Tokyo, gender and mobility: Tracking fictional characters on real monorails, trains, subways and trams
Multiple strands of early twenty-first-century Tokyo’s gendered narratives find expression in a large body of internationally circulated short stories, novels and films from Japan that figuratively incorporate portions of the city’s actual transportation infrastructure. It is an infrastructure that frames and defines Tokyo – a ‘city of trains’ – as a socially dynamic geographical entity. Urban rail-system-rich texts such as Noboru Tsujihara’s ‘My Slightly Crooked Brooch’ – along with Natsuo Kirino’s Real World, Fuminori Nakamura’s The Thief, Shosuke Murakami’s Train Man, Banana Yoshimoto’s ‘Newlywed’, and Hsiao-Hsien Hou’s Café Lumière – show the illusoriness (especially for women) of the alluring promise of mobility in both life and on the rails. At the same time, they contain hints of newly emerging interventions and choices, along with the possibility of a counter-hegemonic discourse in which women resolutely assert their agency on a rail system built by and mostly for men.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Temple University
Publication date: 01 March 2014
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