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Shimada Masahiko “Miira ni naru made”: Ibunka no me de mita

  • Falero Folgoso, Alfonso
Edición interna del I Simposio Internacional sobre Literatura Japonesa de la Universidad Ferris (Yokohama) en 2003., The anthology of short story by Shimada Masahiko (1961), a representative author of the postmodern age in Japan, Miira ni naru made (1987-1990) has been published in Italian as Mi farò mummia in 1995, and then in Spanish as Me convertiré en momia in 1999. In Spain there is no other publication of Shimada’s oeuvre, but this anthology is available in pocketbook format. In the Italian version we find an afterword to the four selections of stories taken from the Japanese original anthology, Armadillo ō. There we have a self-introduction by Shimada, where he shows his own position of extra-centrality in Japanese letters. I. e., the characters in Shimada’s stories reckon no identity references such as country, culture or family. They only have selfhood. But this does not mean one single personality per individual. These postmodern characters show multiple personalities in a positive sense, although the whole may present some fractures. This is how it works in the global era. Moreover, the typical circle of meaning in modernity, i. e. from the author (= creator) through the work (= meaning) to the reader (= interpreter), is sublated. In Shimada’s literature, the author and the work as well as the reader are all deconstructed. The author becomes the programmer, the work becomes the game, and the reader is nothing else but the player. If this is so, the character who decides to become a mummy in the main story is not particularly acting on religious purpose nor he wants to confront society. He just is involved in what we might call a life-game. Looking at his own suicide from the point of view of game-playing, he gets some pleasure from it. In conclusion, Shimada’s literature is not understood from the category of Japanese literature as opposed to world literature. Its universality is essentially related to the author’s postmodern attitude.

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