Democratizing Illnesses: Umezaki Haruo, Censorship, and Subversion

by Erik R. Lofgren
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Title:
Democratizing Illnesses: Umezaki Haruo, Censorship, and Subversion
Author:
Erik R. Lofgren
Year: 
2000
Publication: 
Comparative Literature
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52
Issue: 
2
Start Page: 
157
End Page: 
178
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Language: 
English
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Abstract:

ERIK R. LOFGREN

Democratizing Illnesses: Umezaki Haruo, Censorship, and Subversion

HE CRITICAL RESPONSE to the war-related literature published in Japan in the decade immediately following its surrender in World MTar I1 has been characterized by an anti-war bias.' However, the Pacific War is not the only battle one sees played out on the pages of these texts. Indeed, a secondary battle- often unanticipated, frequently unintentional, and always unacknowledged- between the text and the ideological stance of the American Occupation that followed Japan's surrender pervades these works. Recognition of the mechanisms by which this battle is waged, and the technologies it sustains or threatens, offers an alternative mode in which to consider these texts.

This essay examines the early, war-related works of Umezaki Haruo (1915- 196.5) ,2 a Japanese author whose short stories written in the half-decade follow- ing Japan's surrender are often overlooked by the critical mainstream. It focuses on the sign-f~lnction of wounds and illness within the context of the ideological forces of censorship and democracy central to the American Occupation to illuminate the struggle to create a democratic self in response to a decidedly undemocratic environment. That the texts seem to appease the censors while simultaneously establishing a democratic space within which to re/configure the deracinated military self reflects an instability of both written word and subject position that has not been recognized in studies of Lmezaki's works to date. This understanding leads, in turn, to a greater appreciation of the broad implications of the "anti-war novel" and the unusual terrain within which such a protest might take place.

umezaki Haruo is representative of a generation of postwar authors, called

' For example, Okuho kBsno finds an anti-gover~lrne~~t

stance in the war-related texts of this period. Similarly, Sat6 Shizno declares that these writers view the conflict as a war of "i~lhurnan invasion" and depict the "merciless sacrifice of the Japanese people's lives and livelihoods enforced by the authority of the rule of an absolutist imperial system" (73).A11 translatio~ls from the Japanese are my oxrn, unless otherwise noted.

A11 Japanese authors' names are presented in accordance with Japanese custom, that is, sur- name preceding given name, except xrhei~ the author has a well-k11own sobriquet or when he has xrritten extensi.irely ill E.ilglis11.

the se??go-oha.' I-le was educated during the years of increasing militarism leading up to the Pacific conflict, he had not published significantly prior to the end of that war, and he had been conscripted at a relatively advanced age. As is the case with his peers, the ways in which Umezaki's Occupation-era texts created and recreated the self have many ideological and political implications born of the historical instance of their creation and their critical reception, interpretation, and consumption. I shall limit the present discussion to an examination of the intersection of the literary representation of illness, broadly defined; the Occupation-sponsored ideology of democracy, furthered through extensive censorship; and the configured self that emerges to question and subvert that limiting force of censorship in order to create a truly democratic literature.

The Japanese Emperor fIirohito spoke to his people for the first time at noon, 15 A~lgust 1945 in a radio address broadcast across the nation. Although the broadcast was received with widely varying degrees of clarity througliout Japan, the meaning of his message was soon clear. Despite the absence of the precise term surrender, the Japanese, by "enduring the unendurable and suffering the insufferable" (<;aimus110 636), were poised to enter a new paradigm of existence. At 9:00 a.m. on 2 September 1945, on the deck of the battleship U.S.S. hifissouri then anchored in Tokyo Bay Minister of Foreign Affairs Shigemitsu hlanloru (on behalf of the emperor and government) and Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Umezu Yoshijir-6 (on hehalf of the armed forces) signed the formal arti- cles of surrender in a twenty-minute ceremony that brought a formal cessation of hostilities (Finn 6-11). Thus began a period of forced democratization that would continue, until 8 September 1951, when, at "The Conference for the Con- clusion and Signing of the Treaty of Peace with Japan" held in San Francisco, Japan signed a peace treaty that formally ended the Second T~lTorld War and the American Occupation ofJapan.

The forced change in Imperial "self" from deity to human that underlay the Emperor's broadcast might profitably be seen as a metonym for the societal trans- formations of "self" necessitated by Japan's defeat.' During the early years of the American Occupation, many of the linchpins ofJapanese self-construction were vitiated or eliminated altogether. The consequence of this radical deracination of the self was its necessary, concomitant re/configuration in the literature that

'Xctile during the first decade afterJapan's sllrreilder ill August 194.5, the authors in the .re?z,~oha spoke for literary orthodoxy and were bourld together b? their common experience in the war and their roots ill the prewar literary tradition. r\lthongh there is disagreement over what, precisely. determi~les~chetheran author can be considered a "member" of this group. some of the authors commonly included in the srl,guhn are 4he IGh6 (1924-1994), End6 Shilsakn (1923-1996), Fukurlaga Takehiko (1918-1979), llira~lo Ken (190'i-l978), Kojirna Sohuo (b. 1915), Noma Hiroshi (1915- 11)91), Ooka Sh6hei (1901)-1988), Shiina Ri11zG (1911-1973), Shilnao Toshio (1917-1986), 7akeda Taijun (1912-1976), and Yasnoka Shoraro (b. 1920).

'To talk of "the self" is problernatic for numerous reasons, not the least of ?\.hick1 is the unitary nature implied 13) "the." B? its .irer? usage, 'ive exclude multiplicity and deny the pluralit? of forces that interact and i~ltesxreavc to create the entity we so confidently call "self." Despite this implica- tion. and despite the theoretical currency of the term slibjrct, ~rhich implies that any discussiorl of selfllood must consider the c~llturally and ideologically constructed nature of that selfhood, I have retai~led the term vrlf'thronghout this essa?. However, I use it nnencumbercd by metaphysical gl.ou11d- ings in a tra~lsce~lderlt

ontology. The "self' I speak of is a cultural construct, sul?ject to the historical moment and inextricably inscribed in the discursive iletworks of its appearance.

sprang forth in the immediate postwar era in an almost euphoric attempt to fill the literary void that had existed during the war. The malaise of "self" disintegra- tion and its attendant re/configuration found a voice in the war-related litera- ture of the era, a literature wherein physical wounds and illness are often metaphors for the sufferings of the nation.

Initially, the postwar era was characterized by the overarching political goal of the American occupiers: the democratization ofJapan. In a speech made at the opening session of the first postwar Imperial Iliet in Ilecernber 1945,Ozaki Yukio gave voice to the ideological agenda of Japan's occupiers, unintentionally commodifying the status of thought and action in Occupation Japan: "M''e are grateful for our new freedom and our new liberty, even though they are rationed by MacArthur's headquarters" (Nishi 84).In this speech, he brought to light the unacknowledged technique used by GHQ (General Headquarters) and SCAP (Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers) to implement democracy in Japan: narnelp the censorship of "dangerous" or forbidden thoughts. Censorship was nothing new for the Japanese, of course. It had been a fact of life in wartime Japan. The difference was only a matter of the ideolou within which these cen- sorious activities were inscribed and, to a lesser extent, the technologies that aided and abetted that censorship. Iluring the early years of occupation, "all private and public thought and action . . . were retroactivelyjudged from a demo- cratic standpoint. As the public slogan of the moment, 'democracy' was supposed to liberate the Japanese from past enslavement to lesser ideals" (Nishi 40). Literature and literary representation were no less bound by this retroactive evalua- tion than were their authors.

One obvious result of this situation was a tension between government and literature. The democratic ideology of those who wielded political power was, ironically, at odds with those who wished to exploit it. If literature strove for the freedom promised by the imposition of this external democracy, it was a freedom only allowed by-indeed, dependent upon-the restrictions of the ideological framework within which it was played out. Even as authors boldly explored this new freedom to be oneself and "dare [dl to allow one's own flowers to bloom" (Nakajima 63),' the closer literature moved toward a "democratic" discourse, the more likely it was to assume a subversive position within the ideol- ogy of the Occupation.

