Prof. Dr. Masami Usui

Committee: International Scientific Committee of Cognitive and Language Sciences
University: Doshisha University
Department: English
Research Fields: American literature, global literature, cultural studies, political science,

Publications

2 Making a ‘Once-upon-a-Time’ Mythology in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant

Authors: Masami Usui

Abstract:

Kazuo Ishiguro’s challenging novel, The Buried Giant, embodies how contemporary writers and readers have to discover the voices buried in our history. By avoiding setting or connecting the modern and contemporary historical incidents such as World War II this time, Ishiguro ventures into retelling myth, transfiguring historical facts, and revealing what has been forgotten in a process of establishing history and creating mythology. As generally known, modernist writers in the twentieth century employed materials from authorized classical mythologies, especially Greek mythology. As an heir of this tradition, Ishiguro imposes his mission of criticizing the repeatedly occurring yet easily-forgotten history of dictatorship and a slaughter on mythology based on King Arthur and its related heroes and myths in Britain. On an open ground, Ishiguro can start his own mythical story and space.

Keywords: English Literature, Mythology, fantasy, global literature

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1 Migrating Words and Voices in Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland and The Dog

Authors: Masami Usui

Abstract:

The 21th century has already witnessed the rapid globalization of catastrophes caused by layered political, social, religious, cultural, and environmental conflicts. The post 9/11 literature that reflects these characteristics retells the experiences of those who are, whether directly or indirectly, involved in the globalized catastrophes of enlarging and endangering their boundaries and consequences. With an Irish-Turkish origin, a Dutch and British educational background, and as an American green-card holder, Joseph O’Neill challenges this changing circumstances of the expanding crisis. In his controversial novel, Netherland (2008), O’Neill embodies the deeply-rooted compromises, the transplanted conflicts, and human internalized crisis in post 9/11 New York City. O’Neill presents to us the transition between Netherland to New York with a post-colonial perspective. This internalized conflicts are revised in The Dog (2014) in which a newly-constructing and expanding global city of gold, Dubai, represents the transitional location from New York City. Through these two novels, words and voices are migrating beyond cultural and political boundaries and discussing what a collective mind embodies in this globalized society.  

Keywords: Cultural Studies, Political Science, American literature, global literature

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Abstracts

4 Migrating Words and Voices in Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland and The Dog

Authors: Masami Usui

Abstract:

The 21th century has already witnessed the rapid globalization of catastrophes caused by layered political, social, religious, cultural, and environmental conflicts. The post 9/11 literature that reflects these characteristics retells the experiences of those who are, whether directly or indirectly, involved in the globalized catastrophes of enlarging and endangering their boundaries and consequences. With an Irish-Turkish origin, a Dutch and British educational background, and as an American green-card holder, Joseph O’Neill challenges this changing circumstances of the expanding crisis. In his controversial novel, Netherland (2008), O’Neill embodies the deeply-rooted compromises, the transplanted conflicts, and human internalized crisis in post 9/11 New York City. O’Neill presents to us the transition between Netherland to New York with a post-colonial perspective. This internalized conflicts are revised in The Dog (2014) in which a newly-constructing and expanding global city of gold, Dubai, represents the transitional location from New York City. Through these two novels, words and voices are migrating beyond cultural and political boundaries and discussing what a collective mind embodies in this globalized society.  

Keywords: Cultural Studies, Political Science, American literature, global literature

Procedia PDF Downloads 207
3 Making a ‘Once-upon-a-Time’ Mythology in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant

Authors: Masami Usui

Abstract:

Kazuo Ishiguro’s challenging novel, The Buried Giant, embodies how contemporary writers and readers have to discover the voices buried in our history. By avoiding setting or connecting the modern and contemporary historical incidents such as World War II this time, Ishiguro ventures into retelling myth, transfiguring historical facts, and revealing what has been forgotten in a process of establishing history and creating mythology. As generally known, modernist writers in the twentieth century employed materials from authorized classical mythologies, especially Greek mythology. As an heir of this tradition, Ishiguro imposes his mission of criticizing the repeatedly occurring yet easily-forgotten history of dictatorship and a slaughter on mythology based on King Arthur and its related heroes and myths in Britain. On an open ground, Ishiguro can start his own mythical story and space.

