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Kawabata Yasunari's The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa as the Territory of the Dispossessed Girl
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-21, 16:26 authored by Barbara HartleyBarbara Hartley
This article presents the narrative space of Kawabata Yasunari's The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa (Asakusa kurenaidan) as the territory of the dispossessed girl - that is, the territory of young women and girl children who must largely live by selling either their labor or their bodies. Without diminishing the importance of the novel's innovatively modernist elements and depictions of Tokyo modernization, I redirect reader attention to the many girls and young women who pass through the pages of the narrative. I note how the narrator of The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa can be chillingly impervious to the struggles of the girls depicted. This detachment paradoxically creates a strikingly graphic account of how the Asakusa narratorial space operates as an imminent threat to the many girls who gather there.
Publication titleUS - Japan Women's Journal: English Supplement
Department/SchoolSchool of Humanities
Place of publicationUniversity of Hawai'i Press