Wounds, Illness, and the Force of Censorship

Although "disease and death are traditionally used to reveal the psychological development of the characters and to structure the events in the novel" (Meyers 12), merely because there is an illness or physical malady in the novel does not,

'Nakajirna uses the terrn knit(>(selfishness) to describe this fieedorn, thereby signali~lg his com- plicity in the social excoriatioil of those who chose individual fi-eedom over social convention and obligation. In the context of the ?ears of Occupatio11 censorsliip, the issue of fi-eedom is foregrounded and Nakajilna's sense of knttc takes on pr-ovocative irnplicatio~ls 1%-i-vis the conllictiilg desires to build up a viable hnsi~~ess

(on the part of publishers) and the desire to write "freely." in accordance I\-ith the "nexr" notion of dernocrac? (on the part of srtigoliii writers such as Ulnezaki).

ipso facto, imply a metaphorical meaning. Such a dogmatic interpretation would be an impoverishment of both the work under consideration and the critic, for, to paraphrase Freud, sometimes an illness is just an illness, a simple device to aid in character development, a tool for guiding the ernplotment of the text, or a red herring that serves only to flesh out the narrative whole. Indeed, it is tempt- ing to dismiss the wounds one encounters in this war literature as merely an obvious facet of war literature in general. Such physical afflictions may even con- tribute to what Evelyn Cobley terms "lexical ostentationn-the inclusion of a super- abundance of specialized minutia to enhance the sense of realism-for their descriptions are often graphic depictions in gory detail (29-70).

On the other hand, the trope of sickness quite often does carry a metaphori- cal banner, often as a symbol of evil or a sign of punishment. Freud offered a provocative hint of this relationship between disease and ideologywhen he char- acterized works privileging diseased heroes as portraying the "pathology of cul- tural communities" (91).Jeffrey Meyers calls it "the sickness of society," explaining that "the effect of a disease on a victim is both the realistic subject of the book and the symbol of moral, social or political pathology; the illness of the hero, who is both an individual and a representative of his epoch, is analogous to the sickness of the State" (1).However, there is a fascination with illness that goes deeper than a simple consideration of metonymic associations and metaphoric relations. In an almost palpable way

The sick and weak have had fnsciilatioi1 on their side: the? are more interesting than the healthy: the fool and the saii~t-the t~vomost interesting kinds of men-closely related to thein, the "genius." The great "advei~turers and crirnii~als" and all inen, especially the most healthy are sick at certaiil periods ii~ their lives: -the great emotions, the passioi1s of powel; love, revenge, are accompanied by profound disturbances. (Nietzsche, Will 460)

'Tllomas Mann builds on Kietzsche's concepts of sickness to conclude that: Disease has two faces and a double relation to mail and his humai~ dignity. On the one hand, it is hostile: b? o.i~erstressing the ph?sical, by throlvii~g inan back upor1 his bod?, it has a dehuinai1izing effect. On the other hand, it is possible to think and feel about illi1ess as a highly dignified humail phenomenon.

.. .ill disease, resides the dignity of mail; the genius of disease is more human than the genius of health. (108-9)

Although few would argue that the wounded and diseased characters that popu- late the literary landscape of Umezaki's early, war-related works are saints or ge- niuses, Nietzsche and Mann identify an attraction that will help frame our examination of the selves re/configured through the medical pathologies that permeate Umezaki's work.G

Yrnezaki was not, of course, the firstJapanese author to employ illiless as a trope in his writiilgs. For example, critic Karatani Kojirl argues that the contagion of tuherculosis is a constructed "inean- iilg" thronghout modern Japanese literamre (literature xrrittei~ after the Meiji Kestoratioil of 1868), and concludes that "in rnoderil literature right up to the einergeilce of the 'third-ware new genera- tion writers,' there has been ail almost embarrassing collusion hetween tuberculosis and literature'' (123-24).

Indeed, to mentioil tuherculosis is to reference countless works, xrhose authors coinprise a coin- pendinm of many of the most famous names ii~ the modern canoil: hrislliina Takeo (1878-1923), Ilazai Osarnu (1909-1948), IIiguchi lchiyi, (1872-181)6), 1C;tjii Motojiri, (1901-1932), 1958 Nobel Prize Laureate Kawabata Yasuilari (1891)-1972), 1<~1ilikida Doppo (1831-1908), and Mori Ogai (1862-

One possible approach to understanding the configured nature of the self is through semiotics, through a "language of the self" of which the forming self and formed self are constitutive. This language embeds both a mode of discourse (Inngage) and speech acts (paroles) made up of the particular articulations and performatives necessary to the functioning of that language. It is in the inter- stices between these two arbitrary relationships that the self is tentatively and tenuously found (only to be lost again as it is rediscovered an instant later) :"Thus in forming its place as middle, the self articulates and activates (parole) its own formed level of actualization and discourse (langage)" (Silverman 200). We are here concerned with how this "language of the self" functions to reflect or sub- vert through the medium of wounds, illness, and their related treatment the ideology of censorship within which it is inscribed.

It is both possible and reasonable to see the wounds and illness manifest in the texts under consideration as definitional elements, that is, as semiotic determi- nants of self. The violent wounds of war literally rip open the body and disrupt its seamless unity in order "to demonstrate the whole remarkable complexity and depth, . . . to uncover a new place for human corporeality in the real spatial- temporal world" (Bakhtin 170). That is, we can read wounds as the text of the self despite Derrida's protest that "nothing is more illegible than awound" (Sauf 60). In fact, wounds can be a providential sign system for reading the self against the backdrop of what the Japanese termed the Great East Asian MTar. Wounds in this context might profitably be considered signs of a metaphorical destruction of the old and, through death, re/configuration of the new. In other words, the soldiers of the imperial Japanese military machine had to conform, in postwar literature, to the dictates of Occupation ideolog~. They had to undergo the trans- formation from valorized native son to reviled agents of imperialist aggression by means of a literary illness or death. Only through such a transformation could they hope for existence in print.

In the works by Umezaki considered here, the human body is pathogenically transformed, becoming the site of violence, the locus of physical trauma. The ravages of war and the symbols of its progress are inscribed on the bodies of the

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1922), among thern. Some of these authors had the disease thernselves, and others simply appropri- ated it as a device; yet all portrqed this afflictioil ill wa?s that cailnot be divorced from the ideological and political implicatio11s irnrna~lent ill the clash betxceei~ their .iisions of society and those of the government Uoh~~stoi~

12.5) and society at large.

In the short stories "lppeisotsu" (One Soldier, 1908) and "Kurulna ilo oto" (The Souild ofI~Vheels, 1908), by Tayarna Katai (18'72-1930), disease and illness are deployed as prosopopoeia, the cruelly indifferent ~latural forces that control life and death. Both "Kinosaki nite" (At IGnosaki, 1917), b? Shiga Naoya (1883-1 1)71), and "Mushi no iroiro" (\'arious thoughts on bugs, 1948), by O~aki Kazno (1891)-11)83), skillfully utilize the backdrop of irljur? and illiless to foreground, through rumina- tions 011 the fates of numerous "lesser" creatures, observatioils or1 the significance of the author's oxvn weakened co1lditio11. Nobel Prize Laureate (1 1)93), 0e Kenzahurfi (b. 1935), has xrritteil ilurner- ons works in xvhich the medical condition of a child or his son serves a meraphorical purpose. In Kojin rln /nikrrl (A Personal Matter, 1964), the protagonist struggles to comprehend the severe brain damage of his uilrrailted child, and conco~nita~~tly

engages in the larger ideological and political struggle ~\~ithii~

Japan ill the early 1960s. Finally, both Fzc?-)oki (Taken Captive: AJapanese PO\l"s Story, 1948) and ,%hi (Fires on the Plain, 1951) hy Ooka Shohei, a noted contemporary of Umezaki's, privilege illrless as a defi~litioilal element and, particularly in the case of the latter work, one which is subject to the same forces of "democratic" ceilsorship surronndi~~g

the works under coilsideration in this paper.

