who should be severely punished into an exploited and cruelly 102 treated victim of patriarchy. The story is set in Lugang, L i Ang's hometown, in the 1930s when Taiwan was under Japanese colonial rule. Lin and her mother, a plain rural woman, were forced to roam the streets after Lin's father died when she was only nine years old. Presuming that Lin's mother would remarry, her uncle dispossessed Lin and her mother of the tile-roofed house that was their only possession. One day Lin's mother was caught "having sex" with a stray soldier while simultaneously chewing greedily on the rice balls which were provided by the soldier in return for the sex. In the bright moonlight, L in Shi saw the soldier. He was naked from the waist down, except for a piece of gray legging that was draped loosely around his ankle. Pinned beneath him was her mother, whose face, whose haggard face, was flushed bright red and all aglow with a greedy light. She was chewing on one rice ball and clutching another in her hand. Low moaning sounds escaped from her mouth, which was stuffed with food. Half-eaten grains of white rice, mixed with saliva, dribbled down the side of her face, onto her neck, and down her shirtfront. (7) mim - mm&m&mmmu& • « $ r # « s f > « » w • (78-79) In this near "rape" scene of the mother, the young Lin Shi witnessed a starving woman indulging completely in the quenching of hunger while trading her body for food in an unabashed manner. Without any knowledge of how her mother was punished by her clansmen for her alleged adultery, Lin never saw her mother again and was then sent to 103 live as a servant in the tile-roofed house with her uncle's family. A few years later, to her uncle's advantage, Lin was traded off in marriage to Chen Jiangshui—a pig butcher with an unsavory reputation. With a destructive nature, Chen uses food and violence to control Lin in order to satisfy his own sexual desires and his will to dominate. On the wedding night, starved and exhausted, Lin utters painful screams when her drunken husband brutally claims his "conjugal privilege." After his savage desire is quenched, Chen rouses the already fainting Lin with wine, and fetches her a big piece of pork. Chen Jiangshui went into the living room and came back with a big piece of pork, dripping with fat, which he stuffed into her mouth, skin and all. With bloated cheeks, she chewed on the pork, making squishing noises as fat oozed out the comers of her mouth and dribbled down in rivulets to her chin and neck, all greasy and wet. Just then her tears finally brimmed over and ran down her face, sending a chill through her. (13) im' mmmwumn • ^ M S J T I ? * m^m - mmrnm • mm > mm^mtamm • -wmmm - nm-wmw • (84) After the wedding day, the marital relationship for Lin is nothing but a ritualistic exchange of sex and food. Unable to avoid or resist her husband's sadistic violence in bed, Lin can only cry out in pain. However, her painful howling only makes Chen more covetous than ever. He has set a pattern of wanting her when he returns from the slaughterhouse in the morning. In order to survive, Lin has to endure his constant sexual assaults as on the days he wants her he always comes home with plenty of food. After his sexual violation comes to an end, Lin can get to enjoy the food while the physical pain subsides. 104 Through her next-door neighbour, Auntie Ahwang, Lin associates herself with a group of neighbourhood women and gradually learns the social code of womanly conduct. When washing clothes by the well, Lin always enjoys listening to the other women exchanging gossip and information, although she seldom participates in the conversations. However, one day, Lin overhears Auntie Ahwang talking about her with other neighbours: " A person doesn't have to moan and groan all the time to try to make people believe she's having a good time. It's people like that who give all women a bad name. But I guess I'm just wasting my breath talking about her." (101) Auntie Ahwang continues to say that Lin, as licentious as her mother who was caught committing adultery, shamelessly and greedily demands sex day and night and never gets enough. Totally shocked by Auntie Ahwang's vicious remarks behind her back, Lin decides that from then on no matter how cruelly her husband treats her during their intercourse, she will keep quiet. However, her resistance of silence irritates her husband who can only be satisfied when she responds by forceful moaning and groaning. Dissatisfied, her husband only resorts to more intensive and aggressive abuses. He forbids Lin any contact with the neighbours, who he thinks have a bad influence on her, and stops bringing home any food for her. He has taken to not coming home for several days in a row, either going gambling or staying with Golden Flower, a prostitute whom he used to visit frequently before getting married. Forced to seek economic independence, Lin uses the deflowering money received from her husband to buy a brood of ducklings, hoping to sell duck eggs. No sooner does her husband discover her venture than he brutally 105 dismembers the ducklings with his butcher knife. Knowing that Lin is afraid of blood, Chen forces her to work in the slaughterhouse cleaning the intestines. Beholding the grotesque scene, Lin feels as i f she is in hell: . . . In the dim yellow light she saw the sharp gleaming knife in his hand as it plunged into the gullet of a pig, followed by a prolonged raspy squeal and a great deal of blood gushing out of a wound. The scenario was repeated over and over again.... Lin Shi watched Chen Jiangshui trace a downward motion with his knife—miraculously, immaculately, without even a trickle of bloody liquid, the abdomen of one of the pigs parted, and from inside, a mass of pulsating gray innards of varying thickness spilled out along with some dark-coloured organs. It was such a departure from what she had imagined, so devoid of the blood she had expected to see, that she was more convinced than ever that she was caught up in a dream. But then Chen Jiangshi came walking up to her with an armful of organs and intestines, which he thrust toward her with out saying a word Automatically, she reached out and took them from him. They were soft and sticky to the touch, and still quite warm. The spongy texture, the heavy bulk, the feeling of warmth, the suffocating stench that assailed her nose—Lin Shi suddenly comprehended the fact that this was not a dream. As the realization began to sink in, her mind became crowded with gushing blood and long, piercing screams, making the whole scene all too real. Looking down, she saw that she was holding a wriggling mass of intestines in her arms, one long coil of which had spilled out of her embrace and was dangling in midair. With an agonizing scream, she keeled over backwards before she even had time to toss away the things in her arms; her eyes rolled back in her head and a white froth began drooling from her mouth. (134-5) ^wmytj^Mmm^Tj-jimxmm^n > mmttummzwmg-xm 106 mwdm&&MW• (194-195) Tormented by the bloody scene, Lin is so traumatized that she passes out and has to be taken home on a two-wheeled barrow that is used to transport slaughtered pigs. Shortly before noon on the same day, however, people see Lin begging for money to offer sacrifice to her mother. With the papier-mache effigies and food as sacrificial offerings, she prays on her knees before the altar.44 Chen is furious when he spots her burning effigies at home. He curses viciously at Lin and her mother while brutally beating her. Then he drags her into the bedroom, takes out his butcher knife, which he carries with him at all times, and brandishes it under her nose to make her scream. As always, he falls asleep in no time with the gleaming butcher knife laid on the bed next to his hand. Still in a trance, Lin feels herself being drawn by the butcher's knife that is gleaming in the pale moonbeam. She grips the butcher knife and stabs downwards, recalling what she had been forced to behold at the slaughterhouse. She slaughters her husband in the way he slaughters the pigs (she thinks she is killing a pig, and keeps telling herself: "it must be a dream"45). While she is wielding the knife, many memories suddenly flash into view: the face of the soldier who "raped" her mother, a squealing, struggling pig with a 107 butcher knife buried at an angle in its gullet, and those nightmares that had been haunting her for a long time. It is as i f all the suffering, torment, and nightmares are hacked away by the knife. Finally, she can have a dreamless and tranquil sleep. As the first person to witness the bloody scene and report to the police, Auntie Ahwang is interviewed by the authorities. The story ends with Auntie Ahwang's malicious comment on the case according to her "first-hand" information. She interprets Lin's cries of pain as cries of sexual pleasure, and reports all kinds of distortions about Lin's life. Echoing the prevalent view in society, as sternly and authoritatively presented in the news reports in the prologue, Auntie Ahwang accuses Lin of committing adultery, just like her "sinful" mother, as there is no other possible motive for killing her husband. Or is there? Man-slaughtering as Resistance and Revolution Throughout the story, the female protagonist is defined by a language that is foreign to her. We seem to hear Lin Shi's voice in her confession in the first news report. However, as soon as she articulates something, her voice is encoded into the language that serves patriarchy; i.e. her confession becomes irrational and unreliable. The narrative in the news reports prior to the main text suggests that before her story is told, the female protagonist has already been found guilty by the official and authoritarian language that represents the patriarchal-paradigms of power. As Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar write: As a creation "penned" by man, moreover, woman has been "penned up" or "penned in." As a sort of "sentence" man has spoken, she has herself been "sentenced": fated, jailed, for he has both "indited" her and "indicted" her. As a thought he has "framed," she has been both "framed" (enclosed) in his texts, glyphs, 108 graphics, and "framed up" (found guilty, found wanting) in his cosmologies.46 Without solid evidence the news report has already enclosed Lin Shi and imposed a heavy sentence on her. Nonetheless, the injustice of the passages and the unconvincing claims in the two news reports are rather apparent. In fact, through a formal and sanctimonious tone, L i Ang intends to satirize the male moralists prevailing in the media. In this parody the reader can easily detect the deliberate ironies contained in these contradictory, self-justifying and unconvincing assertions presented in the news reports. As Mikhail Bakhtin characterizes it, parody is a "hostile," "opposing" voice that can penetrate another discourse with an ulterior intention. This voice inevitably violates the other's voice and appropriates its materials for a new use 4 7 By bracketing the ironies and sarcasm presented in the news reports, not only is the weight of the authoritative voice diminished, but the much urged "justice" is undermined. Besides the news reports and the main text, there is an appendix inserted by the author. In the appendix L i Ang provides the initial document that had inspired her before she embarked upon writing the novel, and explains how she transformed a murder case that actually occurred in Shanghai into a fictionalized story of old Taiwanese society. According to the document, Chan Chou Shi, a Shanghai woman who had long been abused by her alcoholic, sadistic, and promiscuous husband, slaughtered and dismembered him, cutting him into eight pieces. On top of a death sentence, Chan, like Lin in the story, was sentenced to be exhibited on a truck to the gaze of the derisive and censoring public, as much a stern warning to other women as a punishment for the convicted. However, due to the Chinese victory in Japan's war with China (1931-45) at the end of World War Two, Chan was granted a general amnesty prior to her execution. 109 With the insertion of this appendix, structurally balancing the fictional news reports in the beginning, L i not only creates a sense of cyclicity, suggesting women's history of being driven crazy by patriarchal tyranny, but also implies the possibility of exonerating Lin from any punishment. Unfortunately, the inserted appendix is omitted in the English 48 translation. If one espouses the Derridian view that the appendix is an inseparable part of a text, then the omission of the appendix in the translated version will inevitably lead to a misrepresentation of Li 's novel, one way or the other. Bakhtin also suggests that modern literary texts are distinctively polyphonic and capable of articulating a number of positions, none of which is exclusively privileged by the author. In this work, the news reports, the internal story, and the appendix speak three different views of the narrative; to excise any of them drastically changes the overall text. In this case the appendix is intended to present a view in opposition to the authoritative "mainstream" patriarchal interpretation of the event provided by the fictional news reports at the beginning of the story. Through the narrative of the main text, the reader comes to realize that the female protagonist, instead of being an evil woman, is in fact a silent victim in a patriarchal rural village. Being silent is Lin's only frail defence against the patriarchal discourse. There are several occasions on which she attempts to speak out but her voice is muted and ignored. The first occasion is before her marriage when she is frightened by the sight of her initial menstrual blood and when she is haunted by a recurring dream full of symbols of sex and violence. In an attempt to rationalize the dream, Lin repeats it over and over to her neighbours. However, there is no audience for her to speak to; people simply avoid her whenever she tries to talk about it. For lack of a listener, Lin is exiled to the realm of no silence, becoming ever more taciturn and absentminded. Ironically, her socially estranged silence and her vacant gaze at men are capriciously interpreted by the village people as the moony expression of "lovesickness," and that gives her uncle an excuse to marry her off. Lin Shi is trapped in an enclosed, exclusive, suffocating, male-centered "dystopia" in which various visible or invisible controls are imposed upon her through clan rules, social customs, superstition, and gossip.49 The elders of the Lin clan expel Lin's mother from society in the name of "virtue"; Chen Jiangshui, himself an outcast due to his abject occupation, gains power over his wife by being a breadwinner and provider of sustenance. Regardless of gender, however, all those who have internalized patriarchal values take part in imprisoning and silencing Lin. This is why Lin's painful cries during her husband's brutal violation are interpreted as lascivious screams by Auntie Ahwang. Just like the clansmen who falsely interpreted the hungry look in Lin's mother's eyes as a lustful craving, Lin's painful moanings are unfairly regarded as incontinent cries of orgasmic ecstasy. Powerless to overturn Auntie Ahwang's malicious slanders, Lin is again reduced to her absolute silence. No matter how unbearable her husband's sexual assaults are, she stifles her moans as remaining silent becomes the only way to indicate her innocence. That is, even her painful screams, her uninhibited, instinctual struggle against phallocentrism and violence, are ruthlessly suppressed into silence. Auntie Ahwang who valorizes the phallocentric values and -observes the "rules of virtues," such as women's obedience to their husbands and female chastity, is endowed with the power of "telling the truth" and collaborates in submitting other women to the whims of patriarchy. When Lin came across Auntie Ahwang who just crept off after peeping in on Chen performing i l l sex on her, Lin saw in Auntie Ahwang's eyes "the look in Chen Jiangshui's eyes" whenever he sexually assaulted her (43). Uncannily, Auntie Ahwang's gaze mirrors the male gaze, exemplifying her desire for phallic control. In particular, her vicarious pleasure in gazing at Chen's sexual torture of Lin constitutes a kind of voyeurism that suggests male scopophilia—the love of peeping. Like her once-bound disfigured feet, Auntie Ahwang's mind has been distorted by the phallocentrism that is steadfastly rooted in her society.50 In the main text, L i Ang uses symbols to flesh out her characters and help the plot unfold. For instance, the image of Lin as a powerless victim is often associated with a dehumanized puppet and a helpless animal. As she is malnourished, her appearance is described as lanky and plain, like a doll carved out of a piece of wood. Lacking experiences of affection, joy and any knowledge of positive sexuality, she is often portrayed as a sex object or a frightened animal. Her husband is also portrayed in animal images, but certainly not as a frightened animal. With small beady eyes that are sunk deep into a swelling of flesh around the sockets, so-called "pig-eyes," his name, too, has become associated with the pigs: "Pig-Butcher Chen" (g$ff?^, 14; 83). Although this signifies Chen's grossness and brute animality throughout most of the text, it also foreshadows his gruesome death, slaughtered like a pig. Images and metaphors of blood are frequent throughout the story as well. Having been a butcher for almost forty years, Chen slaughters pigs and bleeds them to death daily. The images and colour of blood in the slaughterhouse signify violence, brutality, and death. In her lifetime Lin witnesses several bloody scenes: her initial menstrual blood, the 112 bleeding caused by her husband's brutal sexual abuses from the time of the wedding night, and the bloody scene she is forced to behold at the slaughterhouse. For Lin, the image of blood is inevitably connected with her humiliation, subjugation, and victimization. The recurring images of bloody pillars that have been haunting Lin for years in her dreams can best illustrate this point: Several pillars, so tall they impale the clouds, disappearing into a pitch darkness that stretches on endlessly. Suddenly, a rumble of thunder, moving inexorably nearer and nearer. Then a loud boom. Not a trace of flames anywhere, yet the pillars become instantly charred, without so much as wobbling. Finally, after the longest time, dark red blood begins to seep from the cracks in the blackened pillars. (10) wrmmm. • ^ mmm%m.mxm^xm- • mmx-rfm^mmm^rJim • mmm • -BiMd3!M£ - ms$ • mmmmxm - ^ xmmm - M^^rfmm^mm • fcB5i5 • (82) The image of the pillars symbolizes Lin's unresolved fear, anxiety, and sexual repression from past traumatic experiences.51 When her mother had been caught committing "adultery" in the ancestral hall, she had been tied to a pillar when awaiting the punishment to be inflicted on her by her clansmen. These erect pillars are analogous to the phallic shape, and imply the male principle. For Lin, therefore, the pillars resemble the mores of patriarchy and a place where only men have the right to speak. The Japanese colonial rule in Taiwan was patriarchal in nature. In order to exercise tight and effective control over the Taiwanese inhabitants, the Japanese colonial government implemented the hoko f £ ¥ system in 1903. This mutual household 113 surveillance system featured a two-level structure consisting of ho and smaller ko household groupings which were units operated under the informal leadership of unpaid ho and ko male heads selected by the household heads within each grouping.32 The constituent households were responsible for carrying out duties and services assigned by the police. Furthermore, by establishing household registries and keeping them constantly updated, local police stations maintained constant surveillance over the Taiwanese people. Although the inferior position of women in family and society was a general phenomenon in Chinese/Taiwanese society, these policies officially and further enhanced the power and authority of men, especially the head of the household. When Lin's mother had had sex with the soldier in exchange for food, Taiwan was already under the power of the Japanese colonial government; the soldier is thus implicated with the patriarchal colonizing power. The image of the pillars, which haunts Lin, is therefore linked, albeit indirectly, with the Japanese colonizers, too. In the story, the pillars that remain erect despite the thunder suggest the empowered male authority, the male's penetration into the female's body, and the steadfastness of patriarchy. Thus the image of the black bloody pillars symbolizes the male-centered discourse that threatens to suffocate Lin's body and soul. Another shocking equivalency in the novel is that killing pigs and sexual intercourse are uncannily linked by recurring overlapping metaphors.53 Lin's screams of pain on the wedding night sound like "the bleating of ghostly pigs" (13). The next morning, one of Chen's co-workers asks him i f his bride, on the wedding night, squealed like a bound pig waiting to be butchered. As a reply, Chen raises his pointed knife, a metaphorical penis, menacingly plunging it into the flesh of the pig. Being a professional butcher, Chen is 11.4 very proud of his slaughtering skill. As the knife was withdrawn and the blood spurted forth, he was infused with an incomparable sense of satisfaction. It was as though the hot stream coursing through his body was converted into a thick, sticky white fluid spurting into the shadowy depths of a woman at the climax of a series of high-speed thrusts. To Chen Jiangshui, the spurting of blood and the ejaculation of semen had the same orgasmic effect. (75) 7 j c m . wmmmbiimmm- - mm^mmmmim • (139) The butcher's knife, representing the essence of phallic control and reappearing on the marital bed, is associated with blood: "Next to the spots of blood lay an even more menacing object—a shiny, long, sharp blade, Chen Jiangshui's butcher knife, which he had casually set down before climbing into bed" (tfa.i&WMBMikMffl—WJ\^%W71 • £Ddc®±flc^lS^MWfg7J • 20-21; 90). The squealing of struggling pigs is equated to Lin's screams of pain in the bed; the blood of pigs represents Lin's blood caused by the butcher's violent sexual assault. Chen's indulgence in his taste for conquering and dominating women is related to the fact that he enjoys full control over handling the pigs. Chen's slaughtering pigs is associated with the violent victimization of the female bodies. Indeed, Lin is essentially equivalent to a pig whose helplessness provides Chen the pleasant sensation of male dominance. It is very important to point out the economic nature of women's oppression under men. Lin has been traded like a sow to Chen by her uncle in exchange for a portion of meat Chen brings to her uncle every ten days. Like the prostitute in Kanai Mieko's 115 "Rotting Meat," Lin is a commodity that is exchangeable and is exchanged between men. As Irigaray points out, "Women are marked phallically by their fathers, husbands, procurers. The stamp(ing) determines their value in sexual commerce."54 The scene in which Lin's mother is having sex with the soldier and that in which Lin is having sex on her wedding night are equivalent. The redundant images of a mouthful of food, saliva dripping down, and eating while half-naked in both scenes underscores the resonance of the scenes. In essence, Lin's marriage is a repetition of her mother's forced prostitution. The similar nature between marriage and prostitution is further allegorized when Chen tosses kaibao chien Hffltii (defloration money) to Lin on the wedding night, similar to a brothel's custom in Chinese society where a virgin prostitute would always receive a special payment from her first customer. With the defloration money, Lin is tagged with a price on her flesh and her existence as a woman is negated. The enclosed and suffocating patriarchal dystopia is challenged and subverted when Lin takes over her husband's knife—a symbol of phallic power. Through slaughtering and dismembering her husband's body, she hacks through the Symbolic order, reversing the existing relationship between male and female, the dominant and the silenced. Lin's act of killing, carried out in a