Shōsetsu Ryūkyū shobun
[The Ryūkyū Disposition: A Novel]
Kōdansha (Kōdansha Bunko), 2010. Vol. I: 521 pp. ¥762. ISBN 978-4-06-276769-9. Vol. II: 518 pp. ¥762. ISBN 978-4-06-276770-5.
Also published in: n/a
This novel is based on the historical fact of the Japanese annexation of the Ryūkyū Kingdom. Interweaving fact and fiction, it recreates the scene from early modern history known as the “Ryūkyū Disposition.” With an ingenious structure and a powerful literary style, it depicts the pain of the Ryūkyūans as they were tossed about by the power struggle between the great powers.
Superior works of art stand the test of time. This novel is truly that kind of rare masterpiece. Rather than fade over time, it has a power that deepens with age. Many readers, as they read this novel, will be reminded of the current situation in Okinawa, which remains adrift in a stormy international situation, and of the frustration felt by the prefecture’s residents. This work is filled with so many thoughts that the topic of localities is too small to discuss them all.
Through the expressions of people who lived through this actual moment in history, this novel vividly depicts what can never be captured by the concept of “modernity” or the idea of geopolitics: the angry waves of inner turmoil and the sadness that only the local residents can feel. (CK)
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