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Gastro-modernismFood, Literature, Culture$
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Derek Gladwin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781942954682

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781942954682.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 11 April 2021

Sweet Bean Paste and Excrement

Sweet Bean Paste and Excrement

Food, Humor, and Gender in Osaki Midori’s Writings

(p.21) Chapter One Sweet Bean Paste and Excrement

Tomoko Aoyama

Liverpool University Press

Food in Osaki's texts functions to estrange and subvert social, literary, and gender norms and conventions. It also fuses past with future, nostalgia with science, and urban with rural. Seemingly ordinary food, such as cucumbers, persimmons, and bread, is juxtaposed with, and likened to, something incongruous, inedible, and/or sensuous, creating “a subdued but mordant irony and humor” (Monnet). In “Wandering in the Realm of the Seventh Sense” the heroine's brother “cooks” human excrement (unko) in a pot for an agricultural experiment on “Changes in the erotic behavior of plants in response to fertilizer temperatures.” Despite the stench it creates throughout the house, the sound of the fertilizer boiling brings back for Machiko memories of her childhood, when her grandmother was cooking sweet bean paste (anko). If this is not quite a parody of Proust, Osaki uses intriguing intertextuality, involving both Japanese and European films and literature, such as the works of Chekhov, William Sharp/Fiona Macleod, Satō Haruo, and Charlie Chaplin. The chapter offers multiple readings of Osaki's “written food,” in the light of relevant theories concerning intertextuality, humor, and girl (shōjo) studies.

Keywords:   Osaki Midori, gender, parody, humor, shōjo, intertextuality

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