Becoming-Okinawan in the “Island” stories of Sakiyama Tami

Becoming-Okinawan in the "Island" stories of Sakiyama Tami

Davinder Bhowmik - Assistant Professor Department of East Asian Languages and Literature, University of Washington

Thursday, October 6, 2005 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Room 312, Hall of Graduate Studies (HGS) See map
320 York Street
New Haven, CT 6511

In her prose fiction, contemporary writer Sakiyama Tami focuses on a particular topos – the island – rendered shima in katakana, the syllabary reserved for things foreign. As her orthographic choice suggests, Sakiyama’s is a defamiliarized island that stands in stark contrast to widely circulated images of Okinawa, which appear in film, television, print journalism, and tourist brochures. Professor Bhowmik argue that Sakiyama’s method of writing through a dance of words destabilizes the very ground her texts seek to depict, creating instead an island freed from the romantic discourse of healing (naoshi no shima) that pervades media representations of Okinawa.