soldiers enmeshed in the Pacific conflict. Read against the backdrop of Occupa- tion ideologies, the bodies of the Japanese soldiers depicted in these works become, in fact, the metaphorical theater of awar the Japanese must lose. Wounds serve to inscribe the bodywith signs of the character's identity, and that identity is defined in relation to other emblematic objects and phenomena such as the trap- pings of military life, or the manifestations of the enemy, as well as the ideological environment within which the signs are active. Once the self is re/constructed through these various elements, it does not-in fact, cannot-remain stable, for these elements are never static. The patholou of tropical ulcers or beriberi demands change, often deterioration, if not treated, and it is precisely this dete- rioration that suggests the outlines of the self. Maggot-filled sores, excrescences of pus from festering tropical ulcers, bodies weakened by malaria and tuberculosis, and the psychological illnesses due to moral and ethical decisions necessitated by the extreme conditions of virtual abandonment, both on a personal level and at the level of the military unit: these were the marks of a soldiery punished for the folly of its commanders and, by extension, the Nation. Abject humility in the face of defeat, self-debasement, and renunciation of all military means and motives were the watchwords of the day and all three are marked with a vengeance in these texts.

We need go no further than an often-overlooked short story by Urnezaki to find an example of this marked aspect of the soldier. It is apparent from the outset of "13 to filtbutsushi" (A chronicle of the scenes and manners on B Island, 1948),where we are told that everyone is weak and dying. It xronldn't do in this place just to lie ahout ii~ bed and he fed simply because of illness. 4s far as

strength xvas concerned, everyone was terribl? weak. No one knew who was going to die when. Therefore, most forced themselves to xrork right up to the rnoineilt of death, and xrhen their strength finally failed them and the? xrere 110 longer able to more, they died, curled up ill their hlarlket in the corner of the rooin as if asleep. (1: 128)

MTe are also informed that this consequence is known and passively accepted. There is no struggle, no violent contesting of one's destiny no apparent expres- sion of determination. On the surface of the text, as well, there is no attempt to counter the ideological forces responsible for this marked position. The "lan- guage of signs" appears to be functioning according to the rules set up by SCAP: the Japanese soldier cannot fight, may not win, and may not enjoy a literary success when the Nation and its wartime ideologies have suffered a defeat.

MTe must, at this juncture, note the ideological forces inherent in the Occupa- tion that impinged upon the production of Umezaki's early, war-related texts. Of specific interest to this study is the intersection of democracy and censorship, the latter supporting the former in an insidious dance, at once inextricably sym- biotic and inutually fatal. It is ironic that to smooth the functioning of their cen- sorship apparatus, the Americans planned to utilize the old Japanese censorship organization, a highly centralized and efficient system, wherever possible (Bra~v 38).M1hile this may have been a logical choice, it highlights the incestuous rela- tionship between ideology and ideological re/education on the one hand, and the technologies of power on the other: "The fervor of the victor's idealistic reforms during the early stage of the Occupation mirrored the policy of uncon-

DEMOCRATIZING ILLNESSES/163

ditional surrender; the victor's ideology, it naturally followed, should no~v pre

vail just as his arms had prevailed" (Nishi 2).

On 10 September 1945, less than a month after the Japanese surrender, R4acArthur issued the first of his civil liberties directives, which made clear his expectations for the inass media. Although these civil liberties directives appear to favor freedom of speech, it is a freedoin that is ideologically determined. The supreme commander for the Allied Powers has decreed that there shall be an absolute mini-

mum of restrictions upon freedom of speech. Freedom of discussion of matters affecting the fi~tnre of ,yapan is encouraged by the Allied Powers, unless such discussion is l~ar~~lf~~l

to the efforts of Japan to emerge fro111 defeat as a new nation entitled to take a place among the peace-loving nations of the world. (Nishi 86)

One is immediately struck by the vague nature of such locutions as "harinf~ll to the efforts of Japan to emerge . . ." and the latitude it suggests for ideologically motivated interpretation. Lest there be any doubt, ho~vever, MacArthur also de- creed that, "the Japanese imperial government will issue the necessary orders to prevent dissemination of news, through newspapers, radio broadcasting, or other ineans of publication, which fails to adhere to the truth or ~vhich disturbs public tranquillity" (Nishi 86). As Nishi Toshio accurately observes, with none of the irony one might expect, "GHQ thus took upon itself the awesome task of decid- ing what was the news, what was truth, what was public tranquillity, and how the Japanese should handle all these elusive issues in print" (88). Reliance upon "truth" as a determinant, that is, upon a concept neither stable nor knowable in its entirety encourages a purely ideological interpretation determined by the llistorical instant of its enunciation. Should the Japanese government fail him, R4acArthur leaves no doubt that he will be the final arbiter of that unkno~vable "truth": "The supreme commander will suspend any publication or radio station ~vhich publishes information that fails to adhere to the truth or disturbs public

tranquillity" (Nishi 87).

MacArthur was an ideologically obsessed man with a vision of Japan that brooked no question. In addition to censoring the rnaterials for dissemination, the CCD (the Civic Censorship Detachment, a branch of the Civil Intelligence Section [CIS]) also issued a directive that forbade any traces of the censorship to appear: no actual mention of censorship, no blank spaces, no blacked-out portions of text. In effect, CCD censored its own censorship in an effort to encourage the appearance of a dernocratically free press. This was both for local consuinption and with an eye toward the reaction of the foreign press stationed in Japan at the time (Braw 43). It was into this milieu that the works considered here appeared and within this ideological frarne that they were firstjudged.

In spite of the constraints obvious to us through the benefit of historical hind- sight, the Japanese literati gratefully received the news that "freedom of discus- sion of matters affecting the future ofJapan is encouraged." Sat6 Masaru makes the point that in an impressive nurnber of journals and magazines published iininediately after the war, but particularly in 1946, many of the literati clamored for democracy, pouring out their hopes for and interpretations of this modern concept. It ~vould be convenient if this were the end of the stor); but as Sat6 is quick to point out, this honeymoon with a superficial democratic ideology did not last long. The ebullient articles disappeared and the voices becarne silent, decreasing "just like the ebbing of the tide" (36).Either all the dreams and expec- tations for a democratic Japan had been fulfilled, or the prornise of dernocracy had been crushed by the reality of its implementatioi~, and the former is not born out in the writings of the time.

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In a patronizing, racially biased report on postwar conditions in Japan, pub- lished in 1948, Noel Busch denies that the practices of the Civil Information and Education Section (CI&E), ~vhich was charged with supervising all the media through ~vhich the Japanese received their news, were in any \tray negative: "On the face of it, this looks like censorship and ~vould of course resolve itself into that and nothing more, were it not for the willingness of the rnedia themselves to co-operate" (78-79). M7hat Busch doesn't ackno~vledge is that this "voluntary" cooperation was more likely the result of the dire financial and social conse- quences of non-compliance. He continues: "Actually, it is a sort of public rela- tionsjob, the aim of which is simply to help the Japanese in interpreting the nenTs themselves not with, but without, reference to a government ~vhich ~vould deter- rnine what the interpretation should be. Since the Japanese are quite accustomed to censorship but not at all accustoined to thinking things out for themselves, this job is considerably harder" (78-79). The ideological myopia of the time is readily apparent in his position, as is the irony of claiining interpretation "with- out reference to a government" in the face of the actual efforts to erase all trace of censorship. It is equally apparent that the Occupation was less an impleinenta- tion of democracy than a mechanism by ~vhich it was suppressed.