dream-like, gothic atmosphere, releases the oppressed feminine into the semiotic order.55 In the space of the semiotic prevails the primeval power of the feminine that relates to the natural cycle of the moon, and the "irrational" and "illogical," according to Kristeva. Lin becomes able to transgress the Symbolic order and then to escape (if only temporarily) from the prison of isolated identity, language, and gender. In such an overwhelming state of wildness, what has been repressed from consciousness and been excluded from cultural or linguistic representation is now able to flow again. In 116 other words, Lin's wild psyche that has long been denied and concealed inside her unconscious finally explodes, and is reclaimed in a surrealistic stream of consciousness. When she kills her husband, a chaotic state arises, i f only for a brief moment, to indicate not only a subversion of the Symbolic order but a return to the semiotic space where the repressed female instincts explode. By turning Chen into a pig and slaughtering him in the way he does pigs, Lin symbolically rejects the patriarchy and declares her feminine power in a dream-like state of mind. Finally, it is worth noting that when Lin scoops out and hacks at Chen's intestines, she actually thinks she is slashing numerous pig's tongues. In a sense, the act of slicing the pig's tongues symbolizes her resisting the harmful gossip of the village women who have internalized patriarchal values and tried to vent their resentment and jealousy on other females. Instead of helping Lin, they are complicitous in estranging Lin from the community and society. As i f reminiscent of her mother's controversial incident, Lin, after the dream-like killing, hungrily devours a bowl of rice that had been placed on the altar as an offering to the ancestors and then falls asleep peacefully. Her post-killing satisfaction from food and peaceful sleep mitigates the horror of the killing, and further undermines patriarchal domination in the forms of superstition, ancestral worship, and sexual exploitation. Rebellion and Subversion: Kanai Mieko versus Li Ang Kanai Mieko's "Rotting Meat" and L i Ang's The Butcher's Wife are two graphically sanguine works that signify the disruption and subversion of patriarchal domination. Both works deal with subtle issues of sexuality, power and the textual subversion of patriarchal 117 discourse. "Rotting Meat" has almost no plot, and its setting and style are fantastic, other-worldly. Nonetheless, the brutal realities of pig slaughtering, prostitution, and male sexual abuse of women are portrayed using vivid imagery primarily from the domains of scent and touch. The prostitute in "Rotting Meat" does not view herself as having been oppressed, but the reader can hardly envy her current state: trapped in a wardrobe saturated with the smell of rotting meat. In contrast, The Butcher's Wife has a complicated plot yet is written in a rather straightforward and realistic way. The dark dystopian world in The Butchers Wife clearly portrays the social oppression and sexual brutalization of the female protagonist. L i dramatically unfolds inhuman practices with regard to sex and economic power—such as arranged marriage, control of food, and sexual abuse—so as to clearly reveal the effects of the phallocentric world and to shock the reader into awareness. Like the prostitute in "Rotting Meat," L in Shi (and her mother as well) has to trade the sexual use of her body for food. Also, in both stories, the female protagonists are at first equated with pigs, which are slaughtered to provide food for humans (that is, men, and those who go along with patriarchal discourse). Both women are originally portrayed as meat to be "killed" and consumed whereas the men in their lives, butchers, are portrayed as the rightful "killers" and consumers. However, at the end of these two stories, this paradigm is inverted, as both butchers end up being equated with pigs and killed (though not consumed). In The Butcher's Wife, Lin's triumph is only temporary because in the end she is sentenced to death as a husband-killing murderer. Some critics argue that even up to the moment of gripping the knife, Lin has not reached any self-awareness; therefore, rather 118 than a revolt against patriarchy, Lin's killing is merely a total collapse.56 However, as L i Ang has asserted, it is unrealistic for an illiterate peasant like Lin to be aware of her oppression and rebellion; therefore, Lin's killing has to take place in a dream-like state.57 But the story does not depict Lin as completely passive and unaware of her situation. As we have seen, Lin tries twice to seek economic independence, which may allow her to improve her circumstances, but in vain. Considering the difficulty for women to throw off patriarchal social constraints, it is no surprise that Lin's method of killing her husband is so full of unconscious symbolism. In contrast to The Butcher's Wife, which concluded with a punishment for the female protagonist's act of rebellion against patriarchal society, there is no punishment of any sort rendered for the prostitute in "Rotting Meat." Unlike Lin, a peasant woman who does not have the sense of self and autonomy and whose rebellion is rather more on a subconscious level, the prostitute in "Rotting Meat" is economically independent and self conscious. However, the fact remains that she hardly can be considered a victor as she is discovered isolated in the closet with a lump of rotting meat, and her once prosperous career has been ruined. Instead of being confined by a simplistic power paradigm between men and women (men are hunters/victimizers, women are food/victims), Kanai and L i introduce a new binary paradigm—men can be eaten/passive and women can eat/be active. Nonetheless, it is important to note that reversing women's status from the oppressed to the oppressor would be an oversimplification of the complexities of power and power relations; the binary trap would still remain, in spite of the subversion and reversal. And although these stories do narrate such a reversal of the normal power paradigms, they do not suggest that 119 this will bring happiness to specific people or lasting change to society. Both stories are composed of many shocking sexual, violent, grotesque, and bloody scenes. However, it is imperative to recognize that it is not the writers' intentions to produce erotic novels or to inspire women to rebel with violence. Rather, I would argue that both writers intend to expose the absurdities and dangers arising from the normal male-centered power paradigms, in particular the harm done to women's bodies and subjectivity. The act of man-slaughtering in both stories is clearly a symbolic protest and rebellion against patriarchal domination. Through subversion and reversion, Kanai and L i provide the reader a chance to soberly ponder the much broader issue of gender identity. In these two works, the issues of colonial dominance, race or nation are not explicitly raised. There is not even any indication in Kanai's story that it is necessarily set in Japan. But the kind of society depicted and critiqued by Kanai in this and other works from the 1970s is one still heavily influenced by Japanese prewar models of gender relations—as was the case in Japanese society many decades after the end of the war. Born and raised in the postwar period, Kanai has the liberty to critique gender structures freely, unlike some of her predecessors. By creating shocking images of woman that are contrary to the conventional gender roles assigned by the national narrative, Kanai unmasks the abusive and absurd natures of gendered power paradigms and challenges the arbitrarily prescribed gender roles that continue to support the national narrative on into the postwar period. On the other hand, produced under the spectre of martial law, Li 's work did not have much room for challenging the authoritative national narrative. Set in the past, when Taiwan was under the control of a very different government (Japan), The Butcher's Wife 120 could get away with narrating a critique of patriarchal power structures. But even i f she was not hit with actual government censorship for this work, L i Ang has been severely criticized by the protectors of the status quo social mores, showing that her critique of patriarchy in the past still resonates deeply with readers in the present. It was not until martial law was lifted that writers like L i Ang could investigate the intersection of various networks of gender, race, and nation, free from concerns about government intervention. In the following chapters, however, we will see more fully the ways that issues of race, nation, and colonial status are tied up with literary explorations of gendered identity. 2 Notes 1 Tanizaki Jun'ichiro ^lAfP—g|S (1886-1965) was one of the most prominent writers of modern Japanese literature, and to this day remains one of the most acclaimed Japanese novelists. While most of his works are highly sensual in nature, some focus particularly on explicit eroticism; all are laced with wit and ironic sophistication. Cited in Kitada Sachie's "Usagi" %, inTanpenjosei bungaku: Gendai Wm~k t £ ; £ ^ , eds. Imai Yasuko, Yabu Teiko, and Watanabe Sumiko (Tokyo: Ofusha, 1993), p. 153. Ibid., p. 153. Ishikawa Jun (1899-1987) was a well-known Japanese novelist, highly praised for his intellectual acumen, sophistication and urban artistic interests. He was sometimes likened to France's Andre Gide. He and Sakaguchi Ango S b ^ p (1906-1955) were considered members of the burai-ha MMffi. (the decadents) group, because of their shared nihilism and opposition to authority. For information on Kanai Mieko's biographical background, I have consulted Kitada Sachie "Usagi," in Gendai josei bungaku jiten, eds. Muramatsu Sadataka and Watanabe Sumiko (Tokyo: Tokyodo, 1990), and Japanese Women Writers: A Bio-critical Sourcebook, ed. Chieko I. Mulhern (Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 1994). Mary A. Knighton, "Kanai Mieko," in The Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian 12.1 Literature, ed. Joshua, Mostow (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003), p. 242. 7 Sharalyn Orbaugh, "Arguing with the Real: Kanai Mieko," in Oe and Beyond: Fiction in Contemporary Japan, eds. Stephen Snyder and Philip Gabriel (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1999), p. 246. 8 Ooka Shohei A|jff|#¥- (1909-1988) was a famous poet, novelist, literary critic, and translator of French literature. Belonging to the group of postwar writers, Ooka wrote about his own war experiences at home and abroad. He regarded war as the supreme evil, and felt obligated to portray its horror to the last detail. 9 See Kitada "Usagi," in Tanpen josei bungaku: Gendax, and Orbaugh "The Body in Contemporary Japanese Women's Fiction," in The Woman's Hand: Gender and Theory in Japanese Women's Writing (California: Stanford University Press, 1996), pp. 119-164. 1 0 Sharalyn Orbaugh, "Arguing with the Real: Kanai Mieko," pp. 250-2. The phrase "arguing with the real" comes from the title of a chapter in Judith Butler's Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex" (New York and London: Routledge, 1993). 1 1 Masculine gender theory as a separate enterprise, which has focused largely on social, literary, and historical accounts of the construction of male gender identities, is beyond the scope of my discussion here. 1 2 Judith Bulter, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, 2 n d ed. (New York, 1999), p. 10. 1 3 Toril Moi , Sexual/Textual Politics: Feminist Literary Theory (London and New York: Routledge, 1985), p. 104. 1 4 See Luce Irigaray Speculum of the Other Woman, trans. Gillian Gi l l (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1985), and "This Sex which is Not One," trans. Claudia Reeder, in The Second Wave: A Reader in Feminist Theory, ed. Linda Nicholson (New York and London: Routledge, 1997), pp. 323-329. 1 5 Irigary, "This Sex Which Is Not One," p. 323. 1 6 Irigaray, "Psychoanalytic Theory: Another Look," in This Sex Which Is Not One, p. 35. 17 Sigmund Freud, "Some Psychological Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction between the Sexes" in Sexuality and the Psychology of Love, ed. Philip Rieff. (New York: Collier Books, 1963), p. 187. 1 8 Irigaray, "This Sex WhichTs Not One," p. 325. 1 9 Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York and London: Routledge, 1999), p. 174. 2 0 Ibid., p. 175. 2 1 Kanai Mieko feR^M*, "Rotting Meat" ("Funiku"). Trans, by Mary Knighton. Fictional International vol.29 (1997): 110. 2 2 Kanai Mieko, "Funiku" $1*3(1972), in Chikuma bungaku taikei %iB$:¥A&, vol. 93. 122 25 26 29 (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo, n.d.), p. 150. "Rotting Meat" is one of the nine short stories Kanai has written in the early 1970s. With discrete narrative, each of the stories is linked to the others through certain similarities. 2 4 Sharalyn Orbaugh, "The Body in Contemporary Japanese Women's Fiction," in The Woman's Hand: Gender and Theory in Japanese Women's Writing, eds. Paul Schalow and Janet Walker (Stanford, California: Stanford UP, 1996), p. 159 £21. Irigaray, "Any Theory of the 'Subject' Has Always Been Appropriated by the 'Masculine'," Speculum of the Other Woman (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1985), p. 133. Gayle Rubin, "The Traffic in Women" in Toward an Anthropology of Women ed. Rayna R. Reiter, (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1975). 2 7 Butler, Gender Trouble. 2 8 Orbaugh, "The Body in Contemporary Japanese Women's Fiction," p. 153. For information on L i Ang's biographic background, I have consulted Hong Shanhui's " L i Ang xiaoshuo yanjiu" ^ / M f t W ^ t M . A. Thesis (National Tsing Hua University, 2000), Jiang Baochai's iVSM, "'Xiandai wenxue' mixing xiaoshuojia: cong yige zhuti chufa" mXS^'lx&'hmWL • 8M@£ff i£rm Ph.D. Thesis (National Taiwan Normal University, 1994), and Howard Goldblatt's, "Sex and Society: The Fiction of L i Ang," in Worlds Apart: Recent Chinese Writing and Its Audiences, ed. Goldblatt (Armonk, N.Y. and London: M.E. Sharpe, 1990), pp. 150-65. L i Ang, "Protest of a Woman Author against Reckless Accusations: Another Self-Interview, This Time from Taibei," in Modern Chinese Writers Self-Portrayals, ed. Helmut Martin and Jeffery Kinkley. (N .Y; London: An East Gate Book, 1992), p. 256. 3 1 Elaine Showalter, A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999), p. 13. Ying-Ying Chien, "Women Crossing the Wild Zone: Sexual/Textual Politics in the Fiction of Ding Ling and L i Ang." FuJen Studies vol. 28 (Feb. 1995): p. 8. L i , "Protest of a Woman Author against Reckless Accusations," p. 256. 3 4 Ibid., p. 256. 3 5 Ibid., p. 258. 3 6 Howard Goldblatt, "Sex and Society: The Fiction of L i Ang," p. 150. Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang, Modernism and the Nativist Resistance: Contemporary Chinese Fiction from Taiwan, (Durham: Duke University Press, 1993), p. 181. Ying-Ying Chien, "Deconstructing Patriarchy/Reconstructing Womanhood: Feminist Readings of Multicultural Women's Murder Fiction." Tamkang Review 26, nos. 1, 2 (Autumn & Winter 1995): p. 268. 30 32 33 37 38 123 39 40 Li Ang, The Butcher s Wife (Sha-Fu ISA), in The Butcher's Wife and Other Stories, trans, and ed. by Howard Goldblatt and Ellen Yeung (Boston, M A : Cheng & Tsui, 1995). For a complete exposition of Kristeva's theory, see Kristeva, Revolution in Poetic Language (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984), especially chap. 1, "The Semiotic and the Symbolic," 19-106. 4 1 For lucid commentary on Kristeva's work, see Moi's Sexual /Textual Politics. 4 2 L i Ang, The Butcher's Wife, in The Butcher s Wife and Other Stories, trans, and ed. by Howard Goldblatt and Ellen Yeung (Boston, M A : Cheng & Tsui, 1995). 4 3 L i Ang Sha-fu: Lucheng gu-shi : (Taipei: Lian-he bao-she, 1983). 4 4 In Taiwanese society it is a religious custom to burn coloured papier-mache figures that resemble and represent things like furniture, vehicles, and money for the deceased to use in the nether world. Most Taiwanese believe that the more papier-mache figures they offer the more comfortable and peaceful the deceased will be. 4 5 L i Ang, The Butcher's Wife and Other Stories, p. 139. Sandra M . Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1979), p. 13. Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics, trans. Caryl Emerson (Minneapolis & London: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), pp. 193-194. For the problematic nature of English translation from the Chinese in general, please see Michael S. Duke "The Problematic Nature of Modern and Contemporary Chinese Fiction in English Translation" in Worlds Apart: Recent Chinese Writing and Its Audiences, pp. 198-227. Ying-Ying Chien, "Women Crossing the Wild Zone: Sexual/Textual Politics in the Fiction of Ding Ling and L i Ang," p. 13. Originated in the Southern Tang dynasty around 920 A.D. and survived for a thousand years, foot binding can be seen as a practice of "bodily mutilation inflicted on women by patriarchs (often dubbed 'Confucian') to serve male interests." In a society with a cult of female chastity, one primary purpose of foot binding was to limit women's mobility; i.e. to keep them in a hobbled and subservient domestic state. Moreover, it rendered women as sex objects to satisfy" men's perverted erotic fantasies. Auntie Ahwang exemplifies how woman's body and mind have been culturally and sexually mutilated by patriarchy. For reference please see Dorothy Ko, "The Body as Attire: The Shifting Meaning of Footbinding in Seventeenth-Century China," Journal of Women's History 8, no. 4 (Winter 1997): p. 8. Chien, "Deconstructing Patriarchy/Reconstructing Womanhood: Feminist Readings of Multicultural Women's Murder Fiction," p.272. 124 46 47 48 49 50 J / Harry J. Lamley, "Taiwan under Japanese Rule, 1895-1945: The Vicissitudes of Colonialism," in Taiwan: A New History, ed. by Murray Rubinstein (New York: Sharpe, 1999), p. 213. 3 3 Sheung-Yuen Daisy Ng, "Feminism in the Chinese Context: L i Ang's The Butcher's Wife," Modern Chinese Literature 4, nos. 1&2 (Spring & Fall 1988): pp. 177-200. 5 4 Irigaray, "This Sex Which Is Not One," p. 328. 5 5 Ying-Ying Chien, "Women Crossing the Wild Zone: Sexual/Textual Politics in the Fiction of Ding Ling and L i Ang," p. 12. 5 6 See Cai Yingjun. "Nu zuojia de liangzhong dianxing he qi kunjing," Wenxing 110 (Aug 1987): pp. 96-101, and Sheung-Yuen Daisy Ng, "Feminism in the Chinese Context." 5 7 Ying-Ying Chien, "Women, Feminism, and Creativity: A n Interview with L i Ang," ChungWai Literary Monthly vol. 17, no. 10 (March 1989): pp. 184-5. 125 Chapter Three Writing Her-story: Enchi Fumiko's Masks and Li Ang's Labyrinthine Garden In this chapter I pair up Enchi Fumiko's Onnamen icM (Masks, 1958; tr. 1983) with L i Ang's Miyuan (Labyrinthine Garden, 1991) for literary comparison, featuring the theme of "writing her-story." Although Enchi's work was produced in the late 1950s and Li ' s work came out three decades later, Japan of the 1950s and Taiwan of the 1990s can be seen as similar postcolonial moments in each country's history, as briefly discussed in the previous chapters. Both works were created not long after each country was freed from its own form of colonization. In the late 1950s Japan was just a few years away from the end of the war, the collapse of its colonial empire in Asia, and then the Allied Occupation, during which the Allies, especially the United States, held colonial-like rule from 1945 to 1952. On the other hand, Taiwan was not completely unshackled from the authoritarian rule and grand narrative of the Nationalist government till the late 1980s; the particularly infamous martial law was not lifted till 1987. Therefore, despite a time difference of more than three decades between the two novels considered here, they came out of similar historical moments in each country. Socio-politically these moments were marked by new possibilities for the exploration of a number of formerly taboo issues, including the intersections of gender, race, and nation. Thematically, the two novels share certain similarities—a focus on renegotiating gender relations after the colonial yoke is gone, through the theme of subverting the patrilineal lineage. Enchi's Masks portrays a bold attempt to establish a matrilineal 126 genealogy in an uncompromisingly patrilineal system, whereas Li 's Labyrinthine Garden demonstrates a woman writer's active engagement with the national narrative and her willingness to engage the hot-button issue of ethnicity in Taiwan. I will trace the significant similarities in terms of theme and structure of the two novels; the two writers use similar structural techniques to support related themes. Equally important, I will discuss their significant differences, which arise primarily from each country's different experiences of colonization. To facilitate the discussion, I will be presenting Helene Cixous' theory of ecriture feminine to illustrate how Enchi employs the female body as a source of metaphor, considering the importance of the female body as a sensual ground and source of imagery for women's writing. Through multiple allusions to classical literature, Enchi creates a Medusa-like archetype to subvert the patriarchal system. Regarding Li 's novel, I will look into the politics of identity (reconstruction in postcolonial discourse to investigate the ways gender relationships have been affected by painful memories of colonization; especially the February 28 incident in the case of Taiwan. Overall, this comparison is to illustrate the intricate entanglement of the national narrative in women's identity and women's active role in (re)writing her-story. Enchi Fumiko Biographical background Well known for her brilliant probing of female psychology, sexuality, tenacity, and agency, often through allusions to classical Japanese literature, Enchi Fumiko (1905-1986) was one of the most acclaimed women writers in modern Japan. She was born Ueda Fumi, the third and youngest child of Ueda Kazutoshi who was a distinguished linguistics 127 professor at Tokyo University.1 Thanks to her scholarly father, Enchi received a rather unconventional education for her time, especially for a girl. Apart from her privileged access to her father's personal library filled with erudite books ranging from the Japanese classics to world literature, Enchi's program of education was tailored to meet her unique needs and personal interests. She was constantly surrounded by numerous professors, scholars, and students who frequented the Ueda's residence. It would be extremely difficult to overestimate her father's influence on Enchi. However, it was her paternal grandmother, an avid partisan of Kabuki, who most powerfully excited Enchi's inchoate imagination by reciting to her lines from the Kabuki or Joruri, and by telling her popular stories from the Edo period (1600-1867). Gradually but surely, this intimate storytelling nurtured Enchi's love for reading, which eventually transformed into a career as a writer. Enchi herself gave due credit to her grandmother's storytelling in the development of her writing career.2 In addition to her grandmother's stories, Enchi also had direct experience of the Kabuki and Noh theaters, accompanying her family to performances from the age of four. Arguably, theatre and the Japanese classics not only laid the groundwork for shaping Enchi's aesthetic appreciation and developing her unique artistic sense but later often became the source of inspiration for some of her most creative literary narratives.3 As the seventeen-year-old Fumiko found the prescribed education at the women's high school highly unlikely to satisfy her literary aspirations, she withdrew from school and was tutored at home, determined to become a writer. Influenced by Nagai Kafu's Shosetsu Sand (How to Write Novels, 1920), a book in which he advised that college does not matter much but a writer has to know at least two other languages beside Japanese,4 Enchi was individually tutored in English, French, classical Chinese, and Bible studies by 128 numerous prominent college professors and a British lady missionary. Although Enchi later studied at the Japan Women's University for four years, she left without receiving her degree. Nonetheless, she continued