EndedCGS Online Reading Group Fall Term 2020: Reading Kawakami Mieko’s Breasts and Eggs (2020)Friday,August 28,2020
Reading Kawakami Mieko’s Breasts and Eggs (2020)
Every term the Center for Gender Studies (CGS) at ICU hosts both CGS staff-led and student-led reading groups in which we read together a book closely. Certain books may be challenging to read by ourselves, but when we read together it’s better. We can ask each other when we don't understand, and we can continue enjoying our reading together!
On October 8th, 2020 (Thursday, 10:00 JST) ICU’s CGS together with Prof. Hitomi Yoshio (Waseda University) will host an online event with author Kawakami Mieko and literary translators Sam Bett, David Boyd to discuss Kawakami’s recent novel Breasts and Eggs. In order to prepare for this exciting and upcoming conversation I would like to host via ZOOM a bilingual reading group of this novel from a gender and sexuality perspective, with a focus on translation. Please join me with your own copies of this novel (you can bring the Japanese original and/or the English translation).
September 11th, 18th, and 25th, 2020. Fridays at lunch time: between 12:40 and 13:50 via Zoom.
Coordinator: Juliana Buriticá Alzate (Assistant Professor, ICU). If you are interested in participating, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kawakami Mieko’s Breast and Eggs. Translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd, Europa Editions (USA), Picador (UK).
About the work: The English translation of Kawakami’s novel Natsu monogatari (Summer Stories, or Natsu’s story, winner of the Mainichi Publishing Culture Award) has been recently published as Breasts and Eggs, taking its title from the original Akutagawa Prize winning novella, Chichi to ran; thus, launching—on a larger scale—Kawakami’s work into the English and non-Asian markets. The novel covers the three-day visit depicted in the novella and picks up the story by focusing on the life of the narrator Natsuko a decade later. Here Natsuko explores the prospects of becoming a single mother via artificial insemination by donor (AID). Kawakami is a prolific author with very diverse literary styles, and the themes of female embodiment, gender and women's writing are prominent throughout her work. In Breasts and Eggs the narrator faces dilemmas that are timely in Japan but also speak to a global audience. Through the depiction of everyday life as lived by several women, the novel deals with larger such as women’s oppression, precarity, domestic violence, reproductive ethics, justice and technology. For these reasons, her work is also subject of literary analysis from a gender and sexuality perspective.
About the author: Kawakami was born in 1976 in Osaka prefecture, and started her career as a singer songwriter. In 2006 she published the prose poem, "Sentan de sasuwa sasareruwa soraeewa" followed by her first novella My Ego Ratio, My Teeth, and the World, published in 2007, which was awarded the Tsubouchi Shoyo Prize for Young Emerging Writers. In 2006 she published the prose poem, "Sentan de sasuwa sasareruwa soraeewa" followed by her first novella My Ego Ratio, My Teeth, and the World, published in 2007, which was awarded the Tsubouchi Shoyo Prize for Young Emerging Writers. In 2008 Kawakami published her second novella Breasts and Eggs, which won the Akutagawa Prize. In 2009, Kawakami published her first full-length novel, Heaven, which won both the Ministry of Education's Fine Arts Award for Debut Work, and the Murasaki Shikibu Prize. In 2016, Granta selected Kawakami for its “Best of Young Japanese Novelists” list. The following year, she was selected as one of the 20 most exciting global talents in John Freeman’s Future of New Writing.