Post-Human Imaginations of Environment and Body: Tawada Yoko's Post-Earthquake Literature as an Environmental Criticism
The present study considers the creation of literary texts as responses to the changing environment as a practice of environmental criticism, and discusses Tawada Yoko's writings after the Great East Japan Earthquake: "The Island of Immortality（不死の島）", "The Emissary （献灯使）", "Scattered on the Earth（地球にちりばめられて）" and "Implied by the Stars（星に仄めかされて）." I consider environmental criticism as a critical attempt to consider both the natural environment and the social environment created by humans, and the intersections and responses between the two.
The discussion will focus on three aspects of Tawada's novel: the body, language, and nation. Tawada's post-disaster novels typically weave relatively straightforward criticisms into the story, such as the effects of radiation on the body of living organisms, the censorship of words to glue together inconvenient environmental changes, and the avoidance of naive nationalism. On the other hand, by placing distinctive characters, such as Yoshiro, Mumei, and Hiruko at the center of the stories, Tawada showed how they survived in a post-disaster world, and through their quest, the readers find a glimmer of hope in a difficult world.
Lastly, the unpeaceful nature of Tawada's post-disaster literature was discussed. If the heart of the post-human literary imagination lies in the sense of fear that humans may be changing, or have already changed, and gives form to this sense, then the imagination of Tawada's work was precisely that of a post-human imagination. It is a reaction to the changes in the current environment, and it shows an interest in human beings who are perceived to be changing.