to receive private tutorials paid for by her father until she got married at the age of twenty-four. In her early teens, Enchi not only indulged in reading Genji monogatari (The Tale of Genji, circa 1000) but was also captivated by the "demoniac Romanticism" of Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde, Nagai Kafu, and Tanizaki Jun'ichiro, from which Enchi picked up the gothic and sensual writing style that she later incorporated into her own writing of fiction. In particular, Enchi was most impressed by Tanizaki's almost religious reverence for the beauty of women, and Kafu's beautifully refined eroticism.5 As a modern writer, it is fair to say that Enchi successfully synthesized literary influences from the East and West, as well as from the past and present. Although Enchi's reputation lay mainly in the short stories and novels that she produced after the 1950s, she made her debut in the literary scene not as a novelist but a playwright at the age of twenty-one when her play Furusato ^>5^<t (Native Land, 1926) was published by the journal Kabuki. Attending a seminar on playwriting given by Osanai Kaoru, then the leader of the Modern Theater movement, Enchi was one of the first women to have three successful plays staged at the Tsukiji Little Theater founded by Osanai. After Osanai's sudden death, Enchi became acquainted with novelists of the proletarian movement, such as Hirabayashi Taiko (1905-1972), Hayashi Fumiko (1903-1951), and in particular Kataoka Teppei (1894-1944) with whom she fell in love. She was, nonetheless, never active in the left-wing movement, primarily because of her concern for her father's position in the university. Nonetheless, it is no doubt that Enchi's 129 sympathy for marginalized people came from her contact with those leftist intellectuals. In 1930, when leftists were being pursued and persecuted by the government, she married Enchi Yoshimatsu, a 34-year-old journalist, so as to distance herself from the proletarian movement. Although throughout their marriage she never loved her husband, who was in fact handpicked by her father, she had a daughter with him and remained married to him until his death in 1972. Enchi joined the magazine Nichireki in 1935 and started to learn about writing fiction as she felt she had reached an impasse in writing plays. However, far from becoming an award-winning fiction writer overnight, she experienced quite a few difficulties getting her work into print. With great encouragement from her long-time friend Hirabayashi, she continued to write, believing her works would eventually prevail. Enchi's first important short work "Genzai" WM (Original Sin) was completed in 1938, the year following her father's death from cancer at the age of seventy. Then the war intervened, and at the same time Enchi encountered the first of many serious maladies she would have to face in her life: she was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a result, she had to endure the medical procedure of mastectomy, and then suffered a serious postoperative infection. While she was making a slow recovery from the operation, most of her property was reduced to ruins during the bombing campaigns of the war. Thereafter her works increasingly delved into the psychic realm of women, especially aging or sexually disabled women, their fears of death, and their hunger for sex and for life. Enchi was unable to make serious inroads into the literary world until her short story "Himojii tsukihi" r> i> 0 (Days of Hunger) was published and awarded the Women's Literature Prize in 1953. Masamune Hakucho (1879-1962), one of the most 130 influential Naturalist writers of the time, praised this short story, saying that it made him feel an unwonted shudder in its merciless depiction of the male and its unflinching portrait of despair.6 After that, Enchi was actively pursued by publishers; and over the following three decades she produced a great assortment of literary masterpieces including more than twenty plays, more than fifty short stories, thirty full-length novels, collections of essays, and a number of modern translations of classical works such as The Tale of Genji. In 1970 Enchi was elected to the Japan Academy of Arts; and two years later, she received the Grand Prize for Japanese Literature. On top of six major awards of distinction, Enchi was decorated by the Emperor with the Bunka kunsho (Order of Cultural Merit) in 1985—one of the only two female writers to have been awarded this highest honour in postwar Japan.7 It is ironic that Enchi, whose works frequently depict a subversion of some patriarchal and/or patrilineal narrative, should be acknowledged as a "national writer" through this imperial award. Until her death from heart failure at the age of eighty-one in 1986, Enchi led a remarkable life of prolific literary creativity. Many of Enchi's novels deal with conflicts between a woman's sexual desires and the norms in contemporary society. One of Enchi's most representative novels is her first masterpiece Onnazaka ic^L (literally, Woman's hill, 1957; tr. as The Waiting Years, 1971; awarded the Noma Literary Prize), which is in fact a fictional rendition of her grandmother's painful life. With acute sensitivity, in the novel Enchi portrays marriage as an oppressive institution and delineates its devastating effects upon women in the Meiji period. The female protagonist Tomo is forced not only to select her husband's concubines but to live with them under the same roof. After a lifetime of catering to her husband's every whim, however, the silent Tomo finally speaks out on her death bed 131 asking to have her body dumped into the sea instead of the solemn familial burial that is commonly deemed proper. Stunned by her wilful statement, her husband's mind and body suffer the full force of the emotions that Tomo has struggled to repress for forty years past, as the shock is powerful enough to "split [her husband's] arrogant ego in two." 8 Confronting her husband for the very first and last time, Tomo avenges all the unbearable humiliation from which she has suffered in the marriage with him. Like Tomo in The Waiting Years, Enchi's female protagonists often terrify the male reader when they reveal their deep wells of pain, terror, and malice against their male oppressors. Although most male critics have responded with admiration for Enchi's literary works, their appraisals often reveal an implicit sense of discomfort with the women characters Enchi has created. Okuno Takeo regards Enchi as "a woman to be eternally feared" precisely because she tends to depict woman to be unknowable/opaque, detestable, and repugnant to men.9 In contrast to Tomo who lived in the Meiji period and protested only with her dying request, the contemporary protagonist Mieko in Masks exacts a more long-term and devious revenge on her husband for his past infidelity. Mishima Yukio once commented that Enchi's works possess both a moral side and a deeply immoral side. Agreeing with Mishima's assessment, Enchi herself suggests that The Waiting Years derives from her virtuous, moral side, while Masks narrates the darker, decadent, "immoral" half.1 0 Conscious of the oppression inflicted on women, Enchi declares that her writing is not hers alone but is jointly produced with numerous women who lived in the past.11 132 Writing with the Body Enchi Fumiko is one of the few women writers in Japan who has commanded the respect of the male-dominated literary world while writing unflinching representations of sexual politics from an implicitly feminist point of view. Aware that literature in postwar Japan is produced, criticized and canonized according to the standard of male critics, Enchi made great efforts during her lifetime to preserve the literary institution "Joryu bungakukai" (The Association of Women's Literature), out of the firm conviction that women writers should unite together to survive in the male-dominated literary world. This sort of "separatism" might seem essentialist and problematic to some younger feminists; however, in order to fend off sexual dscrimination and get a foothold in the literary scene, the unity of women writers was deemed necessary at the time. As i f echoing Helene Cixous' theory of ecriture feminine (feminine writing), Enchi regarded the female body as both the source and the sign for her writing in search of female sexuality. As Cixous suggests, "Write yourself. Your body must be heard. Only then will the immense resources of the unconscious spring forth."12 In order to escape the discourse of mastery, Cixous believes that we must begin to write the body. That is, when the individual woman writes herself, she must discover for herself what her body feels like and how to write about that body in language. Specifically, a woman must find her own sexuality, one that is rooted solely in her own body, and to find ways to write about that pleasure—which Cixous, following Lacan, names "jouissance." Jouissance can be conceived of as a virtually metaphysical fulfillment of desire that goes far beyond satisfaction. In light of Lacan's theory of the Symbolic order, Cixous believes that our sexuality and the language in which we communicate are inextricably linked. To free one 133 means freedom for the other. As women are marginalized in the Symbolic order, they are not solidly anchored or fixed in place as men are; therefore, women and their language are more fluid, more flowing, and more unstable. When women speak or write their own bodies, the structure of language itself will change, as women become active subjects, not just beings passively acted upon, their position as subject in language will shift. Women's writing will produce a new signifying system that contains more fluidity and flexibility than the existing rigid phallogocentric symbolic order, Cixous argues. Like Cixous's feminine writing, Enchi's writing provides a rupture, or a site of change and transformation, a place where the totality of the system breaks down and one can see a system as a system or a structure, rather than simply as "the truth." Granting that she does this, it is surprising that most male critics and scholars, however, do not seem to notice the subversiveness in Enchi's writing. While they often comment about her use of "the body" in producing fiction that is different from that of male writers (as we shall see below), they see this as "natural" and (unfortunately) inevitable rather than subversive. In their critiques of Enchi's writing and women's writing in general, male critics have tended to disparage women writers as focusing only on personal experiences and physical appearance. Buying wholeheartedly into the mind/body dichotomy that values the mind over the body, male critics have tended to suggest that male writers write only with their "mind" or "intelligence," whereas women writers write with their body, emotion, and primitiveness. While some feminist theorists, such as Cixous, might celebrate women who are able to write with their bodies, for the Japanese male critics of the postwar period, this judgement does not constitute a compliment. Muro Saisei's Ogon no hah (Golden Needles, 1961), which surveys the works of 134 nineteen women writers from the Taisho (1912-1926) and Showa (1926-1989) periods, best represents the essentialist view that disparages Japanese women's writing. Associating women's writing with sewing, Muro suggests that, just as women possess the refined skills necessary for sewing a kimono, women writers produce fiction that is too neat, without skipping any stitches. He contends that women's style of writing, which resolves everything and leaves nothing to the imagination, lacks delight and thus is inappropriate for fiction. On the contrary, he argues that male writers, like tatami-makers who sew with a three-inch needle, write with loose and uneven stitches, the very qualities that Muro finds required in outstanding writing. 1 3 Strikingly, however, Muro's analogy not only is emblematic of essentialism but embodies a fundamental fallacy.14 He first assumes that sewing is naturally a feminine job (which is problematic to begin with), and then asserts that all women writers "naturally" adopt such a "feminine" skill into their writing (an unsubstantiated, and even more unsustainable assertion). Of significance in the background in which Muro would have made such a contention is that writing is commonly regarded as the male writers' domain. Nonetheless, i f we use Gilbert and Gubar's metaphoric equation between pen and penis to interpret Muro's analogy between sewing and writing, then paradoxically, the unusually large three-inch tatami-makers' needle male writers use is the metaphor for the penis, while the much smaller needle female writers use becomes the clitoris, the castrated penis. In light of this reformulated interpretation of Muro's analogy, then arguably Muro would seem to have further suggested that when a woman transgresses gender boundaries by picking up a tiny needle to imitate men's writing, her writing can never be as good as that of male writers as she is not possessed of a "legitimate" pen/needle/penis. This extension of Muro's analogy only 135 reveals the fact that Muro's contention is, unwittingly or not, very much dictated by the discourse and logic of phallocentrism. In his comment on Enchi Fumiko, whom he characterized as "someone who writes with a golden pen," Muro makes another analogy between women's writing and women's bodies. He refers to Enchi's female body as her writing instrument: It is true that writers write with their bodies... .1 thought that Enchi Fumiko must be always writing with her dripping flesh....A woman's body, having a different structure from mine, overflows with sticky fat. The ideas that pass through such a body are also greasy, so much so that it seems to smear right on the manuscript, (my translation) <<Dtctgot... ic_<DAi*a»f>t-comWfLtzt'tiot, fcoHLfcBgroa***% Here, based on his unflattering depiction of biological difference between male and female, Muro asserts that as a female body contains more fat than the male's, female writing composed through the bodies that have this excessive viscous fat would be "naturally" greasy. Interestingly, Muro is not the only critic to have used such adjectives as pota pota shita niku (dripping flesh) and nettori (sticky) to describe Enchi's writing. In their commentaries on Enchi's work, Okuno Takeo's nurai (viscous), nechi nechi (clammy, sticky), and Masamune Hakucho's betabeta to nebarituita16 (tenaciously sticky) all seem to imply that women's writing in general, and Enchi's writing in particular, inevitably reflects the excessiveness derived from the female body: the sticky and fishy smell of menstruation, bleeding from delivery, fat, or secretions.17 Mishima Yukio even regards such excessiveness as the ultimate requirement for women's writing and as the 136 major characteristic differentiating it from men's writing.' 8 The male critics' linking the images of sticky blood, fat, and secretion in woman's bodies to the style of women's writing presents a striking contrast to the concept of ecriture feminine, in which the woman's voice flows and runs like liquid. Far from ecriture feminine's intention of recovering the woman's voice, undermined in phallogocentric society, women's writing has been defiled by male criticism of this sort as something unknown, alien, mysterious, premodern, or primitive, serving merely as the Other to enhance the superiority of men's "modern" literary work. As i f echoing Cixous's ideas about fennnine writing, Enchi writes about female sexuality with unprecedented audacity. It has been inferred, mostly by male critics, that Enchi paradoxically felt compelled to write about female sexuality after her losing her quintessentially female organs—breast and uterus—to cancer. Despite Enchi's repeated claims that her works are not reflections of her own experience but are kyoko (fabrication), male critics continue to see her works as autobiographical, connecting the loss of her female organs to her writing. Okuno believes that after Enchi lost her sexual organs, the otoko no me (male gaze) inside her, in terms of both body and soul, became bigger and stronger.19 A female writer without a uterus but with an ardent thirst for the fulfillment of her emotional void and emptiness is praised by male critics for the "unfeminine" qualities in her works—unfeminine precisely because she delineates the female gender and sexuality with obsessiveness and audacity. Because of these "unfeminine" qualities, Muro differentiates Enchi from the rest of women writers: "however, there is still some unevenness in Enchi Fumiko's writing" (0f t R i&X^ d i t * 1t 1t # It fo & )20, suggesting that Enchi's writing is possessed of some of the required qualities in 137 superior/male writing. But Muro's categorization of Enchi's writing as nearly masculine could not be further from the truth. In actuality, by taking up such body-related topics and experiences of women Enchi effectively appropriates and fundamentally inverts the orthodox discourse on women's writing and their bodies. Instead of seeing her loss as a metaphor for emptiness, Enchi regards the void as a source that produces abundant flows of creativity and imaginativeness, just like the greatest Chinese ancient historian Sima Qian DJf§& (B.C. 1457-B.C. 86?) completed Shiji jfelS (The Record of Great Historians, 91 B.C.) after the ruthless castration inflicted on his body by the Han Emperor.21 Metaphorically, it can be further argued that without the sexual organs that normally signify women's confinement to their conventional roles, Enchi is thus liberated to explore the relationship between gender identity and persistent sexual drive in a female body "free from" reproductive organs. In her various works, Enchi employs the female body as a source of metaphor, manifesting the importance of female body as a sensual ground and source of imagery for women's writing. One of her most representative "body" works is Masks. In the following sections, I will first provide a synopsis of Masks and then look into how Enchi's female protagonist challenges patriarchal dominance in the family structure and further creates her own matrilineal "blood lineage" through the power of spirit possession. Masks The protagonist of Masks, Togano Mieko, is a widow in her fifties at the time the story is set. She is an accomplished poet who has a keen interest in classical Japanese literature, particularly the theme of spirit possession in The Tale of Genji. With "a peculiar 138 power to move events in whatever direction she pleases, while she stays motionless,"" Mieko manipulates the people around her to take vengeance on her long-dead husband. Gradually the reader finds out the circumstances of Mieko's young married life, which motivate her actions in the narrative present. We discover that when the nineteen-year-old Mieko had married Togano Masatsugu, a rural samurai of the kind who assisted in creating the Meiji government, she had discovered something dismaying—her wealthy husband kept a concubine in the house and intended that she should go on living there even now that he had taken a bride. Before Mieko's arrival, this concubine, named Aguri, had been impregnated twice by Masatsugu and both times had been forced to have an abortion. After the marriage, when Mieko had gotten pregnant, the bitterly jealous Aguri had devised a malicious plot to cause Mieko's miscarriage by planting a protruding nail on the stairs; Mieko had duly tripped and fallen down the stairs, resulting in a miscarriage. But even though Mieko had soon realized what Aguri had done, she further realized that the source of her physical pain and moral humiliation was not Aguri, but Masatsugu, her husband. Instead of venting her resentment onto Aguri, Mieko secretly plotted to get revenge on her husband and the family that made him what he was. While still a young wife, Mieko had taken a secret lover by whom she bore fraternal twins—a boy and a girl—who are believed to be Togano Masatsugu's children. (The lover had died shortly thereafter, in the war.) The girl twin, Harume, brain-damaged at birth and mentally retarded, had been sent away by the Toganos to be raised in a temple in the countryside. The boy twin, Akio, had grown up a fine young man, and in adulthood had married an attractive, intelligent woman named Yasuko. Before they had any children, however, Akio had died in a mountain climbing accident. His young widow, Yasuko, now 139 lives with Mieko, and helps with her research on spirit possession and the Japanese classics. In the novel's narrative present there are two other important characters, both of them men who are interested in spirit possession and also both interested in pursuing Yasuko. a married professor of Heian literature, Ibuki Tsuneo, and an unmarried psychologist, Mikame Toyoki, who is an amateur in the folklore of spirit possession. Both men had known Akio before his death. As the novel progresses the reader also gradually comes to understand that Mieko's plan for revenge is to produce an heir to the ancient and well-respected Togano family line who in fact wil l not bear one drop of Togano blood; rather the heir will be of the bloodline of Mieko's secret lover. Now that Akio is dead, however, the only way to engineer that is to somehow impregnate Harume. In order to succeed, Mieko must manipulate the behaviour of Yasuko, Harume, Ibuki and Mikame, and the novel's plot follows her in these manipulations. The theme of spirit possession is important in the novel, as will be seen in several examples below. To enhance this theme, Enchi makes use of the images of various masks worn in the Noh theatre. The Noh theater is a highly stylized form of Japanese traditional drama that flourished particularly during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It became the official drama of the Tokugawa shogunate and is still popular today. Performed exclusively by male actors who often wear masks, Noh plays are highly stylized rather than mimetic. Through subtle movements and skilful manipulation of the masks, actors are meant to convey complex and deep emotions, such as the pain a mother feels at the loss of a child. While each play has named characters in a specific plot, the number of mask-types is quite limited, and one mask will be used in many different plays. Each 140 mask is identified in terms of gender, general age group, and emotional tenor. Masks is divided into three sections, each of which is named for a category of female mask used in the performance of Noh plays." The title of the first section, Ryd no onna Hie (literally, spirit woman), is a mask for the vengeful spirit of a woman who is distressed by unrewarded love and thus turns her energies inward. The second section, Masugami -h^tft is for a young madwoman, or a beautiful young woman in a frenzy; and the third, Fukai WPi- (literally, deep well or deep woman) represents the face of a middle-aged woman who is beyond the age of sensuality, hiding her secret will in a heart as deep as a well. Besides these, several other Noh masks are referred to in the novel—all of them, however, are masks used exclusively for female characters. It is also noteworthy that most of the masks are associated with more than one character. Ryd no onna, for example, is associated with both Mieko and Aguri, Masugami with Yasuko (when in sexual frenzy) and Harume. The mask of the final section, however, Fukai, is associated with Mieko alone. The novel begins in Kyoto. Ibuki runs across Mikame in a coffee shop there and the two men recall a seance they recently attended with Yasuko. As the seance had been held coincidently on the anniversary of Akio's death, Yasuko was traumatized by an Akio-like spirit that declared itself through the medium. Extremely frightened, she had unconsciously taken Ibuki's hand. Whereas Mikame is sceptical of the seance and tends to see it as a pseudo-scientific show, Ibuki, who understands the significance of the day for Yasuko, was deeply moved by the mysterious vibrations that communicated themselves from Yasuko's hand to his. Although both men have noticed the unusually strong bond between Yasuko and Mieko, they have rather different views on the women's relationship: 141 Mikame sees Yasuko as the stronger woman, while Ibuki believes that she is under Mieko's influence, almost in a kind of spirit possession. Mieko and Yasuko then arrive, and they all go together to the Yakushiji home, a family of Noh masters. There they are shown numerous precious Noh masks. Mieko and Yasuko are especially spellbound by the Zo no onna i§ and Ryb no onna S.