A Window into Contemporary Japanese Society From a Woman’s Perspective: Taigan no Kanojo (Woman on the Other Bank, 2004) By Kakuta Mitsuyo
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis is an exploration of the novel Taigan no Kanojo (Woman on the Other Bank, 2004) by Japanese writer Kakuta Mitsuyo (1967- ). A biography of the author is presented first, covering Kakuta’s writing to date and the personal circumstances that have influenced her body of work. To my knowledge this is the first in-depth biography prepared, in English or Japanese, of Kakuta Mitsuyo.
The next section of this thesis is a discussion of the text. Kakuta is deeply critical of the status of women in Japanese society, and uses Taigan no Kanojo as a platform to make her readers aware of her views. She probes employment conventions that limit women’s choices and the difficulties that women face when they try to combine motherhood with work outside the home. She asks her reader to reconsider what should define ‘success’ or ‘failure’ in terms of women’s lives. This section, therefore, explores these themes, and places the novel firmly within its social background.
Lastly, in order to make the novel that forms the focus of this thesis accessible to a non-Japanese readership, translations of Chapters One and 15, and synopses of Chapters Two through 14 are then provided.