An exarnple of this stifled democracy can be seen in the efforts by American censors to delay publication of Fz~ryoki,the first novel by 0oka Shohei, another rnernber of the selzgoha, because they were not certain that the contents of the novel were favorable to the Occupation. Indeed, this view was not unfounded, although not for the reasons the censors may have imagined. Although F~~~joki purports simply to relate the experiences of a Japanese PO\\7, and as such says little against the Americans, its metaphorical rneaning goes rnuch deeper.? One can easily see that the protagonist's experiences in the American POM' camp are an allegorical representation ofJapan's experiences under their American occu- piers. In fact, 0oka inakes this relationship bet~veen interninent and occupation explicit in "A word from the author," appended to a post-Occupation edition of the novel, which states: "The meaning I wanted to give was to satirize Japan under the Occupation through the depiction of a POW camp" (1: 504). R4acArthur ~vouldnot have been well disposed to this sort of ~vork.

One Foreign Service officer attached to MacArthur's command said of the putative Japanese enthusiasm for democracy, "SCAP censorship and the natural Japanese inclination to please those in authority [did] not encourage criticisin of occupation policies" (Nishi 84). While the Japanese may not have criticized the policies, their acceptance of these policies at face value lead to a number of early articles highly critical of the United States and America's military and so inadvertently brought criticisin upon those who wrote with the belief that a new

'The epigraph from a later edition of the novel is a translation from Daniel Defoe's Preface to Volume I11 of SPI-ious R~/'li?cfions riuri?ig thi? l,i/'~ nnri Su~;D~-isirtg o/ Kohi?idon (:)-us~I?:

A~~IJI?~~u~Ps

"It is reasonable to represent one kind of irnprisonrnent by another" (1:ii).

freedoin was at hand. Because the Japanese interpretation of this new-found free- dom did not immediately accord with SCAP's intentions, MacArthur tightened the screws of censorship on 21 September 1945 with the so-called Press Code, follo~ved the next day by the Radio Code, which in essence extended the restric- tions on written media to spoken media. GHQ's sedulous censorship covered even the most marginal of publications, "which were required to bring in two copies of an issue iininediately after printing, and to speciQ the narnes of the editors, the date of publication, and the publisher's telephone nuinbers and ad- dresses" (Nishi 100). Since serialization in either magazines or newspapers had long been the normative venue for publication of literary works, these works were consequently subjected to the same arbitrary strictures. For Umezaki and other Japanese authors active at this time, the replacement of one censor by another ~vith the sarne fundamental rnandate was hardly an improvement of the existing environment.

111 October 1946, censorship of books was initiated in the Tokyo region. Pre- publication censorship ceased on 5July 1948 on orders from Washington, and frorn that time until the end of the Occupation post-publicatioi~ censorship also gradually lessened. It should be noted, however, that the Press Code was still in effect, which meant that ~vorks found to contravene those stipulations were either confiscated or their publication was suspended. The financial loss to publishers resulting from such actions was an effective deterrent to publishing "information that fails to adhere to the truth or disturbs public tranquillity." Compounding this self-censorship was the fact that paper was a scarce cornmodity, the alloca- tion of ~vhich GHQ and the Japanese government jointly controlled. Although censorship tecl~nically ended on 31 October 1949, one suspects that a certain degree of caution would have persisted for a few months at the very least, during ~vhich time publishers would have tested the waters of what was now supposed to be an environment supportive of the democratically guaranteed freedoin of speech and its concornitant, a free press.

With the ideological background of "beneficent" Occupation censorship thus outlined, it is now possible to begin to discuss the interactions of this ideological milieu with the textual selves constructed in the works of LTinezaki. This investi- qation of wounds as a sign system of the self relies on a distinction bet~veen the locus of the trauma (the object of the wounds)--a military man, TV~Ois rnore often than not the protagonist-and the responsible agent, however obscure. For the protagonist, wounds and illness are afflictions that are obviously direct objects of concern. In this capacity, it is not difficult to see their relationship to the textual self. By comparison, the relation between agent and object is less clearly demarcated. Here, our concern is with the metonymic connections between the wounded soldiers and the organs of the rnilitary machine of ~vhich they are an integral part.

Wounded Soldiers

Let us now return to the island of Rougainville, the setting for Umezaki's short story "B to fubutsushi." Recall that everyone has passively accepted his present

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE / 166

condition. \\7itllout food or hope, rnernbers of the squad are dying day by day,
their numbers decimated over the course of the long weeks of struggling to sur-
vive in an inhospitable jungle:
Since coming here, three people-Nagai, 6nishi, and I<oi7nmi-had svarved to death. When I had

gone to sleep these past several days, I, too, had lost the feeling in the tips of my fingers and toes, had felt as if a heavy weight was resting on my chest, and had felt strangely lethargic. Me-even I, would no doubt keel over soon. (1: 136)

In this context, literary wounds may act as "talking cures," a way of expressing spiritual injuries in physical terrns (Meister 72); that is, they constitute a psycho- logical physic produced for mass consumption. The true question then becomes: who is cured? Article 9 of the Occupation-imposed constitution states: "Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a rneans of settling international disputes" (Hoyt 452) .Tertainly, the Occupation ideologies stressing democracy and renunciation of war suggest that such a repentant position ~vould demand a literary device capable of expunging national guilt through exposure of national pain. The beneficiary (or audience) of this "talking cure" is the Occupation, ~vhile the literary texts and their authors are its agent. The Occupation benefits (but, of course, is not "cured," for it is not "ill") from an adherence to its ideological dictates. Ho~vever, if one considers the subversive trajectory of the texts as they create a picture of a eulogized military, then it is the Japanese, forced to write under duress, who are "cured" of this alien view of the war, imposed from without.

HOWare we to understand this apparent contradiction? Derrida raises an in- teresting, if problematic, notion that has important implications for our discus- sion of a censured press and constrained literature, the de facto result of the Occupation fear of the pen. He conceptualizes literature-as distinct from either poetry or belles-lettres-as a construct dependent upon several "modern" pre- requisites, the most important of which is democracy: "literature is a modern invention, inscribed in conventions and institutions which, to hold on to just this trait, secure in principle its right to saj everjthin,g. Literature thus ties its destiny to certain noncensure, to the space of democratic freedorn (freedorn of the press, freedorn of speech, etc.). No democracy without literature; no literature without democracy" ("Passions" 28).This democratic milieu, however, can also be fright- eningly liberating for the author, for he is freed from his work, regardless of the strength of his attachment to it, by the limitlessness of the everything he can now

* Bougainville is distinguished by a ruggedness that, at the time of Ume~aki's vale, ensured that roads, pathways, and irrigation ditches had rnade rnirlilllal impact on its unyielding topography The tropical island is the largest of the Solomon group, 125 miles long and 30 111iles wide, with an aver-age humidity of 80% and an average I-ainfall of 100 inches evenly distributed through the year over the 3,500 squar-e miles of this densely forested, mountainous region. Kecords from the U.S. !vIarine Corps indicate a hostile environment that became progressively more so as one penetrated f~lrther into the jungle, f~lrther in from the sea. Diseases such as malaria were endemic, while blackwater fever, deng~ie fever, dysentery yaws, and hookworms were a constant scourge. See Rentz and Gailey.

'' Article 9 also pledges that: "In order to accomplish the aim of the pr-eceding par-agraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be lllaintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."

say, indeed must sax with impunity: "This authorization to say everything para- doxically rnakes the author an author who is not responsible to anyone, not even to hirnself, for whatever the persons or the characters of his works, thus of what he is supposed to have ~vritten hirnself, say and do, for example" ("Passions" 2829).Authorial responsibility is forcefully removed frorn the equation. Liberation is at hand: "This authorizatioil to say everything (~vhich goes together wit11 de- mocracy as the apparent hyper-responsibility of a 'subject') acknowledges a right to absolute nonresponse, just where there can be no question of responding, of being able to or having to respond" ("Passions" 29). The dernocracy within which Umezaki's works were written was, of course, one that paradoxically strove to constrain these freedoms. He was not living in an ideal "modern" democratic ~vorld. Censorship was strictly enforced, even if it was ironically deployed in the narne of the dernocracy it effaced. The need to avoid portraying the occupying forces in any negative way and the need to conforin to the new dictates of "democracy" and the position of military einasculation established by Article 9 all impinged on his work, requiring (among other things) the depiction of sol- diers in a less than positive light. For those Japanese authors writing under the Occupation, the iinage of a soldier as a hero must be abandoned.