<DiK masks, which are the finest in the Yakushiji collection and usually are kept hidden from view. After this visit, Mieko deliberately prolongs her stay and sends Yasuko on the train with Ibuki home to Tokyo. It is clear that she hopes their budding romance will progress. On the train, Yasuko confesses to Ibuki that when she had seen the Zo no onna mask she was frightened by its uncanny resemblance to Akio's face: "When he (Mr. Yakushiji) stood up wearing the Zo no onna mask, it took my breath away. It was as i f something dead had come to life, or as i f male and female had suddenly become one...it was almost as i f Akio's spirit had taken over the mask." (25) ruffles $&<om*frttx, & 5 o i : 4 ± o t f c t L j : 5 . h<om. H o t LfcA/t? o f C c t ^ ^ ^ L ^ t f c O . . . . J (858)24 Yasuko also reveals to Ibuki the previously well-kept secret of Akio's sequestered twin sister Harume, and Ibuki suddenly realizes that he had seen her before. He recollects Mieko's firefly garden party at which he and Mikame had both noticed a mysterious beauty in an arbour looking like a Buddha figure. Attracted by the stranger's alluring beauty, they had been told only that she was Mieko's distant relative. Yasuko seemed to be guarding her, and neither man had been able to speak to the beautiful stranger. Now, with Yasuko's revelation, Ibuki remembers the half-lifeless face of "marshmallow pallor" 142 he saw at the garden party, and realizes that her face also uncannily resembles the Zo no onna mask they had seen the day before. Despite her intimate relationship with Mieko, Yasuko tells Ibuki that she sees Mieko as an enigmatic person with whom secrets abound: Like a quiet mountain lake whose waters are rushing beneath the surface toward a waterfall, she has the power to move events in whatever direction she pleases. She's like the face on a Noh mask, filled with innumerable secrets. -CV^S-t- 0 J (861) While denying that her relationship with Mieko resembles that between the medium and the spirit in the seance, Yasuko cannot but help feeling that she is acting under Mieko's influence. Yasuko confides to Ibuki her desire of severing ties to the Togano family and Mieko, i f need be, through marrying Mikame or having an affair with Ibuki or both. Upon hearing these distressing revelations and insinuations, Ibuki acts on the spur of the moment and abducts Yasuko to a love hotel in Atami. Besides its references to the Noh theater, Masks also makes frequent reference to the Tale of Genji, the eleventh-century masterpiece written by Murasaki Shikibu, a highly educated lady-in-waiting who served at the court of Empress Shoshi (988-1074) during the Heian period (794-1185). The main part of The Tale of Genji is the story of a "shining" royal prince, Hikaru Genji, and his loves. On the surface, Genji seems to care for the women he loves, but in actuality they suffer constantly from Genji's infidelity and the patriarchal subjugation of the time. Murasaki Shikibu's story was appropriated by 143 medieval Noh dramatists, who wrote a number of plays based on incidents drawn from the tale, featuring several important female characters. One of the most famous of these is the Lady Rokujo, a high-ranking aristocrat who was so jealous of Genji's relations with other women that her repressed emotions eventually caused her spirit to leave her body to torment Genji's beloved women, two of whom her spirit eventually killed. 2 5 When Mieko was in her thirties (when her husband was still alive and the twins still young), she had written a scholarly essay on the character of Lady Rokujo, in which she attempts to vindicate this often-criticised character. Against the male reading of Lady Rokujo as vindictive, Mieko links Lady Rokujo to shamanism and identifies the Ryd no onna mask with Lady Rokujo. She describes the persona of the mask/character as "one who chafes at her inability to sublimate her strong ego in deference to any man, but who can carry out her wil l only by forcing it upon others—and that indirectly, through the possessive capacity of her spirit" ( S i t t f t j ^ i i a o t , B # © M « r & - f t e f c £ x . , "tti^WrtZltte I f ^ ^ f o l l i c f t 52; 873). Mieko's essay not only reflects her clear intention of re-evaluating the character of Lady Rokujo but also betrays her sympathy with Roujo's unfortunate experience. Mikame has somehow discovered this essay from many years before, and shares it with Ibuki. Ibuki is startled to recall the Ryd no onna mask he had seen in the Yakushiji home, and Yasuko's associating the mask with Mieko. He starts to feel that somewhere in the room the toothless, sunken-cheeked mask is staring down at him with deep hollow eyes. Ibuki surmises in private that Mieko has used Lady Rokujo as a pretext to write an essay in effect rationalizing her own psychic powers. The second part of the novel, titled Masugami, the mask of a young woman in a state 144 of frenzy, centres on Harume. Having suffered brain damage caused by her twin brother Akio's feet treading against her head while still in the womb, Harume is reduced to a physical being who lacks rational intelligence. The Togano family, seeing multiple birth as "vaguely beastly and unpleasant" (40), insists on raising the twins separately, so Harume is sent to the countryside. After Akio's death, however, Mieko brings Harume back into her home, to live with her and Yasuko. Harume's essential bestiality is emphasized through descriptions of her as becoming like a wild animal during her menstrual periods, biting those who would try to help her. Since producing a child by Harume wil l be the only possibility for fulfilling Mieko's plot of revenge after Akio's death, Mieko schemes with Yasuko to trick Ibuki into having sex with Harume. Yasuko seduces him in Mieko's house, gets him thoroughly drunk, and then brings in Harume to have sex with him in her place. The plan succeeds and Harume gets pregnant, although Ibuki awakes with confused memories of a strange woman in his bed. While Yasuko continues to raise Mikame's and Ibuki's fond hopes for her hand, Ibuki's wife Sadako hires a private detective to spy on her husband's affair with Yasuko. With all the evidence she has gathered, Sadako concludes that Yasuko is a witch who manipulates men like puppets, and strongly suggests to Mikame that he withdraw his proposal to Yasuko: "That house is a witches' den. Serves you right, for wrapping yourselves up in a weird subject like spirit possession—you and Tsuneo [Ibuki] are both under a witch's spell!" (119) ibtltz(D£0} (904) 145 Although Mikame lends a patient ear to Sadako's ranting, at heart he is repelled by her foul-mouthed accusations of Yasuko. Mikame is surprised to find out from Sadako about Akio's twin sister, and feels deep sympathy for Mieko's "unimaginable torments"—to have had a mentally retarded daughter who is now bearing an illegitimate baby. Contrary to Mikame's assumption that Mieko would arrange an abortion for Harume, Mieko insists on going through with the birth, despite the fact that Harume's "severely retroflexed womb" might cause a dangerous childbirth (124). Expressing her excitement at the prospect of seeing a baby with Akio's blood and of being its guardian, Yasuko confides in Mieko: "You and I are accomplices, aren't we, in a dreadful crime—a crime that only women could commit. Having a part to play in this scheme of yours, Mother, means more to me than the love of any men. "(126) •3 fcfc«$*©^^#Jp-f-5r. tiD%&-r^ t±W#t:&Z&t>o (908) Listening to Yasuko's confidence, Mieko feels that "a woman's love is quick to turn into a passion for revenge—an obsession that becomes an endless river of blood, flowing on from generation to generation" (&fc>Sffi t am^^MMl^^h i><DX\ m!%lz*:<D'£&lZ •*&X* &<DWtt^&ftZB^Xfi<^te\^<Dffinx*hfoZ><Dtzc, 127; 909). Mieko fulfills her plot of revenge when Harume gives birth to a baby boy who is the image of Akio—creating a legitimate Togano heir who is, however, totally unrelated to the Togano family by blood. As anticipated, Harume dies shortly after the delivery. In the last scene of the novel, Mieko is sitting alone gazing at the Fukai mask, a mask that contains "a metaphor comparing the heart of an older woman to the depths of a 146 bottomless well—a well so deep that its water would seem totally without color" ($tv ^ F r A.f£B#©7K©-fe'b^xftv^ ?%&tj:L<Dm£k^*£<Dit:<D'b\z. lg£z.X, 138-39; 915). For a brief sobering moment, Mieko's face seems to have overlapped with the mask as i f she and the mask have become one: The pale yellowish cast of the mournful thin-cheeked mask in her hands was reflected on her face, the two countenances appearing faintly in the lingering daylight like twin blossoms on a single branch. The mask seemed to know all the intensity of her grief at the loss of Akio and Harume—as well as the bitter woman's vengeance that she had planned so long, hiding it deep within her.... The crying of the baby filled her ears. In that moment the mask dropped from her grasp as i f struck down by an invisible hand. In a trance she reached out and covered the face on the mask with her hand, while her right arm, as i f suddenly paralyzed, hung frozen, immobile, in space. (141) &<D$.ttMLtfteicm<Dn&1kib1Z&£t>K ^ f t £ 3 ^ L T V ^ H f i ^ < D M £ : f i f r o T , m* u ^ c c Q ^ t „ o i 5 K J f ^ £ £ > t f Lfc„ (916) Mieko seems to have realized the dreadful crime she has committed. Suddenly dropping the mask in a state of shock, she sorrowfully recognizes the heavy price her personal vengeance has exacted. 147 Masked Performance, Multi-layered Subjectivity As the title suggests, the concept of the Noh mask is important to the structure as well as the theme of the novel. The plot of Masks is anything but straightforward; rather, it is revealed very slowly as one "mask" after another is donned and discarded. The classic triangular love affair among Yasuko, Ibuki, and Mikame that is revealed in the first section effectively masks the novel's true plot: Mieko's secret vengeance on her polygamist husband and the patriarchy that supported his behaviour. This true plot becomes clear to the reader only toward the end of the novel. Similarly the focus on spirit possession in the first two sections suggests concealment and layering: it is unclear whether Yasuko, Ibuki and Mikame are acting on their own desires or are merely puppets being manipulated by Mieko's spirit. (And for a long time the reader is unsure whether Mieko is manipulating Yasuko or whether the younger woman is actually in charge.) The references to Noh plays, the Tale of Genji, and Buddhist art (the mandala) also produce a layering effect, with multiple texts embedded in and supporting the main text. At the heart of all this complex layering we eventually discover Mieko. It is no accident that the Chinese characters of her given name =M=}- literally mean three-layered child. Another subtheme through which the novel's message is supported is that of androgyny or homosexuality. Akio is the only male character in the novel who is associated with a Noh mask—the Zo no onna mask. When she sees this mask at the Yakushiji's, Yasuko nearly faints as she has a vision of the two faces of Harume and Akio 26 becoming one in the mask. Later when brushing Harume's hair, Yasuko feels that it is as i f Akio is playfully teasing her in the disguise of a woman. These associations in effect link Akio (and Harume) to the category of androgyny. Seen as a taboo in Japanese society, 148 twins are usually deemed either as animal-like or as the result of sexual lasciviousness. Worse, fraternal twins of different sexes are superstitiously believed to be the reincarnations of a man and a woman who had committed double suicide in their previous 27 lives. Given the intended differentiation in their names, Akio (literally, autumn man) and Harume (literally, spring woman), their twin image gives a double sense of sameness (because they are twins) and difference (because they are different sexes). Androgyny and (inappropriate) sexual union/confusion are brought together in the image of these twins. Similarly, the notion of homosexuality is a subtheme throughout the novel. Doris Bargen suggests that androgyny is analogous to homosexuality (doseiai), insofar as homosexuality is defined as a preference for and expression of sameness.28 It is clear to Ibuki and Mikame that the relationship between Mieko and Yasuko is so intimate as to suggest homosexuality (doseiai), and later the reader witnesses a scene of the two in bed together in a situation that is deeply intimate, i f not explicitly sexual.29 Such a deep and powerful bond between mother (-in-law) and daughter (-in-law) insinuates incestuous overtones and thus disconcerts both Ibuki and Mikame, making them feel secondary and threatened as men. The sexual issues predicated upon the concepts of twins (similarity), androgyny, and homosexuality in the novel fundamentally attack the very system of patriarchy that is predicated on the concept of difference.30 In other words, twins, androgyny, and homosexuality are combined together to obscure the prescribed difference-in gender roles between masculine and feminine. Once the difference is gone, the system of patriarchy is undermined. Blood lineage is the keystone by which to establish kinship and maintain 149 communities of inclusion and exclusion from generation to generation. This is manifestly the case in the modern nation of Japan, established on the ie (family) system, in which the patrilineal bloodline is preserved through carrying on the male's family name by another male, and preferably by one with the same bloodline. Furtively, however, the patrilineage is disrupted, violated and in effect replaced by Mieko's matrilineage in her plot of revenge. Harume's male child becomes, after Akio, the second fraudulent Togano heir. Mieko's choice of using the married Ibuki to impregnate Harume is not only a strategy for keeping Yasuko's tie with the Togano family (rather than having her marry Mikame and become a part of his family), but also a way of defrauding Ibuki's own patrilineage.31 Manipulated like a puppet by Mieko, Ibuki unwittingly falls into the trap set by women, and helps perpetuate the matrilineal bloodline with no regard to paternal interests. As Elizabeth Grosz has pointed out, "the female body has been constructed not only as a lack or absence but with more complexity, as a leaking, uncontrollable, seeping liquid; as formless flow; as viscosity, entrapping, secreting; as lacking not so much or simply the phallus but self-containment... a formlessness that engulfs all form, a disorder that threatens all order." Such constructions of the female body that Grosz identifies in the modern West can also have their Japanese counterparts, as we can see in Masks. Metaphorically, the recurrent image of blood in the novel is represented as a structural component of female otherness. The novel presents the masculinist Buddhist and Shinto view that menstrual blood is fundamentally defiling and childbirth is polluting. Harume's irregular menstrual periods often leave "a trail of crimson drops" behind her, and with her a pungent odor lingers. Characterized by her periods, Harume's existence exemplifies the mainstream representations of female uncleanliness, stickiness, viscosity, fluidity, and 150 boundlessness. The abhorrence, the fear of contamination, and the abjection associated with female menstrual blood can also be found in the letter from Mieko's anonymous lover: To put it another way—you contain a curious ambiguity that enables you to get along without distinguishing between the truth and falseness of your actions in the real world. Because of that trait you seemed at once incomprehensible and unclean to me (I admit to the unreasonable fastidiousness of the Japanese male, to whom that blood of menstruation is of all blood the dirtiest). Even so, I was profoundly drawn by the intense emotion engendered in your mysterious body and soul. (104-5) &^mmt£m%t£fnmicMit(btitz0 (897) As i f echoing the words of the male critics cited earlier who have commented on Enchi's work, Mieko's secret lover also links her literary creativity to her female body, especially the "filthy" menstrual cycle from which emanates the putative unfathomable-ness of the female. Treated like a real daughter, Yasuko is expected by Mieko to fulfill the mission that Harume fails—to pass on the woman inside Mieko. Ibuki describes the connection between Mieko and Yasuko as "a quality of moistness, of clingingness, like that of something animal," (90) and he finds that such a "viscid flow of emotion" (80) binding them together is unclean yet desirable. Associated with a particularly Heian-type of femininity—passive, and lacking in vivacity—the vacant and vaguely "unclean" Harume 151 provides a modern male like Ibuki a blank to fill with his masculine erotic imagination. As Nina Cornyetz points out, in Masks blood functions as "an index of female identity, and as a marker of female pollution and divinity. It also forms the basis on which a community of women exclusive of men is constructed."33 In the novel, Enchi lays out these ironic contradictions to reveal that the female body is in effect treated as the site upon which patriarchal discourses on femaleness—such as divinity, plurality, vacancy, and pollution—are inscribed. Mieko's essay of "An Account of the Shrine in the Fields" infuses the theme of Shinto female shamanism into Buddhist doctrines on spirit possession, a new theory that Ibuki as a scholar finds both amateurish and bold. As Mieko describes Lady Rokujo, her essence lies in her possession of Genji's wife, Aoi. Commentators influenced primarily by Buddhist teachings are inclined to interpret Lady Rokujo as jealous and vindictive: As passion transforms the Rokujo Lady into a living ghost, her spirit taking leave of her body again and again to attack and finally kil l Genji's wife Aoi , the commentators see in her tragic obsession a classic illustration of the evil karma attached to all womankind. (51) ;rvCi^5i:V^tf>t?#>5. (872) In contrast to this conventional interpretation, Mieko argues for interpreting Lady Rokujo as a highly sophisticated, proud, and lonely woman whose strong will is so suppressed by the rigidity of her social circumstances that she cannot but vent it through spirit possession. Mieko's moral stance towards the most sophisticated lady in The Tale of Genji is one of sympathy elevated to the point of identification. Through her essay, Mieko asserts a relationship between female pollution and a specifically female power. Through 152 her vindication of Lady Rokujo as a spiritually empowered female archetype, Mieko simultaneously vindicates her own role as shamaness. Cixous once argued that woman's true essence cannot be found in the existing phallocentric system of representation, because in them the Medusa has been identified as a fearful archetype (for men): The Dark Continent is neither dark nor unexplorable.—It is still unexplored only because we've been made to believe that it was too dark to be explorable. And because they want to make us believe that what interests us is the white continent, with its monuments to Lack. And we believed. They riveted us between two horrifying myths: between the Medusa and the abyss.... Wouldn't the worst be, isn't the worst, in truth, that women aren't castrated, that they have only to stop listening to the Sirens (for the Sirens were men) for history to change its meaning? You only have to look at the Medusa straight on to see her. And she's not deadly. She's beautiful and she's laughing.34 (emphasis in original) In a similar vein, Enchi's depiction of Rokujo/Mieko as a shamaness in Masks exemplifies a reinterpretation of the Japanese archetype of male fear. Identifying Lady Rokujo as a victim of male oppression, instead of a villainess, Mieko is the embodied image of the empowered female who could challenge the social construct of a solid masculine self: Just as there is an archetype of woman as the object of man's eternal love, so there must be an archetype of her as the object of his eternal fear, representing, perhaps, the shadow of his own evil actions. The Rokujo Lady is an embodiment of this archetype. (57) 153 However, in terms of her shamanic behaviour, what differentiates Mieko from Lady Rokujo is that, instead of wreaking vengeance on her female rivals, Mieko looks to men as the ultimate source of women's oppression. Mieko—and Enchi as well through her presentation of the protagonist—seem to realize that it is men who have led women to hate women, "to be their own enemies, to mobilize their immense strength against themselves, to be the executants of their virile needs," as Cixous puts it. 3 5 In Masks women are entwined by blood, forming a community against the patriarchy. Thrilled by "the prospect of a baby with Akio's blood in [its] veins" (126), Yasuko actively participates in Mieko's scheme to impregnate Harume; i.e. she is willing to become Mieko's accomplice, rather than just an accessory. In fact, in Mikame's eyes, Yasuko seems to have more shamanistic influence than does Mieko: "Do you really think that Mieko has that much of the shamaness in her? .... It wouldn't surprise me i f it were Yasuko who dominated her, behind the scenes. That's what her pupils will tell you. " (13; emphasis in original) r - £ 5 ; K e . m^^x^kytm-k^fc-kt^ i l H ^ A ^ f c t t ^ A ^ j f i R ^ L r » d » L T ^ 5 , htl\(Om(D^±fp(Dm^^^^X-bW, ^ f c & f c s p t f S f c j (852) Mikame's sense of uncertainty suggests that there seems no clear hierarchy between Yasuko and Mieko as is asserted elsewhere. United in their common quest for a child, Yasuko and Mieko are mutually linked to the multiplicity of women's spirits in the past narratives that are cited in the text. Despite her compliance with Mieko's formidable will , Yasuko remains a speaking and thinking subject. Even Harume, whose fertility simply functions as a vehicle for Mieko's vengeful purpose, retains a certain degree of subjectivity, as in the scene when she is in bed with the deceived Ibuki: Despite the clear apprehension in her look, she showed no sign of fear. When Ibuki 154 suddenly released her body, her eyes roamed his face in blank amazement, a smile of physical satiety curving her mouth. (110) & <Dm i c * ^ t m £ £ £ X fr-fr ft # b , l i t 16 £ i $ fc £ ft fc» £ $ t « fc T fcD (900) Given her reduced mental state, Harume in such a sexual scene is associated with the role of the miko, an ancient Shinto priestess and medium who experiences sexual intercourse sinlessly in a state of trance during exorcism rites. However, aside from showing her physical satisfaction, the camellia petal-like lipstick mark she (accidentally or intentionally?) left on Ibuki's chest (which eventually leads to Sadako's suspicion of Ibuki's infidelity), seems to suggest her active participation in the scheme. In other words, at this very moment Mieko and Yasuko seem to have united together with Harume in her body. It is worth noting that in the room where the intercourse takes place hangs a portrait of the young Mieko looking down on Ibuki as i f she were supervising the event. At this point in time, the three women have closely united right there together in fulfilling the revenge plot. Through forging an alliance, the three women are able to subvert the traditional ideas of m/lo/shamaness as passive vessel into empowered women who can inspire respect and a sense of awe. Although still entrapped within the logic of phallocentric difference, Masks reclaims the matrilineal origins of "blood lineage" from their conventional subordination to patrilineal ideology. At face value, the novel might be read as a simple story of vengeance. If we agree with what Mieko argues in her essay—that male critics are mistaken to interpret Lady Rokujo as simply jealous and vindictive—we would be no less mistaken to 155 read Mieko's similar story simply as one of vengeance. It is not so much the destruction of male hegemony as the reconstruction of female subjectivity and power that is crucial in this novel. Enchi's Masks—and Mieko's essay on Lady Rokujo—should be read as treatises about female creativity and self-empowerment. L i Ang in Transformation Since her debut in 1968 L i Ang's fiction has dealt with topical and idiosyncratic subjects; she is prone to engage taboo issues. In particular, most of Li ' s works address the dark aspects of women's changing social and sexual consciousness in the context of a male-centred society. After her major breakthrough novel, The Butcher's Wife, L i moved the stage of her fiction from her hometown Lugang to Taipei 3 6 where the bubble economy had been booming throughout the 1980s. Her fiction Anye H|$E (Dark Night, 1985) "describes the complex, and sometimes slightly contrived, social and sexual relationships of a group of middle- and upper-class men and women living in the intensely materialistic environment of Taipei's financial circles," as Howard Goldblatt puts it . 