Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/8340
"Banana-mania." Gender Politics in Yoshimoto Banana's Works and Contemporary Japan
Yoshimoto Banana, a popular female writer in Japan, writes stories about Japanese adolescents finding their way in Japan. A great majority of them are female and must face a culture where there are basically separate worlds for men and women, the domestic and the corporate. The characters do not seem to experience this even if it is evident in the texts. Banana’s writing shows that women and men have a real hard time relating to each other, resulting in alienation in their divided worlds. Her female protagonists are focused on being independent individuals, in control of their own lives. These women are most often without a proper father figure to rely on and look up to and the men around them are feminine and more often than not weak men. The most feminine of them would be Eriko of Kitchen who has actually gone so far as to surgically turn himself into a woman and in that form takes on the bringing up of a son on his own. The idea of gender in Yoshimoto Banana’s writing follows no conventions except in bearing a resemblance to popular culture of the shōjo. The alienation her characters feel and the lack of the masculine are a reflection of the divided society in Japan while the gender blurring and individuality represent the changes that are taking place and need to be continued and developed in Japan today.