Of Literary Bondage: Yoshio Nakano, Okinawa, Somerset Maugham’s “The Rain” (70741)

Session Information: Literary Studies
Session Chair: Jerry Chia-Je Weng

Saturday, 27 May 2023 10:20
Session: Session 1
Room: Room 703
Presentation Type:Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

A famous Japanese scholar of English literature, literary critic and peace activist, Yoshio Nakano (1903-1985) is remembered as one of the “mainland” Japanese intellectuals who went side by side with Okinawa when this southern island of Japan was under the US military occupation (1945-1972). Nakano helped Okinawan people’s voices to be heard aloud both in USA and in the mainland of Japan that have been indifferent to the unbearable presence of the US military bases in Okinawa. Nakano’s efforts have been already recognized by some of Okinawan people. A famous sociologist Masahide Ota (1925-2017), who became the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture (1990-1998) in the midst of the anti-US movements, honored Nakano in his 1985 essay. Ota wrote that Nakano translated Somerset Maugham’s “The Rain”, a popular short story of a male missionary in a foreign island who dies in vain, and he suggested that this translation possibly helped drive Nakano to focus on Okinawa. To our regret, Ota didn’t clarify the point further, and he missed the fact that Nakano’s first translation of the novel was published in 1940 when he collaborated with the expansionist policy of the Empire of Japan that consequently abandoned many lives of Okinawa people during the Battle of Okinawa (1945). The ironical connection between Nakano’s translation of Maugham’s "The Rain" before the Pacific War and his commitment to Okinawa after the War must be studied particularly for the better understanding of the Japanese Cold War intellectuals.

Hajime Saito, University of Tsukuba, Japan

About the Presenter(s)
Dr Hajime Saito is an associate professor of English literature and literary theory at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, and is currently studying Japanese scholars of English and American literature as the Cold War intellectuals.

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00