3 7 Although she wrote The Butcher's Wife with a number of feminist ideals, L i claims that "the ultimate concern of a piece of feminist literature is, after all, human nature." By the time she wrote Dark Night, L i seemed less concerned with "femininity" (niixing) than with "humanity" (renxing), tackling issues of human nature in a rapidly transforming Taiwanese capitalist society that has often been plagued by damaging money games. After the repeal of martial law in 1987, Taiwan underwent drastic social and political changes, giving rise to an open search for Taiwanese identity, particularly at the 156 grass-roots level of society. However, the determined quest for Taiwanese identity began several decades earlier than 1987. In particular, Peng Mingmin is seen by many as the most prominent prophet in this regard. Opposing the previous orthodox paradigm that considered Taiwan as an inseparable part of mainland China, Peng's work promoted a new model of Taiwan-centered identity, in which the historical, cultural and political ties between Taiwan and China were significantly de-emphasized.39 He argued that Taiwan had been first deserted by the Qing Dynasty, who saw it as a land of "rebels, bandits, pirates, misfits, and opium addicts," and was heartlessly abandoned again by China after its loss of the war against the Japanese in 1895.40 As a matter of fact, during the hundred year period of Japanese colonization (1895-1945) and the K M T ' s rule (1949-1987), Taiwan had no political ties or cultural contacts with China. Peng argued that the influences from the West and Japan on Taiwan run deeper, and are in fact more beneficial, than Chinese culture.41 L i Ang's commitment to feminism and socialism is connected with her inclination to the Taiwan-centred camp. While many contemporary writers started grappling with political issues in a number of different approaches, L i was a trailblazer in linking gender issues to the question of Taiwanese identity. With a Taiwanese female perspective, L i specifically interrogates the issue of ethnicity in the context of changing political contours and the emerging realignment of political power in Taiwan. In Labyrinthine Garden, said to be her most ambitious work so far,42 L i ventures to fictionally (re)construct the history of Taiwan from the perspective of a female protagonist who is Taiwanese and who has witnessed both Japanese colonialism and the authoritarian rule of the Chiang regime. In the preface to the novel, L i admits that the significance of her work must lie with the 157 readership in Taiwan: "For me, the significance of my fiction writing relies primarily on the readership of my fellow citizens. To assume that my writing is not intended only for the twenty million people of Taiwan but for all human beings would be sheer illusion and self-aggrandizement. After all, that would be like building a castle on sand" ($zff]/hl8MWE mm - mnmAmt • m^m^m^mn^^A^ • m^^mtsmmm^'mAMm • mmi fa • SnBMmg&mmWi^Amim • Mm • ^ I S f f i - f i m i a ! • ). 4 3 Later, her devotion to promoting Taiwan independence was manifested in a 1993 biography of Shi Mingde, a former political prisoner who spent twenty-five years in jail for his dissident political activities, and who twice became the chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party. In the preface she explains that she wrote the biography as a struggle against historical amnesia and an attempt to re-collect the memories of "tears and blood" that mark the history of Taiwan over the past forty years.44 L i Ang is sensitive not only to the socio-political milieu surrounding her but is also closely attuned to Western cultural criticism. If her audacious narrative in The Butcher's Wife is under the influence of second wave feminism, which took place in the West during the 1960s and 1970s, then the intricate identity politics interlocking gender, race, and nation in Labyrinthine Garden may be seen as Li ' s literary reflections on Third World feminist criticism and her creative response to recent cultural studies with regard to identity politics. In Labyrinthine Garden and later in Beigang xianglu renren cha ^ t f l i i tiiAAM (The Incense Urn of Beigang, 1997), the national narrative is grafted onto the site of the body—the locale in the text for the representation of a distinct Taiwanese identity. Whereas her early works like Aiqing shiyan g j f M l i (Experiments in Love, 1988), Tianmei shenghuo S t U ^ g (Sweet Life,1991) and Dark Nights were written to 158 deconstruct male definitions of femaleness by parody, her later works since Labyrinthine Garden are becoming more analytical, focusing on the political economy of female sexuality. In works like Labyrinthine Garden and The Incense Urn of Beigang that are created from the edges of the postcolonial world, L i seems to have given up the humanist, liberal image that characterized her in the early 1980s. Rather, she concerns herself much more with issues of sexuality, desire, cultural critique, and nationalistic interests in fm-de-siecle decadent society. In Labyrinthine Garden, L i attempts to relate women's experiences with the four hundred year history of Taiwan's successive colonizations. In particular, she draws on the politics of memory/identity to posit a counter-memory/history to the authoritative official version of Taiwan's history. By evoking historical memory, L i reveals the unspeakable and unspoken sufferings of the native Taiwanese in the past, and ventures to wrestle with the intriguing identity issues of Taiwan in a particular socio-historical context. Historical Memory and Identity Construction in Postcolonial Discourse Primarily inspired by French "high" theory, notably the poststructuralist studies, postcolonial theory has been attempting to make obvious both the nature and the impact of colonial power relations, and their continuing effects on modern global cultures and politics. It involves the discussions of experiences of "migration, slavery, suppression, resistance, representation, difference, race, gender, place, and responses to the influential master discourses of imperial Europe such as history, philosophy and linguistics, and the fundamental experiences of speaking and writing by which all these come into being."4 5 As many critics have pointed out, postcolonial studies are based on the "historical fact" of 159 colonialism/imperialism and the diverse material effects that this phenomenon has brought about. In other words, the historical phenomenon of colonialism is the absolute determining factor for postcolonial societies. History writing is political because it is constructed, shaped, and dispersed by current politics. It has been pointed out that historians produce knowledge about the past rather than recover the truth of it. For instance, Joan Wallach Scott holds that history "is not purely referential but is rather constructed by the historian. Written history both reflects and creates relations of power. Its standards of inclusion and exclusion, measures of importance, and rules of evaluation are not objective criteria but politically produced conventions."46 In this light, the problem of history becomes extremely crucial for postcolonial studies as different interpretation of the past inevitably leads to different perception of the current affairs and surely commands divergent perspective onto the future. Furthermore, as B i l l Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin argue, the postcolonial task "is not simply to interrogate the message of history, which has so often relegated the individual post-colonial societies to footnotes to the march of progress, but also to engage the medium of narrativity itself, to reinscribe the 'rhetoric,' the heterogeneity of historical representation."47 Like the history of a nation, personal individual memory is a heavily-constructed narrative and operates under the pressure of challenges and alternatives. While counter-history aims to distort the adversary's self-image through the deconstruction of his memory, "counter-memory designate[s] the residual or resistant strains that withstand official versions of historical continuity."48 As Natalie Zemon Davis and Randolph Stam have pointed out in their introduction to a special issue on historical memories, "by whom, 160 where, in which context, against what" are the key questions that need to be addressed whenever memory is evoked. 4 9 In fact, the connections between national identity, national narrative, and individual memory have been explored by many critics and scholars.50 Following Foucault's claim that "Nothing in man [sic]—not even his body" escapes "the influence of history,"51 historians and critics have argued that conceptions of identity—for example, gender, race, and sexuality—are in fact historically constructed, rather than being natural or essential as previously assumed. Questions of identity are, as Stuart Hall holds, always questions about representation: They are always questions about the invention, not simply the discovery of tradition They are always exercises in selective memory and they almost always involve the silencing of something in order to allow something else to speak. Silencing as well as remembering, identity is always a question of producing in the future an account of the past, that is to say it is always about narrative, the stories which cultures tell themselves about who they are and where they came from.5 2 At core, memory is the fundamental force behind identity formation and self-understanding. If our identity is inevitably intertwined with how we narrate our past, then how history is evoked and represented becomes an issue of pressing importance for a postcolonial subject to (reconstruct his/her identity. Arguably, to have a history means to have "a legitimate existence," as history often legitimates the one(s) who construct(s) the 53 history. Much of the new social history written about the marginalized depends on the return to the private sphere and the practices of everyday life as such counter-memories provide alternatives to the official memory of public historiography. By posing a counter-memory to the orthodox/colonizer's history, the silenced and the excluded Others are able to re-present themselves; and, in turn, to destabilize and subvert the hegemonic 161 narrative through their representations and counter-narrative. Li Ang's Labyrinthine Garden can be seen as a task of reformulating a counter-narrative to the Chinese national narrative through a reconstruction of the historical memories of Taiwan, particularly when she evokes the obliterated historical memory of the February 28 incident from the point of view of the victims and their families. In Taiwan, the repeal of martial law in 1987 can be seen as final moment of the KMT's authoritarian rule, which shared essential characteristics with Japanese colonialism. Since then the orthodox history of Taiwan began to face increasing public challenge. Without the fear of persecution, it became possible to talk openly about the traumatic February 28 incident of 1947, in which thousands of Taiwanese are believed to have been slaughtered by the KMT's army in the name of maintaining social order. Remembering the February 28 incident and redressing the wrongs caused by the KMT government in this most tragic moment of Taiwan's modern history became a hot issue in the political and cultural spheres of post-1987 Taiwan. Archival materials that had heretofore been classified were made available to scholars, and a group of historians was commissioned to conduct comprehensive research on the incident and to produce a series of reports. In the KMT's official archive filed by Bai Chongxi, the then-Minister of Defense of the Nationalist government in Nanjing, the incident was recorded as a riot fomented by the Taiwanese because of the influence of fifty years of sordid, evil education from the Japanese, and by some mad, ambitious communist schemers.54 Consequently, the incident prompted the state to make diligent efforts to reinforce the supremacy of Chinese identity over Taiwanese identity through a variety of high-handed programs of re-sinicization and mandarinization. 162 As soon as political suppression began to subside in the late 1980s, the long-suppressed movement toward Taiwanese identity formation began to re-emerge. (In fact this movement can be traced as far back as 1895 when Japan's colonization of Taiwan began.) Over the years, especially since 1987, a large number of contentious articles and books have been written about the February 28 incident, mostly in opposition to the official version of the event. One of the dominant views within the counter-history camp holds that the incident was an angry reaction to KMT-inflicted oppression; and despite innumerable tragedies and misfortunes resulting from it, it was seen as a phenomenal phase in Taiwan's long-fought on-going struggle for independence and democracy.55 Families of the victims and a number of dissident intellectuals strongly urged the government to recognize, apologize for and provide compensation for the victims of its wrongful action in this tragic incident Under the leadership of L i Denghui, the first native Taiwanese president of Taiwan, a monument in memory of the victims was built in Taipei on the 50th anniversary of the incident. The emerging counter-memories and counter-histories of the February 28 incident intend to expose the arbitrary and totalizing nature of the K M T ' s national narrative and problematize the standpoint from which that narrative was formed. However, very few of those counter-memories are (reconstructed from the viewpoint of female Taiwanese. Just as they were excluded from the grand narratives of Japanese colonialism and the K M T ' s authoritarianism, women seem to have been overlooked again in the currently on-going (re)construction of Taiwanese identity. As women in colonized societies are doubly colonized by both colonial and patriarchal ideologies, their postcolonial task is to closely analyze colonial and indigenous patriarchal powers, and the crucial archival work as well, 163 so any of the lost/neglected female cultural text and resistance can be recovered. This urgent task will lend substantial help to opening up the closed official narratives of nationalism currently undergoing consolidation in today's newly transforming Taiwan. As a topical writer, L i Ang is one of the most prominent and influential voices in relating, reflecting on, and explicating the intricate relationship between women's experiences and the colonial history of Taiwan. Taking as her protagonist the daughter of a victim of the February 28 incident, Li ' s Labyrinthine Garden not only critically re-visions Taiwan's history from the poignant perspective of a native Taiwanese woman, but warns its reader about the possible dangers and contradictions, and possibly repressive nature of the unwitting suppression and exploitation of women when engaging in the current project of (re)constructing a nationalist Taiwanese narrative. Labyrinthine Garden As her first long novel, L i Ang started writing Labyrinthine Garden in 1986 and had it serialized in the China Times, after four years of writing. 5 6 Like Masks, Labyrinthine Garden is divided into three parts; but unlike the former, which is told by a third person narrator, the latter has a relatively complicated narrational structure. Labyrinthine Garden has a third-person narrator and two first-person narrators (Zhu Yinghong and her father). Each of the three sections has two chapters and each chapter is comprised of two smaller sections. -The first section of each chapter narrates the childhood of Zhu Yinghong, the female protagonist, and life in the Hanyuan, the Lotus Garden, where the Zhu family has taken up residence. Through the account of Zhu Yinghong's traumatic personal experiences, the tragic life of her father Zhu Zuyan, representing the doomed fate of the 164 Taiwanese people of the past, is revealed. The second section of each chapter centres on the now-adult Zhu Yinghong's love story with Lin Xikeng, a self-made business tycoon in the exuberant real estate industry of Taiwan. With two interlocked thematic threads—the reconstruction of Taiwanese history and the pursuit of female sexuality and identity—the narrative of Labyrinthine Garden shifts back and forth between the past and the present, between the Lotus Garden and Taipei City, between the father-daughter relationship and the man-woman love affairs. The novel starts with Zhu Yinghong narrating her own birth in a grade three composition: "I was born in the last year of the Sino-Japanese War" (&&3k&^^W<&&ffi. 57 Then the invisible and omniscient third-person narrator takes over to unfold Zhu's childhood. The reader is told that Zhu's innocent statement about her birth flies in her face, and she is openly ridiculed by her teacher and classmates because the Sino-Japanese war broke out at least half a century before she was born. 5 8 Right from the beginning, this anecdote succinctly reflects the extent to which Zhu Yinghong's mind and sense of self have been inscribed with the (counter)history of Taiwan by her father, even before she can comprehend the whole historical picture and its intriguing complexity. Her father later rationalizes Zhu Yinghong's innocent statement in a certain way that regards the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) as a critical turning point for Taiwanese, since it led to the Japanese colonization of the country: ... I used to think that the Sino-Japanese War was both a beginning and an end to the Taiwanese people, as the destiny of the Taiwanese has been fatefully determined since that critical moment. My arrest and imprisonment, concurrent with the annihilation of the Taiwanese elites, was but another inevitable extension of the Taiwanese people's tragic fate. For good or i l l , I was released on the assumption 165 that I would soon be dead from a serious illness. As it turned out, however, I have been dragging out my life ignobly to witness the tragedies still in store for the Taiwanese. nmzmm • ^ mn-^m.m-mmtth * - mmmm > -^mx^^m mmmm > ^ ^ s A w s ^ j t ^ e ^ f a ^ • 02) Zhu Zuyan is not only a victim of the traumatic February 28 massacre but formerly a colonized subject under Japanese rule. While being brought up under the Japanese colonization, he was taught by bis father to resist the foreign invasion by refusing to speak Japanese at home. He reminisces about this to his daughter: "Your grandfather had always been strict about us speaking only Taiwanese and not Japanese at home ...he taught us from our childhood the concept that the Japanese are not only a different race but invaders. I never forgot his precepts, but ironically one day I came to realize that compatriots of the same race could be even crueller and bloodier than were the invaders of a different race. As such, now I choose to use the language of a different race; and furthermore, I am using it to teach my own children." fa/h®Ej (198)' Zhu Zuyan ironically uses the previous colonizer's language (Japanese) to betoken his rejection of the new oppressor's culture (that of the mainland-born K M T people). In this regard, it is noteworthy that throughout his remaining life after release, Zhu Zuyan has 166 communicated only in Japanese, particularly in correspondence with his daughter when she was studying in New York. Also, he always addresses his daughter as Ayako ^rf-instead of Yinghong a genuine Japanese name as opposed to Chinese. As Faye Yuan Kleeman suggests, for people of Zhu Zuyan's generation, such a strategic choice of using the Japanese language asserts a defiant self-identification that voluntarily puts one in the position of an "interpellated" subject.59 Sadly however, Zhu Zuyan is deprived of any possibility for fulfilling his dream, let alone his political ambitions. As such Zhu Zuyan has symbolically become a socially disabled person, just as he has become physically disabled through the torture and crippling of his feet while he was a prisoner of the K M T regime. For Zhu Zuyan, the Lotus Garden becomes the only free and secluded space where he can manage to recover a minimum degree of health and dignity. During the time of Zhu Yinghong's childhood he is confined to the Lotus Garden under the harsh surveillance of the authorities. Built two hundred years before, Hanyuan the Lotus Garden (homonymous with "Han Chinese" garden) once was one of Taiwan's most elaborate gardens in the Chinese style.60 Previously a concrete symbol representing the fortunes and power of the landed gentry, the garden also bears witness to the family's humiliation and downfall after Zhu's apprehension and persecution by the authorities. Later on he abandons himself to collecting cameras, stereos and Mercedes-Benzes, merely whiling his life away. Refurbishing the garden, and growing plants only of native Taiwanese species is one of the things into which he throws himself, in order to keep his body and soul together. Of greater significance is the fact that Zhu Zuyan teaches his daughter the family genealogy and the history of Taiwan with thoughtful details, not only contrasting Chinese style with 167 native Taiwanese but also revealing his awakening to identity formation and transformation. Moreover, this childhood education later exerts a profound influence on Zhu Yinghong's love relationship with Lin Xikeng; she inevitably submerges herself within the guidance of these two most important men in her life, struggling to make sense of the contrasts and compensations between them as she struggles to locate her gender identity. Zhu Yinghong first met Lin Xigeng at a pub among a group of real estate tycoons. While abominating the cheap and bawdy sex of the nightclub world, she is nonetheless immediately captivated by Lin's fine and tall figure, his youthful success, and most importantly his melancholic dark qualities. Dancing with Lin, Zhu is helplessly dominated by his dictatorial, self-conceited personality, and even fantasizes about being his love slave: In a trance, I can't stop but thinking that, i f only Lin Xigeng could acknowledge and understand me, I would willingly follow this fine man of good figure anywhere and do anything he pleases. Never have I had such a powerful surge of desire for a man I've only known for a couple of hours. It's not that I have never been attracted to a man's distinction in the past; but at this very moment, I can hardly resist the intoxicating desire within my heart for indulging myself in this man's embrace and caresses, and feeling his bodily pressure upon me. (47-48) 168 In the novel, L i Ang frequently employs the technique of "indirect free speech" to blur the boundaries between character and narrator so that the voice of the character becomes embedded in the voice of the narrator.61 As the above quotation shows, these inserted monologues become interlaced with the omniscient third-person narrative so that the protagonist's sexual desire and great affection for Lin is revealed in her own voice. The monologues, representing Zhu's reminiscences of and reflections on the development of her love relation with Lin Xigeng, are intertwined with the narratives of constructing a family genealogy and national narrative, which are iterated by the third-person narrator. With this narrative strategy of shifting between the present and the past and mtertwining the third-person narrative with Zhu's monologues, L i Ang manifests not only the intricate interlocking of gender and national narratives but the very feeling of rupture experienced by the female protagonist. As i f they are fated for each other, Lin is no less attracted to Zhu than she is to him. He is fascinated meeting a woman "as i f born in the last century" who has acquired "the kind of female qualities of serenity from back in the old times... the conventional virtues of Taiwanese women, like chastity, docility, good upbringing, and cute cleverness...." (£F im^...