One of the recent studies of posthumanity in Japanese SF is typified in the 2013 publication Posuto hyūmanitīzu: Itō Keikaku igo no SF [ポストヒューマニティー：伊藤計劃以後のSF, Posthumanities: SF after Author Itoh Project], including a variety of discussions of “Japanese-style” posthumanity by a group of young male critics called Genkai-ken (限界研, Studies of the Limit). In “The Preface” of the work critic Fujita Naoya summarizes the concept of “Japanese-style posthuman” from the articles by contrasting it with ideas of posthumanity in Europe and the U.S. Japanese-style posthumanity is epitomized in four respects: 1. There are “very few” euphoric depictions of humanity (humanity eternally develops toward the singularity, or humanity has achieved immortality by eternal soul-copies or resurrection); 2. Japanese-style posthuman tends to be oriented toward subjects who are infused with or plugged into the Social Network System (SNS), the communication system, or ‘the air’; 3. The relationship between the self and the character has been merged based on the character platform culture in Japan (perhaps due to influence of Buddhism and animism); 4. Komatsu Sakyō’s (小松左京) works Hateshinaki nagare no hate ni (果しなき流れの果に, End of the World after Endless Streams, 1966), “Kami heno nagai michi” (神への長い道, A Long Path to the God, 1967) and Kyomu kairō (虚無回廊, Empty Corridors 1987, 2000) influenced the concept. The focus on posthumanity is about the boundaries of humanity and human bodies, permeation and diffusion, and liminality (See details in the book).
Women writers such as Ueda Sayuri (上田早夕里, b.1964-) also employ science fiction rhetoric to undo human and to undo gender expectations in the world around them. In other words, science fiction gives them freedom from the constraints in actual societies. In reconfiguring the human, these women seek alternative worlds with alternative entities such as cyborgs and non-humans, alternative sex/gender and sexualities, and alternative relationships, which problematize or deflect a hierarchal patriarchy, binaristic gender, and a heteronormative system. In particular, their use of cyborg and posthuman models as metaphors―in keeping with Donna Haraway’s concept―is a tool for reconfiguring human forms through science and advanced technology.
From a larger perspective of humanity, Ueda Sayuri offers a new form of ecocriticism and ecofeminism in SF to challenge our human gender system. To illustrate, Ueda’s series of novels known as the Ocean Chronicles (Karyū no miya 華竜の宮, 2010; Shinku no hibun 深紅の碑文, 2013) offers a “queer” angle of perceiving the human through various posthuman subjects. She creates a highly imaginative world populated by genetically engineered sea people who live on the margins of society. The world they inhabit comes into being after a drastic environmental change. Here they interact with fish-boat-like creatures and with autosapients.
本稿は第27回エコクリティシズム研究学会大会(2014年8月9日)でのシンポジアム論文発表の要約に基づく。同大会Newsletter, No 4参照
References and Further Reading Lists
Braidotti, Rosi. The Posthuman. Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA, USA : Polity Press, 2013.
Genkai-ken [Studies of Limit], ed. Posuto hyūmanitīzu: Itō Keikaku igo no SF [Posthumanities: SF after Author Itoh Project]. Tokyo: Nanundō, 2013.
Giffney, Noreen & Hird, Myra J. “Introduction: Queering the Non/Human.” Queering the Non/Human. Ashgate, 2008. 1-16.
Haraway, Donna J. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century.” Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, 1991, 149-181.
ダナー・ハラウェイ『サイボーグ・フェミニズム』 巽孝之編 巽孝之、小谷真理訳 トレヴィル、1991年。—.Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium.FemaleMan©Meets_OncoMouse™: Feminism and Technoscience. New York: Routledge, 1997.
—. The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2003.
Hayles, Katherine. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.
Hollinger, Veronica. “(Re)reading Queerly: Science Fiction, Feminism, and the Defamiliarization of Gender.” Future Females, The Next Generation: New Voices and Velocities in Feminist Science Fiction Criticism. Ed. Marleen S. Barr. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc., 2000.
Kotani, Mari. Josei jō muishiki: tekuno gaineshisu― josei SF-ron josetsu. [Techno-Gynesis: The Political Unconscious of Feminist Science Fiction] Tokyo: Keisō shobō, 1994.
Morton, Timothy. “Mesh.” Environmental Criticism for the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Stephanie LeMenager, et. al. NY and London: Routledge, 2011.
Tatsumi, Takayuki. Full Metal Apache: Transactions Between Cyberpunk Japan and Avant-Pop America (Post-Contemporary Interventions). Durham: Duke University Press, 2006.
—, Ogino Anna, and Rissen Junrō, eds. Jinzō bijo wa kanō ka? [Is an artificial beauty (gynoid) possible to exist?] Tōkyo: Keiō Gijuku Daigaku Shuppankai, 2006.
巽孝之 『人造美女は可能か？』巽孝之、荻野アンナ、立仙順朗編 慶應義塾大学出版会、2006年。
—. “The Japanoid Manifesto: Toward a New Poetics of Invisible Culture.” The Review of Contemporary Fiction. XXII.2. (2002): 12-18.
Ueda Sayuri. “Fin and Claw.” Trans. Daniel Huddleston. Speculative Japan 3: Silver Bullets and Other Tales of Japanese Science Fiction and Fantasy. Fukuoka: Kurodahan Press, 2012, 219-39.
—. Karyū no miya [Palace of Dragon]. Tokyo: Hayakawa shobō, 2010.
—. Shinku no hibun [Deep Crimson Epitaphs]. Tokyo: Hayakawa shobō, 2013.