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Japan-in-Asia Cultural Studies Program

  • Ran Ma

"Writing Cannibalism: Murata Sayaka's Posthuman Economy and the Representation of Food and Eating"

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

April 26, 3rd period, Room 128 (not 131)

Dr. Anna Specchio (Turin)


Scholar Tomoko Aoyama notes how cannibalism is a recurring theme in Japanese literature, often involving a "notion of displacement." Kazue Harada interprets this notion as crucial for contemporary female authors, including Murata Sayaka, whose speculative fiction uses cannibalism to challenge society's heteronormative norms. However, I argue that in Murata's works, cannibalism is not only used as a literary trope to rethink women, but also human beings in general, in a vision that is no longer anthropocentric. My presentations hows that in fact, her works frequently explore the concept of human beings becoming like animals, and new ethics of eating and nourishing are presented.

Guest Speaker Bio

Anna Specchio, Tenure-track Assistant Professor (RtdB) of Japanese Language and Literature at the University of Turin, works on contemporary Japanese Women’s Literature. She translated in Italian works of Iwaki Kei, Sakuraba Kazuki, Hayashi Mariko, Matsuura Rieko, Kashimada Maki, Yagi Emi and Li Kotomi. She authored papers on Ogawa Yōko, Hayashi Mariko, Wataya Risa, Murata Sayaka and Matsuura Rieko, and she is co-editor with M. Cestari, G. Coci, D. Moro of the volume Orizzonti Giapponesi: ricerche, idee, prospettive (Aracne, 2018); and with P. Scrolavezza and G. Scatasta of the volume NipPop: 10 anni di cultura pop giapponese in Italia (Mimesis, 2023).

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