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The Meaning of War Criticism in Shohei Ooka’s Work: Through “Our Lady of San Jose”
War criticism,drafts,happiness,questioning,psychological descriptions,death in battle and survival,coincidence and inevitability,
|Publication Year :||2011|
The writer Shohei Ooka’s (1909-1988) belonged to a group of postwar writers, and he participated in World War II as a soldier. He was stationed in San Jose, on Mindoro island in the Philippines. Using his war experiences, he created many works on the topic of war. Among them, “Taken captive: A Japanese POW's Story” (1948), “Fires on the Plain” (1952), and “A Record of the Battle of Leyte” (1971) are among his best known. However, his short story, “Our Lady of San Jose” (1950) has, up to now, not been deeply examined. To that end, I have focused this paper on “Our Lady of San Jose,” studied common themes throughout Shohei Ooka’s war novels, and examined the meaning of his war criticism.
I first considered the completion and drafts of “Our Lady of San Jose.” From there, Ooka’s desire to strongly express himself as a demobilized soldier is revealed. Ooka’s drafts were not simply to polish and improve upon his expression, they also held within them a determination for exacting his expression, as well as psychological and character descriptions. For Ooka, creating war novels was not just for fun, or for his own satisfaction, rather it was a medium for him to convey his way of thinking and what he wanted to say to the reader.
Moreover, “Our Lady of San Jose” is a work in which the author is posing a question, and the 12 short stories within each contain the author’s questions and awareness of problems. These many questions give “Our Lady of San Jose” its diverse quality, as well as making it a collection of disparate pieces. These questions are the authors own, as well as the essence of the author’s creation. Moreover, while it belongs to the “short story collection” genre, “Our Lady of San Jose” actually occupies a unique position somewhere between a full length novel or a novel series and the so-called short story collection.
Shohei Ooka’s war criticism as seen through “Our Lady of San Jose” contains many critical aspects, including introspective self-criticism, raw self-awareness, “biological emotional” criticism of the Emperor, etc. The complex mentality that exists there is difficult to express. It is rare for a writer to maintain this interest in war while also keeping his critical stance of war, and I believe he should be acknowledged for this.
|Appears in Collections:||日本語文學系|
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