The myriad ~vounds, often grotesque, that fester in "R to firtbutsushi" are an obvious manifestation of this ideological pressure. The protagonist describes the rniasrnic ulcers that afflict everyone:

A sickening stench lloated on the ail-, filling the room. It was the smell of I-uptur-ed tropical ulcers. To one extent or anorhcr, almost everyone \\,as aftlitred with these. Since we walked through the dense jrrngle bareloot wearing ragged clothes, we nat~rrally suffered ii!jnries fr-0111 the roots of bushes and trees. Ll'ithorrt fail, rhcse wounds, \~hich eventually \\.ere crushed or broke open, were filled with pus. That p~is and the stab\ \tuck tight to our blankets, releasing an unpleasant, rotting stench.

(1: 129) These wounds do not necessarily symbolize the oppression of the occupying forces; indeed, they may not be symbols of the Occupation at all. Rather, if they are semiotic signs, they are so as badges of military activity, as inarks of realism, as affirinations of a "self" ~vho made an effort to die for the Ernperor and for the country. At the same time, they stand as signs of evil, proof of Japan's responsi- bilities in the war, marks of a violated trust. \I7l1en Arirna, one of the main characters. goes crazy later in the sarne story it seems to be tied to an increased fetor: "The stench of pus and smell of sweat filled the hut oppressively" (1: 153). In an analysis of Shakespeare's Titus A7ztlronicus Karen Cuililiilgharn has identified both pus and infection as signs of guilt (141),a connection that is clearly present in Umezaki's story as well. That these other wounded and infected soldiers are, in effect, definitional of the pro- tagonist is rnade clear when he describes himself in terins of their appearance. It is telling that he singles out Goini, who has the worst case of tropical ulcers arnong the remaining eighteen men. I-Iis Face was pinched and jaundiced, witll only his exe lids retaining a dirnness re~niniscent of the eye lids of a dead chicken. Yet all the soldiers here had this feature in common. My face, too-it had been ages since 1 had looked in a mirror-, but-I don't doltbt it had that same look to it. (1: 130)

The protagonist sees in Gorni a harbinger of what is to come: death through illness. hlife literally ~vasted and wasting away. The Japanese military has no use

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE / 168

for hiin or his sacrifice, the putative raison d'Etre for his self and that of all the soldiers fighting under the Irnperial banner. The fetid reminders of that waste provide tangible proof that a lingering death is soon to be visited on his body as well: "Gomi didn't treat his ulcers at all. His clothing was just glued to his sores. The pus had soaked clear through to the front of his clothes. The first thing to assail my sense of smell when I awoke was the stench of this guy's pus" (1: 130). It is also a constant reminder of the guilt borne by the Japanese military, a guilt made manifest through the rnedium of a constrained literature of war.

Inasmuch as literary ~vounds take on the role of "talking cures," so too is storytelling apotropaic: it has the power to avert evil influence or ill luck. Taken to the extreme, it wards off death, for the life continues ho~vsoever long the tale runs on. Dead men tell no tales, but those close to death spin thern out for their final seconds, hoping that salvation lies in the telling of the tale-an eternal life in the instant of enunciation. Nietzsche could very well have been speaking of this life-eternally inscribed-when he said, "One pays dearly for immortality: one has to die several tirnes while still alive" (Ecce 303). Clearly, this is a chimeri- cal hope, the last straw grasped by a dying hand. Yet, it is illustrative, for the teller in Urnezaki Haruo's "B to fiibutsushi" does indeed speak in order to give hirnself life, to suggest the routes he might have taken, to adumbrate his eternal exist- ence in the text he cann,ot haue wm'ttm precisely because he dies wit11 its creation, for he is starving to death even as he relates the tale and has no prospects of obtaining food at the end of the story.

The sound of cannon fire came echoing fr-oln afar once again. Amidst the their fast and furions crashes at unimaginable speed, I closed my eyes, and like Golni, put 111y palms together and gently pressed my bony fingers together. Quietly, quietly, as ifwaiting for something . . . (1: 161)

There is little ambiguity about what this "sornething" is. Death is a certainty and its arrival is only a rnatter of tirne. After having to shoot his friend for the crime of exhuming and eating another soldier who had died earlier, the protagonist is made forcefully aware that food will not be a part of his final hours. Thus, he ~vaits.

Nietzsche once again offers an insight worthy of consideration here: that "what does not destroy us makes us stronger" (1/Cril1491),a notion that reverberates with exquisite irony in the context of LTmezaki's early ~vorks in general and "B to fi1t>utsushin in particular. Even though it is the role of sickness to weaken and destroy the image of the heroic, oinnipotentJapanese soldier, man); in fact, survive this illness through their permanent inscription in the textual discourse of this literature. In this way they "speak" themselves into a position of strength, a posi- tion strengthened by its ability to overcome the ravages of illness and disease. This same ironic message is also conveyed in Nietzsche's cornrnent that "sickness itself can be a stiinulant to life: one only has to be healthy enough for this stimu- lant" (Case165).The ~vritings of Derrida on f~llfillment and the supplernent hint at the paradox central to this impossibly written text: for utterances or a text to be meaningful, the speaker/~vriter/subject rnust be absent, or dead. "B to filtbutsushi" is just this sort of paradoxical document. The subject is dead, was dying in its creation, and only through his death does this document gain mean- ing, corne to life in the ideologically charged context of Occupation Japan.

Although the protagonist will die, in accordance wit11 the ideological force of censorship, he nevertheless lives on in the telling of the tale, thereby subverting the very ideology that ~vould deny him his honored role as a soldier.

Storytelling is also a form of exculpation, much as sin is removed (or the pro- cess for removal is set in progress) by the telling of it in a Catholic confessional. Indeed, the notion of confession, central to the exemplars of the shishosetsu ("I- novel") tradition so strong in Japan, plays back in these war-related stories as the rrtodus uiuendi for their existence.'' Confession, exculpation, redemption, salva- tion, and death simultaneously map the topography of these narratives. Precisely because the tale survived, the death of the soldier, the expiation of Japan's war- time sins, remains unaccomplished. The victor is the Japanese soldier rather than the Occupation's Dernocracy. In an unanticipated twist, the ~vorks exhibit a dia- lectic between two selves: the redefined, "dernocratic," repentant self versus the erstwhile military self fighting for a country never invaded, protected and blessed by the gods, and fighting the irnperialists to liberate Asia. It is not necessary to agree or disagree with either of these interpretations. Indeed, they both exist in a symbiotic relationship in which each is necessary to the existence of either.

In addition to marking the soldier as "defeated," these ~vounds also code the bearer as one TV~Ohas exhausted hirnself in service of the cause, the country the Emperor, ~vhile concomitantly demonstrating that he is no longer fit for active duty. Consequently, they serve the dual purposes of valorization and exemption, thereby enacting a subversion of the ideological goals of the Occupation, as ~vell as those of the ~vartirne State. Although it would seern that, a priori, one cannot at the same time be the bad soldier demanded by the Occupation censors and a good soldier in the eyes of the Imperial state, that is precisely the situation created." Here, the text "functions ag.uinst its o~vn explicit (metaphysical) asser- tions, notjust by creating ambiguity, but by inscribing a sjstrrnatic 'other message' behind or through what is being said" (Derrida, Dissrrninationxiii). What we have is a highly productive aporia, an impassable pass-a point pregnant with literary meaning at which the text undermines its own foundations and collapses into a new, unanticipated flo~vering of meaning and significance. The ideological dic- tates of the Occupation are uniilteiltionally subverted, for the soldier, serniotically rnarked as "bad," becomes a paragon as well. Furthermore, the result of this continual tension and slippage is not simply a justification of the soldier; it is, by extension, a justification of the Japanese war effort, a subject to which we shall now turn.

