The Fantasies and Struggles of “Pioneer of Pure Literature” Sheng Ye Laizi

  Shengye Laiko (1956— ) was born in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan. She grew up in Ise City, where she spent her primary and middle school years. After failing the college entrance examination, she repeated her studies for a year. At the age of 20, she was admitted to Ritsumeikan University in Japan. The Faculty of Law focuses on civil law. She started writing during college and continued to contribute to various literary magazines. After graduating from college, she did not choose to work, but continued to devote herself to literary creation.
  In 1981, Sheng Ye Lai Zi came to the fore with her work “Bliss” and won the 24th Group Portrait Newcomer Award, and has since entered the Japanese literary world. However, for this work, the Japanese literary circles have mixed reviews. “Bliss” describes the dark emotions of an unknown young painter who is obsessed with painting hell. Some critics think that this work cannot be called a novel.
  In the following 10 years, Shengye Laizi was repeatedly rejected for submitting manuscripts. At one time, no one cared about her, and she had almost no income. However, Sheng Ye, who suffered from the cold reception, did not stop her literary creation. She relied on the living expenses provided by her parents to live in seclusion at home, and devoted herself to writing silently, building her own lonely literary world. This experience had an important impact on Sheng Ye’s subsequent creations.
  Until 1991, Sheng Ye Laizi, who had been silent for 10 years, once again shocked the Japanese literary world. She won the 13th Noma Literary and Art Newcomer Award for “Nothing to Do” (the heroine’s isolated situation in the work is quite similar to her own); followed by 1994 The work “Two Hundred Backs”, which challenged the thousand-year-old Japanese ritual system with magical realism, won the 7th Yukio Mishima Award; in the same year, another work “Through Time and Space Industrial Zone” combined virtual and real, The interlaced and unique narrative technique won the Akutagawa Award. In one fell swoop, Shengye Laizi won the three major pure literature awards in Japan, showing her creative strength and becoming the “triple crown of newcomer awards” that has attracted much attention in the Japanese literary world.

