Davinder Bhowmik Publishes Islands of Protest: Japanese Literature from Okinawa

Book Cover

Associate professor Davinder Bhowmik, who specializes in modern Japanese literature, has published a book from the University of Hawai’i Press:  Islands of Protest: Japanese Literature from Okinawa.  In the introduction to the volume, which she co-edited with Steve Rabson, professor emeritus of East Asian Studies at Brown University, Bhowmik writes, “this anthology includes poetry, fiction, and drama, drawing on Okinawa’s distinct culture and subtropical natural environment.”

 From the publisher’s description:  

 “Tōma Hiroko’s poem “Backbone” juxtaposes the natural environment of aquamarine beaches and subtropical flora and fauna with the built environment of America’s military bases. Stories by two of Okinawa’s most dynamic contemporary authors display wide breadth, from the preservation of island dances and burial practices in Sakiyama Tami’s “Island Confinement” and “Swaying, Swinging” to  the bold, disquieting themes of violence and comfort women in Medoruma Shun’s “Hope,” “Taiwan Woman,” and “Tree of Butterflies.”

The crown jewel of the anthology, Chinen Seishin’s play The Human Pavilion, is based on an infamous historical incident in which Okinawans were put on display during a 1903 industrial exhibition in Osaka. In his 1978 masterpiece, Chinen depicts the relentless pressure on Okinawans to become Japanese.

Islands of Protest offers a compelling entrée into a complex culture, one marked by wartime decimation, relentless discrimination, and fierce resistance, yet often over- shadowed by the clichéd notion of a gentle Okinawa ceaselessly depicted in Japan’s mass media.”

For more information about this title, please visit the UH Press website

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