"'The shishis~tauis a first- or third-person narration, deloid of fictional enlbellishnlent, about the author's own experiences. The genre has been the cornerstone form of ,Japanese fiction in the rnodern era and takes as its primary concern the iirtr~~~(/iuf~(l

representation of the author's life. The "authenticity" of the "I-eality" th11s portrayed fr-equently depends upon long confessions describing the sordid personal life of the author in all its salacious derail.

" There is yet a third facet to this issue, for the wounds also suggest that the soldier, by surviving, has failed completely to f~~lfill

the tenets of the Arnly Conlbatarlt's Code (senjinkurt),issued in then Minister of \Far Tdj6 Hideki's name on 8,January 1941: "A sublime sense of self-sacrifice must guide yon thr-oughout life and death. Think not of death, as you push through, with every ounce of your effort, in fi~lfilling your duties. Make it yoi~rjoy to do evvrything with all ?-our spiritual and physical strength. Fear not to die for the cause of ever-lasting justice" (Hoyt 198).

COMPARATIITE LITERATURE / 170

Synecdoches of a Discredited Imperial System

Wounds and illness function notjust as semiotic rnarkers in and of themselves, for the constituent elements of the textual environment cannot allo~v them to exist in a vacuurn. The wounds inark not only soldiers but also institutions, in- scribing tllern into the dialectic under consideration here. The rnedical estab- lishment is as closely associated ~vith these pathologies as the human bodies they mark. As such, doctors and hospitals are metonymic, associating the Japanese nation of the defeated wit11 the ideological dictates of the American Occupation.

Perhaps the clearest indictinent of the Imperial military inentality that gave rise to the Great East Asian War is the following description of the wounded and the military machine, an indictinent that falls cleanly into line with the Occupa- tion ideologies privileging the victors and requiring of the Japanese a concerted, predetermined reevaluation of their ~vartiine stance.

The severely wounded were crammed into one tent. The air was thick with the stench of blood that seemed to have gone sour and the stench of medicine, and wounded soldier-s wrapped in strangely shaped casts lay on either side of the aisle.

At this time, I cannot p~it pen to paper- to record the conditions of the mutilated bodies there. For one thing. I made no effort to look at them, but also, I have no intention of describing those weird shapes that did occasionall) enter my field of view. Ever since Dunant's lii Solc7~enir de Soljkrirto we have nlyriad exarnples of this kind of misery. Moreover. nations are as intent on fighting as ever-, and I-egardless ofwhich national treasur-y it is, none is xvealthy enough to fi~lly compensate their life- long suffering. Further, continuing to describe their nlisery would, in fact, be nothing more tl~an adding insult to injury. (6oka 1: 98)

The field hospital should be for the soldier a place of refuge, a concrete manifes- tation of the extent to ~vhich the country will go to succor those who have served. Yet, in umexaki's writings the hospital (through its doctors) is transformed froin an actual and inetapllorical place of curing to the root of the problern, a met- onymic representation of a callous nation that has abandoned its own and a personification of the ideological struggle external to the text, yet also ~vithin which the text is inextricably positioned.

One need not confine the inquiry to those works that deal only with these institutions that were actively unresponsive during the war. Such attitudes were clearly present even after the supposed cessation of hostilities. In "Maiso" (A burial, 1948), a narrative set in a naval code station immediately after the Emperor's 15August 1945 broadcast signaling the end of the war, the protago- nist is surrounded by selfishness incarnate." His comrades spend their time hoard- ing whatever supplies and goods are part of their assigned duties: those in the paymaster's office take canned goods and air rations, doctors filch medicine. When the protagonist goes to see the doctor for treatment of a leg ~vound, ~vhich the doctor had treated prior to the surrender, the doctor refuses to help him:

'"his setting, reminiscent of that in Ume7aki's first novella, Snku)-nji~ria (I946), also I-ecalls Ume7aki's own posting at the end of the Pacific Lt'ar: K Base, a naral code station at which Petty Officer 3rd Class (ri2/0 ltriai) L'me7aki carried out his duties as part of the cipher corps. Details of this portion of Ume7aki's life can be found in two of his essays: "Saknrajima no hachi gatsu jugo nichi" (Sakurajima on 15 August, 1960) (7:329-32); and "LVaga heireki" (My militar-y record. 1963)

(7: 250-52).

UEMOCFUTIZING ILLNESSES/171

Although people like me with my leg wound had, until that time, been going to the infirmary, as soon as this [news of the surrender] happened. they stopped treating us. The doctor, because of his position as a doctor. was about to sneak off and was very busy devoting himself to cramming a large haversack he had made out of canvas fill1 of expensive medical supplies; even when he saw my face, he did not help ine in the least, merely saying "it'll be fine if you have it attended to after you've returned to your home.'' (I: 108)

In this exchange, the wound that had brought recognition and support from his country now obtains for him no special treatment. Quite the contrary, it both marks him as enfeebled and stands as a sign of rejection by that same countr): The marred soldier is abandoned and scorned by a representative of the military whose only thought is personal gain; in much the same way, the Imperial system was portrayed as simply using the Japanese people to f~lrther its own ambitions. Here, the doctors in question, syinbols of the military represent the callous ease with ~vhich responsibility for the soldiers can be discarded.

As such, they have been transformed into a synecdoche for the Imperial State. Others have noted ho~v "the inilitary doctors only thought of ho~v to get rid of the patients and conserve their provisions" (0oka 3: 249). The medical profes- sion thus positioiled is not merely a consequence of the deteriorating conditions that afflicted the Japanese military to~vard the end of the conflict. Even in the early days of the Japanese offensive against China, the hospitals established by the military, ostensibly to aid, cure, and protect the soldiers engaged in service to their country, did not enjoy a very good reputation. The treatinent of the wounded soldiers in ariny hospitals is i~liserable; they are forced to leave the

hospital before cornplete recovery. Mter that, the rnedical fee has to be paid by the patient himself. The government pretends that it will take care of the wounded and fi~lfill its duty to soldiers at the hoi~lefr-ont. But act~~ally

this is just empty propaganda. The rnost foolish people are the ordinary soldiers like us." Clearly, the depiction of medical conditions in "Maiso" is an attempt to prove the veracity of such accounts. This also appears to be the case with his short story "Akai rakuda" (The red camel, 1948), in which the protagonist brings Lieutenant Junior Grade Futami to the infirmary only to find the inilitary doctors "in the middle of crarnining medicines into sacks" (1: 171): "The chief inilitary doctor's heart was already set on departure, and it appeared as if his attention had been stolen not by patients, but by dealing with the drugs. In the end, he merely gave him some tranquilizers, and simply said that it would be best to send him off xvhenever a boat happened to be available" (1:171). Hospitals and the doctors ~vho populate them become, in essence and in fact, a manifestation of a transference, the locus of externalized ~vounds. This exter- nalized xvound "does not concern the body as such but the symbolic network into xvhich the body is caught" (iiiek 78). At the same time, it forms an essential paradox. The soldier in each of these stories has performed the role of soldier perfectly, yet he is asked to sacrifice his last for his country in order to secure some guarantee of assistance. The country of ~vllich the military rnedical estab- lishment is but one synecdoclle, reneges on its implicit promise. Tlle relation- ship described here is not dissimilar to that formulated in the "greater good" argument that must obtain for any soldier to have value to the nation. ForJapan,

"Iritani identifirs this q~iotation as "a confrssion of onr ~vo~~nclrcl rrturnre" (52).