Sheng Ye Lai Zi

  Later, his creations “Mother’s Prosperity” (1996) and “Tokyo Youkai Floating” (1998) were nominated for the Murasaki Shikibu Literature Award and the Nyofu Literature Award respectively. However, because these two literary awards are only open to female writers, Sheng Ye voluntarily withdrew from the selection , said, “If I win an award, others will say ‘women really take advantage of'”, which shows the stubbornness and aloofness of his personality. Despite this, she is still favored by major awards – “The Strange Story of Mori Niang” (2001) won the Izumi Kyoka Literary Award, and “Kin Kun Luo” (2005) won the Ito Sara Literary Award. So far, Sheng Ye Laizi has almost won the honors of various literary awards in the Japanese literary world, thus pushing herself to the forefront of Japanese contemporary literature, known as the “female standard bearer of pure literature”.
  What is more worth mentioning is the “pure literature debate” in which Yoshino Yoshiko participated in from the late 1990s to the early 21st century. Facing the prevailing trend in the Japanese literary world at that time to evaluate the value of literary works by sales volume, Shengye resolutely stood up to express his opposition, believing that even if the sales volume was small, he still had the freedom to write pure literature. In 1998, she publicly protested Otsuka Eiji’s remarks that “unsold pure literature is a fake commodity”. For this reason, Sheng Ye called himself “Don Quixote”, and published the article “Don Quixote’s Kaneer” in “Group Portrait”, criticizing Otsuka Hideshi for only acknowledging the commercial value of literary works, which is harmful to literature as art. It is a great injury in itself. As a rebuttal, Otsuka published “The “Literature” of Bad Debt”. The evidence for his rebuttal is that the current profit deficit of literary and art magazines has been made up by the sales of manga magazines, and he proposed symptomatic treatment, that is, “in the existing circulation system In addition, open up a literary market”, that is to say, in addition to literary magazines, it is necessary to open up a specific field where literary creators and readers can meet, such as holding a literary fair. As a staunch supporter of pure literature, Sheng Ye expressed that he could not agree with Otsuka’s ideas, and sharply pointed out that the reason behind Otsuka’s remarks was the blind denial of literary value by publishers who only cared about profits.
  This “pure literature debate” also reflected the situation in the Japanese literary world at that time, that is, literature tended to be commercialized, and pure literature was on the verge of crisis. However, all of this has not affected Shengye Laizi’s persistence and pursuit of pure literature mission. She strives unremittingly, constantly challenges herself in creation, abandons traditional literary techniques, repeatedly tests and creates her own unique literary world in terms of narrative structure, language style and artistic conception, and defends pure literature with her own works.
  One of the characteristics of Sheng Ye’s works is that the regional and personal novels are extremely prominent. The places involved in the works are related to their real life to a certain extent.
  In Ise City, Mie Prefecture, where Sheng Ye lived since childhood, the local Ise Jingu Shrine is known as the head of the Japanese shrine, and its status is respected. It worships the emperor’s distant ancestor “Amaterasu God” in ancient Japanese mythology. The cradle and holy place of culture. Since ancient times, the emperors of all dynasties have attached great importance to visiting Ise Shrine, and there are also an endless stream of private worshipers. Therefore, in Sheng Ye’s works, the hometown often appears in an almost sacred image, and the shadow of the “sacred capital” hometown can be seen everywhere. In his work “Nothing to Do”, the protagonist goes back to his hometown to visit his relatives, and on the way, he meets the new emperor who is going to pay homage to the Ise Shrine and goes with him. The scenes depicted in “Daisai” and “Ise Haraji” can be said to be a projection of Shengye’s own family life: Shengye has been doted on by his grandmother since childhood She grew up, but as the eldest daughter in the family, she was strictly disciplined by her parents, and she grew up in a conservative place, so she was always in the shackles of expectation and restraint, doting and interference. In the work, the protagonist who returns to his hometown re-examines the issues he has been avoiding since childhood, and analyzes the entanglement of family shackles and the suppression and restraint of individuals by regional communities.
  During college, Sheng Ye moved to Kyoto, and stayed in Kyoto to continue writing after graduation. The stage “City of Blood and Light” in the “Nightmare” in his work “Endless Nightmare” has a very strong Kyoto color. In the work “No Fixed Place”, the protagonist devotes himself to writing novels, relies on his mother’s relief, and wanders around Tokyo in order to find a place to live-these experiences are similar to those of Sheng Ye who had to move to Hachioji, a suburb of Tokyo, in order to create. The dilemma is very similar. “Through Time and Space Industrial Zone” is also the heroine who is devoted to writing, from local cities to the metropolis of Tokyo, and the names of stations and buildings in the work are real names in real life, vividly depicting Tokyo and surrounding cities street. Past and present, reality and fantasy, fictional plots and real life are fused together in Sheng Ye’s brushwork, and time and space are intertwined.
  Another feature of Sheng Ye’s works is the call for women’s status. As one of the representative figures of contemporary Japanese feminist literature, Sheng Ye’s creation can be said to “reflect the bold attempt to destroy the patriarchal discourse system, deconstruct the existing language model, and the desire to construct a female discourse space”. Most of the protagonists in his works are single female writers. They look at the real world with a critical eye, make a bitter mockery of the patriarchal Japanese society, and try to subvert and create their own world.
  ”Doing Nothing” is one of the typical works. The protagonist is an urban woman in her thirties, neither working nor married, who suffers from “contact eczema” of unknown etiology all day long. And single women living in the city “without doing anything” are undoubtedly a strange existence in the eyes of the world around them, and all kinds of curiosity, speculation, accusation and criticism come one after another. These all reveal that in a male-centered world, only when women are in a subordinate position can men feel at ease. Shengye intends to reveal the deep-rooted view of female subordination in Japanese society, and uses “contact eczema” (contact allergy) to satirize the fetters and restrictions imposed on women by patriarchal Japanese society. Another symbolic point of “contact eczema” in the work is the Japanese society that is boiling for the emperor’s enthronement ceremony. The allergy and resistance to the outside world can also be said to be Shengye’s resistance to the deprivation of his personal thoughts and self-subjects by Japanese society.

