Seminar Series | Recentering Australia in the Shôjo Imagination: from Georgie to Sekachû
15 April, 2013
The University of Sydney
Kazui Kazumi’s manga version of Katayama Koichi’s best-selling novel Sekai no chûshin de ai o sakebu (Crying out love in the center of the world, 2001, also known as Sekachû) opens with the male protagonist boarding a flight to Cairns, carrying the ashes of his first love, Aki. The girl had always wanted to visit Australia, the “center of the world,” and the increasing impossibility of this dream marks the development of her terminal illness throughout the story. In both the novel and the comic, Australia is romanticized as an Other space increasingly impossible to reach. Australia as a dream destination is in fact not new to shôjo manga. Geographically and culturally positioned between Asia and the Anglo-American world, Australia performed a peculiar role in Japanese romanticisation of the foreign. Focusing on two case studies, Igarashi Yumiko’s Jôji! (Georgie! 1982) and Kazui’s Sekachû, this paper is part of a larger project that traces the development of the representation of Australia in women’s manga and its role within the shôjo imagination of the foreign.
Rebecca Suter is Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies at the University of Sydney. Her research interests are in modern Japanese literature and popular culture, with a cross-cultural focus. Her first book, The Japanization of Modernity, examined contemporary Japanese writer Murakami Haruki’s role as a cultural mediator. Her latest book project investigated the use of Christian imagery in modern Japanese fiction, including literature, film, manga, anime, and videogames.
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