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Discord At Home: The Ruptured Family In Postwar Fiction

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores fiction on the family, and assesses the responses of writers to the dislocation of traditional kinship patterns in Japan and Taiwan that occurred during the miracle years of economic growth. This break with the past assumes numerous forms. The weakening of extended kin networks and the corresponding growth of nuclear families, a waning of family authority, increasing differentiation of social networks away from the core familial matrix, late marriage, a rising incidence of divorce, increased numbers of single-parent families, and a declining birth-rate are among the shifts that transformed notions of home and household in postwar Japan and Taiwan as, of course, elsewhere. The chapter explores these linked themes through reference to four key texts: Wang Wenxing’s “Muqin” (“Mother”, 1960), Bai Xianyong’s Niezi (Cursed Sons, 1983), Murakami Ryû’s Koinokka beibîzu (Coin Locker Babies, 1980), and Yoshimoto Banana’s Kitchin (Kitchen, 1988).

Keywords: economic growth; Japan; ruptured family; Taiwan; traditional kinship patterns



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