^±mwB..Mmmmim^m]mm^m...mmmm^mkxmmm • \mm - mm • MW$L * 48). From their second encounter, Lin seeks to conquer her by showing off his financial power: showing her his Rolls-Royce limousine, talking of his habit of flying first-class around the world for vacations, and chatting with her on international phone calls for hours. Submitting herself to a man she loves and worships, Zhu feels tremendously happy and carefree. However, as their relationship further develops, Zhu discovers that Lin is a married man who practices casual sex and keeps concubines. Most 169 importantly, Lin refuses to change anything for her, so Zhu decides to break up with him. As they are preparing to say farewell, Lin once again displays his desire and ambition of being a conqueror: She obeys, as usual, to his hint that she open the gate to the courtyard, where she lets him lead her hands to touch him. Zhu Yinghong is absentmindedly performing whatever movements he suggests. However, nothing remains within her heart but sheer hopelessness and emptiness as a result of his impending departure. Nonetheless, Zhu Yinghong is startled at the agility of his adroit undressing and exposing of his pertinent body part while standing neatly. By the touch of her hands, she feels the man's excitement has risen to the point of no return. This powerful expression of masculinity is just like Lin Xigeng's personal character with which Zhu Yinghong is so familiar. She is so charmed as to lower her head, staring at what is in her hands. "So big!" she mumbles with fascination. A pair of powerful hands press upon her shoulders and she understands what he wants. She bends hesitantly but his hands forcefully press her down until her lips touch it. She begins by squatting, but after a while she changes her posture to kneeling with both knees on the ground. This gesture reinforces his imposing manner, consistently inducing her accustomed yielding and obedience to him. ftimmmgmnfttt - • ^mm^mmm^mmxmym • &®®&}-®**sws • w%&&m®mm& 170 While flaunting his inflated penis, Lin half forces Zhu to kneel before him to perform oral sex, as i f giving her a farewell souvenir. Passively responding to him, Zhu is hardly aware that he is treating her as his prey. Despite her failure to win him over completely, Zhu Yinghong continues to feel affection for Lin. Scheming to accommodate her own sexual desire, she begins a weekly rendezvous with Teddy, a married businessman who is well known for his sexual appetite and prowess. Dissociating love from sexual desire, Zhu uses Teddy's ministrations for pleasure and relief for her physical frustrations, in order to enable her to calmly capture Lin again at her leisure. When Lin finally asks Zhu out again, she arranges yet another session with Teddy prior to the important date with Lin. In this sexual encounter, she mounts Teddy's body, feeling that she is the one who is launching an attack, energetically turning Teddy into her prey: Breathing in rhythmic spasms, she involuntarily presses, extends to push forward her most private long and narrow interior tube to lay bare her vulva so that she is ready to smother the fervent thrusts in waiting. She feels as i f her private part is swelling forward, hissing like a snake, ready to capture the man's erection. Eventually, the prey is totally enclaved; Zhu Yinghong inhales deeply feeling fully contented from engulfing him and being filled up. - M f i t e - mmmmmwum > mmm > Kwmmmmm • amtmwmum 171 % ' (161-162) However, there is another desire buried deeply in Zhu's body that cannot be soothed by a penis. Later, while still maintaining the stuffed feeling in the lower part of her body provided by Teddy, Zhu feels a concealed surge of desire that awakens due to Lin's skilled caresses. In an ecstasy unconnected to sexual intercourse, Zhu's insatiable desire is quenched with true love—all of a sudden, she realizes how deep her love is for Lin. Ironically, when she is about to confess her true feelings for him, Lin starts bragging about his manual prowess while at the same time conceding that lately he has been sexually impotent, perhaps as a result of his excessive sexual activities in the past. Zhu Yinghong goes along with L in Xigeng to explore the sensuous decadent underworld of Taipei. Partly because Lin needs more stimulation to recover his sexual function, they play various kinds of sexual games at a number of unusual sites, such as in the limousine, among the weeds, or when they are massaged by a blind masseuse. Despite these sensuous adventures, Zhu never obtains anything meaningful in return for her true love; Lin fails to make any commitment even when Zhu gets pregnant by him. Utterly disappointed and disheartened, Zhu decides to have an abortion without consulting Lin, as she refuses to use the baby as a means to forcefully confine him to a marriage. She returns to the Lotus Garden to regain her autonomy, instead of continuing to be Lin's love slave. Coming from a lower class family and without a proper education, Lin has always admired and is much fascinated with Zhu's gentle origins among the learned gentry. When Zhu stops catering to his interests, she becomes even more noble and unattainable than ever to him. Meeting her again in the Lotus Garden, Lin finally decides to divorce his wife and marry Zhu. He proposes to her in his usual proud tone: "As you were born 172 and brought up in this garden by your father, I would like to help you refurbish it so that our children can also be born and raised in the Lotus G a r d e n . ' X ^ ^ f l ^ ^ ^ - ^ f i l l i l l - f - ' & With Lin's financial assistance, the garden, deserted since the death of Zhu's father, is restored and thrives again. However, against Lin's wishes, Zhu Yinghong decides to donate the garden to a public foundation so that it can forever belong to the twenty million people of Taiwan and avoid any future risk of becoming the property of the coercive government that had cruelly persecuted her father. This decision is also made out of her anxiety that she might not always be Mrs. Lin. Besides rebuilding the garden, Zhu Yinghong also restores the name of the first generation patriarch of the family, Zhu Feng, a pirate, to the family genealogic records, risking the effects of a vicious curse imposed by Zhu Feng's abandoned wife generations ago. This curse, which proclaims that whoever inserts the name of Zhu Feng back into the family genealogy will extinguish the Zhu family altogether, has long haunted the Zhu descendants. As the novel concludes, it appears as i f the curse has indeed taken effect, as Lin seems to have lost his sexual function when he tries to make love to Zhu Yinghong in the Lotus Garden. Realizing that she may never be able to bear his children, the distressed Zhu Yinghong becomes very eager to have one more look at the garden right away, lest it is about to vanish all of a sudden. From where she stands in the dark night, Zhu Yinghong overlooks the garden that is ablaze with lights, thriving brightly as if it were burning with an intense fire. 173 Enigmatic Maze of Labyrinthine Identity As the title suggests, Labyrinthine Garden is like an enigmatic maze that entraps its reader with abundant allegories of ethnic identity, cultural politics, gender relationships, and national identity. The interpretive difficulties of the novel derive from its ambitious combination of attention to the decadent gender relationships in Taipei on the one hand, and its fundamental concern with the reconstitution of the national memory/history of Taiwan on the other. In a manner similar to the rather negative responses L i Ang has received for her earlier controversial/influential works, the bold depictions of sexual scenes in the novel are read by some critics as simply morally depraved. For one, Lu Zhenghui denounces the morbid negativity that he finds grossly incompatible with the other serious issues in the work, and concludes that the novel contains an "incorrect ideology of vulgar capitalism."62 Conversely, some feminist readers defend the erotic adventures of Zhu Yinghong, which they say should be read as rites aiming to exorcize unsound gender relations63 or as part of the maturing process women have to undergo so that they can achieve sexual autonomy or regain consciousness under the dominant patriarchy.64 Unimpressed with the "political thread" of the novel, however, most feminist readers regard the combination of national narrative and the narrative of gender relationships as an unfortunate flaw. For example, Huang Yuxiou is sceptical of the "political thread" which is asserted in flashbacks but unsubstantiated or sometimes even contradicted in the narrative of the female protagonist's present life. 6 5 Perhaps with an unspoken binary or essentialist ideology—a novel should be either about gender or about nation—the aforementioned commentaries either failed to appreciate the two intertwined thematic threads in narrative combination, or rather 174 oversimplified the deep ambivalence and profound complexity of the novel. Indeed, it is my contention that colonial historical memories play an important role in the shaping and transforming of the female protagonist's gender relationships. As a leitmotif of the novel, the statement in Zhu Yinghong's elementary school composition does suggest that her historical memories, mostly received from her father's teaching, predominate over the construction of her national and gender identity, and in turn dictate her love relationship with Lin Xigeng. In terms of critically relating memory to history and vice versa, it is of pressing importance to say that remembering is not simply an act of reiterating history but a process of using limited and discrete memories to re-arrange or re-compose the past. Often, when memory is evoked, experiences of remembering tend to reinforce certain details, and the process of remembering becomes elusive and complicated as every remembering may recollect different details.66 Through such constant re-arranging and re-composing of historical memories, one reaches an explication of the past and comes to realize the significance of his/her present life. As such, for the purpose of analysis, it is imperative to acknowledge the critical function and influence of memory-cum-history, and the dominant effect they combine to exert on the female protagonist's construction and transformation of national and gender identities. In Labyrinthine Garden, the text constantly shifts back and forth between the past and the present, drawing parallels between Zhu Yinghong's father-daughter relations on the one hand and her love relations with Lin Xigeng on the other. For instance, right after the scene in which Zhu and Lin are making love in a limousine, the narrative shifts back to her memories of riding with her father in his Mercedes-Benzes. With this shifting narration, the reader is prompted to parallel and compare the two most important men in 175 Zhu Yinghong's life: Zhu Zuyan and Lin Xigeng, both providing crucial knowledge and experience for Zhu in constituting her identity. Whereas the father enlightens Zhu on the family genealogy, Taiwan's history and her femininity, Lin coaches her on the exploration of sensuality. Despite their different temperaments, Lin and Zhu Zuyan share similar uniquely Taiwanese characteristics and both feel strong and proud to be Taiwanese. Unlike Zhu Zuyan who can only narrate Taiwan's history and its national fate to his daughter or denote his identification with Taiwan by refurbishing his isolated garden with Taiwanese plants, Lin physically embodies the Taiwanese spirit through entreprenurial expansion of his local and international businesses. It is no accident that Zhu Yinghong falls in love with a man who is as blatantly masculine as Lin. Although Zhu Zuyan continues to symbolize the Law of the Father inside the Lotus Garden and to his daughter in particular, his crippled social status signifies his emasculation by the ruling powers. Under the oppressive atmosphere of colonialism, Taiwanese women often witnessed the symbolic castration of the men close to them.67 In a similar fashion, haunted by the inarticulate fear of the "white terror" after the February 28 incident, Taiwanese men were virtually reduced to zero masculinity. Therefore, reconstructing Taiwanese men's masculinity and dignity has become a subconscious task for postcolonial Taiwanese women, to relieve their men from the constantly agonizing burden of historical memory. L i Ang depicts how this phenomenon has affected Zhu Yinghong's construction of the gender relationships in her l i fe . 6 8 With the miraculous expansion of his business enterprises, reflecting the so-called "Taiwan miracle," Lin not only embodies the spirit of Taiwanese men in general, but also represents an example of reclaimed Taiwanese masculinity. 176 Right after the scene in which Zhu Yinghong performs oral sex for Lin when they are about to break up, the narration shifts from the third-person to Zhu's first-person narration, recalling the traumatic images of her father being arrested and taken away from the Lotus Garden. The lingering melancholy on her father's face and the fear of forever losing her father have haunted Zhu Yinghong since her childhood. Lin's leave-taking awakens her memory of her father being taken away which, in effect, reinforces Zhu's pain—it is a repetition of the experience of losing a man she deeply loves. As Lin is leaving, she rushes upstairs, attempting to have a last look at him before he really parts from her life. Then suddenly, she realizes that when her father was being taken away, it had been impossible for her to see his facial expression in the dark night. The haunting memory of this particularly painful image is actually a combination of two incidents, she realizes: one is the fact of her father's apprehension, and the other is her witnessing of her teacher being arrested and taken from school by soldiers.69 The stream-of-consciousness mode of narration in this section of the text connects the past and the present, in which the disappearances of three major male figures in her life are overlaid. When she realizes that she has been deceived by an inaccurate memory, all the agonies she has gone through in all the previous years seem to have become meaningless. This realization and new interpretation of her memory partly resolves her traumatized childhood experience of losing her father and, more importantly, presages an optimistic future in her relationship with Lin. Although she could not do anything to alter the course/outcome of her father's or her teacher's disappearance, she can at least avoid a repetition of history by making every effort to keep Lin. Zhu Yinghong's re-insertion of Zhu Feng into the family genealogy has significant 177 implications in the grand project of re-visioning the national narrative. Contrary to the conventional reading of Zhu Feng as a pillaging pirate who brought indelible shame upon the family, Zhu Zuyan characterizes Zhu Feng as a nationalistic hero who helped people immigrate to Taiwan in defiance of the Ming Dynasty's isolationism and its policy of 70 curfew at sea. Eulogized by Dutch sailors as the "China Captain," the Robin Hood-like pirate-merchant Zhu Feng embodies the adventurous spirit of self-made migrants that are good at trade. By highlighting the similarities between Lin Xigeng and Zhu Feng, L i Ang reinforces the concept that an adventurous entrepreneurial spirit is characteristic of Taiwanese people and constitutes their vitality. In so doing, L i is able to interrupt the Chinese national narrative and to postulate Taiwanese men and women as people of an independent nation. X u Xinliang, the former chairman of the opposition political party DPP, also advocates a similar treatise in his book Xinxing minzu $ftMI£M (The Rising People, 1995). He holds that Taiwan is a nation of immigrant people who are good at assimilating different cultures, ingenious in exploiting what they have learned from without, and very commercially-oriented in engaging in trade.71 Theoretically this bears potential (post)colonialist significance in analyzing issues of national narrative and gender identity. That is, both L i and Xu's postcolonial readings problematize the conventional view of Taiwan as merely an adjunct to the grand narrative of China's history. Alternatively, they attempt to open up the possibility of Taiwan having a distinct national narrative of its own. In the novel, Zhu Zuyan admires his pirate ancestor so much that he plants many flame-trees (fenghuang mu MMJF), which are indigenous to Taiwan, in his garden. He even once considered changing the name of the garden to "Fenghuang yuan" iUSOS in 178 commemoration of Zhu Feng. Feng H,, the Chinese character shared by the names of Zhu Feng and the flame-tree, refers to a kind of mystical bird symbolizing periodic destruction and re-creation, like a phoenix reborn from its own ashes. For Zhu Zuyan the blossoms of these trees that flame in summer represent the vigorous vitality of the Taiwanese people who can always survive destruction to be reborn. However, despite his admiration for and identification with Zhu Feng, in the end Zhu Zuyan gives up the idea of renaming the garden and dares not risk his honour to rewrite the family genealogy, probably because of the matriarch's vicious curse. As Zhu Zuyan's two sons who were sent abroad for abetter environment in which to grow up eventually sever all ties to the family and the nation, his dream of restoring the pride of the family and the nation falls upon Zhu Yinghong, who is now seen as the only true heiress of the Zhu family. Apart from the heroic characteristics that Zhu Zuyan admires, Zhu Feng was in fact a polygamist who abandoned his wife and children to flee Taiwan with his mistress. Chen Shi, Zhu Feng's wife, is presented by Zhu Zuyan as a prophet and an energetic matriarch, who had been born with mixed parentage: aborigine, Dutch and Han Chinese. She had laid down the family rule, observed thereafter for over three hundred years, in which her husband's name was to be expunged from the family genealogy. Her curse had been passed on from generation to generation as "whispers" (eryu ^fg), gaining vigorous momentum as the family had expanded and divided into many branches. The figure of Chen Shi reminds us of the shamaness in Masks who exemplified the female archetype of male fear. For the Zhu family's male descendents, the shamaness-like Chen Shi embodies a mysterious yet powerful force that rouses a man's double fear: the fear of women and the fear of failure to produce a male heir for the family. According to the 179 Chinese/Japanese/Taiwanese-inspired ie seido (family system) that still exists in Taiwan, to pass the lineage through the male line is the most important mission of each male descendant. It is debatable, however, whether the power of the curse would have the same effect on the female descendents. Seemingly, the only possible way to annul the curse is to designate a woman to do the job of resurrecting Zhu Feng. By donating the garden to the public and rewriting the family genealogy, Zhu Yinghong achieves what her father dared not, and succeeds where her father failed—openly identifying with the land and showing her pride in being a Taiwanese. As i f it were a woman's preordained fate, Zhu Yinghong experiences desertion by the man she loves, as did her foremother Chen Shi. However, in contrast to Chen Shi who was unable to change her situation except by imposing a curse, Zhu Yinghong transforms herself from passive prey into an active man-hunter who eventually recaptures the man she loves with her feminine scheming. It is worth noting that whenever L in enters the garden he gets lost without Zhu Yinghong's guidance; more significantly, he feels so intimidated by the omnipresent gaze of Chen Shi as to become impotent in the garden. In the womb-like garden where women (Chen Shi and/or Zhu Yinghong) effectively reign, Lin's masculine superiority is reduced to oblivion: i.e. sexually impotent, and financially deprived of the ownership of the garden (after it is donated to the public). Like Mieko in Enchi's Masks, Chen Shi and Zhu Yinghong make scheming and great use out of the little they have to drastically undermine the patriarchy, and reclaim their female power. For good or i l l , each character in the novel experiences dramatic events and fluctuations in her/his life. As a result, their identity is incessantly being tested and transformed so as to accommodate the hybridized complexity of the much broader 180 socio-political milieu in which they struggle, and to reflect the malleable flexibility of the so-called "Taiwan spirit" to which they adapt. Consequently, Taiwanese identity is being constructed and re-constructed with intense ferment and transformation. For instance, the pirate-merchant Zhu Feng, wanted by the Ming and later the Qing Dynasties, is an ambivalent figure. The mixed blood Chen Shi transforms into a powerful matriarch after being deserted. The ambitious Zhu Zuyan who holds high hopes for Taiwan's democracy is sadly obliterated into a social invalid indulging in collecting luxuries. The labyrinthine Zhu Yinghong drastically changes from a feminine girl to a man-hunter, finally becoming a mature woman who enjoys sensuality, and thus remarkably achieves much more than her father ever did. The upstart Lin Xigeng who used to wear clothes made from flour bags in his childhood becomes a business tycoon and is now dressed extravagantly only in brand names, but in the end he is relegated from a sexual stud to an impotent man. Unique in the (post)colonial historical context of Taiwan, all of the characters contain both masculine and feminine features to the extent that the line between the dominant and the subordinate is rather ambiguous.72 Like most postcolonial writing that regards the hybridized nature of postcolonial culture as a strength rather than a weakness, Labyrinthine Garden elucidates the fact that the transactions of the postcolonial world are not a one-way street in which oppression demolishes the oppressed or the colonizer silences the colonized in absolute terms. That is, Taiwan has developed a distinct hybridized identity of its own that comprises not only rebellion/exclusion but also assimilation/inclusion of previous colonization(s). We witness both paradoxical dimensions in Li ' s novel. For instance, while holding Chinese chauvinism up to ridicule through the words and deeds of Zhu Zuyan, L i Ang also raises 181 some serious doubts and questions regarding the Taiwan-independence fundamentalism that advocates a radical change from Taiwan's current ambivalent status quo. Fully aware of the temptation and danger of returning to some atavistic, "pure" and nativist "Taiwanese" identity, Li ' s text not only illustrates the highly contested hybridized identity formation and transformation to drive home for its reader the profound complexity and heterogeneity of identity politics, but also attempts to reinvent a narrative that "deliberately makes visible, within the very structure of its narrative forms, its own repressive strategies and practices." With its abundant allegories of land and identity, Labyrinthine Garden might fit into the category of the Nativist literature that has been booming in Taiwan since the late 1970s. However, in contrast to the traditional Nativist literature that regards Taiwan as an immovable, pure native land upon which "authentic" Taiwanese identity is constructed, the native land of Taiwan in L i ' s novel is insightfully treated as a space of continually shifting meanings and a site for the perpetual contemplation of the problem of identity construction.74 As a symbol of Taiwan, Zhu's donation of the Lotus Garden to the public allegorically signifies Taiwanese people's reclamation of the land that historically has long been invaded and exploited by different races