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Transnationalism and Masculinity: Subjectivity beyond Nations in Karen-Tei Yamashitas Brazil-Maru - Essay Example

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Two novels by Japanese American woman writer Karen Tei Yamashita - Through the Arc of the Rainforest and The Tropic of Orange have received much Asian American criticism. However, scant critical attention has been paid to the author's second novel - Brazil-Maru…
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Transnationalism and Masculinity: Subjectivity beyond Nations in Karen-Tei Yamashitas Brazil-Maru

Download file to see previous pages... Brazil-Maru has been set in 'Esperanza' - a Japanese immigrant commune in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The central character of the story is Kantaro Uno, the ambitious and charismatic leader of the commune. He is portrayed as being an imperial colonialist. In contrast is the character of Kantaro's vulnerable nephew, Genji Befu. Yamashita characterizes Genji as an artist who is a passive onlooker. Yet, it is his marginalized viewpoint that exposes Kantaro's imperial desires. It is within this framework of characters that the current paper explores the gendered politics between the men of Esperanza.
Yamashita skillfully conveys the nuances of the power play between Kantaro and Genji - the leader and his prodigy. The contrast in the social positions of these two characters beautifully brings to fore the differences between their ideologies. On one hand is the patriarchal and megalomaniacal, Kantaro, and on the other is the infantilized yet sensitive, Genji. The contrast and the conflict between these two is best displayed when Genji articulates his passive resistance against Kantaro by becoming "an Indian in a lost tribe" in the Amazon forest. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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