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Politics of Doodling: Tamura Toshiko's "A Woman Writer"

Politics of Doodling: Tamura Toshiko's "A Woman Writer" positions 15:3 Winter 2007 her head-bag, neither a word with flesh nor a fragment with the smell of blood would come out. She had been tossing around her idea for a commission by a publisher since the very end of last year. Every day she sat behind her desk and did nothing but doodle flax leaves and vertical lines in the grids of the ruled paper.1 As the story continues, the woman writer gives up writing for the day and instead plays with her face, putting on makeup and displaying various facial expressions to suggest a different persona, as if she were an actress. Then she abruptly begins to hop around the room like a mad person and physically assaults her husband. “A Woman Writer” does not have a “story” in an ordinary sense; the protagonist’s idle and agitated moments are casually put together. Probably because of such an ostensibly disorganized appearance, the story’s political aspects have been overlooked. To return to the opening scene, what the woman writer confronts is the neatly and apparently innocently partitioned space of the ruled paper (genkyshi). These grids, which are always already laid out in advance, paralyze her with their decisive http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png positions asia critique Duke University Press

Politics of Doodling: Tamura Toshiko's "A Woman Writer"

positions asia critique , Volume 15 (3) – Dec 1, 2007

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2007 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1067-9847
eISSN
1527-8271
DOI
10.1215/10679847-2007-003
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

positions 15:3 Winter 2007 her head-bag, neither a word with flesh nor a fragment with the smell of blood would come out. She had been tossing around her idea for a commission by a publisher since the very end of last year. Every day she sat behind her desk and did nothing but doodle flax leaves and vertical lines in the grids of the ruled paper.1 As the story continues, the woman writer gives up writing for the day and instead plays with her face, putting on makeup and displaying various facial expressions to suggest a different persona, as if she were an actress. Then she abruptly begins to hop around the room like a mad person and physically assaults her husband. “A Woman Writer” does not have a “story” in an ordinary sense; the protagonist’s idle and agitated moments are casually put together. Probably because of such an ostensibly disorganized appearance, the story’s political aspects have been overlooked. To return to the opening scene, what the woman writer confronts is the neatly and apparently innocently partitioned space of the ruled paper (genkyshi). These grids, which are always already laid out in advance, paralyze her with their decisive

Journal

positions asia critiqueDuke University Press

Published: Dec 1, 2007

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