Keywords: History, English Literature, Globalism, fantasy

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2 Encoding the Design of the Memorial Park and the Family Network as the Icon of 9/11 in Amy Waldman's the Submission

Authors: Masami Usui

Abstract:

After 9/11, the American literary scene was confronted with new perspectives that enabled both writers and readers to recognize the hidden aspects of their political, economic, legal, social, and cultural phenomena. There appeared an argument over new and challenging multicultural aspects after 9/11 and this argument is presented by a tension of space related to 9/11. In Amy Waldman’s the Submission (2011), designing both the memorial park and the family network has a significant meaning in establishing the progress of understanding from multiple perspectives. The most intriguing and controversial topic of racism is reflected in the Submission, where one young architect’s blind entry to the competition for the memorial of Ground Zero is nominated, yet he is confronted with strong objections and hostility as soon as he turns out to be a Muslim named Mohammad Khan. This ‘Khan’ issue, immediately enlarged into a social controversial issue on American soil, causes repeated acts of hostility to Muslim women by ignorant citizens all over America. His idea of the park is to design a new concept of tracing the cultural background of the open space. Against his will, his name is identified as the ‘ingredient’ of the networking of the resistant community with his supporters: on the other hand, the post 9/11 hysteria and victimization is presented in such family associations as the Angry Family Members and Grieving Family Members. These rapidly expanding networks, whether political or not, constructed by the internet, embody the contemporary societal connection and representation. The contemporary quest for the significance of human relationships is recognized as a quest for global peace. Designing both the memorial park and the communication networks strengthens a process of facing the shared conflicts and healing the survivors’ trauma. The tension between the idea and networking of the Garden for the memorial site and the collapse of Ground Zero signifies the double mission of the site: to establish the space to ease the wounded and to remember the catastrophe. Reading the design of these icons of 9/11 in the Submission means that decoding the myth of globalization and its representations in this century.

Keywords: Cultural Studies, Globalization, American literature, literature of catastrophe

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1 A Voice Retrieved from the Holocaust in New Journalism in Kazuo Ishiguro's the Remains of the Day

Authors: Masami Usui

Abstract:

Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day (1989) underlines another holocaust, an imprisonment of human life, dignity, and self in the globalizing sphere of the twentieth century. The Remains of the Day delineates the invisible and cruel space of “lost and found” in the postcolonial and post-imperial discourse of this century, that is, the Holocaust. The context of the concentration camp or wartime imprisonment such as Auschwitz is transplanted into the public sphere of modern England, Darlington Hall. The voice is retrieved and expressed by the young journalist and heir of Darlington Hall, Mr. David Cardinal. The new media of journalism is an intruder at Darlington Hall and plays a role in revealing the wrongly-input ideology. “Lost and Found” consists of the private and public retrieved voices. Stevens’ journey in 1956 is a return to the past, especially the period between 1935 and 1936. Lost time is retrieved on his journey; yet lost life cannot be revived entirely in his remains of life. The supreme days of Darlington Hall are the terrifying days caused by the Nazis. Fascism, terrorism, and militarism destroyed the wholesomeness of the globe. Into blind Stevens, both Miss Kenton and Mr. Cardinal bring out the common issue, that is, the political conflicts caused by Nazis. Miss Kenton expresses her own ideas against anti-Semitism regarding the Jewish maids in the crucial time when Sir Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts organization attacked the Anglo Jews between 1935 and 1936. Miss Kenton’s half-muted statement is reinforced and assured by Cardinal in his mention of the 1934 Olympic Rally threatened by Mosley’s Blackshirts. Cardinal’s invasion of Darlington Hall embodies the increasing tension of international politics related to World War II. Darlington Hall accommodates the crucial political issue that definitely influences the fate of the house, its residents, and the nation itself and that is retrieved in the newly progressive and established media.

Keywords: Communication, History, Culture Studies, modern English literature

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