"All we wanted to do, now that we were back in the world, was forget": on remembrance and forgetting in Julie Otsuka's novels

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    This article considers Julie Otsuka's representations of the World-War-II internment of Japanese Americans in When the Emperor Was Divine (2002) and The Buddha in the Attic (2011) from the perspective of collective remembrance, thus highlighting the interconnectedness of remembrance, forgetting, silence and race. Remembering and forgetting are understood as contingent on one another, and on the ideological currents and countercurrents that affect the construction of collective remembrance. The article argues that the content and form of Otsuka's novels mediate the cultural silence of the internment. In addition, they illustrate the changing nature of the narrativized remembrance of the internment as accounts of the lived experience of the Japanese Americans who went to camp are being replaced by trans-generationally transmitted, imaginatively recreated memories. The historical silence of the incarceration and its aftermath is sometimes explained in terms of "Japanese culture," but such a description risks reducing the impact of the racialization of Japanese Americans, and obscuring its effect on resistance. Finally, the analysis demonstrates that in Otsuka's texts, remembrance of the internment is characterized by a negotiation between repressive erasure and restorative forgetting.

    OriginalspråkEngelska
    Sidor (från-till)81-101
    Antal sidor20
    TidskriftAmerican Studies in Scandinavia
    Volym47
    Utgåva2
    StatusPublicerad - 2015

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