and powers. This seemingly happy ending is at once shadowed by the bleak prospect of Lin becoming impotent and the couple remaining barren. Lin's impotence, resulting from his previous promiscuity, suggests that the matriarch's curse has been realized. Being symbolically castrated in the text, Lin's (temporary or permanent?) impotence might be seen as the author's invalidation of Lin's masculinity, obtained as it was through his ever-expanding capitalist enterprise as well as his innumerable sexual conquests. When the threat of castration from 182 the authoritative rule(s) disappears, women's suppression under the indigenous patriarchy resurfaces. In particular, the strategy of suppressing women, using them merely as steppingstones for constructing a new masculinity and national identity, is often re-employed when the colonial yoke is lifted. In this text we see Lin using the sexual conquest of women to help construct his own postcolonial identity. Since Zhu Yinghong is the focus of the novel, Lin's masculinity must be problematized after she has woken up from the colonial nightmare(s). Ambiguously, Zhu Yinghong's last fervent gaze at the garden seems to suggest an alternative interpretation of the curse. Just as her haunting memory of having lost her father is resolved by a re-composed memory, Zhu's anxieties of losing everything including progeny and the garden seem to have been relieved when her gaze confirms the existence of the thriving garden. That is, i f the garden does not vanish, why should their barrenness necessarily come to pass? Besides, the matriarch's curse was originally intended to apply to the patrilineage, the male descendents. Since Zhu is a daughter, and therefore nor usually expected to assume the responsibility for carrying on the family line, the curse might not work its vicious effect on her after all. One could also argue that the Zhu clan may have already been terminated after Zhu Zuyan sent away his two sons who eventually severed all ties to the family and the land. 7 5 Although he does not resurrect Zhu Feng himself, it is Zhu Zuyan's teaching that eventually leads his daughter to fulfill his dream. In this sense, the curse may have already worked, not on the daughter but on the father, as his teachings provide the inspiration for Zhu Feng's eventual restitution to the family genealogy. The recovery of memory is never an innocent act, as it partakes in the forging of the 183 present by pretending to speak about the past. The operation of memory in Li Ang's Labyrinthine Garden is effectively exploited to intervene in the constructions of national narrative as well as gender narrative. With the female protagonist's seemingly optimistic view of her future—which is in fact gleaned from her discursively re-constructed historical memories—Li not only successfully completes a counter grand narrative through her work but indicates a rather promising future for Taiwan, if only the dangerous repressive natures within the structure of its narrative forms are not overlooked. Writing Her-story: Enchi Fumiko versus Li Ang Both Enchi Fumiko's Masks and L i Ang's Labyrinthine Garden are complex multi-layered novels that brilliantly explore contemporary women's empowerment within the male-centric social imaginary. Significantly, both authors use, as their primary structuring metaphor, an item from each culture's traditional, artistic past: the Noh masks for Enchi and the classical garden for L i . Each of these items is effective in connoting layeredness—the double face implied by a mask, and the labyrinthineness of the Lotus Garden. Like most postcolonial writing that concerns itself with the hybridized nature of post-colonial culture, both novels lay emphasis on the fragmentation, complicatedness, and heterogeneity of postcolonial identities through such a device, a means of evading the replication of the binary categories of the past and developing new anti-monolithic models of thinking. With intertextual references to The Tale of Genji and other classic literature, Masks is presented through many kinds of performance depicted in the novel, such as the Noh plays and the layeredness of spiritualism which needs the spirit, the medium and the person possessed. Moreover, its labyrinthine structure is further 184 complicated by numerous triangular relationships in the novel—the female triangle of Mieko, Yasuko, and Harume; the traditional romantic triangle of Yasuko, Ibuki, and Mikame; and the duplicitous triangle of Yasuko, Ibuki, and Harume. These triangles and other uses of the number three contribute to weaving a web so intricate that the conspiracy of the major player, Mieko (whose name means "three-layered-child"), is concealed. In Labyrinthine Garden, the fragmented and complicated form of narration suggests the rupture of historical time characterizing a repeatedly colonized Taiwan. L i Ang's work exemplifies the extent to which this sense of rupture regulates the general social and private life of people in Taiwan. Moreover, the novel's fractured and interrupted narrative is further complicated by its prologue and epilogue—both are about the garden donating ceremony—that tightly enclose the main text like a womb or cocoon, symbolically speaking. In the prologue there is a juxtaposition of two donating events: a group of gay men who are canvassing in bars for subscriptions for their friend suffering from AIDS; and the broadcasting of Zhu Yinghong's garden donating ceremony, which is shown on a huge television wall. Interestingly, in both novels the issue of homosexuality is employed (if only briefly and indirectly) by the writers to contest the system of patriarchy. However, the issue of homosexuality brought up in L i Ang's prologue does not simply serve to criticize masculine phantasms and homophobia, but metaphorically relates gay men with women in term of their marginalized positions, prophesying the female protagonist's potential power to subvert the dominant hegemonic narrative. In Masks, Enchi creates a type of femme fatale—the vengeful mistreated woman who desires to reveal her secret self and power. In antithesis to the "good wife and wise 185 mother" model promoted by the government, such a femme fatale not only constitutes a grave threat to men but seriously challenges the national narrative founded upon the notion of the kazoku kokka, the family nation. Unlike Masks, which obviously posits patriarchal oppression as the primary foe, women's liberation in Labyrinthine Garden is further complicated by the history of colonization and the issue of national identity. Under the colonial rule(s) prior to the repeal of martial law, Taiwanese women suffered the pain of witnessing their fathers/husbands/brothers/sons being symbolically castrated by the dominating authority. Unlike Enchi who never explicitly raises the issue of national identity or the definition of Japaneseness in her novel, L i regards pursuing Taiwan's national identity or the so-called Taiwaneseness, after waking up from the colonial nightmare, as the most important issue in the novel. Comparatively speaking, this difference can be traced back to the divergent historical experience of colonialism of the two countries. When suffering cultural imperialism in the Meiji period, or direct "colonial" domination by the Allied forces after World War Two, Japanese people were not stripped of their language or identity. They may have struggled with the humiliation of having "Japaneseness" marked as inferior in the hegemonic value structure, but "Japaneseness" itself remained intact. On the contrary, the colonizers in Taiwan, whether the Japanese or the K M T , made great efforts to eradicate anything representing Taiwaneseness, and tried to transform Taiwanese people into Japanese or Chinese. Understandably, when Taiwan finally became an independent entity, one of the most urgent tasks was the recovery and reinterpretation of the selectively obliterated histories and then affirming a new national identity. The difference between the way the two authors deal with the national identity issue 186 might also be attributed to the different time periods when these two novels were created. Produced in the 1990s when an international discourse of postcoloniality prevailed, L i Ang seems to have been attuned to the latest cultural critical theories and engaged in writing for both national and international audiences,76 whereas Enchi may have never imagined that anybody besides Japanese people would ever read her book when she was writing back in the 1950s, a period of time in which there was virtually no broad awareness of postcoloniality. In both novels, men are treated merely as means for fulfilling women's sexual desire and empowerment. While the unwitting Ibuki in Masks is set up to perpetuate Mieko's matriarchal lineage, the horny Teddy in Labyrinthine Garden is used by Zhu Yinghong to relieve the sexual anxiety deriving from her unsuccessful romance with Lin. In Enchi's work, the paternal lineage is deprived of it rights and interests; in Li 's work, it is further insulted when Zhu Yinghong "pollutes" Lin's embryo with Teddy's sperm and then terminates her pregnancy without even consulting Lin. Ironically, women's reproductive capacities—which so long have been exploited as to maintain and prolong the patrilineal kinship system—become the most powerful destructive weapon for subverting that system. At the end of Labyrinthine Garden, the philanderer Lin is textually castrated after his masculinity fulfills the missions of healing Zhu Yinghong's traumatized colonial memories and helping with her national identity (re)construction. Also, it is not until Zhu has overcome the fear of her father's emasculation by the colonial power that she comes to realize her subordination in the gender relationship with Lin. For Zhu, she has to overcome the effects of colonialism before she can encounter gender inequality and embark on her identity (re)construction. Comparatively speaking, this two-stage process 187 of awakening indicates one more structural hurdle, and much more intricacy and complication, for the identity formation of Taiwanese writers and readers than their Japanese counterparts. In fact, Li 's rather ambiguous ending seems intended to insinuate the female protagonist's attainment of self-consciousness and her subversion of the prevailing power paradigms. On the issue of masculinity/potency, the two authors compose completely different tunes. In Labyrinthine Garden, Lin Xigeng is very masculine, virile, sexually aggressive, and confident. His masculinity is enshrined to reflect the political need for reclaiming raciaVethnic pride, and in turn alleviates the female protagonist from her traumatic colonial memories. However, at the end of the story, Lin is textually emasculated through impotence. Conversely, in Masks, none of the men is ever explicitly emasculated—they all remain masculine and potent, and sexually active: this is true for Togano, Mieko's secret lover, Akio, Mikame, and Ibuki. While not all of them father children, there is nothing to suggest that they are incapable of doing so. Far from depicting men's impotence, in Enchi's novel men's sexual desire, their masculinity/potency, especially Ibuki's, is crucial to fulfill Mieko's plan of subverting the patrilineage. In terms of the depictions of masculinity, the stark contrast between these two works calls for postcolonialism(s) to shed new light, together with insights from feminist/gender theories; this contrast calls for further study. For L i Ang, the emasculation of Taiwanese men—first by the colonizers and later by the postcolonial circumstances in the female labyrinthine garden—is a major point. However, for Enchi, emasculation is not mentioned as it is not the point. We might speculate that this difference derives from the fact that Enchi is aware not only of Japanese men's experience of being emasculated by 188 the colonizers but also of their once being colonizers who attempted to emasculate others. As such, she might have had no sympathy for Japanese men's problems in postcoloniality, quite contrary to Li 's sympathy for the complicated situation of Taiwanese men. With subversive intent, Enchi and L i incorporate either the ancient canon or historical memories into their texts to re-present and re-construct the meanings of particular grand narratives in each nation. Reflecting their specific socio-historical backgrounds, Enchi illustrates a powerful backlash against the residual impact of the rigid gender and family systems imposed in the Meiji period and maintained through 1945, whereas L i testifies to the remarkable extent to which the engagement with historical memory is connected to questions of identity and national narrative. In terms of exploring gender relationships, both texts produce a wonderful site for our critical investigation into the intricate interlocking of gender, race, and nation in women's identities. Notes 1 Also known as Ueda Barmen, Ueda Kazutoshi studied with B.H. Chamberlain, the pioneer Japanologist and British philologist, and introduced Western research methods into the study of Japanese language and linguistics after four years of research in Germany and France. He participated in the compilation of the influential dictionary Dai Ninon kokugo jiten (Greater Japanese Dictionary) and trained numerous researchers in his capacity as a member of the Kokugo chosa iinkai (National Language Research Committee). He was respected in his field and well known on the literary scene. 1 Enchi Fumiko RiCK^f , "Watashi to bungaku no aida" %LbJc¥<Dffl, in Enchi Fumiko zenshu vol. 16 (Tokyo: Shinchosha, 1978), p.43. 5 For information on Enchi Fumiko's biographical background please see ltd Hatsuko "Enchi Fumiko, " in Tanpen josei bungaku: kindaii WMk^tlC^, ed. Imai Yasuko 189 ^ ( T o k y o : Ofusha, 1997): pp. 228-36; Takenishi Hiroko tT f i lM- , "Enchi Fumiko" R i&JCir, Nihon kindai bungaku daijiten 0 'A^^iXX^XW'-^ vol. I (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1977), pp. 235-7; Yumiko Hulvey "Enchi Fumiko," in Japanese Woman Writers: A Bio-critical Sourcebook, ed. Chieko Mulhern (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994): pp. 40-60. 4 Enchi, "Watashi no rirekisho" %(DMMM, in Nihon Keizai Shimbun B *fr$ffrlwl, 1983, cited by Juliet Winters Carpenter in "Enchi Fumiko: A Writer of Tales," Japan Quarterly 37, no. 3 (July-September, 1990): p. 344. 5 "Intabyu: Enchi-shi ni kiku," ^ ^ t f ^ - : Rifeftt^K interviewed by BMWt^, Kokubungaku kaishaku to kyozai no kenkyu: Tokushu M3c¥M9lk$kU(DW$c, 37 (July, 1976): pp. 27-8. 6 Takenishi Hiroko, "Enchi Fumiko," p. 236. 7 The other is Nogami Yaeko who received this honour in 1971. 8 Enchi Fumiko, Onnazaku i c S , trans, by John Bester as The Waiting Years (Kodansha International, 1971), p. 203. 9 Okuno Takeo H^ftl!, "Eien ni osorerareru onna: Enchi Fumiko no bungaku" ^kitl-Wi XibixZiK : n±^<DX^, Bungakukai X¥W (1959), in Enchi Fumiko zenshu Rifcfc^ vol. 3 (Tokyo: Shinchosha, 1978), pp. 375-85. 1 0 Mishima's comment is drawn and quoted by Enchi herself in her "Watashi no rirekisho," in Nihon Keizai Shimbun, no. 26, 1983, cited by Carpenter in "Enchi Fumiko: A Writer of Tales," p. 353. 1 1 Enchi, "Watashi no rirekisho," pp. 352-3. 1 2 Helene Cixous, "The Laugh of Medusa," trans. Keith Cohen and Paula Cohen. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 1, no. 4 (1976): pp. 875-93. 1 3 Muro Saisei i l £ J ? S , "Ogon no hari" ^fe^ff, Fujin koron mk'Mfa (I960), in Enchi Fumiko zenshu Ri&iSe^f t , vol. 14 (Tokyo: Shinchosha, 1978), pp. 307-15. 1 4 Joan Ericson, "The Origins of the Concept of 'Women's Literature,'" in The Woman's Hand: Gender and Theory in Japanese Women's Writing (California: Stanford University Press, 1996), pp. 101-2. Also, see Catherine Ryu, " A Golden Needle, A Rabbit's Tail, and the Density of Female Body Fat: An Analysis of Muro Saisei's Metaphors for Enchi Fumiko's Writing Libido," in Love and Sexuality in Japanese Literature, ed. Sekine Eiji (West Lafayette, IN.: Association for Japanese Literary Studies, 1999), pp. 264-73. 1 5 Muro, "Ogon no hari," pp. 310-1. 1 6 Yoshinaga Seiko, "Enchi Fumiko and Re-writing Postwar Japan: Translating Classics, Women, and Nation.," Ph.D. dissertation. (University of Pennsylvania University: 2001), p. 57. 1 7 Muro, "Ogon no hari," p. 307. 190 , B Mishima Yukio "Sakuhin-hyo: Fuyumomiji" fcffiS : 4 * I 3 H , Gunzo (1959) « f i t , in Enchi Fumiko zenshu HmXir±M, vol. 3, p. 368. 1 9 Okuno, "Eien ni osorerareru onna: Enchi Fumiko no bungaku," p. 384. 2 0 Muro, "Ogon no hari," p. 307. Yoshinaga Seiko, "Enchi Fumiko and Re-writing Postwar Japan. Translating Classics, Women, and Nation.," p. 66-7. 22 Enchi Fumiko, Masks (Onnamen, 1958), trans. Juliet Winters Carpenter. (New York: Adventura, Vintage Books, 1983), p. 30. Page numbers in parentheses refer to Carpenter's English translation. 2 3 It is interesting to note that the title of the novel, Onnamen i c S , literally "female mask," is reduced to "masks" only in the English translation. 2 4 Enchi, Onnamen in Showa bungaku zenshu BBfttJC^-^M vol 12, ed. Inoue Yasushi (Tokyo: Shogakkan, 1986-1990), p. 858. 2 5 For more information on Noh drama based on The Tale of Genji, please see Janet Emily Goff s Noh Drama and The Tale of Genji: the Art of Allusion in Fifteen Classical Plays (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1991). ! 6 As the traditional Noh performance requires an all-male cast, masks seem to be irrelevant to gender distinction. Donning the mask, the actor can be either man or woman as need be. Such transformations through masks bring about the "revival of the androgynous one-ness of the ancient." This may imply a deconstruction of the logic behind phallocentric difference. For the quote, please see Thomas Immoos, Japanese Theatre, (New York: Rizoli, 1997), p. 44. Ikeda Yoshiko, "Parental Attitude Toward Twins in Japan," in Japanese Culture and Behavior: Selected Readings, ed. Takie Sugiyama Lebra and William P. Lebra (Honolulu: University Press of Hawai'i, 1974), p. 316. Dons Bargen, "Twin Blossoms on a Single Branch. The Cycle of Retribution in Onnamen" Monumenta Nipponica 46, no.2 (Summer 1991): p. 154. 9 One night, Yasuko who woke up from a terrifying nightmare was comforted by Mieko. Invited into Mieko's quilt, Yasuko "lay encircled in Mieko's arms, her chest heaving so that it brushed with each sharp intake of breath against the round swelling of Mieko's breasts.... Gently, as i f it were a little child that she held in her arms, Mieko patted and brushed back the cold sweat-soaked strands of hair along Yasuko's brow. At the same time her legs began a smooth, rotary motion like that of paddle blades, softly stroking and enfolding Yasuko's curled-up legs" (K^r Y*WH^X\^M^<n}fa<o&W£1fefe.'EM *<nfa\^X\^%jo&<hMztodMta H f i T - f i , S f o v ^ & K - r S J : m+fD&tc <m$A;X\<^Mm<V&ti&m$MXXJ^r)tetflb$^tz0 H S ^ f D - f - ^ - f ^ L f c S t t ^ A / f t m\zi>smzfcWi£<D£i\z.m*xifcfr<m*<r>-r<^tz&^m^m<«t?^Ltza 62;877). 1 Yumiko Hulvey, "Enchi Fumiko," pp. 40-60. Also see Bargen, "Twin Blossoms on a 191 Single Branch: The Cycle of Retribution in Onnamen," pp. 147-71. 3 1 Ironically, Ibuki's bloodline is carried on not by his legitimate daughter but by the boy to whom Harume gives birth, yet without bearing the name of Ibuki as the father. Elizabeth Grosz, Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism (Indiana University Press, 1994), p. 203. Nina Cornyetz, "Bound by Blood: Female Pollution, Divinity, and Community in Enchi Fumiko's Masks;" U.S.-Japan Women's Journal English Supplement 9, (1995): p. 32 33 29 34 Cixous, "The Laugh of Medusa," pp. 884-5. 3 5 Ibid., p. 878. 3 6 In this dissertation, whenever referring to the city of £ it I use "Taipei" instead of its pinyin "Taibei," as "Taipei" is more commonly used internationally. 3 7 Howard Goldblatt, "Sex and Society: The Fiction of L i Ang," in Worlds Apart: Recent Chinese Writing and Its Audiences, ed. Goldblatt (Armonk, N . Y and London: M.E. Sharpe, 1990), p. 189. L i Ang, Author's Preface to The Butcher's Wife and Other Stories, Li Ang, trans, and ed. Howard Goldblatt and Ellen Yeung (Boston, M A : Cheng & Tsui, 1995), p. x. 3 9 Peng Mingmin ^MWi, Ziyou de ziwei—Peng Mingmin huiyilu g &fa$$fc—&v%W&Mgk> translated from English into Chinese by Lin Meihui. (Irvine, Calif.: Taiwan Publishing Co., 1984). 4 0 Ibid., p. 250. 4 1 Ibid., p. 6. 4 2 David Der-wei Wang, "Fin-de-siecle Splendor: Contemporary Women Writers' Vision of Taiwan" Modern Chinese Literature 6, nos. 1-2 (Spring & Fall 1992): p. 52. 4 3 L i Ang, Author's Preface to Miyuan (Taipei: Maitian, 1998), p. 6. As the haunting fears arising from the white terror were still lingering everywhere when she finished writing the story in 1991, L i Ang decided to publish the novel out of her own pocket and solely at her own risk. In 1998, the novel was reprinted by the publisher Maitian in Taipei. Quotations from Labyrinthine Garden are drawn from the 1998 edition, and translated into English by the author of this thesis. L i Ang, Shi Mingde qianzhuan WfiMWmW- (Taipei, Qianwei, 1993): p. 1. Bi l l Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin eds. The Post-Colonial Studies Reader (London and New York: Routledge, 1995), p. 2. Joan Wallach Scott, "History in Crisis?" American Historical Review 94 (1989): p. 681. B i l l Ashcroft, et al. The Post-colonial Studies Reader, p. 356. Natalie Zemon Davis and Randolph Starn, "Introduction." Representation 26 (1989): p. 2. For more on counter-memory, see Michel Foucault, Language, Counter-Memory, 192 44 45 46 47 48 Practice, ed. Donald F. Bouchard (Ithaca, N . Y , 1977), esp. pp. 139-64. 4 9 Davis and Starn, "Introduction." Representation 26 (1989): pp. 1-6. 5 0 For example, Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London and New York: Verso, 1983). 3 1 Michel Foucault, "Nietzsche, Genealogy, History" in Language, Counter-memory, Practice, ed. Donald F. Bouchard (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press; Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1977): p. 153. 5 2 Stuart Hall, "Negotiating Caribbean Identities," New Left Review 209, (January/February, 1995): p. 5. 5 3 B i l l Ashcroft, et al. The Post-colonial Studies Reader, p. 355. 5 4 Bai Chongxi, "Taiwan shibian de zhenxiang, Zhengqi yuekan 2, no. 2 (May 1, 1947): p. 39, cited in A Tragic Beginning: The Taiwan Uprising of February 28, 1947, eds. Tse-han Lai, Ramon H. Myers and Wei Wou, (Stanford, California, Stanford University Press, 1991), p. 5. 5 5 Peng Mingmin, Ziyou de ziwei, p. 120. 5 6 The novel was serialized in the China Times from August 18,1991 to March 11,1991. 5 7 L i Ang, Miyuan, p. 2 1 . 5 8 China's first war with Japan, usually known as the Sino-Japanese War, broke out in 1894, and according to the story Zhu Ying-hong was born sometime in 1943. Japan was again at war with China from 1931 to 1945. 5 9 Faye Yuan Kleeman, Under an Imperial Sun: Japanese Colonial Literature of Taiwan and the South (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2002), p. 246. 5 0 The design of the garden and its planting is in imitation of the famous gardens in mainland China during the period of the Qing Dynasty. 5 1 Paul Cobley, Narrative (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), pp. 84-6. 3 2 L i i Zhenghui HIE®, "Miyuan de liangxing guanxi yu Taiwan qiyezhu de zhenmao" mm) mmMW&im&n#&%$L. UNITASI,™. 11, ( 1 9 9 1 ) . pp. 1 6 1 - 5 . > 3 Huang YuxiouMtiL5f , "Miyuan zhong de xing yu zhengzhi" VMM) ^ ^ t t l ^ & V o in Dangdai Taiwan niixing wenxuelun^ftaMkHlC^m, ed. Zheng M i n g l i g p j f f i j . (Taipei: Shi bao wen hua, 1993), pp. 69-107. 5 4 Lin Fangmei #3!f3E£, "Miyuan jiexi: xingbie rentong yu guozu rentong de diaogui m "mmf- mmmm^m^m, mXingbie lunshuyu Taiwan xiaoshuo ed. Mei Jialing MW5§. (Taipei: Maitian, 2000), pp. 145-72. > 5 Huang Yuxiou, "Miyuan zhong de xing yu zhengzhi," pp. 98-101. 1 6 Gerald M . Edelman, Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On the Matter of the Mind (New York: Basic Books, 1992), P. 102, cited in Peng Xiaoyan g2/hffl, "Niizuojia de qingyu shuxie yu zhengzhi lunshu: jiedu Miyuan" & { ^ l f t 1 f = MM < M > , in Lishi 193 henduo loudong: cong Zhang Wojun dao Li Ang M^if&frMM '• ^SIScJpLf (Taipei: Zhongyang yanjiuyuan, 2000), p. 163. 67 Qiu Guifen, "Xingbie/quanli/zhimin lunshu: xiangtu wenxue zhong de qushi nanren" in Dangdai Taiwan nilxing wenxuelun 'm'iXaM^.'