Inside and Other Short Fiction: Japanese Women by Japanese Women
, Feb 24, 2006
- 237 pages
Inside and Other Short Fiction showcases the most original, thoughtful and cutting-edge fiction from Japanese women writers today. The short stories in this collection explore the issue of female identity in a rapidly changing society, where women have unprecedented sexual and economic freedom. From teens to fifty-somethings; married, single, divorced; the high school girl, the career woman, the sex worker, the housewife, the mother - the anthology deals frankly and explicitly with a broad range of women's experiences. The very best of recent writing has been selected, including prize-winning novelists and authors never before published in English.Why women? Recently, English translations of literature by Japanese women about Japanese women have been causing quite a stir overseas. Miyuki Miyabe's novels are in demand, and Natsuo Kirino's Out won acclaim not only as a gripping mystery thriller, but also for its hard-hitting portrayal of contemporary women's lives. Akutagawa prizewinner Hitomi Kanehara's Snakes and Earrings, a violent and sexually explicit tale of a young girl's involvement in a youth subculture of tattooing and body piercing has also recently been published in English. Inside capitalizes on the obvious interest in fictional portrayals of modern Japanese women's lives, and particularly in gritty stories of women who subvert the "good wife and wise mother"/geisha stereotypes often prevalent in the West.Japanese women now find themselves living in an era where women have more sexual and economic freedom than ever before. The traditional family unit supported by the stay-at-home wife and mother is breaking down, the birthrate is falling, divorce is on the increase, and growing numbers of women are delaying marriage or not getting married at all. Opportunities for women in the workplace are increasing. Contemporary literature reflects these dizzying changes, and also provides a forum for Japanese women to explore and reflect upon their role in society.