Loss and Renewal in Three Narratives of the Nikkei Brazilian Diaspora : Ishikawa Tatsuzō's “Sōbō” and Its SequelsLoss and Renewal in Three Narratives of the Nikkei Brazilian Diaspora : Ishikawa Tatsuzō's “Sōbō” and Its SequelsAA10759175
169 , 2017-03-17 , International Research Center for Japanese Studies
In this article I examine Ishikawa’s “Sōbō,” which won the first Akutagawa Prize in 1935, and its sequels, both of which were published in 1939 (the Sōbō trilogy appeared in book form in 1939). The trilogy begins with an account of a group of emigrants’ experiences at the national emigration center in Kobe and then during forty-five days of travel to Brazil on a ship called La Plata Maru, and ends with their arrival in Brazil and several days spent on a coffee plantation there. All three stories are linked by a fictional character—a twenty-three-year-old woman named Onatsu whose apparent passivity or nonresistance to social hierarchies (including gender relations) mirrors the situation of many emigrants. Ishikawa’s shifting voices about the troubling emigration program that formed part of the Japanese government’s engagement with modernization and imperialism are discussed, along with the sociopolitical contexts of the 1930s (including censorship and full-scale war against China).