C05fP,%R%TIVE LITEKXTUKE /I72

that greater good was summari~ed in an Imperial Rescript, published monthly during the war vears, which stated in part that: To insure thr stability of East Asia and to contributr to world pracr is thr fal--sightrd policy which was fo~~rnl~lated Irilperial Grandsire and Olu- Great Irilperial Sire succrrcl-

by O11r Great Illl~st~~iol~s ing Him, ancl \\-hit11 Mt lay constantly to hrart. To cultivate fiienclship anlong nations and to enjoy prosprriry in common ~vith all nations, has al\\-ays been the gliding principle of Our Empire's for- eign policy. (Hoyt 43.5)

Only through war could these goals be achieved, it was claimed. The soldier's life might be lost, but the cause is just. Precisely because he believes that his sacrifice will benefit some greater good, he is willing to die. The State, however, has be- trayed its mandate much as the doctors cheat the soldier out of medications or require him to pay for care. The same institution that sl~ould offer hope only speeds the soldier toward his death, bereft of comfbrt. Just as he is destroyed from ~vitl~in

by his ~vounds, so, too, he is wounded from without by the medical organ that denies him succor. The conversion to metonymy occurs not just at the level of the field l~ospital. The living conditions in the militar!; of ~vl~ich

the l~ospitals are a synecdoche, also evince this metonymic transformation. A simple example depicting life in the military can be drawn fi-om Umezaki's essay entitled "Boryoku-girai" (Despising violence, 1964), in which he describes the barbarism and fascism he experienced at Shuyukan Middle School. The violence to xvhich the title ofthis essay alludes was a form of hazing known as "the punisllment offists" (Ldken seisui) in which younger students were puncl~ed and kicked and had their faces stamped on wit11 wooden clogs (7: 254). Urnezaki claims that "the reason I hate xvar probably comes from the fact that I hated that violence" (7:254). Whether this is an attitude reflecting and conforming to an ideology contemporaneous with the essay's pub- lication, or a belief held from his days in middle scl~ool, is, l~owever, unclear. It would seem to go without saying that "hating war" is a sentiment in line with both Japan's new role as "atomic victim, peace model," reflecting the twin mantras of the postxvar anti-war sentiment, and SCAP's restrictions on negative comments about the American military." It is surely no accident that Umezaki cornpares this form of brutal schoolyard behavior to the violence he encountered in the military although he is at pains to distance himself from the system that spawned such actions, claiming that he never hit a subordinate during his time of service (7:251).Clearly however, Umezaki was not averse to publicizing these injustices, for the short stories he wrote frequently depict similar forms of violent punish- ment: verbal abuse, punching, and beatings with wooden or iron staves are all commonplace elements of the dehumanized environment of the military-and this despite the military's deliberate efforts, through the publication of a series of illustrated postcards, for example, to portray army life as nurturing, loving, and supportive (Drea 332).

Iritani Toshio fixes the blame fbr the physical brutality in the military on the pre-war system that prevented all conscripts from serving at a rank higher than

'' For inforrilation on thr conditions of lifr in thr barl-acks, are Drra. For an invrstigatioil of thr psychological rilrchanisms that underlir this bi-utality srr hirani, 186-96. For- an inquiry into thr rnythologi~rclnature ofJapan's anti-war stance, srr 01.r.

DEMOCRATIZING ILLNESSES/ 173

ensign or junior class lieutenant in the naly or first or second lieutenant in the army. Frustration and anger, both at the system that condemned them to the lower ranks and at the tribulations of military life, found release in the "pri~rate sanctions" dealt out to new conscripts by these old-timers under the pretext of training. These private sanctions involved exactly the elements present in Umezaki's stories: violent verbal and, more commonly, physical abuse, which were quickly transformed from spontaneous releases of anger to a codified way of life (Iritani 11). An ample number ofletters responding to a solicitation fiorn a major

Japanese newspaper, the Asahi shinbun, for reminiscences about life during the war attest to the veracity of Umezaki's portrayal of rnernbers of the military as brutes xvho "literally slapped and beat and kicked their charges into submission" (Gibney 23).

In "Ushinawareta otoko" (The man who xvent missing, 1948), the protagonist is once again an older conscript. The natural affinity of age draws him together xvith two others, one of xvhom suffers constantly during the endless naml drills to put up and take down their llarnmocks. The protagonist describes Miura's hands in light of their pain. "Those palms, too, were always chapped or had blood flow- ing fiom them, a result of the nightly hammock drills" (1: 116). Miura is a victim of the cruel Japanese military machine, his lot pitiable, his fate presaged by the attention lavished on his hands by the protagonist's narrative eye and the ruin to xvhicl~ they are subjected by the harsh conditions of military life.

Further intensift.ing this brutality is the fact that they live in close quarters, xvrapped inescapably in a physical manifestation of that force which so devalues them. Those wounded hands, ever more unable to do the menial tasks required of them, emerge each day from that enclosed space out into a public space, exposing his infirmity to public scrutiny and naval censure. Punishment is meted out in full view of others as the offending naly swabs are beaten with a rod on their buttocks. Physical malady compounds physical malady, another implicit con- demnation ofthe ideology that gave rise toJapan's militarism and imperialism.

It is not as ironic as it first seems that a second illness occasions Miura's unau- thorized departure from his unit. Miura receives a letter informing him that his love is very ill and close to death. Military regulations do not permit leave unless the person is a blood relative. Despite this, and xvithout a note of confirmation from the village mayor, Miura requests a leave to care for her. His request is summarily rejected and he is subjected to yet another brutal punishment that evening. Later that night, as "Miura xvas leaning against the wall of the barracks, his body trembling occasionally as he smoked a cigarette" (1: 122), he resolves to go AM'OL, inspired by the offlhand comments of Shiba, another older conscript, and despite his physical inability to carry out his plan. His unsteady legs betray the ravages of his beating and hide the firmness of his resolve to extricate him- self from his current situation, whatever the means and whatever the cost.

As a final example, let us return to Umezaki's short story "Akai rakuda." The nameless protagonist describes Lieutenant Junior Grade Futami as a sensitive rnan xvho has "a pathological sensitivity toward humiliation" (1: 165). He fears being humiliated because of his ardent desire to be a "military man" despite the fact that he is "a man not at all suited to be a soldier" (1: 163). It is the strength of

COMPARATIVE LITERiTURE /174

this desire that breeds his morbid dread of humiliation. Thus, the direct cause of his "illness" is the very thing he craves, and in obtaining it he condemns himself to insanity and death. The Emperor's radio broadcast on 15 August 1945 is the catalyst that sends Futami over the edge. Deprived irrevocably of what he wants most, that ~vhicl~

is the source of his psychosomatic illness, he becomes truly ill. Yet for a xvhile the protagonist must bear silent witness to this transformation: "It weighed heavily on me that Futarni's abnormal condition was apparently still unknown to the other officers as they were each fillly absorbed xvith themselves"

(1: 170).

The protagonist convinces Futami to go see the medic, but the medicine he receives is ineffectual-or overly effective, if one wishes to push the point-and Futami passes a sleepless night. The next morning, on orders from Futami, Futami's frenzied aide wakes the protagonist and asks about the impending attack, xvhich turns out to have been an hallucination with only one casualty: "Futarni was lying face down on a table, spattered all about xvith blood. His short sxvord had fallen onto the table and the wound was in his neck. I almost thought there was the merest hint of breathing, but when the chief military doctor arrived, he had breathed his last" (1: 171-72). Futami's final wound is fatal, a result of his frustrated desire to be a true military man. Once again, the military kills, yet it is in death that the military ideal is achieved. The truly pitiful ones are they who must return home.

Textual Gymnastics: The Wounded as Damned and Redeemed

The writings ofJacques Derrida on freedom and democracy mentioned earlier are not without relevance here as well. His supposition that "authorization to say everything paradoxically makes the author an author xvho is not responsible to anyone, not even to himself; for xvhatever the persons or the characters of his works, thus of what he is supposed to have written himself, say and do . . ." ("Passions" 28-29) hints at the intersection of medical pathologies and Occupation ideologies I have been tracing. It suggests that the forces xvorking on and around the text often liberate it from the expected and the ordinary. The author-even one writing under the yoke of censorship-is still absolved of responsibility. The Occupation guidelines may make it his responsibility to depict the American forces in a positive light; the fact of the occupiers' presence may compel him to adopt a position excoriating the vanquished; yet he is absolved from these duties by virtue ofthe overarching and, ultimately governing ideal of democracy.

