Magic from the Repressed: Imagination and Memories in Contemporary Japanese Literary Narratives

Amy W S Lee

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Imagination has always been a core component of art. Imagination manifests itself in every culture through popular art linked to the construction of cultural identity. In contemporary Japanese popular culture, imagination is reflected in a transgression of boundaries: the ancient and the ultra-new, the ordinary and the glamourous, the realms of the fictional and the real. These transgressions symbolize the attempts to seek answers to important questions asked by contemporary popular artists about modern life, the role and meaning of a culture’s past, and also how the individual self may live fruitfully and authentically in the midst of profound change. This chapter reviews selected works of three contemporary Japanese writers to see how each of them reflects upon the question of how the modern self may be enriched and fulfilled by knowledge of the past. Yumemakura Baku re-imagines Heian Japan to discuss contemporary life, Mukoda Kuniko fictionalizes the ordinary for insights into our relationship with each other, while Nashiki Kaho delves into the magical realm of our reality to find the origin of our selves.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImagination and Art
Subtitle of host publicationExplorations in Contemporary Theory
EditorsKeith Moser, Ananta Ch. Sukla
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9789004436350
ISBN (Print)9789004435162
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2020

Publication series

NameValue Inquiry Book Series
ISSN (Print)0929-8436


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