Reclaiming Japanese National Identity in Kobayashi Yoshinori's Essays on War
Cooper, Robert Oliver
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For my Senior Individualized Project, I wanted to make use of the knowledge I had gained in the last four years about Japanese language and culture, but I was quite unsure as to how I could best accomplish this goal. I had a great deal of ideas ranging from research intensive to completely creative projects. It was not until a discussion about Senior Seminar that I realized a translation would be the perfect project as it was creative and research based in addition to making use of my three years of Japanese language training. Then came the question about what to translate, and Kobayashi's manga seemed to be a perfect fit. When I first decided to work on his manga, I had an image in my head of schoolchildren reading stories narrated by teenage characters, which had previously become the image I held while living in Japan and observing the children reading the manga on their way to school. Once I started reading Kobayashi's work, however, I realized just how wrong I had been. His works are extremely politically charged with a great deal of messages, and certainly charge one to think.