  The most subversive work is “Endless Nightmare”. Sheng Ye uses the form of dreams and games to challenge the existing forms of literary expression. The nightmare in the work is similar to an electronic game. Nightmare Space is a country called “City of Blood and Light”. The rules of the game are to oppress, discriminate, and tame women. If a woman does not say “I love you” to the prince , will be punished in hell. The protagonist in the dream is a seemingly ordinary woman in her thirties. She does not fall in love, does not get married, and has no femininity. However, in the face of such male-oriented game rules, she resolutely raised the flag of rebellion and continued to violate the game rules. Although she was repeatedly punished, she gradually realized evolution through continuous breakthroughs and practice, and finally manipulated the game to successfully break through. The protagonist realizes that if “I” does not want to become a living corpse infected by the language virus, the only way out is to take up language weapons and fight. Therefore, she disassembled the existing language model, and finally used the mysterious matriarchal chanting to smash the formulaic male narratives in many fairy tales in Japan and the world in one fell swoop, and escaped from the nightmare. With a unique way of expression, this work nakedly reveals the sexism and gender inequality under the construction of masculinity, and points out the importance of women’s self-expression and women’s discourse construction. Sheng Ye once mentioned in a conversation with the novelist Rieko Matsuura that “Endless Nightmare” is a struggle against the male standard system by women, and it also emphasizes that “in a world where men dominate discourse, the rhythm of language is paranoid and distorted. Therefore, I put It is replaced by a normal language, and if it cannot be achieved, it will be completely destroyed. The ‘my language’ that is neither male nor female begins.” This is Shengye’s creative practice of fighting against patriarchal cultural traditions, reshaping women’s consciousness, and constructing a space for women’s discourse.
  Another notable feature of Sheng Ye’s works is that they are full of fantasy. In her fantasies, there are elements of malice, absurdity, horror, surrealism, and supernatural world. In terms of writing techniques, the use of the combination of fiction and reality, interlacing of time and space to develop the narrative just forms a balance with the absurd fantasy of the content.
  His early work “The Bottom of the Pomegranate” has a fantasy color. The protagonist’s fantasy world is full of transparent bugs, which suck the spirit of people and gather on people. As a result, the protagonist suffers a lot of misfortunes: homeless, unemployed, and even loses the ability to do things seriously and think freely. ability. At home, he was under tremendous pressure and rude abuse from his parents, and was bothered by auditory and visual hallucinations. He became very fond of eating pomegranates. He ate pomegranates so much that his eyes gradually changed into pomegranates. And this translucent eyeball became the medium for him to enter the “bottom world” of meditation, allowing him to be temporarily healed in the fantasy world. However, when he wanted to smash the transparent worms attached to the human body and various things, they turned into “beef candies” that could not be removed. This is a terrible thing for the protagonist… It can be said that the reality Transforming the people and the world in the painting into another kind of object, this kind of creative technique is not uncommon in Sheng Ye’s works. However, these fantasies are not pure fantasies, but are triggered by the “evil” (negative factors) in the surrounding environment, and become prominent as this “evil” grows.
  ”Two Hundred Chapters” uses magic realism to tell absurd stories that happened in modern society. “I”, who had been away from home for 10 years and had already settled in Tokyo, was notified of the 200th anniversary of his death, so he had to go back to his hometown to participate in the ritual ceremony. This ritual is held every 100 years, and it is different from ordinary rituals. Some absurd and strange things happen one after another: in the place of death, there are more than a hundred people mixed with the living and the dead. The boundary completely disappeared, “I” met my deceased grandmother and relatives and friends; the clan leader disregarded family affection because of violation of taboo and was turned into a living bird… The structure of the novel is novel, the time sequence is reversed, and there is no clear boundary between life and death, past and present, fiction and reality. Sheng Ye intends to mock the repression of human nature by the old Japanese family system with the help of the funeral ceremony that symbolizes blood relationship; and through fantasy, spanning 200 years of time and space, and then throwing a light on the real problems of Japanese society such as gods, the country, and the emperor system. Suspicious look.
  Sheng Ye often adopts the image of monsters when the elements of fantasy appear in perceivable forms. For example, “Tokyo Youkai Floating” describes the story of a woman living alone in Tokyo who meets various urban monsters after becoming a demon. There are many monsters in the works, and Sheng Ye named them one by one, such as “single monster”, “touch monster”, “lump monster”, “hugging monster”, etc., and the “birth” of these monsters all came from “maliciousness”, that is, Japanese Realistic factors such as family, occupation, living environment, and sex in society, fantasies about monsters can be seen as a kind of spiritual resistance by Sheng Ye trying to eliminate these malice.
  As a pioneer writer of pure literature, Shengye Laizi constantly explored new possibilities of literary expression, formed a huge impact on existing literary values, and created a unique literary world of magical reality and symbolic images. For this reason, Shengye is also known as “1990s Unsolved Pie”. At the same time, as a radical feminist writer, she actively talks about the common life experience of herself, women and even human beings. She always looks at the real society with the eyes of seeing a different world, embodies the resistance to the real world, and cries for women’s liberation. strong awareness. As Sheng Ye himself said: “I have been fighting against the outside world, the sense of disobedience to the system, the fact that I am a woman, or the fact that I am a human being, born in Japan, and everything else.” So far, she still maintains a vigorous creation Passion, its new work is worth looking forward to.

Comments Off on The Fantasies and Struggles of “Pioneer of Pure Literature” Sheng Ye Laizi
error: Content is protected !!