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Explaining Fukushima to children: a cross-cultural study of bodily functions as metaphor in Japanese

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This research proposes that a cross-cultural disconnect exists between Japanese and American English in the realm of bodily functions used as metaphor. Perhaps nowhere is this notion illustrated more clearly than by a cartoon that was inspired by recent tragic

This research proposes that a cross-cultural disconnect exists between Japanese and American English in the realm of bodily functions used as metaphor. Perhaps nowhere is this notion illustrated more clearly than by a cartoon that was inspired by recent tragic events in Japan. In the afternoon of Friday, March 11, 2011, the northeast coast of Japan was struck by a massive earthquake and tsunami that caused immeasurable loss of life and property and catastrophic damage to the nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture. In the immediate wake of these events, Japanese artist Hachiya Kazuhiko, determined to make the situation comprehensible to children, created a cartoon in which he anthropomorphized the damaged Fukushima Daiichi reactor and likened the dangers associated with it to illness and bodily functions. This cartoon garnered considerable notoriety, both in Japan and abroad. The reactions of English speakers appeared to differ from those of Japanese speakers, suggesting the existence of a possible cross-cultural disconnect. This research into the reactions to the cartoon and other relevant literature (both in English and Japanese), viewed against federal regulations regarding the broadcast of "obscenity" in the United States, commentary on American society, and how the use of similar language in American cartoons is seen, clearly indicates that negative attitudes toward the use of bodily functions as metaphor exist in the United States, while the same usage is seen differently in Japan.

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2012

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The didacticism of Katakiuchi kidan jiraiya monogatari

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My study centers on the novel Katakiuchi Kidan Jiraiya Monogatari (1806-1807) by Kanwatei Onitake (1760-1818). Jiraiya Monogatari was the first literary reading book to be adapted for the kabuki stage. It was also the prototype on which Mizugaki Egao, Kawatake

My study centers on the novel Katakiuchi Kidan Jiraiya Monogatari (1806-1807) by Kanwatei Onitake (1760-1818). Jiraiya Monogatari was the first literary reading book to be adapted for the kabuki stage. It was also the prototype on which Mizugaki Egao, Kawatake Mokuami, Makino Shouzou; and others based their bound picture books, kabuki, and films. The tale is composed of two revenge incidents, both of which have the same structural framework and are didactic in tone. In my study, I analyze the two revenge incidents by examining their narrative structures. Each incident has the same three-act structure: setup, confrontation, and resolution. The setup of each revenge incident introduces the main characters and their relationships and establishes the dramatic vehicle, which is an unexpected incident that sets the revenge in motion. The confrontation contains myriad non-linear inserts, plot twists, and reversals of fortune, all of which have the effect of a narrative delay. This prolongation of the outcome of a simple revenge plot allows readers the necessary space in which they can form their own judgments regarding good and evil and consider karmic cause and effect. The resolution, including the climax as well as the ending of the revenge, demonstrates the didactic notion of punishing evil and karmic effect. The two revenge incidents embody two rules, kanzen chouaku and inga, which together highlight the didacticism of Jiraiya monogatari.

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2012