We must not lose sight of the fact that these ideological interactions are in no xvay to be construed as intentional. They function independently, are appropri- ated by the historical moment, and are subject to the xvhirns of chance, history and the readerly environment. Both the descriptions of the doctors and hospi- tals and those of the violent beatings may be examples of lexical ostentation as, perhaps, are the depiction of festering wounds or maggot-infested sores. All of these elements lend themselves to a depiction of situations the veracity of which is unquestioned; however, they function unintentionally (or even intentionally, but the result ~vould be the same) to legitimate the ideological appropriation of

DEMOCRATIZING ILLNESSES/175

the texts by the discourse of Occupation democracy. They are synecdoches of a failed and disgraced Imperial system, one that must be discredited, and one that must suffer a literary de~raluation through the sign-filnction of'~vounds. The self constructed in this environment is one that privileges the passive, eschexvs the historical, renounces the past, and embraces the filture.

The picture that has gradually come into focus is one that describes an attempt "to measure everything on the scale of the human bod!; to construct-on that space where the destroyed picture of'the world had been-a nexv picture" (Bakhtin 177). The prewar Imperial system had to fall, and in its place a new, democratic environment was envisioned. Under the Occupation, the Japanese were encour- aged, as part of the process by xvhich democracy was to be instilled in the hearts and minds of' the people, to reflect on the responsibility for the war: "[Tlhe people started to regain their calmness and fbrmed opinions as to who was to blame for the protracted war. They gradually came to blame the military and government leaders xvho had stirred up the people in a bid to fight a reckless xvar" (Iritani 212-13). The duration of'this "gradually" is an issue, fbr it not only represents the result of an ideological shift, it is itself' complicit in that shift, inextricably intertwined wit11 the change.

Without questioning the rnoti~rating forces involved, Nakanishi Susumu claims that "indictments of'the war clearly continued to constitute the most important genre of' postwar literature" (334). Although he neither explores the causes for, nor recognizes the implications of, these indictments, his analysis is on target. He continues: "over the past half century, literature has valued the war precisely because it was a negative experience, describing it in tones that affect the reader physically" (334). X good deal of that visceral effect is the direct result of the graphic depiction of'wounds, the portrayal of illness, and the descriptions of the pathology of' moral disease. Indeed,

Disease is a grim b11t fascinating sltbject that provides insights aboltt how to dral \\pith thr ultimate thrrat of drath. Sicknrss is a shocking rxprrirncr that exposes the victim's physical and psychologi- cal nakrdnrss; plungrs hirri into thr anguishrd arsthrtics of despair; jolts him to a recognition of his loneliness and vulnerability; forces him to contemplate thr drstruction of his body. . . Thr grand rilortuary rriorrient provokes self'probing and internal inquiry, inspirrs an inward voyagr of srlf- cliscove1-y. It oftrn lrads to an attrrript-analogous to arsthrtic or rrligiolts experience-to transcend the limitations of the body and draw on thr rrsourcr of illnrss for intrllrctual illurilination and spirit~tal enlightenment. (Meyers 13)

The diseased bodies of Umezaki's characters seem less inclined to undergo the "aesthetic or religious" transf'ormations at xvhich Meyers hints than those found in the Western models upon which his argument is predicated. MTe can see in their ~vounds, however, a marking filnction that approximates Meyers's observa- tion that the self can "draw on the resource of' illness" in the process of're/con- figuration, itself "an inxvard voyage of self-discovery."

i~l'e can now clearly state that in Umezaki's early, xvar-related works, wounds and illness serve two functions. First, they mark the soldier, a metaphor for the self, as the locus of excoriation. The prewar image of'the valorized soldier dies under the burning gaze of public censure. At the same time, they mark that same body as one that has served the Ernperor to the limits of' his ability as a soldier, performing the actions required of' one devoted to the national cause, even to

COSIPXRATI\'E LITERATURE / 176

the point of death, as was the case with Futarni in "Xkai rakuda." As such, the marked body and configured self becomes the site of a dialogic struggle, an interaction, inversion, and subversion that expand the configurations of the self far beyond the "intentional" or acceptable.

One point that bears repeating at this juncture is the unintentional nature of this dialectical tension betxveen "marking as good" and "marking as bad." Even if one accepts the conventional interpretation that privileges the condemnation of war, the texts, independent of their author's intentions or desires, are complicit with the prevailing ideological forces in the creation ofa "democratic" literature that "spoke." And this speech can express that xvhich had been forbidden by the censorship imposed in the name of that very democracy. The result is a new range of possible interpretations.

Indeed, a compelling argument might be made in favor of the more direct interpretation: "the wounds mark not the soldiers but the Army (or service to the imperialist ideolop through war service) as bad (misguided), that if the dead soldiers are to be glorious at all it is to valorize their experience by contextualizing them within an anti-war, anti-military anti-imperialist postwar narrative."'%%ile this is certainly avalid and, indeed, sustainable position within the framework I have suggested, it is also simply the same conclusion approached from a different direction. In other words, even if the authors "intended" to write novels that eulogized the dead and xvounded as martyrs to the ideology of anti-Japanese-militarism (in its broadest and most varied interpretations), the text itself, liberated by the democratic environment imposed by the Occupation (and here again, I am using Derrida less for accuracy than effect), can be seen as presenting an alternate, unanticipated interpretation of those textual events that subvert and confound, leaving us with a conclusion diametrically opposed to what we might like or what reason or "evidence" might otherwise suggest.

An alternate way to conceptualize this point can be found in the writings of Slavoj ii2ek. In response to his own rhetorically provocative question, "Does not . . . everyday experience offer an irreducible resistance to the ideological con- struction," ii2ek replies, "the answer is, of course, no. If everyday experience offers such a resistance, then the . . . ideology has not yet really grasped us. An ideology is really 'holding' us only when we do not feel any opposition between it and reality-that is, when ideology succeeds in determining the mode of our everyday experience of reality itself" (49).Umezaki was not necessarily aware of' the opposition between his texts and the ideological mandate of the Occupa- tion. For this very reason, then, his xvorks were complicit xvith that ideology in creating, albeit against the superficial aims of constraining the freedom of speech through a controlled press, a democratic space xvithin which his textual selves could live. In this, they become irresponsible; that is, they avoid their responsi- bility to the ideological pressure demanding their voices be silenced. As J. Hillis Miller has noted, the modern freedom of which Derrida speaks makes literature concomitant with a certain irresponsibility. Indeed, "Irresponsibilityvis-2-vis constituted ideological powers is sometimes the only way to begin to fulfill an infi-

'V arri inclrbtrd to Jarnrs J. 01-r, who raised this possibility in an e-rnail exchange on 30 Janua1-y 19'3'7.

nitely more exigent responsibility toward the democracy to come" (299).

Umezaki's war-related texts, constrained by CCD censorship to portray the Americans in a positive light, espouse the nexv ideal of democracy and promote the public renunciation of war central to the new constitution. They provide a picture of the soldier and, by extension, the nation, as scarred or worse. Yet pre- cisely because these markings are, in effect, a red badge of courage, these same texts subvert the censors to produce a truly modern, democratic literature-one that both condemns the wartime actions ofthe nation while simultaneously producing a bold eulogy for the soldiers xvho fought in that war.

Thus, the self we see created in Umezaki's texts examined here is really an unstable construct resulting fiorn the dialectical tension between two competing yet irreducibly symbiotic selves: one defined by wounds and illnesses, the other by its subversive nature. These texts appropriate the "authorization to say every- thing" that Derrida sees in the democratic nexus and thereby subvert the censor- ship that threatened the very democracy it claimed to enfranchise. The paradoxical result was the production of a textual self that is the exemplar of democratic fi-eedom. The "self" it subverts, the wounded soldier, lingers on in a state of eternal ill health through the act of writing. Consequently, the "self" that emerges fi-om this literature is a cornplex construct, dependent fhr its creation on the act of writing, the historical instant of postwar Japan, and the surprising interactions of the text xvith its environments.'"

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