&^C^m, PP- 13-34. 68 Kuei-fen Chiu [Guifen Qiu], "Identity Politics in Contemporary Women's Novels in Taiwan, Tamkang Review 30, no. 2 (Winter 1999): pp. 27-54. 6 9 L i Ang, Miyuan, pp. 89-92. 70 Li Ang, Miyuan, p. 113. The original text specifically uses "China Captain" in English. 7 1 X u Xinliang mt&, Xinxing minzu §rM&M (Taipei, Yuanliu, 1995). 7 2 Lin Fangmei, "Miyuan jiexi," p. 169. 7 3 Dipesh Chakrabarty, "Postcoloniality and the Artifice of History," in The Post-colonial Studies Reader, p. 388. 7 4 Qiu Guifen SRm^, "Nuxing de xiangtu 'xiangxing': Taiwan dangdai xiangtu mixing xiaoshuo chutan" -^mm±MW  : £ M f t ^ ± : f c 1 4 / J « $ i ? , in Zhongjie Taiwan nuren iW\~&m-izA (Taipei: Yuanliu, 1997), pp.74-103. 75 In one of his letters, Zhu confesses to his daughter that "Probably I am the biggest sinner in terms of passing on the blood of the Zhu clan in Taiwan for the last three hundred years. I have raised two sons who are outstanding enough to have earned doctoral degrees; spiritually, however, I discontinue their inheritance of the Zhu family" mu^tmmmmm^'s^mL^m^mmx • mmmmtfmt&vrmmfc? - mm tbfew - mm±mmm- • n&mwMmi. • nwmmT^m^mmmm • 33). 7 6 L i Ang's The Butcher's Wife has been translated into English, French, and Japanese, and thereafter, L i has been frequently invited to attend international conferences on Taiwanese literature. 194 Chapter Four Displaced Subjectivities: Oba Minako's "The Repairman's Wife" and Zhu Tianxin's "Ancient Capital" In this chapter, I compare Oba Minako (1930-) with Zhu Tianxin (1958-) on the theme of displaced subjectivity in their work. Although Oba's "Yorozu shuzenya no tsuma" <fc 5 T i i l c o t (The Repairman's Wife) was written in 1974 and Zhu's "Gudu" (Ancient Capital) in 1997, the stories are thematically similar—through spiritual and physical displacements the female protagonist is able to renegotiate her own identity, an identity that is intricately intertwined with issues of gender, race, and nation. I find a comment of Gadamer's perfectly captures the reflective function and the spiritual inspiration of displaced subjectivity: "To seek one's own in the alien, to become at home in it, is the basic movement of spirit, whose being is only return to itself from what is other."1 Through their return from a pilgrimage to the colonizer's country, both female protagonists find a new way of interpreting their relationship with the nation. That is, their identity is located by way of displacement from their own to the alien/other and back. I will present theoretical formulations on postcolonialism, in particular the concepts of displacement and diaspora, before heading into the discussion and analysis of each text that follows. The general milieu in which Zhu created her novella was historically unique and socio-politically complicated; therefore it calls for another section further elucidating the bitterly fierce debate over the transformations of Taiwan's identity in the post-martial law era. In conclusion I will compare and contrast these two works and writers, both to further the discussion in the preceding chapters about women's writing in postwar Japan 195 and Taiwan, but also to reflect on the validity and effectiveness of the theoretical framework that I have been using for analyzing women's literary production. Oba Minako Biographical Background Like Enchi Fumiko and Kanai Mieko, Oba Minako is noted for her provocative female voice. However, what distinguishes Oba from other contemporary women writers in Japan is her uncommon cross-cultural perspective obtained from her sojourn in America, mostly in Alaska, between 1959 and 1970. Oba herself acknowledges that her eleven year's of life in the United States provided her a tremendous sense of liberation.2 She could say and do what she could not or dared not in Japan. By depicting fictional female protagonists who often have cross-culture experiences, Oba tackles issues of gender, race, power, and nation, often challenging and rejecting the ubiquitous model of normative power relations in society while at the same time searching for and suggesting alternative voices. Born in Tokyo in 1930, the eldest daughter of Shiina Saburo and his wife Mutsuko, Oba Minako enjoyed her youth in an upper middle-class family.3 Due to her father's occupation, a naval doctor, the family had to move whenever her father was transferred. By the time Oba graduated from high school, she had experienced more than ten school transfers. Oba's self-characterization as nenashigusa fikMLW- (rootless wanderer) or horosha W&M (vagabond), who always tends to write with a loose sense of belonging, is inseparable from her childhood experience.4 On top of the frequent moves, Oba's childhood was also clouded by war. Only one year after Oba's birth, the Manchurian 196 Incident broke out in 1931 and significantly increased the tension between Japan and China. This was the beginning of what the Japanese call "the Fifteen Year War," 1931-1945, which culminated in Japan's involvement in World War Two. Therefore, Japan was at war pretty much from the time Oba was born and throughout her childhood and adolescence until she was a teenager in 1945. Although her father served in the military, her family never hung the Emperor's picture in the house like most Japanese families did. Oba's mother, a self-aware and assertive woman, openly denounced the kamikaze suicide corps and regarded those Japanese who were fanatically joining in the imperialist ambition as lunatics.5 Instead of fanatic patriotism, Oba's young mind was implanted with a rather defiant attitude toward authority in general, and the national government in power in particular. With a young mind enriched by literature, Oba found no comfort but reading to make it through the hardships of war. Yet, the young Oba was often scolded, sometimes even corporally punished by school teachers, for reading nan bungaku ^ 5 : ^ (soft literature), which was seen as entertaining and therefore unconnected with maintaining a patriotic spirit, according to the ruling military regime. With her subversive, indomitable spirit, Oba was labelled as chui jinbutsu ffiEAti (literally means a "dangerous" person with a harmful character) who often posed a threat to the authority.6 Toward the end of World War Two, her family moved to the small town of Saijo in Hiroshima, where Oba attended the local girl's high school. In one of its desperate efforts to fight a losing war, the government mobilized all the students to work eleven hours a day at the school-turned-uniform-factory. Only the intermittent air raid alarms temporarily saved Oba from relentless, backbreaking labour. As a result of a shortage of space in the shelters, 197 people had to take refuge in the wheat fields. Lying on the warm earth, Oba was always reading a book while the U.S. B-29s were dropping bombs almost everywhere. On the 6 t h of August 1945 in Seijo City, Oba saw a huge mushroom cloud hanging over the sky in nearby Hiroshima City. Joining a student relief squad, Oba witnessed the terrifying aftermath of the atomic bombing. Surrounded by the grotesquely disfigured dead and people slowly dying in extreme pain, Oba and the other mobilized students were in fact unable to relieve any of the survivors' suffering except by serving them meals. The hellish scene has haunted Oba ever since, and reappears over and again in various forms in her 7 "* writing. In particular, Oba addresses this memory of unspeakable devastation in her essays "Jigoku no haizen" ifeS£©Eifl§ (Serving Dinner in Hell, 1972), "Purometeusu no hanzai" ^ n ^ x ^ o S l f l (The Crime of Prometheus, 1973) and "Borei" t f i (The Spirit of the Dead, 1975). Later in her long autobiographical work Mae, Mae, Katatsumuri (Dance, Snail, Dance, 1990) Oba compares this nightmare to the sensation of being impaled on a hook: "My experiences during the war years continue to burn in my throat. (In the same way that) they say a fish swallows a hook... ." 8 In 1949 Oba entered Tsuda College, probably the most progressive academic institution for women at the time, where she spent four glorious years of study and freedom. The dormitory life at Tsuda that Oba still cherishes not only nurtured her dormant seed of self-expression but accelerated her growth in becoming an exceptional female writer. In 1955 Oba married Oba Toshio on the condition that she be allowed to continue fiction writing. This "conditional" marriage in which Oba was able to retain her own self and to pursue her own writing career was quite unusual in the still very conservative environment of Japan a decade after the war. When Oba Toshio was 198 appointed as the engineering representative of Japan-Alaska Pulp Company in 1959, the Oba family moved to Alaska where they made their home for the next eleven years. Oba left Alaska temporarily to pursue graduate studies in art at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1962, and four years later she continued her painting and literature studies in the art program of the University of Washington. At the age of thirty-eight, Oba published her first short story, and definitively one of her finest, "Sanbiki no kani" (The Three Crabs, 1968) in Gunzo, a prestigious intellectual magazine. For this debut work, Oba won the Gunz5 New Writer's Prize and the Akutagawa Prize, two major literary prizes in the same year. Since then she has continued to write both short and long fiction, as well as poetry and essays. In 1987 Oba was appointed one of the judges for the Akutagawa Prize, only the second woman novelist selected (after Kono Taeko) to serve on this extremely prestigious adjudicating committee. Among those factors shaping Oba's imaginative mind—such as her progressive education, unique family, unconventional marriage and Japan's militaristic past—her witnessing of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in person and her sojourn experience of displacement from Japan can be seen as two of the most critical in terms of their later profound influence on her writing. Janice Brown points out in an essay titled "Oba Minako—Telling the Untellable" that Oba relates the trauma of atomic death with the trauma of gender, a transformation that is vividly reflected in Oba's Shishii: Sabita kotoba (A Poetry Collection: Tarnished Words, 1971). Brown holds that in Oba's poems "[f]he female body is thus made a problem, while gendered existence becomes a relentless devouring of body/self—brain, blood, the very mouth through which the female voice would speak rendered incapable."9 This relation identifies an intersection between gender 199 and nation through which women suffer differently from, and maybe more than, men. In her essays on issues of the individual and the nation, Oba attributes the holocaust of atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Japan's imperialist ambition, in which the nation had betrayed its people with terrible consequences.10 Given this attitude, she adamantly disavows any collective solidarity that would damage individuality in any way, especially putting women at the very bottom of its foundational structure. In large part, this is why Oba creates female protagonists who desire to free themselves from the nationalistic, feudalistic script to develop a language of their own, one true to their gender, through which unspeakable trauma can be articulated. "The Repairman's Wife" is one of her works that best reflect this female desire. The story is set in a multicultural community in Alaska, and, like Oba's first published piece "The Three Crabs," "The Repairman's Wife" brings identity issues into crisis, using spatial displacement to enable people to reflect upon things that used to be taken for granted. On examining this story, I intend to first of all illustrate her characters' resistance to the conventional roles assigned by the way family and nation are constituted; and secondly reveal their displaced subjectivities in a multicultural community. The first part of my examination of course has much to do with gender studies; the second part, however, points beyond feminism to a set of related issues involving the complicatedness of race and nation. Intriguingly in Oba's story, all the entrapping structures of nationalities, identities, and the various characters' foundational understandings of themselves, are challenged and dismantled beyond recognition. 200 Displaced Subjectivity For my critical analysis of these works, I will be using criticism and theory developed around the concept of displaced subjectivity. In his deconstruction of Western metaphysics, Derrida asserts that traditional thinking since Plato is predicated on a series of binary oppositions, one of which is inevitably valued above the other. In launching an attack on what he calls "logocentrism," which believes that "meaning" and "truth" are guaranteed by an intentional presence outside the words themselves, Derrida proposes the notion of differance (a combination of differer—deferral or delay—and the idea of difference) to suggest the unfixed, unstable nature of meaning.11 His sense of differance, as Christopher Norris puts it, remains suspended between the two French verbs 'to differ' and 'to defer' (postpone), both of which contribute to its textual force but neither of which can fully capture its meaning. Language depends on difference, as Saussure showed ... the structure of distinctive propositions which make up its basic economy. Where Derrida breaks new ground ... is in the extent to which 'differ' shades into 'defer' ... the idea that meaning is always deferred, perhaps to this point of an endless supplementarity, by the play of signification.12 In other words, Derrida's concept of differance not only challenges the fixed binaries that stabilize meaning and representation, but shows how meaning keeps on moving to encompass other additional meanings. Derrida further proposes a notion of "displacement": the operation of locating the marginalized term into the center of the dominant one. Through displacement, it becomes obvious how the subject depends on the other to constitute his/her subjectivity. The notion of Derridean deconstruction has strongly influenced many critics 201 working in the fields of feminism and postcolonialism, Spivak, Trinh T. Minh-Ha, and Rey Chow, to name a few. It appeals to politically resistant readings precisely because it persists in questioning the logic of opposition that has characterized Western metaphysics, such as universalist, humanist, and colonial discourses. In her heterogeneous interdisciplinary work that synthesizes Marxism, deconstruction, feminism, and psychoanalysis, Spivak sees deconstruction as a reading strategy that consistently questions objectivity.13 It is a theoretical strategy that does not inherently privilege or marginalize any voices; as such, it provides a subversive space in which one can intervene in the prevailing discourses without committing oneself to any of the existing structures of power. For Spivak, Derrida's conception of displacement is extremely useful in preventing postcolonial struggle from lapsing into a fundamentalist politics. In her treatise, Woman, Native, Other, Trinh Minh-ha asks a crucial question: How can feminist discourse represent the categories of "woman" and "race" at the same time? She argues that there is no point in choosing to identify either as ethnic or as woman because "You never have/are one without the other."14 Trinh contends that emphasizing marginalized identities, such as "writer of color," "woman writer," or "woman of color," again partakes in the "Euro-American system of dualistic reasoning and its age-old divide-and-conquer tactics."1 5 Incorporating Derrida's concept of differance, Trinh believes "what is needed is perhaps not a clean erasure but rather a constant displacement of the two-by-two system of division."-16 She employs the term "infinite layers" to challenge and subvert any unitary identification: "Not One, Not two either. T is, therefore, not a unified subject, a fixed identity, or that solid mass covered with layers of superficialities one has gradually to peel off before one can see its true face. T is, itself, 2 0 2 infinite layers."11 As shall be seen, this conception of infinite layers will shed new light on the identity issues in the work of the two authors addressed in this chapter. Through displacing and thereby multiplying identity, both Spivak and Trinh demonstrate a way to escape the enclosure of subjectivity. As in Trinh's characterization, "Displacement involves the invention of new forms of subjectivities, of pleasures, of intensities, of relationships, which also implies the continuous renewal of a critical work that looks carefully and intensively at the very system of values to which one refers in fabricating the tools of resistance."18 As prominent diaspora critics, Spivak and Trinh propose that identity and language be read not as closed, static, and imbued with essences, but rather as performative, "hybrid," "creolised," and existing "on the borders" of various interpellating systems. The theoretical formulation laid out here will be drawn to illustrate the overarching theme of "displaced subjectivities" created in Oba's "The Repairman's Wife" as well as Zhu's "Ancient Capital." More significantly, in light of this theoretical formulation, we may come to see that both female protagonists eventually resolve their identity crisis, not for good but to a manageable extent, a moment of resolution in which the protagonist is able to locate her self without getting lost in the turbulence of identity (de)construction. M y interpretation of these works, in which I find that the protagonists reach a resolution, in fact stands in stark contrast to many a critic who has argued otherwise, particularly in the case of Zhu's "Ancient Capital." "The Repairman's Wife" "The Repairman's Wife" is the second tale of a trilogy in Garakuta hakubutsukan ifi b < tzWWits (The Junk Museum, 1975), which received the Women's Literature Prize. 203 Based in part on her experiences in Sitka, Alaska, the trilogy displays the concept of freedom with which Oba unfetters herself, and her characters in the story, from the constraint of linguistic and cultural imprisonment back in Japan. The other tales in The Junk Museum are: "Inuyashiki no onna" AMlfccDic (The Woman of Dog Mansion, 1972) and "Suguri no shima" -f C t> ©H (The Island of Suguri, 1974). Although each story of the trilogy is independent, they share the same characters; and more importantly each is part of a larger narrative. The first story, "The Woman of Dog Mansion," is the tragicomic odyssey of Maria Andrevena, a Russian refugee who lives with her four wolf-like Siberian dogs in her large "dog mansion." A Japanese woman, Aya, is the central character in "The Repairman's Wife"; Aya happens to be the Russian woman Maria's best friend. The trilogy concludes with a story concerning a Spanish man named Carlos. The main characters are all living in (self-imposed) exile from their mother countries in a small town on the west coast of Alaska. M y discussion will focus on "The Repairman's Wife," as it is directly related with Aya as a Japanese woman vis-a-vis Japan as a nation, grappling with identity issues of gender, race and nation. The undramatized, omniscient third-person narrator tells us that Aya came from a destitute family and therefore could not afford a university education despite her determined will and literary talents. Instead, Aya had pursued her dream of becoming an actress in a theatrical club where she met Takanobu, a promising youth who is a graduate from the prestigious Tokyo University. Drawn by Aya's allure as an actress, Takanobu had become acquainted with Aya and eventually married her. However, the marriage turns out to be a youthful indiscretion. Despite his prestigious diploma, the just-graduated Takanobu ekes out a bare livelihood with Aya. However, when Aya quits her job because 204 of her pregnancy, Takanobu, who is full of boundless ambition to become a wealthy intellectual at the top of the social ladder, begins to disdain Aya for her impoverished background and to blame her for his failure in fulfilling his dream. Hunting richer and more intelligent women, Takanobu commits adultery with a woman doctor—as it happens, the doctor who had delivered their daughter, Chizu. Aya decides to leave him once she finds that the man she had previously looked up to has become a snob who even takes pride in his extramarital affairs with "status-enhancing" women. Back in her parents' poverty-stricken house with her new born baby, Aya meets an American soldier named Russ through her brother who works in the army as an interpreter. Russ had voluntarily joined the army out of sheer vexation after he found his wife in bed with a graduate student who happened to be a communist. In their first encounter, Russ is fascinated with the exotic atmosphere around Aya: When Russ saw Aya sewing on a cushion patterned in flowers, with the sewing board on her lap, he felt suddenly as i f fresh, intangible words were being created. The broken foreign language was now much more enchanting to each of them than the fluent mother tongue. (89-90)19 er. a more He immediately asks Aya to come to live with him in America with her baby daught Sharing with Russ the experience of having been betrayed and abandoned by "intellectual" spouse, Aya accepts the sincere invitation of the "unintellectual" Russ. Leaving with Russ, Aya decides to sever all ties to Japan as her hatred for her husband has turned into her hatred for the nation. "Aya was determined to cherish that small black 205 seed of hatred in the depths of her heart and to cultivate it over the years like a pearl." (7 ? i r # # W T J ; o i r.Sofc .92 ; 76). Aya and Russ settle in a small town in Alaska, where Russ works as a repairman. Despite his unattractive appearance and limited education, he turns out to be not only a loving father and husband but an excellent repairman, who is constantly surrounded by many intellectuals for some reason. Like a skilful doctor, he can repair all kinds of odds and ends, from watches to boat and airplane engines, or creatively invent new things out of the old parts. The miscellaneous junk that Russ has collected over the years, such as old kitchenware, broken musical instruments, and helmets from the East and West, is displayed in a dilapidated ship later called the "junk museum." This museum becomes a landmark listed in the local guide book when Aya starts to sell coffee and cookies in the museum. The odds and ends in the ghost ship possess a strange charm when Aya walks around "trailing the hem of a pale blue kimono that suggested the ethereal, used somewhat ghostly make-up, and played records on an old gramophone" (^#v ^ S S r - g ^ •ars**/<Dm&&<t>£i*o-c, k^brnmb^tzimzLx. ^w^mx-i' tfTV^c, 93; 77). After ten years of marriage, Russ suggests that Aya go back to Japan for a visit and take Chizu to visit her birth father. Out of her intention to exact revenge on her former husband and, by extension, on Japan as a nation-state, Aya decides to take Russ's suggestion. In a conversation with Maria before she leaves for Japan, the nonconformist Aya is finally able to identify her internalized anger and verbalize her resentment toward Japan in her own language: 206 "I didn't like people who cooperated with the government. Or rather those who loved the country hated me. But perhaps I was useless. To those who were useful to the country. So in effect the country deserted me. "No matter how much I loved Japan, Japan didn't care about me one way or the other. And so I was deserted by Japan...." Aya grew excited as she talked. Her anger at Japan, the land of her birth, which she had been harbouring in her heart for ten years, exploded all at once. (110-111) x\^xm^bm^ntc<D0 ^tz-rtz^tz^ h c o m ^ t ^ x ^ ^ A r ^ t ^ Because her mother had intentionally brought her up independent of her Japanese heritage, the eleven-year-old Chizu, who is called Liz in America, knows hardly anything about Japan or its language and sometime she even feels embarrassed by the Japanese blood in her veins. In confiding her resentment of Japan, Aya warns Chizu that Japan and the people there might not be kind to Chizu. Chizu is not bothered at all by the fact that her mother left her Japanese husband to remarry an American, as pa