Submission by: Assoc. Prof. Tomoko Aoyama
From the 21-23 November 2019, Paris-Diderot University will host an international symposium on the Japanese writer Yukio Mishima. The symposium is entitled “50 Years After: Another Mishima?” The author, who died in a shockingly dramatic manner after a failed coup attempt in 1970, was also a poet, playwright, actor, model, and film director, and is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century. On the 50th anniversary of his death, experts from around the world will converge in Paris to revisit his works with fresh eyes.
The symposium organisers noted that too often, Mishima’s work is read through a biographical prism, which results in his texts being surrounded by an air of seriousness. Fifty years on, by reassessing Mishima’s work, the symposium hopes to establish an inventory of criticism, to review translation or retranslation projects, and to examine the most playful and ambiguous aspects of this work. Ultimately, to present “another Mishima”.
Representing Australia, as well as the University of Queensland is Assoc. Prof. Tomoko Aoyama, who will be presenting her paper entitled “Mishima as the Subject of Comic-Parodic Transformation by Four Women Writers”. Aoyama seeks to find “Another Mishima” by exploring how four writers, Mori Mari, Kurahashi Yumiko, Kanai Mieko and Ogino Anna, have not only read Mishima but have made comic and critical representations and transformations of Mishima and his writing in a number of texts from the mid-1960s to early 1990s.
Aoyama is interested specifically in “How do these women writers then view Mishima as a writer, celebrity, and cultural icon? And how do they respond to his texts, especially gender implications and humour (or lack of it) within them?”. Her fascinating research will seek to “identify a genealogy of girls’/women’s reading and strategic rewriting… Foregrounding the comic clownish aspects of Mishima and his protagonists not only removes the fear and restrictions from the act of reading but also it challenges the general tendency to place comedy lower than tragedy, which has certainly dominated conventional readings of Mishima.”
Further information about the symposium can be found here.