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Age and ageing in contemporary japanese literature

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines representative texts of Japanese literature regarding age and ageing in terms of certain central features. The question is explored according to relevant contexts, terminology, and concepts concerning age, for example, pokkuri, keirō, yamauba, ubasute, inkyō, kanreki, rōgo, boke, as well as decade-specific interpretations of age, life-stages, and death. The years between 1947 and 1960 saw a significant ageing of Japanese society. The chapter examines texts from the decades after 1945, focusing on the literary treatment of the topic for that phase in which the old-age boom falls. It is a world of ageing determined by aestheticism and the theme of sexuality that one encounter in the works of Tanizaki Jun’ichirō und Kawabata Yasunari, whose texts present an old-age eroticism that is oriented toward the paradigms of fin de siècle European thought.

Keywords: aestheticism; ageing; death initiation; Japanese literature



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